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Thread: Big Fireworks mortar racks

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    Jumbo Cracker Array blurr95's Avatar
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    Default Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Hi all, I was just wondering how well Bigfireworks new mortar racks were built as far as a safety standpoint. I am used to seeing racks like what Pyrogear sells, and that is how I built my racks that I have now. Does anyone have any pics or can tell me how they are built. I was going to build more racks this year, but I may just get some of these when I place my order with Bigs for the buying group.

    Thanks, Jason

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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Here they are.

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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Quote Originally Posted by blurr95 View Post
    Hi all, I was just wondering how well Bigfireworks new mortar racks were built as far as a safety standpoint. I am used to seeing racks like what Pyrogear sells, and that is how I built my racks that I have now. Does anyone have any pics or can tell me how they are built. I was going to build more racks this year, but I may just get some of these when I place my order with Bigs for the buying group.

    Thanks, Jason
    pics of both the 10 and 28 tube racks can be found in the topic below:

    http://www.pyrouniverse.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=11839

    and it is posted by bigwholesale and is post number 15
    Last edited by Dragon-Of-Earth; January 29th, 2008 at 09:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    doe - your link is messed up.
    I don't know what you did, but try again.
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Quote Originally Posted by jknepp1954 View Post
    doe - your link is messed up.
    I don't know what you did, but try again.
    Joyce
    thanks, i just put the link i copied form the search bar into the hyper link thing, don't know what i did wrong, either.

    EDIT: after a few attempts, i fixed it, for some reason it put "showreply" in the link instead of the proper "showthread" or something it was suposed to, i think that's what the problem was.
    Last edited by Dragon-Of-Earth; January 29th, 2008 at 09:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Thanks for the replys. I have seen those pics of them in the buying group thread. What I wanted to know was how they were built,mainly the 28 shot fan rack. The straight shot rack has 1x's for the bottom sides instead of osb like the pyrogear racks, is this ok, are the fiberglass tubes not prone to blow out like hdpe, if a shell blows in the tube.

    Thanks,Jason

  7. #7

    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    My take is that the 10 shot racks need a some beefing up. I would recommend getting some 1/2" plywood and cutting some 4" wide cross sections and attaching them to the sides.
    Last edited by missinglink; January 30th, 2008 at 12:39 AM.

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    Member Array Tennespeedy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Thanks for posting these pics. It's the first i've seen of them

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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Quote Originally Posted by blurr95 View Post
    are the fiberglass tubes not prone to blow out like hdpe, if a shell blows in the tube.
    There hasn't yet been a mortar made that is indestructable. HDPE is, by no means, "prone" to blow out. Consider that, although the wall thickness increases slightly as the ID goes up, from 2" to 16" the wall thickness is pretty close. I've seen, and been standing next to, many a flower pot in the 5" and 6" range and have seen the gun withstand the forces. I realize that a true flower pot is different than a detonation with no lift, my point is that HDPE can take alot of force. So, to conclude that they are prone to failure is a grossly inaccurate statement. Fiberglass will fail just as often and possibly even more so, as it is more rigid. HDPE's biggest advantage is that it is flexible.


    Quote Originally Posted by missinglink View Post
    My take is that the 10 shot racks need a some beefing up. I would recommend getting some 1/2" plywood and cutting some 4" wide cross sections and attaching them to the sides.
    Why do you think these need more wood? If you look at the racks from display operators across the country, I'd be willing to bet that at least 75% of them use racks of similiar design and construction. What kind of forces are you putting your racks under to require more bracing? Are you throwing them off the truck or routinly dropping them?

    I, personally, like the way these racks are built and feel that all racks, whether they are for 1.4 or 1.3, should have the spacers between the tubes. I know so many of you can tell a story of a blow-out, but seriously, did all of these blow-outs really happen by fluke incidence? Was it not somehow related to a shell installed upside down or poorly manufactured or maintained equipment? On a yearly basis, I fire over 10,000 1.3 shells and can count on one hand how many blow-outs I've had over a career that spans almost a decade. AM I just lucky? If so, I'll never trade that luck, but I think the numbers tell the story.
    Last edited by pyro29; January 30th, 2008 at 05:47 AM. Reason: One too many zeros
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    i like these racks myself, but i don't have the experience most of you have with racks, my only conern with the 10 shot rack is shrapnel coming in the event of one blowing up in the tube.. at least with the 28 tube one, one or more tubes are somewhat blocking some of the shrapnel (depending on which tube it is) so there's less pieces flying towards you.(if you're lucky)

