Notes on Rolling Cases for Small Inserts

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.

This is a note on small cases for inserts for shells. If you decide to roll your own - which is a very thrifty way to go - make sure the mandrel you roll the tubes on is well slathered with glue as well as the paper itself.  There shouldn't be any lumps or chunks of glue but both the paper and the mandrel should be wet.  You only have to smear glue on one side of the paper - the dry side makes the paper easier to manage when rolling it. The reason for glue on the mandrel is so the finished case will slide off easily.  The cases made in this example are 5/8" x 2.5" and are made with an 11" strip of manila folder paper.  The glue is just about anything that will stick paper.

I have used synthetic wallpaper border adhesive, wheat paste,
and carpenter's glue. I like the border adhesive and the
carpenter's glue the best. None of the pastes were diluted.

Cut some strips from some manila folders or 110 lb
card stock or Kraft paper.  I like manila folders

You will end up with several strips like this. These are
cut lengthwise to the manila paper and are about 11"
long and 2.5" wide

Smear some glue on the paper and spread it out
evenly. Don't leave lumps but make sure the glue is
on everything. Just glue one side. Work fairly quickly.

Use a mandrel the diameter of the I.D. of the tube
you want to make. This one is 5/8". You can use wood
or metal

Lubricate the mandrel with glue. Spread it all over

Roll a tube!  The wet mandrel and paper make it
easy to adjust the paper so it is even.  You shouldn't
have to trim the tube once it is made. Just even it up
on the mandrel. After all the paper is on, roll the tube
on a flat surface to get out all the air bubbles.

Once the tube is rolled, slide the mandrel out. If it was
well lubricated, it will come out easily.

A nice tube awaiting drying

Dry your tubes in a dryer or on a screen. Don't allow
them to dry laying flat unless on a screen.

You can make about 40 tubes an hour - maybe a bit more

You can roll bigger tubes, too but you should do them
in stages.  1/2 in one rolling - dry - then add the next
half.  Above are some one pound (3/4") tubes made
from 110 lb card stock available from Wal-Mart