Building Fireworks for 2012

Back in November 2010 I attended the School Spectacular in Sydney as my daughter was part of the Combined Choir. It was there I heard the Owl City song Fireflies, which was subsequently used in the 2011 light display. In 2011 my daughter again sung in the Combined Choir, and there I took note of the Katy Perry song Firework, and decided it would be part of the 2012 song lineup. The only thing is you cant have a song called Firework without having some rather special item to emulate Firworks as part of the display, so I set out to build one.

I started with the basic idea for an 8 armed design, with each arm 1 meter long, and containing 5 individual sections. As I did not want to use this device as a spinner, I decided to make each arm do the same thing. The result was 27 channels, with 15 on the "arms" (5*3 chan), 3chan on the middle for a "blast effect" and 9 channels (3*3 chan) on the 2 meter pole up to the center. 10 meters of RGB strip, 1 controller and a 100 watt 12V power supply. This 3 meter high item contains 318 LED's and draws 65 watts, so it should get noticed.

fireworks

During the initial design testing I decided to make the arms out of 25mm plastic conduit, and the center hub would be 2 4 way junction boxes offset by one eighth of a turn, giving 8 equally spaced arms around a center core. The whole lot was then bolted to a piece of 90mm conduit to form the back of the firework.

After seeing one of the 2 top secions complete, there is no way the lights can go on the roof as they are simply too big to carry up there safely. I then decided to mount the firework on a longer pole, so that the base is level with the gutter, and the firework center sits 2 meters above there, stretching another meter in diameter from that point. There will also be 2 of the times, one at the north west corner of the house, facing west, and one on the north west edge of the deck, facing north west.

Each of the arms has 5 sections of 200mm inserted into 16mm plactic tube, and sealed both ends. to hold the strip in place it was glued (with neutral cure silastic) onto a backing of 3mm coro.

Firework top

Firework top

During construction I also decided to group the arms in 2 groups of 4, rather than the single group of 8 I had planned, as this gives a little more control over the effect used. This also meant I had to use 2 27 channel controllers instead of the 1. After completing the initial build for the top, well it is a lot bigger than I thought.

fw1

It's also Colorful:

Firework top

Firework top

Firework top

The base of the firework is a 2.1 meter long section of 90mm pipe with 3 sections of RGB Strip mounted on it, 2 700mm long, and one 600mm long. plugs will connect this to the top section to allow easier storage of the 2 parts seperately in the shed.

A center blast section was used to cover the center section of the framework, and was covered in six 3 LED RGB lights.

Firework center

This pic shows the length of 90mm pipe, taped black, holding the two Ray Wu 27 channel controllers in place. The top, on the left, is glued in place and silastic both inside and outside help keep the water out. Oh and the mat is on the floor in the shed, hence it's a mess lol

27 chan 1

This is the two controllers held in place by being glued onto a thin strip of 5mm Coro with neutral cure silastic.

controllers

This pic shows the controller housing on the back of the firework item.

In place

The final item was tested for a few days to ensure there were no issues with connections or failing LED's. Here are a few images and video of it in action:

Firework full

Firework full

A video in action:

Other 2012 pages

2012 Main Page
January to February
March to May
June to August
September to December
Halloween Display
Building LED Fireworks
Waterproofing
2012 Shed upgrades
Canberra Meet and Greet
Melbourne & Sydney Mini's
Going Greener in 2012



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