A Fireworks Mortar Rack (New Year's Eve Part 2)

One of the new elements in this New Year's Eve fireworks show was this 16-shot mortar rack, designed to accommodate the "festival ball" type of readily available mortar shell. The tubes are HDPE with a 1.875 inch bore, available from Skylighter at $27.25 for a group of six. HDPE is really the best material for this application—do NOT use PVC, as it will shatter into dangerous shrapnel if the shell fails to clear the tube and detonates inside. Certain types of cardboard launch tube, available from pyro suppliers, might be acceptable but I have no experience with this so you take your own risk if you choose to use it. The Skylighter HDPE tubes have a wooden plug at the bottom—I drove stainless steel wood screws into this plug from the base of the rack to secure the tubes.

The rack itself I constructed from various bits of hardware store lumber. Since this rack is deployed outside, in potentially wet environments, I painted it with several coats of Kilz primer, then glossy black exterior latex (glossy to make cleaning off any powder, soot, or dirt easier). I also mounted two carrying handles on either end.

During the New Year's show, this rack was loaded with a mix of Black Cat "Gold Class" spherical shells and their "Fort Knox" cylindrical shells. One row of eight was electronically detonated using my computer-controlled firing board (of which more anon), while the other side was lit with a blow torch, like most of the fireworks that night.

One Comment So Far

June 16, 2013
ManM Fireworks says:
Very nice post. Your rack looks strong. You did a nice job.

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