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Fountains Formulas


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#1 BigG

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 02:32 PM

Please post all fountain formulas here.

#2 zanes

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Posted 29 October 2003 - 04:55 PM

24 parts kno3
4 parts sulphur
4 parts charcoal
10 parts of desired metal powder or;

75% kno3
15% NON-WILLOW charcoal
10% sulphur
+20% metal powder
(should not be ball milled, kno3,charcoal and sulphur should be mixed well, then metal powder should be added by diapering method
:Message Delivered By Zanes:

All your base are belong to us

:/Message delivered by Zanes:

#3 BigG

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 06:40 PM

The following are from Thomas Kentish ?The Pyrotechnist?s Treasury?

Kentish lists in his book 17 formulas for ?fixed cases? (fountains) and wheels. The unusual terminology is down to the book age (~1875), and with it, the usage of some chemicals that today have been phased out.

Many of the formulas are variations on BP, merely changing the quantities of the potassium nitrate, sulphur and charcoal. While the differences in performance are not very notable, keeping a persistence work procedure will allow you to compare and see the differences. Some of the formulas use steel filling ? again, Kentish does not reveal his source ? and steel feelings vary dramatically from one manufacturer to the other. I found that using coarse grades of high-carbon steel gives the best effects. With the exception of stainless steel powder ? all iron powders need to be coated if the fountain is to be stored for a long period of time.

When the book was written ? Aluminium did not yet found its way to the world of firework making, and ?silver formulas? were the compositions that just burned faster and brighter. The use of lead nitrate and lead oxide were quite common ? and their usage was completely phased out only a century later ? when the implications of lead poisoning were completely understood. Flower Pots that used Orpiment were also common ? but today they were phased out as similar effect can be generated by lampblack and iron (among other). In fact ? all arsenic compounds are no longer popular. Lancaster used Plaster of Paris in his book ? but you will hardly see that being used after the early 80?s.

I did not list formulas that can be considered dangerous. One formula is using vegetable black ? and Kentish express his amusement with the product as it produces soft lovely supple sparks. One can assume that this black coloured powder is no longer being made from the burning of vegetables, but products in the same family include vine black and lamp black ? that are very useful.

Enjoy ? BigG

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #1
BP 8, S 1, C 1, KNO3 2

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #2
BP 24, S 1, C 4, KNO3 3

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #3
BP 8, C 1

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #4
BP 36, S 1, C 4

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #5
BP 4, C 1, KNO3 2

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #6
BP 18, KNO3 2, Fe 5

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #7
BP 8, S 1, KNO3 1, Fe 3

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #8
BP 12, S 1, KNO3 3, Fe 3

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #9
BP 42, S 3, KNO3 8, Fe 5

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #10
BP 4, Fe 1

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #11
BP 16, KNO3 2, Fe 5

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #12
BP 10, Vegetable Black © 1

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #17
BP 8, S 1, C 2, KNO3 4

#4 PanMaster

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 07:49 PM

just one problem BigG, many of those formulas you posted, just like many others i see don't add up to 100 even if you assume factors of ten, when on earth i am supposed to do with say BP 8 C 1, thats 90%, what about the other 10%? do i assume its a ratio?

take
Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #2
BP 24, S 1, C 4, KNO3 3

for example, if that was a percentage wheres the 68% gone to? if its a ratio then i find it hard to believe there are such small amounts of C or S or KNO3, so is it a mistake?
Where are the matches?

#5 BigG

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 08:06 PM

Panmaster, the formulas are in PARTS. So:

Kentish Wheel & Fixed Cases #2
BP 24, S 1, C 4, KNO3 3

Means 24parts bp, 1 part sulfur, 4 parts charcoal and 3 parts potassium nitrate.

A part can be whatever you want. If you want part to be 1 gram then the formula reads 24g BP, 1g S, 4g C and 3g KNO3. If you want a part to be 3g then: 72g BP, 3g S, 12g C and 9g KNO3. It is far more popular to use parts then %.

BigG

Edited by BigG, 02 November 2003 - 08:06 PM.


#6 Gor

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Posted 02 November 2003 - 10:40 PM

I think that this is the most bizarre list of formulas I have yet come across.

Those that add C, S, and KNO3 are adding black powder components to black powder, the others tend to suggest that if you make some BP and adda bit if one or the other then you will get ......... a fountain.


Would somebody with more time than me like to start with a basic BP mix, then add increasing ratios of C and S to see exactly what effect these modifications have.