    Quote Originally Posted by pyro29 View Post
    AM I just lucky?
    if it is just luck you might wanna start playing the lottery or play more or something
    --

    i think last year we had only 2 blow up in the tube (and we lit a lot of shells those 2 nights (the first night [july 3rd] we didn't do any shells if i remember corretly.) so the days we shot shells would have been the 4th and then the 14th or something like that)and the HDPE held in the one that i saw (only the plastic bottom broke) i didn't see the other one, i only heard about it when he brought the cardboard tube back in a piece (it didn't get torn completely asunder, lol.)

    and i myself only had one a few years back blow up in the tube on me(it was a big bad ass shell) it too didn't get blown into 2 pieces but it was close. (it was cardboard, though) i don't think i put the shell in upside down, but who knows for sure? i could have and not realized it.

    QUESTION:

    with these fiberglass racks bigs is selling: is doing multipul shells ok to keep on using them, or give them a rest period after an X amount of re-uses? if it needs a rest period, about how long?

    thanks guys

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    Jumbo Cracker Array blurr95's Avatar
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Sorry about the "prone to failure" comment, thats not exactly how I meant it to sound. I know that hdpe is tough stuff, I just didnt kow if the fiberglass could withstand the force better of a shell blowing in the tube. I just didnt know about the racks construction not having the OSB on the bottom sides as a failure point, like a lot of racks on here have.I wasnt sure with having the fiberglass tubes, that maybe the racks dont need the built in failure points. Its the fan rack that I am mostly interested in, does anyone have any other pics of it.

    Thanks, Jason

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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    1st...I wouldn't want to be anywhere close to that 28 shot angle rack if that thing blows. It looks to be pine 1x8's screwed together on all sides...big no no! 1x pine is probably the worst wood you could use to build a rack, it will split into sharp pieces and travel a long way, I have seen it fly 100', (yes, with a legal 1.4 shell) so you can imagine what kind of damage it would do to flesh at 50'

    2nd...solid sides, another no no, 99% of the time when a tube blows it is the bottom half, better off to not have anything there than this deisgn. A smaller bottom rail is the way to go.

    3rd...screws, again not the best option. Almost guarantees split points in 1x lumber, creating airborn spears. Screws will not slip and absorb force like a nail or staple...remember just like when building a shell, the more you try to contain the force, the harder it blows.

    4th...Has anyone tried to get an Excaliber or Mineshell into these tubes yet, I wonder if they even fit....what is the ID.

    At these prices I may be incorrect, But I assume these are being slapped together overseas and shipped. I think there's a reason they are so inexpensive, sure you might save a buck, but how will that make you feel when your pulling a splinter out of aunt Bertha's backside!

    That's all for today's lesson in rack building no no's 101...tune in tomorrow for "Why you shouldn't launch rockets from your arse".....Quiz on friday.
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Quote Originally Posted by pyro29 View Post
    \ So, to conclude that they are prone to failure is a grossly inaccurate statement. Fiberglass will fail just as often and possibly even more so, as it is more rigid. HDPE's biggest advantage is that it is flexible.
    He didn't conclude anything, he asked a question

  14. #14

    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    I have to agree with Shrapnel on this one. I'll stick with getting PyroGear racks. You may be able to get away with using these racks with middle-grade shells, but with the premium shells, I just wouldn't take the chance.
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    Jumbo Cracker Array blurr95's Avatar
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Thank you Shrapnel, thats exactly what I was thinking, but I wasnt sure. I didnt want to say anything bad about them since I am not as experienced as most people on here. Now let me ask this. If Critical Acclaim shells would fit, would the fan rack be ok for those, since they are made to blow in the tube.

    Thanks, Jason

  16. #16

    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    All points above considered about the good and bad about these racks I must say there is one design element I like about the 10 shot rack. It is nice to see a rack designed for 1.4g actually utilize spacers between the tubes... I do agree though, I would not be comfortable around that 28 shot. Even the 10 shot would make me feel better if it was plywood construction, but I would get the willies a little less with the 10 shot than the 28 shot as is.
    I'm not picky, if it has a fuse, I'll Light it.

