Following on from the devastating first attempt in 2019, the American pyrotechnics expert Tim Borden was determined to give it another go at the earliest opportunity using what they learned.
The 62-inch shell in 2019 failed to reach height and exploded too early. Tim from Steamboat Fireworks made a promise not to give up trying and set about creating another one.
Obviously given its size, it is a feat of engineering and physics to manage to get a shell to launch at around 300 mph in order to reach the height required. This project was around 7-years in the making as Tim made gradually bigger and bigger shells to see what worked and how to eventually get a ton of pyro into the sky and get it to bloom before it falls back to the floor.
One of the issues the first time was that the structure of the shell was not robust enough to tolerate the speed and emotive force so the top of the list of to do’s was to ensure that it was reinforced around the waist of the shell. The wrapped it in 60 MILES of tape which took a full month of 8 hour days of patience.
The launch tube was a 26-foot long steel tube that was buried in Emerald Mountain which was absolutely imperative for the launch of this 2800lb monster shell.
Representatives from Guinness World Records were on site to witness and record the prestigious launch at the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival in Colorado. The time arrived and fingers toes and everything else was crossed as the launch button was depressed and it successfully launched. It took around 10 seconds to reach height before breaking into a mile wide willow break which could be seen across the region.
It was indeed big and bright and I would assume that given the amount of cost and effort put into getting it launch-ready meant that the ‘effects’ were not as important as the launch itself and this one was VERY similar to the Grucci one for the successful UAE launch on NYE 2018.
For more massive fireworks shells – check out the Yonshakudama 🙂
The firework shell, named Fenghuang Boisterous Dance was the last shell fired for the finale of the 13th Kounosu Fireworks Festival weighing in at an incredible 1014lb the 48 inch shell burst was estimated at an incredible 2,500 feet across.
The effect was a bright orange tail which on reaching height burst in a massive chrysanthemum burst which had secondary coloured horsetails. The effects hung in the air like a breath on the wind before the stars emitted beautiful green strobing lights. Simply Beautiful:
(cut to 3:20 for the launching of the shell and burst)
The previous record holder was from Japan at the Katakai Festival and weighed in at a massive 990lbs and was named ‘Yonshakudama’ measuring 48 inches in diameter (the same diameter as the new boy!) and it gave a bloom of around 875 yards across but its lower weight means that the new boy won overall.
The current holder is from Japan and the shell was the Yon-Shaku Dama of Katakai Japan where they fired a 120cm diameter shell which weighed in at 420kg and it was launched from a 12m long launch tube. All this effort resulted in a massive 800m diameter burst which was absolutely staggering.
The boffins in charge of the new attempt of a shell which will be over 150cm in diameter and will weigh 1700 lb or over 700 kg.
Here is some additional data for you:
• The outer casing of the shell will be approximately 4 inches thick and will be composed mainly of compressed cardboard and wrapped in heavy paper to ensure that the structural integrity of the shell is maintained.
• The break charge will be a ratio of 5:1 black powder which will be used to coat the seed husks but this may alter before the final product is agreed upon.
• The ‘stars’ will be a combination of metal fuelled colours and black powder based stars and comets for a glitter effect and salts and other effects which are to be a surprise.
• The lift charge will be large pellets of Black Powder which will be determined following further experimentation.
• The mortar tube which will house the shell is still in the planning stage at the moment but is likely to be a stationary partially buried concrete reinforced tube.
We will bring you more information as soon as it becomes available.