# Ignitor Pyrogen

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#### Bruce

##### Well-Known Member
What works best for ignitor pyrogen?

I'm assuming that since Black Powder produces a lot of gas when it burns, that it would not be ideal and might be more prone to spitting out the ignitor than other pyrogens. Would Pyrodex be any different?

Would it be correct to say that an ideal ignitor pyrogen would produce a maximum amount of flame with a minimum amount of gas production? What other factors are there?

I don't mean to get into specific recipes, but am instead more interested in the different types of pyrogens that are used.

#### fyrwrxz

##### latest photo
All I can really say here is look into some Powdered metals to augment your starters (that still bugs me. I prefer to still say 'ignitors' Lol!)

#### cwbullet

##### Obsessed with Rocketry
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Pyrodex will work with some motors but it is definitely not the bets choice.

#### ksaves2

##### Lifetime Supporter
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Start here: (no recipes)

Also look on Richard Nakka's site:

http://quickburst.net/qb/ has kits to make standard motor igniters.
I've used them and they work. That will be the easiest for a neophyte. Can get shooter's wire and 36 or 40 gauge nichrome for wirewrap. Can get stupid and use silver solder to attach nichrome to the wire but I don't do that anymore. Have to use solvent to get off the caustic flux.
Get a wire wrap tool like this:

Will make your life easier. Do an internet search and if you don't go with a commercial pyrogen, there are plenty of formulas out there. The ones with metals seem to be better. The only metal to treat with utmost respect is magnesium powder. Be extremely careful if you use that one. It's doable mind you but static can set the metal to burning. I measure small amounts I need outdoors and get it into the liquids (lacquer) quickly.

I wished I had videos of some of the rockets I had over the years go up and the rocket flies off the pad with the pyrogen on the igniter still burning coming out of the rocket. Now that's hot pyrogen!

Oh as an aside, as I was doing some diddling with my pyrogen I succeeded in making a GIANT batch of "poppers". What's a popper? It's an igniter due to uneven local heating that "pops", blows off a bit of pyrogen and breaks the bridgewire. The rest of the pyrogen doesn't catch or burn and the thing is a "dud".

I made a butt load of these and thought about the situation. I thought due to the uneven heating along the nichrome bridgewire, localized gas buildup caused some of the pyrogen to "pop off" hence creating a dud. The remedy aside from trying to make a new batch? I simply took both hands and bent the pyrogen heads ever so slightly to crack the pyrogen in two or three places (depending on pyrogen length).

Sometimes a little pyrogen fell off but most of the time it places a few horizontal cracks in the pyrogen. As it turned out, that did the trick as it allowed any gas buildup to vent, the nichrome came to full heat and the pyrogen catches every time without initially breaking the bridgewire. I think this was due to the particular pyrogen I whipped up. I've never had a commercial dip behave that way. Although if one gets a batch of commercial ignitors that pop, try cracking the pyrogen heads with your fingers and you'll likely salvage them.

Safety wise, it's much safer to get a commercial kit pyrogen and use that rather than getting the chemicals yourself. Only mix a small amount at a time as one can dip a lot of igniters in one sitting. I let them dry and can usually do a second dip if I want after I've dipped through the wires as the first ones are dry enough for a second dip.

Kurt

#### rklapp

##### NAR# 109557
TRF Supporter
I don't have a muzzle loader but do have lots of smokeless powders. I used Accurate 1680 (very fine powder) with stinky clear nail polish. Seemed to work well. I caught a screen grab of the starter flame from a D12-5.

Bill Stine mentioned at NARCON why they can't call them igniters but said he still can't get himself to say starter. The government thinks of igniters as something like blasting caps which have their own restrictions so Estes calls them starters and Quest calls them initiators.

#### ksaves2

##### Lifetime Supporter
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I think amongst rocket folk it's perfectly fine to call them igniters.
That's what they were called when I was growing up.
Gubbermint be danged.
Kurt

#### blackjack2564

##### Crazy Jim's Gone Banana's
TRF Supporter
there are hundreds of pyrogens out there. I have a file somewhere with over 300 thermite formulas alone. The one most are familiar with being copper thermite which is aluminum and copper fine powder.. It creates molten plasma. I used it for drag race many years...instant on when used correctly
it depends on what size and type motor u are trying to start and how fast u want it to light.

mag/kn.....zirconium...BKNO3....Al/Ap....Mg/teflon...nitrocellulose/Bp.. the list goes on and on..

