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Making a pyro igniter

Rob K

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Now I don't advocate the use of bodged gear for setting off full pyro rigs, but sometimes when the brief is difficult you have to do what you can. In this case the client wanted a "distress flare" effect to appear from the bottom of a baseless (Freddie Mercury-style) microphone stand.


Following instructions here; http://bigclive.com/pyro.htm, I borrowed the circuit diagram and built it into a small box from Maplin. The box was riveted to a microphone stand and the ignition cables were run down the centre of the stand, terminating in two screw-in connectors for the cables off the pyro. I used a 12v-rated flashing blue LED, so the system blinks when armed and ready. There is a keyswitch to arm and a red button (natch) to ignite. I had to modify the end of the mic stand to hold the pyro securely.


I don't have pictures of the unit at the moment but here it is being used at Manchester Apollo. The pyro was a Lemaitre large silver ice fountain, chosen for its completely cold fallout. They are very safe - it's a 50 second burn and produces almost no heat, either from the sparks or from the body of the pyro during the burn. It was a bit disappointing though! Next time I'll use a hot, short burn pyro of some sort. I'm also working on building these completely hidden in the mic stand shaft, using AAs, but I had to make this unit in a day and didn't have time for additional fabrication. Overall cost was about £12-£15 I think.




Incidentally, it was inspected and declared safe by both the on-duty pyro technician and a representative from the council.

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Yeh, the question is will all the ice fountain fuel fall out every time the mic is swung about, or only sometimes and will nitrocellulose and aluminum flake burn the audience when it falls on them.


Probably and probably being the answers.


There is no choke in an ice fountain and it is intended for static vertical use, not being bashed about by the turn before being lit, a hot fall out gerb is even more prone to damage and can "flash through" if it's damaged before being lit - ie 100% of the fuel burns instantly with a bang, possible shrapnel and hot material ejected a fair distance.


So, would you get to do it on my watch - ehh - NO - use pyro as the mfg intended



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