I put on a fireworks show for the Fourth of July this year a little bigger than last. Check out the pics and videos of the show!
TLDR; Go straight to the video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkHHWZw4Yhk.
I Heard You Liked Fireworks
Last year I put on a decent show. I fit all of the fireworks in the trunk of my car and manually lit everything. It was a bit hard because it is so dark that I had to use a small flashlight to see where to light the fuses then run like crazy to get out of the way in case something malfunctioned.
This year we went big. With a budget of $2,000 I set out to get the most bang for my buck. Sometimes I can get obsessed with things and this is something that was a strong candidate for me to be excessively detailed and curious about. I spent a lot of time on fireworks forums and YouTube trying to figure out how people put on a rocking backyard fireworks show.
After some thought, I decided the optimal thing to do was buy wholesale fireworks. Since I had a budget above the minimum thresholds that most online places have and shipping would be free or cheap, I went for it. Soon after a tracter trailer truck pulled up to my sister-in-laws house and dropped off a palette of fireworks.
Breaking Down the Fireworks Show
Here is the list of fireworks I purchased for the show. In total we had 230 units. That comprised of 80 cakes and 150 shells. I bought all of my fireworks from Overstock Central Fireworks.
You can see the different items I chose along with the quantity and prices. I can’t help myself – if it looks like it could be in a spreadsheet then that’s what I make.
The timing had to be orchestrated just right to make the show pop. I watched a lot of fireworks videos of the items I bought and wrote down the run times of each. That enabled me to time the show just right.
The above queues are loaded up with their necessary fuses. Below is the finale sequence. Basically I lit half of everything off by itself during the main show and the rest all together in the finale. The reason I did this was because I wanted to video the show and know for a fact what I liked and what I didn’t like.
Cobra Firing System
Since there were too many fireworks for me to manually light, and since our budget was so high, I decided to invest some extra money in an electronic firing system. Cobra Firing Systems looked like the right choice to start with.
I purchased the 18M firing module and the 18R remote. All I needed were small items now – fuses, talon clips, tape, etc.
Here’s the kit – the firing module, remote, and talon clips.
Apparently, if you spend enough money you get a nice lanyard to go with your keys.
Unboxing the Fireworks
We did some prep a couple of days before the fireworks but most was done on the launch day. Here’s how the unboxing looked.
It’s deceptive because so many boxes of fireworks fit into those boxes. I was afraid when I first saw the shipment that not everything was present. It was relieving to open them all and have everything you ordered.
Staging The Fireworks Show
A couple of days before, with the help of family, we put together platforms to launch. This is important because the area was sloped and it is not safe to shoot fireworks on an uneven surface. Therefore, we built a stage for them. It worked out very nice too because it even accommodated for drainage from rain.
Leveling the boards was critical and not much can happen until that is sorted.
The finished product held level and sturdy.
The stage was set! Now all we had to do was setup the fireworks.
Essentially, my show consisted of 2 different pieces: cakes (the boxes of fireworks) and artillery shells. We glued the cakes to the boards along with some artillery shell tubes. The rest was 2 racks of 50 tubes to hold the other 100 shells.
It can be hard to see but everything is fused and have the igniters set. We made some small mistakes that resulted in a few queues not firing. I learned that if you even think for a moment that a wire was pulled to replace the talon clips. They are very delicate and single shot only!
It rained during the day so we had to cover up all of our work. It really needs to be laid out and prepared because it is way too much work to start settting up a few hours prior to the show.
On With The Show!
I posted the main show to YouTube: My Amateur Backyard Fireworks Show with Cobra Firing System – 2019. It is too big to post here so I put it on YouTube. Check it out!
A short snipped of the ground when lit is pretty cool:
If you just want to watch the finale (begins around 14:30 in the main show) here’s the final onslaught:
If you watch the video you’ll notice I remark on the 3 queues that didn’t ignite. That’s my bad with the wiring. So after the main show we went down to the firing site and manually lit the rest. Here are the missed finale shots – imagine if they would have been combined with the finale!
So that’s it! I hope you enjoyed the fireworks!
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