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Thread: Braces & Barricades

  1. #1
    Have fireworks. Will travel. Array JoeRatman's Avatar
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    Default Braces & Barricades

    There has been a couple of threads about why cakes should be braced:
    http://www.pyrouniverse.com/forum/sh...ight!-TIPOVER-!

    From these threads we learned a simple rule of ABC:
    Always Brace Cakes
    or
    Always Barricade Cakes

    Instead of another thread about why to brace cakes, this thread will be about how to brace cakes. This thread will be about techniques and items you can use to brace or barricade your cakes. I hope other members will suggest and show pictures of how they brace their cakes.


    Click for full size: http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...arricade01.jpg
    My favorite technique is the barricade box. You will note there are two black wooden boxes (about 2'x2'x1'). These two boxes have a wooden floor as well. This is where I put bigger, harder hitting cakes. Between these two boxes I clamp two wooden boards (8'-10' long) that are clamped to the boxes with heavy duty clamps. This forms a large box about, 12' long by 2' wide and 1' high. The smaller cakes are placed in between the wooden boards. There are even small slits in the black boxes to make it easier to run ematch wire.

    Interesting enough, it was at this show, in the above picture that the barricade box proved itself. This was the only time I had trouble with a cake. During the show, while a cake was about 3/4 of the way done, it blew apart. Some of the tubes were laying at odd angles when they fired. All those shots stayed in the barricade box, instead of firing in every direction or angle. Instead of having a safety issue, the box turned into an amazing mine display as the shells broke inside the box. No other cake was damaged or knocked over by malfunctioning one. So the barricade box "worked as intended".


    Click here for full size:http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...arricade02.jpg
    Here is another view of the barricade box at another venue. If you look between the two boards, you will note that there are sets of cakes duct taped together. This is another way to make cakes more secure and stable. The cakes are braced up against each other.


    Click for full size: http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...arricade03.jpg
    Sometimes the ground at a site is rather soft. So you can place one of the side boards on the ground and place the cakes on it. The other side board acts as a barricade between the cakes and the spectators. Obviously, this is only effective if the spectators are in one direction, instead of several directions.


    Click for full size: http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...arricade04.jpg
    Here is the side the audience sees.


    Click for full size: http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...arricade05.JPG
    Here are some examples of stakes I use. The ones on the left are wooden 1"x2" stakes. They are either 12 or 16 inches long. You just take a 8' 1x2 and cut it into either 6 or 8 pieces. You then take a saw or a hatchet and make the end pointed. The other stakes are 1/8" steel rods. You bend them into "crochet hoops" of whatever size you wish (long and narrow, or wide and shorter) and works best for the cake you are trying to stake.


    Click for full size: http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...arricade06.JPG
    Here is an example of a staked cake. There are two wooden stakes on either side of the cake. There is gaff tape (duct tape, strapping tape, fiber tape, etc) wrapped around the cake and the stakes. The stakes are on the sides that are towards and away from the audience (the stronger sides). If cake should malfunction, the sides 90 degrees to the audience are weaker. This should encourage any tubes or fireworks to go 90 degrees to the audience instead of at them, if the tape should fail. Since the cake is wedged between the stakes, this will also keep the cake from moving about.


    Click for full size:http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...arricade07.JPG
    Here are examples of staking cakes using the wire or "crochet hoop" stakes. Like the wooden stakes the wire stakes are placed on either side of the cakes (towards and away from the audience. The wire stakes can be rebent to better fit the cake and the hardness or softness of the soil (softer soil needs longer stakes). The cake is wedged tightly between the stakes and gaff tape (duct, strapping, fiber, etc) is wrapped around the stakes and cake.

    You will note that the back cake has its own wooden base. The wire stakes work well for staking down the corners of the wooden base to the ground. If desired, tape can be wrapped around the body of the cake.
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    Member Array unipyro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Great thread idea.

    I would love to see some more tests with the silt fence material. This 4th I am using it double layered as a flat barrier inbetween my audience and works.
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    I'm NOT new! Array firecrackersam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Awesome thread idea Joe, I love the pics! They're giving me some ideas for my show this year.
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Great ideas Joe. Always looking out for fellow pyro's...stand up guy.