Actually for composite motor, large amounts of super hot gas is exactly what u want. That is consistent at all atmospheres and temperatures. will light at arctic temps..complete vacuum [space] and stable at all those too.And of course contains it own oxygen donor.

One of the most user friendly and safe [if there is such a thing] is BKNO3 in Viton binder. It can be a dip or pelletized. Quick burst sells a kit with this. Can be used to fortify anything from Estes up to huge composite motors. Its the composition of choice to fire tank shells [M-1] instantly

There are many , but for most of us hobbyists they are far to dangerous or beyond reach both in cost and ease of obtaining and processing.

This topic is like starting a glue thread......

#### SharkWhisperer

##### Well-Known Member
What works best for ignitor pyrogen?

I'm assuming that since Black Powder produces a lot of gas when it burns, that it would not be ideal and might be more prone to spitting out the ignitor than other pyrogens. Would Pyrodex be any different?

Would it be correct to say that an ideal ignitor pyrogen would produce a maximum amount of flame with a minimum amount of gas production? What other factors are there?

I don't mean to get into specific recipes, but am instead more interested in the different types of pyrogens that are used.
Bruce hi,

When not launching finned rockets, I'm doing fireworking. I make my own igniters for both, and soup up the crummy Estes ones that come with their BP motors. Nearly a buck for a piece of nichrome with a dab of cornstarch glued on as pyrogen? C'mon. Ridiculous. I do LPR/MPR, both BP and APCP, and reliably (and instantanously) lighting either is simple. PM me if you need specifics--it's really not at all difficult to make super hot pyrogens safely in small quantities, for 1/100th what each costs with a commercial dip-kit, of which there are many formulations of variable utility. And of trivial cost compared to the commercial igniters sold for APCP. Some of my posts on the topic from a few months back might be useful, but I'm happy to help get you sorted out in more detail with super-hot and reliable igniters at super low cost... For example, it would cost me approximately $10 in chems to make a full pound of the hottest metallic pyrogen necessary to ignite even the finickiest of composite motor propellants. That would probably last you a decade or longer... That's gives you an idea of the profit margin earned from selling a couple of grams of pyrogen in dip kits (not counting bottles, acetone, and packaging...). #### ksaves2 ##### Lifetime Supporter TRF Lifetime Supporter there are hundreds of pyrogens out there. I have a file somewhere with over 300 thermite formulas alone. The one most are familiar with being copper thermite which is aluminum and copper fine powder.. It creates molten plasma. I used it for drag race many years...instant on when used correctly it depends on what size and type motor u are trying to start and how fast u want it to light. mag/kn.....zirconium...BKNO3....Al/Ap....Mg/teflon...nitrocellulose/Bp.. the list goes on and on.. Actually for composite motor, large amounts of super hot gas is exactly what u want. That is consistent at all atmospheres and temperatures. will light at arctic temps..complete vacuum [space] and stable at all those too.And of course contains it own oxygen donor. One of the most user friendly and safe [if there is such a thing] is BKNO3 in Viton binder. It can be a dip or pelletized. Quick burst sells a kit with this. Can be used to fortify anything from Estes up to huge composite motors. Its the composition of choice to fire tank shells [M-1] instantly There are many , but for most of us hobbyists they are far to dangerous or beyond reach both in cost and ease of obtaining and processing. This topic is like starting a glue thread...... As an aside, BKNO3 is Boron/Potassium Nitrate The Viton mentioned above is the "raw" viton most likely in pellet form. One can't expect a Viton gasket (which has been vulcanized) to dissolve in solvent. I had a heck of a time getting raw viton some years ago and found some. A small amount will last a long time. Don't know if it's still hard to source now. BKNO3 igniters I'll confirm are easy to make. Kurt #### jsdemar ##### Well-Known Member As an aside, BKNO3 is Boron/Potassium Nitrate The Viton mentioned above is the "raw" viton most likely in pellet form. One can't expect a Viton gasket (which has been vulcanized) to dissolve in solvent. I had a heck of a time getting raw viton some years ago and found some. A small amount will last a long time. Don't know if it's still hard to source now. BKNO3 igniters I'll confirm are easy to make. Kurt I still have raw Viton pellets. I started with 50 lbs and now have about 3 or 4 pounds. I also found a cheaper Chinese source but it has be be cut into small pieces before dissolving in acetone. #### heada ##### Well-Known Member I have never worked with viton before but I have worked with a few other synthetic rubbers. Can you sub Parlon in place of the viton? Parlon is readily available from several different sources in powdered form. #### jsdemar ##### Well-Known Member I have never worked with viton before but I have worked with a few other synthetic rubbers. Can you sub Parlon in place of the viton? Parlon is readily available from several different sources in powdered form. No, you need the fluorine (62%+) in Viton to add to the reaction. The general category of raw FKM polymers will work. A non-reactive polymer (like Parlon) has to be at such a low percentage that it doesn't stick together without (dangerous) mechanical pressing. #### heada ##### Well-Known Member No, you need the fluorine (62%+) in Viton to add to the reaction. The general category of raw FKM polymers will work. A non-reactive polymer (like Parlon) has to be at such a low percentage that it doesn't stick together without (dangerous) mechanical pressing. Learned something new today. Thanks! #### cwbullet ##### Obsessed with Rocketry Staff member Administrator TRF Lifetime Supporter Global Mod No, you need the fluorine (62%+) in Viton to add to the reaction. The general category of raw FKM polymers will work. A non-reactive polymer (like Parlon) has to be at such a low percentage that it doesn't stick together without (dangerous) mechanical pressing. Is there a good source for Viton? #### jsdemar ##### Well-Known Member Is there a good source for Viton? Viton (raw pellets) is only available from the manufacturer at$27/lb, minimum of 55 lbs. I was lucky to find a surplus sale from a research company two years ago that had an almost full open bag. I only have a little left.
The equivalent fluoropolymer from China is only available in raw sheet form. Again, minimum of 55 pounds, but much cheaper. I've received a sample and considering importing it.

