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Rocketmaniac

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Last night as I was lighting my fireworks, someone asked me...... "Since you are a rocketman, what's the difference between fireworks and rocket motors..... What makes them go up, and explode into bright pretty colors?"

I told them, yes I did fly rockets but had no idea the details of fireworks...... So without getting into areas (like EX motors) that we don't talk about in an open forum..... Can someone give me "fireworks 101"
 

Ryan S.

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some fireworks include rocket motors. Bottle rockets for example have a rocket motor. It is finely ground BP with a small clay nozzle, the motor is an end-burner and at the top is some flash-powder making it blow up. Other Fireworks that go up do not use rocket motors they just have a charge that sends them up. These are refered to as mortars. I believe Roman candles work this way to.

Alot of fireworks use rockets to go up, some use other methods, and some don't use any because they don't get off the ground.

thats my 2 cents anyway ;)
 

sandman

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That's easy!

The big difference between fireworks and rockets is as follows;

Fireworks are just Fire, Smoke, and Noise!

Rockets either Low Power, Midpower or High Power are Fire, Smoke, and Noise and...ahhhh...somebody wanna help me out here?

sandman
 

ibeblip

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Fireworks, as defined in the BATF "Orange Book", means a device that through design and containment for combustion, deflagration, or detonation of various chemical compounds classified as explosive materials, produces an audible or visual effect.
Now, this definition would certainly seem to include model rockets that use solid (chemical) propellants for flight because they do produce fire, smoke, noise and visual effects, which are just as pleasing to behold.
But the basic functionality between the intended uses of fireworks and model rocket motors are different things separated by what many folks would understandably argue over as an awfully fine line. And while I can whole heartedly agree with that, I have to point out the fact that no matter how fine that line may actually be, it's not invisible and never will be.
 

rabidsheeep

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fireworks are a shitload more dangerous... im sure noones shoe has ever been set on fire and a scar like hawaii burned into your arm with a rocket... dam roman candles :p
 

Ryan S.

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Originally posted by sandman
That's easy!

The big difference between fireworks and rockets is as follows;

Fireworks are just Fire, Smoke, and Noise!

Rockets either Low Power, Midpower or High Power are Fire, Smoke, and Noise and...ahhhh...somebody wanna help me out here?

sandman
haha I had the same problem. I thought to myself "they arent that different" though there is less burning in rocketry, and less exploding too
 

cydermaster

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I've always worked on the rule that: If the thing is designed to be reusable - its a model rocket; If the thing is not designed to be reusable - its a firework.

As with all heuristics - this definition doesn't always hold true, but as has been said, the line between fireworks and rockets is finer than a Kevlar shock cord on a Quest Big Betty!
 

n3tjm

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I have been setting off fireworks since I was about 15... and I am a careful boy... but no matter how careful you are... the unexpected can happen.

Yesterday I set off one of those cluster ribbon launchers. It shoots off green and red ribbons at a rate of two every half second or so. The fuse sarts at one end, goes throung all 24 shells, and sticks out about 1 inch or so in the center of the cluster... but I know these fuses can go airborn... sure enough, standing back a safe distance... the ribbons were done firing, and the end-fuse zips up, and flies right by my head. Good thing I was wearing a jacket and had my glasses on...
 

rabidsheeep

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when we go out to ohio ya really get in that pyro mood... we blow up paintcans and all... well theres two really stupid things i tried... we bought alotta rocket fireworks...... like alotta fireworks like that... and one night me and my cousin decided it would be cool if we could put 4 or 5 of the big 10 inch bottle rockets and a few small bottle rockets and a big one in a rainpipe gutter and shoot it off... holy mother was that scary... everything was flying everywhere... the tube got excessivly hot and i couldn't hold it any more... god i love that place :D

another rather stupid thing we did was put a pack of bottle rockets in the bonfire... once we realized what we did we ran and hid behind the big pile of logs... :D
 

jflis

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well, a couple of things, then a story... :p

Fireworks are single use, fuse lit, displays (either light, smoke, report or any mix of the 3)

Model rockets (sport rockets) are *not* single use (well, with the exception of the mosquito... :p ), contain a recovery device, do not carry explosives nor flaming payload, and are electrically ignited.

now...

once upon a time, in a neighborhood far, far away there lived a rather rotund pyromaniac... :D

Someone had given this rather hapless individual 2 packs of Class-B roman candles. These puppies had 8 shots each, each shot firing what was essentially a cherry bomb... big, loud, scary...