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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    I like 'em. I'm goign to be buying them.
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    Member Array Tennespeedy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Quote Originally Posted by blurr95 View Post
    Thank you Shrapnel, thats exactly what I was thinking, but I wasnt sure. I didnt want to say anything bad about them since I am not as experienced as most people on here. Now let me ask this. If Critical Acclaim shells would fit, would the fan rack be ok for those, since they are made to blow in the tube.

    Thanks, Jason
    CAs will fit. Don't use the Big Bad canister shells in those 28 shotters. Use your Pyrogear style racks for those.

    The neat thing about OSB is that the strands are still connected after it breaks/flexes. The other thing is that (you can test this yourself) if there is a direct pinpoint force exerted on it, it will tend to punch a hole through it. Use a hammer to see this for yourself. Anyone who has ripped this stuff out of a subfloor/roof knows this. It's a real PITA
    BUT.....once you get it wet all bets are off because then it will be worthless.
    Last edited by Tennespeedy; January 30th, 2008 at 09:51 AM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    I would not have a problem using these racks. They just need to be kept at a safe distance from the spectators (a rule we should follow no matter how good our racks are) and of course, as a shooter, I would want to take safety precautions to protect myself, such as the use of protective eyewear, etc...or better yet, use e-fire. Do these things and I suspect that these racks could be used safely.
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Quote Originally Posted by pyro29 View Post
    Why do you think these need more wood?
    I am no expert. Just looking at the ten shot rack it looks to me like structural integrity is maintained by the four corners only. If you shoot out of racks like this with no problem perhaps I am all wet though I think Schrap's points are even more relevant. And of course the use of OSB as mentioned by Tennespeedy is also an extra layer of protection.

    All my racks are overbuilt for sure. I follow the pyrogear type design except I don't use OSB for the bottom like they do. I probably should.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    So I was planning on building a couple racks this year and it seems that my designs are flawed. I was planning on making the whole thing out of 2x4s and screws or maybe even some bolts and washers and apparantly that is a no no.

    So the list of materials I should use are ...

    nails not screws. Is there any special kind of nail?

    Plywood for the sides.

    Is the 2x4 alright for the post that goes up?

    I do not really want to make the base out of osb but what if I sandwich it between the tubes and a more solid base?


    One more question. I have access to some HDPE DR11. When I plug this, I plan to use a hole saw and make pluggs out of a 2x4. I was going to use three screws to hold them in place but would a nut and bolt with a couple of washers be better?

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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragon-Of-Earth View Post
    my only conern with the 10 shot rack is shrapnel coming in the event of one blowing up in the tube.. at least with the 28 tube one, one or more tubes are somewhat blocking some of the shrapnel (depending on which tube it is) so there's less pieces flying towards you.(if you're lucky)
    That is the exact oppisite of what will actually happen. The purpose of having spacers between the guns is to allow them to vent to open, atmospheric, air in the event of a blow out. By allowing the unobstructed release of the gases the pressures will drop almost immediately and the amount of schrapnel will be significantly less than if it was enclosed or even touching other guns. When a gun blows, and it is touching another surface, almost 100% of the force is transferred to the neighboring material, therefore projecting that piece until the force is either transferred to another material or absorbed. So after a blow out with a rack with guns touching guns or rack components, you'll have both HDPE and wood flying. A rack of this style, built correctly, will have bottom side boards that are only as tall as the plug. Open space around the gun is by far the safest way to orientate the rack. This is not my opinion but the opinon of industry "experts" and the NFPA. As much as I don't always agree with what NFPA says and does, they aren't making this stuff up.

    In the case of a failure of a fiberglass gun, you'll end up with multiple small pieces of fiberglass. Yes they are sharp but their mass is so small that they won't fly, with significant force, very far. A piece of fiberglass that travels 100 feet from the detonation site will have a penetrating force behind it for a significantly smaller distance. When an HDPE gun fails, you'll end up with one large piece and usually tw or three small, insignificant pieces. That large HDPE piece has the ability to cause injury up to the point that it lands.

    We've had this discussion many times and there are many schools of thought. On May 3rd we're having our annual shooter's school. I'd be willing to put one of my racks, which are built like Big's racks (except my spacers are 1.5" tall - top and bottom), on the chopping block for destructive testing. I'll even pull the SDR11 gun in exchange for an SDR 15 gun. Within that gun I'll place and upside down 2", 1.3 color shell. I'll do this as long as people will agree that it is equal to or more powerful than ANY 1.4 reloadable shell. The test will be performed on video, on a secure site, and be permitted with witnesses from the County Sherriff's Office and the local fire department. I will even invite members of the NLPC to personally witness this test.

