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Thread: Yet another comet rack design

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    Thunderstruck Array jonkelley82's Avatar
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    Default Yet another comet rack design

    There are a few designs floating around of comet racks. From what I see there are pros and cons to each design. The need for comet racks presented itself to me and my pyro partner last year, so I thought carefully about how I would design the "racks" The main problems I observed wanted to address were:

    Depending on where you harvest your comets from the tubes are can all vary in diameter. This automatically makes designing a rack; that is an object intended to contain and direct other objects, very difficult. Not to mention this factor makes a mortar/tube style rack impractical. Ultimately necessitating the design be flexible to accommodate device variance while maintaining strict control over direction/angle. All the while I wanted to keep the design fairly simple, lightweight and portable.

    I admired the simplicity of catfish's design, and felt his design was on the right track for my needs. But I wanted something bit more precise and would need to be duplicated many times. The following is what I came up with:

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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Looks good. I am going to start making this type of rack soon. I might "borrow" the design.

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    Thunderstruck Array jonkelley82's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    You and anyone else is welcome to use the design- One tip, get your angles right the first time, use an angle finder. I used preexisting fan cakes that I liked and modeled the angles from that. In addition to the 5-point fan & vertical rails, I also did a 5 point diagonal not pictured here (looks like / / / / /) You can flip the rail around so they shoot the other way (\ \ \ \ \) Depending on how you want the comets to look.
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    Member Array Catfish25p2000's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Looks great. I should have made the router grooves deeper like you did. It makes for a more solid row. Nice job.
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Nice design. I might have to put a few of those in production myself.
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    Member Array Rouse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Not tring to hijack thread, but here is my design, but i like yours alot and if you want to trade designs i'm all for it.
    Last edited by Rouse; March 11th, 2012 at 09:35 PM.
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    Thunderstruck Array jonkelley82's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Rouse, I really like your rack. You can tell you put some hard work into it and the craftsmanship looks spot on. I was thinking something along the same line initially. I changed my mind after realizing that there would be slop with smaller diameter tubes, and with no really good way of securing them that would really show in the sky. I think the part of the reason I settled on design i did was the minuscule weight and modular rails. With the rails, you simply pull them out and change the format depending on what the show calls for. I am going to make some multi-point fans in the future similar to the Dominator Pro line 13 shot comet fans.

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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Quote Originally Posted by jonkelley82 View Post
    Rouse, I really like your rack. You can tell you put some hard work into it and the craftsmanship looks spot on. I was thinking something along the same line initially. I changed my mind after realizing that there would be slop with smaller diameter tubes, and with no really good way of securing them that would really show in the sky. I think the part of the reason I settled on design i did was the minuscule weight and modular rails. With the rails, you simply pull them out and change the format depending on what the show calls for. I am going to make some multi-point fans in the future similar to the Dominator Pro line 13 shot comet fans.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    What a great picture!!
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    Member Array Rouse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Quote Originally Posted by jonkelley82 View Post
    Rouse, I really like your rack. You can tell you put some hard work into it and the craftsmanship looks spot on. I was thinking something along the same line initially. I changed my mind after realizing that there would be slop with smaller diameter tubes, and with no really good way of securing them that would really show in the sky. I think the part of the reason I settled on design i did was the minuscule weight and modular rails. With the rails, you simply pull them out and change the format depending on what the show calls for. I am going to make some multi-point fans in the future similar to the Dominator Pro line 13 shot comet fans.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yes thats another reason im liking your design is the ability to change them. And the weight of the simple but effective design.
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Another good addition in my opinion was the little level. When your racks are done, and all of your angles are precise, it really sucks to have your skyward angles all fumbled up and lose symmetry due to un-level ground. These simple little levels and some shims fix that in a few seconds. If anyone wonders what they are, the are made for chalk/snap lines. They run about $1.50/each at a hardware store. Seeing how they weigh next to nothing I just used super glue to adhere them to the racks.
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    I really like both designs. Forgive my ignorance, but what kind of comets are those? I have never seen them before (still sort of new to the "good" pyro). Am I correct in assuming you don't need a separate tube for those comets? Awesome work guys!

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    Member Array Rouse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Those are 76 Pro Line comets from Spirit of 76 in my rack. They fire right out of the tubes they come in.
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    Member Array FireBug270's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Has anyone using this design or a similair design such as Ryan's (catfish25p2000) had any issues with the plug (from a tube larger then a comet, from say a NOAB or a 12 shot cake) blowing out the bottom?