But, what the heck, they looked like fun so this unnamed person decided to fire one off. Standing it up inside a concrete block, it was lit off. Along about the 4th explosion, I'm thinking "man, I'm gonna get *busted* for these things!", er, well I mean, this unnamed individual was thinking this. I'm sure he was...

So, I figure I had better just get rid of ALL of these things, but not wanting to *waste* them I came up with a plan. Duct tape and cannon fuse the solution to everyones problems...

I duct taped the remaining 11 candles together (that's 88 shots folks), and used cannon fuse to tie up all the fuses together. this is going to be one heck of a show, but at least I will have disposed of these dangerous critters...

so, there I am at the end of my street, far from any houses, late at night. Along the edge of the road I begin to dig a hole wide enough to take the 11 candles (looking remarkably like a pile of TNT) and deep enough to safely contain them as they burn.

I carefully lower the candles into the hole and begin to pack dirt around them. A few rocks for good measure, then I tug at the setup to be sure that it's going to stay put. Looks good.

Ok then, now a quick look over my *right* shoulder to make sure that I'm alone, reach into my pocket for a lighter and light the fuse...

ok, IT'S LIT! I grab my lighter and get up, turning to my *left* to run off...


...SMACK, right into the front left bumper of the cruiser that parked there, oh, about the time I started digging the hole.... :eek:

So I hollered at him "ok, ok, you GOT me, but PLEASE back up cuz *this* things gonna *rock*"

He backed up then armageddon hit... didn't last more than about 45 seconds, but OH what a 45 seconds it was...

he smirked at me and asked if I had any more fireworks. I said no and he said "see that you don't", then left...

i nearly pee'd myself

LOL
 

Steward

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Although this may not explain the difference between "model rockets" and "fireworks"...
As far as the rockets go...they are quite similar...they propel an object up....
The real difference is that we...who fly model rockets, have a "safety code" that should always be adhered to...fireworks do not...
Steward
 

Rocketmaniac

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Originally posted by Ryan S.
some fireworks include rocket motors. Bottle rockets for example have a rocket motor. It is finely ground BP with a small clay nozzle, the motor is an end-burner and at the top is some flash-powder making it blow up. Other Fireworks that go up do not use rocket motors they just have a charge that sends them up. These are refered to as mortars. I believe Roman candles work this way to.
Ryan, this was the general info I was looking for.... I'll do some searches for "flash-powder"
 

Neil

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OOOOK. This is my understanding of it. There was a show on PBS last year:

Funny little round ball, with a little fuse going up it. A computer lights the fuse, which lights the motor, sending it up to a safe altitude. Meanwhile the fuse is still burning, and then it reaches these little balls of BP or something, which ignite, and they have these closely-guarder recipies for coulors, sending nice little showers of slugs everywhere. Ill go look for some links and report back later. PLEASE, dont quote me on any of that, thats just what I remember from the show....
 

Neil

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Within 30 seconds, I went onto google, and it popped up that.Here ya go.


Howstuffworks.com is a GREAT place that can tell you how anything from lockpics to nukes to glow-powder to gun-powder works. Great place. I spend a lot of time there. It will awnser all your questions on Fireworks, and pretty much anything else.

Poor unnamed individual.... Kinda gave yerself away at the end by saying ya nearly wet yer pants!! how old were you at the time?
 

Neil

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Wait a second... JIM???? I was looking at that before I clicked the "submit" button, and I didnt realise who it was who blew a hole in the ground!!!! WOW!!!! Snigger.... more than that... LOL!!!!! Lets see... whats that silly IM acronym for "rolling on floor laughing"??? Maybe it was ROFL, or something. As if I should know... I dont even have an IM account... But it is a pretty fitting description of me reaction to your story!!!!
 

rabidsheeep

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STORY TIME...

yeah i have endless ohio stories that ill end up relating everything to...

first one is my uncles... now he has even more countless ohio stories from when he was a kid... one day he was walkin around in the field with his friend shott and he came across this old car that was old and rusted up and all... apparently it had been there for years... so... and i quote him for saying this... "so, naturally... we set it on fire"... and to think this guy grew up to be a new york city firefighter...

and another one... one day me and my friends were makin a video for social studies about the civil war... yeah corny but whatever... so you know... its civil war... we coulda done it without illegal fireworks (mind you im in new york this isn't allowed) but hell no we had to...