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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Joe,

    That is an excellent set of boxes and barricades. I need to build something like that. We used to have some similar, smaller, boxes for angled cakes, but they got lost and I have had to improvise, but i like that system for vertical cakes. That might well protect your firing system a bit as well. That is another advantage of a good box for cakes, keeps more stuff from hitting the firing system/slat.

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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    I have to agree with you here Ratman. Good thread and nice pics.
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Cake box
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    My shoot site uses an existing stone wall as a barricade... seems to work very well.


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    Member Array nater219's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    ^^

    I think you just wanted to show off the view from your back yard to those of us who can only see corn fields.

    After a recent shoot, I think I will be building some type of barricade as well. Stakes don't help much when a cake blows apart.
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Ok, you got me

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    Last edited by ddewees; May 1st, 2011 at 01:58 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Quote Originally Posted by ddewees View Post
    My shoot site uses an existing stone wall as a barricade... seems to work very well.
    Until you have to move it
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Quote Originally Posted by nater219 View Post
    I think you just wanted to show off the view from your back yard.
    Yeah, that is a spectacular view. Must be breathtaking in person. Quite a sight to wake up to, or have an early evening coktail with I have to think.
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Well, you all have an open invitation whenever you are in Utah... just let me know.

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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Never mind
    Last edited by Yooper; May 1st, 2011 at 06:19 PM. Reason: to avoid hijacking an important thread

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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Quote Originally Posted by ddewees View Post
    My shoot site uses an existing stone wall as a barricade... seems to work very well.

    After seeing this picture....Im moving to utah....
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    I always brace my cakes, typically the same way in the one picture which is stakes on both sides and a hefty amount of duct tape around it. My only real safety concern has still always been blowouts. I had a RapidFire last year blow the whole side out. Luckily the remaining shots stayed upwards due to the tape and stake holding it secure. The barricade idea here would be optimal but spreading out a show would require quite a lot of boxes. Something for me to look into I suppose.
    Regardless, good thread. Informative for sure.

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    Member Array nater219's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    For those that use barricades, have you ever had a shell punch through one? Obviously, in the event of a blowout the forces applied to the shell are not the same as one which is sent skyward, but the video of the shell breaking through the outfield wall at a baseball game comes to mind.
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    Member Array dafunkyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    I already started building one. Last year I was well over the suggested limit and had 3/4 a case of preloaded single shots blow out the side all at once...this is evidence of them blowing up in my fiance's camera while she was taking photos.

    thankfully nobody was injured and for some reason everyone thought it was comical...everyone but me.

    This year, I lit a couple items from the same wholesale/retail place I purchased those preloaded tubes from. Out of the 3 200g cakes I lit, 2 of them shot in completely different directions scaring the shit out of me because I was about 55 ft away and one blew up about 4 feet to my left. After inspecting the cakes, I really have no idea why they shot so crazy. There was zero evidence of the tubes and overall stabilization of the cakes being comprimised. The only thing I can think of is that they were packed inside the tubes in some janky manner and ricochet off the top of the tubes projecting in various directions.

    So with moving back the crowd another 100 ft with the barricade i better be effing fine this year

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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    The old saying, "a pictures worth a thousand words."

    I never realized there were that many swear words

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    Member Array dafunkyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Quote Originally Posted by ddewees View Post
    The old saying, "a pictures worth a thousand words."

    I never realized there were that many swear words
    you have no idea...you should hear the ones I have in my native languages =) The list grows long.

  21. #21
    Subforum Moderator Array RPS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Barricades and bracing do a lot for safety, great post Joe!
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Quote Originally Posted by ddewees View Post
    My shoot site uses an existing stone wall as a barricade... seems to work very well.

    WOW man, what an amazing place... I want to shoot there! A guy can dream right haha

    EDIT: I want to move there... How are the fireworks laws anyway? If I recall right the gun laws are ok!
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    Light fuse and get the HELL AWAY!

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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Thanks for the thread Joe some very useful ideas in it

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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Quote Originally Posted by RDA1987 View Post
    WOW man, what an amazing place... I want to shoot there! A guy can dream right haha

    EDIT: I want to move there... How are the fireworks laws anyway? If I recall right the gun laws are ok!
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    Member Array hvac_superman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    This thread really has me thinking. I always use tape, stakes and glue. I like the idea of the barracade box but I shoot alot of z-cakes and that really wouldn't work well for them.
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Quote Originally Posted by ddewees View Post
    My shoot site uses an existing stone wall as a barricade... seems to work very well.