Incidentally we made some fountains using the recipie at the top of the thread, using Mg for the metal powder, and adding various things to try to get a nice coloured flame at the bottom. Got some nice pinks with strontium salts and a deep orange with calcium. Sparks wern't up to much though. I think the Mg was a bit fine.

We used an industrial crank clay for the choke. Rammed nearly dry it worked brilliantly, was immediately useable and fired itself into the bargain.

#7 BigG

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 11:15 AM

I think that this is the most bizarre list of formulas I have yet come across.

Those that add C, S, and KNO3 are adding black powder components to black powder, the others tend to suggest that if you make some BP and adda bit if one or the other then you will get ......... a fountain.


Would somebody with more time than me like to start with a basic BP mix, then add increasing ratios of C and S to see exactly what effect these modifications have.

Incidentally we made some fountains using the recipie at the top of the thread, using Mg for the metal powder, and adding various things to try to get a nice coloured flame at the bottom. Got some nice pinks with strontium salts and a deep orange with calcium. Sparks wern't up to much though. I think the Mg was a bit fine.

We used an industrial crank clay for the choke. Rammed nearly dry it worked brilliantly, was immediately useable and fired itself into the bargain.


Gor ? Fair remarks. I?ll try to explain.

The BP formula ratio of 75/15/10 is supposed to gives the best combustion rate for those three materials (actually, today we know that it slightly off those ratios, but at the time that BP was invented, they did not have the research facilities we have today ? and considering that, this ratio it remarkably good). Any changes to that ratio cause a different reaction to take place that might help the ?fountain effect?.

It is likely that Kentish arrived at those formulas by doing what you just mentioned ? playing with ratios and perfecting them to get things looking a little better for his fountains. Unfortunately, what might have been good for Kentish ? will not be that great for you. Kentish ? like many writers before and after ? gives very little details of the materials he used. Let me try to explain how this will affect you.

First ? the BP. Kentish actually use in his book the term Meal Powder ? which usually is used to distinguish commercial made powder. While it is in the means of an amateur to make superior BP ? It was common practice to buy BP from a supplier ? as most small firework builders like Kentish had only small facilities. The rest of the materials were most likely mixed using a mixing screen rather then a ball mill.

Lancaster mention that for very small bore fountains one should use BP, but for fountains with a larger bore it is sufficient to mix KNO3, C and S using a screen. This does require very finely powdered individual materials, probably passing 150# - but is cheaper as no ball milling take place and no commercial BP is being used. The mixing of meal powder and the three ingredients through a screen will produce a slower burning powder that will behave differently then BP.

Second - The charcoal. Both Lancaster and Simizu are kind enough to give us more information about their charcoal. Lancaster gives mesh sizes ? and except for BP, he never seems to use air float charcoal. His formulas use #150, #60 and #28. Each burn differently as it climbs through the air. Some charcoals give real branching sparks that are comparable to high-carbon metal sparks. Simizu actually gives the charcoal tree type. Kentish does none of those ? so your guess is good as any other. I mix charcoal of +20-40#. It does not branch ? but give large red dots as it flies through the air.

Last are the sulphur and potassium nitrate. The ratio modification of those ? together with more or less charcoal ? can greatly modify the behaviour of the mixture. Simizu lists a few ?fire-dust? formulas. The last two contain little or no sulphur, but a lot of charcoal. The mixtures are so slow burning that they are not comparable to BP at all. Made into a star, they leave a long tail and sometime fall great distances still burning. Simizu describes it as ?a lonely fantasy? ? like only the Japanese can do.

More sulphur also produces more dross. Maybe something you don?t want in a rocket ? but for fountains, those red-hot molten dots create additional effect as they flies through the air.

Indeed ? Kentish formulas will not work for everyone, because we don?t know the exact work procedure involved ? but trying to prefect them for the material you have is a good starting point.

To finish this entry off ? a note about mg in fountains. The reason you didn?t get sparks is the simple reason that magnesium is not a very good metal for spark production. Magnesium burns so hot and with so much smoke that any small metal particles are likely to completely evaporate. It is useful for the production of colours and if you just wish for a coloured flame then magnesium has a place in your formula. Metals that will be useful in the formula are: Aluminium, Iron, Titanium, Ferro-Aluminium and Ferro-Titanium.

I hope this helps. BigG

#8 Gor

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 08:56 PM

Thanks Biig G, Thats one of the clearest posts on the forum, and yes I used the Mg coz I was trying to get the coloured base just right. I like the effect of a bright coloured flame with pure silver sparks shooting through. Deep blue would be best, or red and orange like a sunset.