there was also a soccer game goin on across the field in the park where we did this... so we start shooting off like bottle rockets and it comes to the cannon seen... so we had a prop cannon and we stick a roman candle on it and start fireing... and i dont think the people at the soccer games were to happy... so then we see the cops pass by down the hill on the road... and we were pissing in our pants now... i took all the fireworks and just threw em in the woods nearby (my friend wasn't too happy about this)... so about 10 minutes later (still pissing in pants) the cops pass us by and i couldn't figure out why they kept staring... i was thinkin and lookin around for any fireworks left out and all... then i realize... me and my friend are standing next to a prop cannon with quite realistic looking swords and guns and im holding a confederate flag... whoo boy... that was weird... we told the teacher and she gave us extra credit though... :D
 

jflis

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Originally posted by Neil
Within 30 seconds, I went onto google, and it popped up that.Here ya go.


Howstuffworks.com is a GREAT place that can tell you how anything from lockpics to nukes to glow-powder to gun-powder works. Great place. I spend a lot of time there. It will awnser all your questions on Fireworks, and pretty much anything else.

Poor unnamed individual.... Kinda gave yerself away at the end by saying ya nearly wet yer pants!! how old were you at the time?
LOL hate to say it, but I was about 33.... LOL
 

Ray Dunakin

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There are some important differences between sport rockets and fireworks.

1. Our rockets are meant to be safely recovered and reused. Fireworks are not.

2. Most of the fireworks seen in big professional displays are mortars, not rockets.

3. The few fireworks that do use rockets generally are not as well made as hobby rocket motors, since they are going to blow up at the end of the flight anyway. Bottle rockets and the like are not nearly as well-guided as our rockets, either.

4. Composite motors use a propellent that is safer than the BP propellents used in fireworks. For that matter, even Estes BP motors are safer than most of the fireworks rockets I've seen (no powder leaking out, for example).
 

MattEx

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Quite :D

The shells at professional displays are sent up by a charge of BP in a confined tube that pressurises and forces the big hollow ball full of "stars" (the glowing burning balls released into the sky) into the air from the tube, really far up into the air. When it is fired, a fuse connected to the ball is lit and it burns into the ball, bursting it and igniting all the "stars". Pyrotechnics sure is great huh? :)
 

Neil

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33!? I thought you were talkin about when you were a kid!!!!!!
 

Neil

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:p Poor you.... Hope you learned your lesson...
 

Ryan S.

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way to be Jim ;)

Fireworks are fun, moreso when you make them. I once accidentally made a fountian when I mixed a sugar motor the wrong way, it was one of the first ones. It was thrusting only a small amount and I had for some reason added charcoal into the mix as well as sugar. This resulted in sparky smokey motor :kill:
 

BlueNinja

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This brings back memories.... Ok, it was only this summer but here goes. My friend and I were shooting off our leftover Whistling Jupiter Missiles, the single shot ones. Anyway, I had a "chubby" bottle, about 2 inches tall and real fat. We were trying to stick the fins of the rocket in the bottle, and it worked. (Kinda) We lit it, hoping to make the bottle fly, and the missle wasn't exactly a Titan so it wouldnt fly w/o fins, instead chasing my friend around the yard and burning out. Our street is concrete in 2 parts, left and right, and there was a good sized groove down it. A perfect launch rail! Laid the missile down, lit the fuse, and RAN. it lit, and went right down the street for about a couple centimeters:p. It lifted off, went spiraling toward my neighbors house, and barely missed it. I have more to tell, but i'll tell it another day.

Fireworks are dangerous, model rockets are not. If you look at the BIG firework rockets(>6in) the bottom is just BP. At least the ones I've seen. Try artillery shells! it's a pretty good display. Once another of my friends lit the fuse and threw it as high as he could. It almost gave him a buzzcut.
 

Ryan S.

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hehe that reminds me of the time I was firing bottle rockets under water. I had a pipe and was lighting the fuse and dropping them down and they would shoot out the tube. then I lit one and put the tube under water. Didnt go very far but it looked cool :cool:
 

BlueNinja

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Or water dynamite:D. Drill a hole in a 1liter bottle, insert water dynamite so there is about half sticking out, seal all gaps with silicone glue. Fill bottle about 1/4 way with white vinegar, drop in 2 alkaseltzers, screw on cap, shake for about 5 minutes. Lay on ground, light fuse. It'll shoot pretty darn far! Plus they're waterproof, fill up a SMALL dish with water, light water dynamite fuse, drop in, RUN! I've also managed to do this with plain old pee-your-pants fuse black cats, or whistling chasers.
 
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