    I didn't know that you lived in the same neighborhood as Donny and Marie Osmond. Were you ever in their Christmas TV programs?

  27. #27
    Have fireworks. Will travel. Array JoeRatman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Here is an example of another barricade box. This box not only serves as a barricade, it also is a set piece. I call this "the cauldron" because of how it was used the first time it was in a show.




    Click for full size: http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...Cauldron02.jpg

    The box is is made from some 2x2 pieces of wood and bendable aluminum. There is a wooden frame at the bottom and a two foot high piece of bendable aluminum is stapled and nailed to the outside of the frame. The sharp edges are covered with HVAC aluminum tape. To secure the box, bricks are used (if on solid surface) or wire crochet hoops are pushed over the wooden frame at the bottom of box (soft surface). Instead of the sides being rigid, they are flexible. The idea is that if "something" hits the inside of the box, the sides will flex and cause the "something" to bounce off and upward.

    This box is used for small bore cakes or fountain/mine/aerial combos. An interesting effect of this box, is its shiny sides. It directs any light (and smoke) from the pyrotechnic piece upwards. The fireworks appear to be much brighter as well because the shiny surface acts like a mirror. This is especially effective with fountains, mines or fountain/mine/aerial combos.

    The first time I used this barricade/set piece, I was at a display where they were having their 25th annual church carnival and fish fry. The fish were excellent and their were always very long lines to buy the fish. It was not uncommon to wait for more than an hour to get some of this excellent fish and sometime it was so popular they ran out of fish. So this set piece was used at the very beginning of the fireworks display with appropirate comments by the M.C. that they had russled up another pot (cauldron) of frying fish for those who were unable to get some. Then I fired the cauldron. You can see in the above picture, that I used six combo fountain/mines. They started as fountains and then shot some mines. As more security, I taped the fountain/mines together and put them on a board as well.


    Click for full size:http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...Cauldron03.jpg


    Click for full size:http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...Cauldron04.jpg


    Click for full size:http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...Cauldron05.jpg


    Click for full size:http://www.pyrouniverse.com/gallery2...Cauldron06.jpg

    Another time I used the cauldron at an event where they were raffling off "who got to fire off the first shot of the show". I placed several cakes into the silver box. So it looked like a very large cake. People could see the big silver box sitting out on the field (during the day, before the show) and could buy raffle tickets to shoot it.
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    Member Array St1dinoh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    one year we had a surplus of conduit and shipping pallets...

    naturally we constructed a wall from them

    two conduit poles in the ground spaced about where a forklift skids would be, and the pallet slides right down on top.

    the trick to getting them to stand straight is the third conduit pole on the outside of the pallet between the two that sorta locks the whole thing together.

    without the third one on the outside the wall wants to lean, but once each pallet has another brace they won't budge.

    10 pallets and 30 4 foot conduit poles makes one hell of a wall.
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  29. #29
    Have fireworks. Will travel. Array JoeRatman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Well I just measured a small pallet I had in the garage, it was about 2x3. So your 10 pallet wall was about 30' long? Or did you have bigger pallets? It sounds like it would be one awesome wall. I would love to see a pictures of this wall if you have some. If not, make sure you get some the next time you set it up.
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Braces & Barricades

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeRatman View Post
    Well I just measured a small pallet I had in the garage, it was about 2x3. So your 10 pallet wall was about 30' long? Or did you have bigger pallets? It sounds like it would be one awesome wall. I would love to see a pictures of this wall if you have some. If not, make sure you get some the next time you set it up.
    no pics of the setup, this was years ago before i began to document my addiction for the world to see

    the only reason we did this was because the distance from the audience to the fireworks was much closer than i was comfortable with, now a day's i wouldn't shoot it but even back then i knew that some thing wasn't quite right. it was along a river and everything was angled outward along the bank, worse case scenario (a blowout) the cake would start shooting into the pallets and either bounce out over the water or rattle around inside the pallets and not hit anyone.

    we just put up 3 at each station along the shore to deflect any possible blow outs back out over the river.

    worked out real good, but it was still stupid having people stand that close...

    bracing and barricading are very important, but not nearly as important as distance, and they can never make up for a lack of if.
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