Bucket Bottom Girandolas

WARNING AND DISCLAIMER:  If you are underage, then consult with your parents or guardians before attempting any of this.  You are on your own - I'm not responsible for your actions or harm you may bring to others because of your actions.  Making the items described below  can result in injury or death to you or people in your vicinity. Some things mentioned here may be illegal to make in your city, county, state, or country so check the laws that apply to you before you attempt anything described here. These notes are not complete on purpose. If you are reading them and new to pyrotechnics, then you are making a mistake. Stop now - this page is not for you. Get a beginning book on fireworks (see Skylighter or American Fireworks News (very quick shipping)  for a start) and read up. You can't make any of this work without more information so read up or join a club or ask someone to help you.

Bucket Bottom Girandolas

(sometimes spelled girandoles)

You risk your fingers cutting them out and the heat from the drivers warp them but they are fun


The above is a turntable used to hold the ground effects for a 'dola launch. The main bar is 5/8 all-thread. The spindle coming out the top is 1/4" stainless.


Here is a bare dola frame on the turntable.  The frame is a bucket bottom that has been cut with a jig saw and with lightening holes drilled in it. The center bearing is a piece of lamp hardware all-thread.  Ground effects are mounted on the wood turntable and quick match is used to transfer fire to drivers on the dola frame.



Here is a completed dola ready to launch (click on picture for a video).

I took a picture of it on the ground, backed away as it was lit and just as I got to my watching spot, the torch slid loose and as I fumbled for it, I dropped my camera. BLAST IT! In any case, I had about a 2.3 thrust to weight and it flew nicely. Almost straight up. I used the turntable (pictures posted above) to get a good stabilization.  Click on the above picture to see a similar dola launch at FFFF. This time I didn't drop the camera!

I used whistle with 10% Ti and loud lead crackle (crackle on top of whistle - not mixed) for the horizontal thrusters - the speed was great. Here is a test of the horizontal thrusters so you get an idea:  horizontaldriver test

 The whole 'dola weighed about 1 kilo and the two horizontal drivers were set at 100 grams thrust each and for about 7 seconds. The speed of the turntable went up and stabilized - the crackle went off and the fire was transferred to the main motors.

How it was made:

There were three BP drivers that surged to a little over 2lbs thrust but then backed off to about 700 grams each - they were Service Chemical BP that was milled, wetted and riced to keep down the dust. No additives. Each driver had 50 grams for a header which was a charcoal star broken with almost straight whistle (very thin containment on them to save weight). The break at the top of the flight was good for as simple as they were - three simultaneous breaks of asymmetric shells actually ends up looking OK.

The nozzles were clay pressed with 1.5 increments (an increment is one 3/4 copper plumbing cap of BP) of oiled kitty litter. The drift and the base were just cones - no spindle.  The nozzle was drilled after pressing with a 3/16" bit - it was embedded about 1/4" into the grain.

There were three small whistles for effect that also gave about 100 grams thrust each - about 45 grams net - they had 10-12% Ti added.  These gerbs were fairly active and I've used them to launch miniature dolas. Here is a webpage that explains them: girandola2.html


Above is a lightweight dola using the same ideas. Click on the picture to see it fly.