#### rocket_troy

##### Well-Known Member
I have a pack of the FLUORODYN™ ADHESIVE THA-2000 I think it is (not next to it at the moment). I haven't tried it with this application yet, but I wouldn't recommend it. Just seems a bit weak and flaky when cured. I think something also worth consideration are reasonably/relatively low melting point poly-fluorocarbons like PCTFE.

TP

#### jsdemar

##### Well-Known Member
I have a pack of the FLUORODYN™ ADHESIVE THA-2000 I think it is (not next to it at the moment). I haven't tried it with this application yet, but I wouldn't recommend it. Just seems a bit weak and flaky when cured. I think something also worth consideration are reasonably/relatively low melting point poly-fluorocarbons like PCTFE.

TP
The Flluorodyn products are more than half inert fillers. Not good for igniter binder.

PCTFE is very expensive. Formed by melting at >400F. Can't be dissolved in acetone, etc. A no go.

#### rocket_troy

##### Well-Known Member
The Flluorodyn products are more than half inert fillers. Not good for igniter binder.

PCTFE is very expensive. Formed by melting at >400F. Can't be dissolved in acetone, etc. A no go.
Fair points. I remember SPL and others used to sinter their PTFE igniters, but of course dissolving Viton (ie. working at room temps) would be far preferable.

TP

#### Ez2cDave

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I think amongst rocket folk it's perfectly fine to call them igniters.
That's what they were called when I was growing up.Gubbermint be danged.
Kurt
Just call them "Launch Heat Sources" . . .

Dave F.

#### quickburst

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
The thinking that changing the name of something, makes it something new is odd. If the ATF were to pay you a visit and find motor starters in your possession I doubt they they would need Sherlock Holmes to come in and make the proper determination. It's pretty obvious to people involved in this sort of activity what exactly it is they are looking at.

I hate using the word Motor Starters, but it seems to be the way things are done.

"When in Rome"

#### Ez2cDave

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
The thinking that changing the name of something, makes it something new is odd. If the ATF were to pay you a visit and find motor starters in your possession I doubt they they would need Sherlock Holmes to come in and make the proper determination. It's pretty obvious to people involved in this sort of activity what exactly it is they are looking at.

I hate using the word Motor Starters, but it seems to be the way things are done.

"When in Rome"
Just call them "Launch Heat Sources" . . .

Since a LEUP is no longer required, cancel it, if you still have one, and there will be no more "ATF inspections", at all.

Also, they only check what is in the Magazine, not a "search" of the entire premises ( i.e. - Keep whatever you don't want them to see out of the Magazine ) .

If the BATFE "pays you a visit" nowadays, without a LEUP, you have bigger problems than an old pack of Centuri Sure-Shots lying around !

Dave F.