    A the conclusion of this test, would we all be able to swallow the results as being fact in regards to mortar failures, in spaced racks, with 1.4 shells?
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Quote Originally Posted by humanraindelay View Post
    One more question. I have access to some HDPE DR11. When I plug this, I plan to use a hole saw and make pluggs out of a 2x4. I was going to use three screws to hold them in place but would a nut and bolt with a couple of washers be better?
    I would suggest you try to get some hardwood for your plugs rather than using a regular 2X4. If you cross bolt the plug with a bolt and washers, then I presume you will have something sticking out of the sides of the tubes at the bottom where the plugs are. That will probably dictate how you construct the rack.

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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    The 10 shot is probably OK for the reasons stated by pyro29 above, but the 28 shot seems more sketchy to me. I would only use lower grade shells in that one.

    I would encourage folks building their own rigs to review big no no's rack construction photos. He did a good job of documenting a rack design I feel comfortable with. Adding spacers might make it better, but I think this design is pretty safe.

    there is a series of about a dozen pics of rack construction in his gallery. http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...25&ppuser=1406

    .. and the pyrogear testing pages.... Just so you know what can happen.

    http://www.pyrogear.net/rack_design.htm
    http://www.pyrogear.net/fiberglass_test.htm
    Last edited by pyrology; January 30th, 2008 at 12:27 PM. Reason: added clarification
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    How much are these? (please price for each different rack)

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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    well as far as how what is best war between fiberglass / HDPE, I know for a fact that I have seen a fiberglass mortar stand up to a Mamba scrambling comet shell loaded upside down. I think both are suitable.
    To me its like do you like Ford, Chevy, or Dodge. I think, I Know I will purchase Bigs racks. I think that when you buy a rack like the 28 shot you are not anticipating re-loading right away, and following safety guidelines as far as distances from you audience should be fine.
    But this is all my opinion, and I am not a professinal. But then again I have seen professional designs go way wrong, while the amature worked better. Something to Chew On
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Quote Originally Posted by Mean Old Man View Post
    I would not have a problem using these racks. They just need to be kept at a safe distance from the spectators (a rule we should follow no matter how good our racks are) and of course, as a shooter, I would want to take safety precautions to protect myself, such as the use of protective eyewear, etc...or better yet, use e-fire. Do these things and I suspect that these racks could be used safely.
    What you say may be true for you, but we all know that a high percentage of the pyro's on this forum shoot in there backyard or the street in front of there house. Also because of this forum more pyro's are searching out and finding the high end canister shells like the Excals. A questionable rack with the factors mentioned above are a recipe for disaster. Just my 2.
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    Member Array shrapnel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    I'm gonna double Rudy's .02....Here's my problem, we KNOW there are some questionable design issues with this rack, We KNOW this rack could be built to a higher standard. We also KNOW some people are skirting a grey area when fusing this many shells together....is this totally legal and still considered 1.4? Let's say Big's sells 100 of these racks, and only 3 of them have blowouts, and only one of them involves serious injury. (Like Rudy said...we know some of you are shooting in 100 house subdivisions from the culdesac) You can bet your ass when the police and ambulance show up there will be questions. So far we have been fortunate, there are no hard facts / regulations regarding consumer rack use that I am aware of.....maybe after this season that will all change. If your one of the ones willing to save a few bucks to take that chance......
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    Member Array shrapnel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Yes, no matter what you do there is a level of risk shooting fireworks, it is our responsibility to minimize these risks, I have an 11 year old son who dreams of one day setting up his own show, at his own house, his own celebration....this is NOT a step in the right direction to ensure future pyro's enjoy the privileges we do today.
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    Default Re: Big Fireworks mortar racks

    Quote Originally Posted by RudyG View Post
    What you say may be true for you, but we all know that a high percentage of the pyro's on this forum shoot in there backyard or the street in front of there house. Also because of this forum more pyro's are searching out and finding the high end canister shells like the Excals. A questionable rack with the factors mentioned above are a recipe for disaster. Just my 2.
    OK, well do we have an established safety diameter protocol here at PU?...If not....I submit this

    According to this chart a 1.75" would be 245 feet MINIMUM and you CANNOT safely shoot fireworks in your little backyard.

    The ONLY sure thing you ever have is Distance
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