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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Quote Originally Posted by FireBug270 View Post
    Has anyone using this design or a similair design such as Ryan's (catfish25p2000) had any issues with the plug (from a tube larger then a comet, from say a NOAB or a 12 shot cake) blowing out the bottom?
    I have only used comets and small tubes from 200g cakes in mine. For bigger tubes, (like a noab or decent 12 shot 500g cake), I would either drive a stake in the ground and tape them to it (bottom of the tube flat on the ground), or make damn sure you have the tube either sitting flat on the bottom of the rack, or have a wedge the same as the angle under the tube. Those plugs are just cheap clay without a whole lot holding them in the tube. I would try my hardest to make sure the tube is on a hard, flat surface.
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Oh absolutely thats why i was asking. Big difference is kick between the 200 and 500 g. I was working on building one and i took 2x4 scraps and then used 4 brad nails to secure it to the osb. having them back to back then each one would have the angled 2x4 nailed to 2 pieces of osb but of course you can't take them out to load so it isnt as easy. Just looking for better ideas as i'd like to be able to do as much pre-setup as possible.

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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    I think Coachtimmy has one where the floor of the rack is also angled, so the tubes sit on the bottom of the rack even when they are angled. That is about the only way without cutting wedges out for every tube I can see doing it. His rack is pretty nice, check it out. I would guess it takes some serious room to store one like his though.
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Tim has a little bit of everything. He should as his shows always turn out outstanding. I'm a little jealous if he does cause the only idea I seem to come up with gives it an angled bottom but like I said you can't pull the slats out to put the tubes in, in advance.

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    Member Array Catfish25p2000's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    How about this... Make basically tiny mortar racks. Make them to fit the size of tubes you want, then you can slap side boards on them for the angles. You could even make them adjustable with a bolt and wing nut to fit pretty much anything. Make any sense? I can picture it, but I can see how it might be confusing by the way I described it.
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Yea ive thought about that as ive seen other people using that idea. only problem is, like in this case where im trying to plan something out, there is only 4 tubes from a 200g and 5 from a 500g to be used at each station, everything else is a full cake or shell, so building little racks isnt worth the time or material. I guess staking and taping is probably the easiest in this case. And if i was building little racks i guess furring strips and osb are pretty damn cheap anyhow but yea when i am wanting to use comet tubes from future war or razzles then maybe little racks would be the way to go.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Basically, I have two different styles of "racks". One style is used for cake inserts with breaks and is built just like a mortar rack except it's only 7" tall and 2" wide (to hold low shot count 500s). I just use cardboard from cake boxes to wedge smaller tubes in there. The other style is kind of made like a trough. It's wide enough to hold DR11 and again, I use cardboard to wedge smaller diameter comets/mines. These are only about 5" tall. Then I just use end boards to make whatever angles I need for the racks. Takes a little time to assemble, but preloading and all is simply and efficient...at least I think it is
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    Thunderstruck Array jonkelley82's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Quote Originally Posted by Catfish25p2000 View Post
    How about this... Make basically tiny mortar racks. Make them to fit the size of tubes you want, then you can slap side boards on them for the angles. You could even make them adjustable with a bolt and wing nut to fit pretty much anything. Make any sense? I can picture it, but I can see how it might be confusing by the way I described it.
    We have one of these kicking around, it is basically a bunch of boards sandwiched together with tubes in between. Sky-fire routered some channels in the boards for us so we could insert 1/4" threaded rod all the way through the "cake" if you will, then its all half together by wingnuts. In theory, it's a good idea. But honestly it's very hard to work with and its very tough to get symetrical angles out of it.
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    Member Array FireBug270's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Just a thought but I'm all about saving money on supplies to buy more pyro, so...has anyone used scab wire or spent e-match or clip igniter wires to secure comets on angle boards? I'd imagine it would be stronger than zip ties and its free. Twisting them to hold the tubes on might take a bit longer though. Any thoughts?

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    Default Re: Yet another comet rack design

    Quote Originally Posted by FireBug270 View Post
    Just a thought but I'm all about saving money on supplies to buy more pyro, so...has anyone used scab wire or spent e-match or clip igniter wires to secure comets on angle boards? I'd imagine it would be stronger than zip ties and its free. Twisting them to hold the tubes on might take a bit longer though. Any thoughts?
    done it with spent clips.
    works alright till you get to larger items.
    anything larger than 1.5" you'll want to switch to zip ties, anything bigger than 2.25" you'll want duct tape onto stakes or better (i.e rack them).
    trying for too much tension out of scab/clip/shooting wire is likely to snap it; larger bores require stronger materials to remain secure after firing.

    I once ran out of tape on a shoot but had spent clips and cotton string (intended for spiking shells); used those to pair up my cakes. worked VERY well. even on pairing different sized cakes (i.e rodeo west and rock star). used clove hitch to get enough tension, then 'tied my shoes' to keep the tension locked.
    wouldn't recommend it though, unless it's your only option.
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