#### dhbarr

##### Amateur Professional
The thinking that changing the name of something, makes it something new is odd. If the ATF were to pay you a visit and find motor starters in your possession I doubt they they would need Sherlock Holmes to come in and make the proper determination. It's pretty obvious to people involved in this sort of activity what exactly it is they are looking at.

I hate using the word Motor Starters, but it seems to be the way things are done.

"When in Rome"
Well, since the BATFE very much seems to care about either the spirit and/or the letter of the law pretty much whenever they get a wild hair up their nose, it seems like a pretty good idea to me to always use the word that doesn't get their dander up.

It's like a dog that's bit before.

#### teepot

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
A little story about some ATF inspectors. When I worked at the gun range we had plastic replica guns for customers to have their picture taken with. During one ATF inspection of our inventory one of the inspectors picked up one of the plastic guns and said to the other inspectors " hey this gun doesn't have a serial number" He didn't know enough about guns to realize his mistake. But still had the job of inspecting a gun store. Of course when he said that we all chimed in that what he was holding was a plastic replica with a solid plastic barrel etc, etc.

#### rklapp

##### NAR# 109557
TRF Supporter
I don't think it's so much about possessing as much as it is about shipping on planes, trains, and automobiles. When a trailer catches on fire, it's called a Mobile Incineration Unit. When a plane catches on fire...

I was in a local gun store when two of Hawaii 5-0's finest walked through the door and announced "this is a robbery". I thought it was hilarious because who would be stupid to rob a gun store?

#### teepot

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I can think of two gun store robberies. In both instances the robbers were killed. Then there was one where the owner was the only person in the store. The robbers didn't kill him. But he lost a lot of stuff. He closed up shop about a year later. We were always ready if something went down. I figured if we were going to be hit it would be near closing. I used to keep a mag in one of our sub guns just in case when we were stripping the shelves and putting every thing in a vault.

#### cwbullet

##### Obsessed with Rocketry
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I am testing pyrogen mixtures this weekend and have 100 blanks made. My goal is to make 100 igniters to figure out how much it costs me and if it is worth my time to make them or continue buying them. I have a dozen or so recipes to try.

#### Gerald

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
I just took the original crummy Estes igniter/starter and cut up ping pong balls into tiny pieces since they are made of cellulose nitrate it burns really good and then added acetone to make a glue paste then dipped them into this glop and then dipped them into 4 F real black powder. Now I never have a misfire and the launch is instantious !
I tried to take a photo of the violent blaze that they have now in the one photo. If you can't get 4 F real black powder just buy some fire crackers and unroll them to get flash powder or fine black powder that they have in them.

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#### cwbullet

##### Obsessed with Rocketry
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I just took the original crummy Estes igniter/starter and cut up ping pong balls into tiny pieces since they are made of cellulose nitrate it burns really good and then added acetone to make a glue paste then dipped them into this glop and then dipped them into 4 F real black powder. Now I never have a misfire and the launch is instantious !
I tried to take a photo of the violent blaze that they have now in the one photo. If you can't get 4 F real black powder just buy some fire crackers and unroll them to get flash powder or fine black powder that they have in them.
Heck with Estes igniters, I have dipped them to improve with energy.

#### prfesser

##### Lifetime Supporter
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I just took the original crummy Estes igniter/starter and cut up ping pong balls into tiny pieces since they are made of cellulose nitrate it burns really good and then added acetone to make a glue paste then dipped them into this glop and then dipped them into 4 F real black powder. Now I never have a misfire and the launch is instantious !
I tried to take a photo of the violent blaze that they have now in the one photo. If you can't get 4 F real black powder just buy some fire crackers and unroll them to get flash powder or fine black powder that they have in them.
Awareness: most pingpong balls are NO LONGER made of NC lacquer. Get the smallest amount of smokeless powder you can find and make your own NC lacquer. A quart of 10% NC lacquer needs about four ounces of smokeless powder, and is a lifetime supply for most. Got a friend who reloads brass? Ask.

Best --Terry

#### cwbullet

##### Obsessed with Rocketry
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Awareness: most pingpong balls are NO LONGER made of NC lacquer. Get the smallest amount of smokeless powder you can find and make your own NC lacquer. A quart of 10% NC lacquer needs about four ounces of smokeless powder, and is a lifetime supply for most. Got a friend who reloads brass? Ask.

Best --Terry
You can still get them from the right source. I personally buy it already in solution.