What you highlight is the extreme difficulty of passing on any formula as a series of parts, without giving precise details of mesh sizes, materials, tube sizes and nozzles - so many variables.

So can anyone here give me precise instructions to make the above fountains?

P.S. I don't mind the smoke from the Mg, thats part of it.

Edited by Gor, 03 November 2003 - 08:56 PM.


#9 BigG

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 10:45 PM

how many bookes do you have bigG and which ones do you have i have shimizues book and jondonners book on making exploding fireworks now getting lancasters book on making fireworks 3rd edition and maby the gunpowder making book.

20+ books and about 100+ different papers. Only a small part of my collection is in the UK. The main hole in my collection is the lack of Pyrotechnica magazines. They are just too darn expensive - but they are very good. Lancasters book is excellent. Probably the best of the modern publications.

Some of the papers are in foreign languages - still getting them translated - but it will take some time.

Of course, nothing bits experience - but I like to keep my limbs in the process.

Gor. My fountain article is complete, and it gives good examples of basic fountains, including construction. Even there I give enough room for people to explore. It's a part of the business.

For the Tom Prigrin Formula that is at the top of the thread (24KNO3, 4 C, 4 S, and 10 iron), a simple but strong fountain can be obtained by placing the KNO3, C and S in a ball mill for a few hours. Anything from an hour to 24 hours work well. The longer, the higher the fountain will be ? but the difference is not great. Remove the powder out of the mill jar and place on a large sheet of newspaper. Diaper in the Iron, rolling the whole composition around by lifting each corner of the newspaper (one at a time) and letting the whole thing roll toward the other corner.

Take a tube about 30mm ID, 125mm in length (This is much bigger then your average fountain). And drop some powdered clay to the bottom. Compact the clay using a rammer and a wood mallet with three-four strong blows. Now fill the tube with composition, about a heaped spoon at a time, compacting each increscent with a semi-strong blow from your mallet. When you are about an inch from the top, create an upper plug by droping a heaped spoon of clay and compacting it again with four of five strong blows. Use drill bits to drill a choke into the upper plug. Start with a small bit and use your fingers (not a driller) to create a hole in the centre until you reach the composition. Now increase the size of the bit until you reach about 10 centimetres. Place a long fuse into the hole; making sure that the other end is well away from the fountain mouth. Ignite at arms length and retire immediately. The fountain will spit red dots good 6-10 feet into the air. You will need about 100-125 grams of compositions to fill this fountain. Slightly nicer effect can be generated if you mix in an addition 1-2 parts of aluminium.

Now try to use the same procedure for the Kentish formulas that contain KNO3, C, S and still fillings. Let me know if you see any difference. Just make sure you use the same procedure for all the formulas you try?

I?m not responsible for anyone that gets burned using this procedure. You UK people are not suppose to build fireworks anyway :)

#10 Gor

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 09:46 PM

Thanks Big G, but my reference to 'above fountains' meant the two I mentioned in my post, i.e. with a blue base and a red base. Perhaps this is in your fountains article, which as I have said I would love to read.

Not that I am making any fireworks, living here in England where even talking about fireworks will soon have to be done in hushed tones on dark street corners.....remembering the glorious days before the secret police would storm in and drag you to the ground for posession of a single mine......, but if I were, fountains is where I am at. Big glorious showery colourful. Tall thin ones like pillars of fire and wide spreading ones like sheets of water.

Infact waterfalls is where I am really at. I saw one bouncing down the cliff below Edinburgh Castle. Just great sheets of silver sparks bouncing off the rocks like real silver water.

Edited by Gor, 05 November 2003 - 09:50 PM.


#11 lord_dranack

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 10:36 AM

I've been attempting waterfalls recently. However I can't get any of the right type of Al so I am considering replacing it with Mg turnings (or Ti turnings if they work)

#12 BigG

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 11:48 AM

I've been attempting waterfalls recently. However I can't get any of the right type of Al so I am considering replacing it with Mg turnings (or Ti turnings if they work)

I’ll be surprised if MG will get you anywhere – it does not produce good sparks. TI is very good. 10#-40# are best.

#13 pyrotechnist

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 12:38 PM

hey big which book have you got i have 2 and getting lancasters book on making fireworks. I also know a person at black cat fireworks who I visited about firework making. He sent me pictures of making them and he is a big boss about health and safety to the HSE he knows a lot of them.
fireworks is my aim setting of is the game

#14 Richard H

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 05:01 PM

Ah, Ron Rapley by any chance Michael?

#15 pyrotechnist

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 06:39 PM

yer how did you know.
fireworks is my aim setting of is the game




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