Every party has a popper – or at least it should. Build this “mine” to fire off sparkling confetti at your kid’s next bash.
In fireworks lingo, a mine is a device that shoots sparks out of a mortar tube. No dangerous explosives here; instead we utilised everyday party poppers to launch colourful trails of confetti. This project is a playful introduction to the world of pyrotechnics. Youngsters building the popper will wonder what exactly makes it pop (answer: compressed air) and how that energy forces the confetti out of the tube. But all that physics stuff aside, who are we fooling? The best part for the kids (and the adults) will be pulling the trigger on this explosive device, no matter the occasion. – William Gurstelle
How to build it:
Prepare the mine
1. Refashion the 12 x 20 mm adaptor fitting (Fig C) by sanding its ridges until it can be inserted into the 150 mm length of PVC pipe (Fig A).
2. Wrap four to five layers of masking tape around the centre of the slip coupling (Fig B).
3. Drill a centred 22 mm hole in the top of the 110 mm PVC drain cap (Fig D).
4. Lay the drain cap on its side and drill a small hole, centred, in the side.
Modify the popper
1. Remove the top paper disc from the wide end of the popper and take out all contents, including the paper streamers and the bottom paper disc.
2. Extend the popper string and firmly tie a 300 mm-long string to its end with a square knot. (You’ll pull this extended line to set off the popper.)
Assemble the components
1. Push the modified party popper into the adaptor fitting with the string extended out through the threaded end. Insert the adaptor fitting through the drain cap. Secure the fit by fastening it with the 12-mm conduit locknut.
3. Place the taped slip coupling over the exposed popper so that it nestles into the adaptor fitting.
4. Slide the 150 mm length of PVC pipe over the assembly, forming the mortar tubing.
5. Thread the popper’s string through the small hole in the side of the drain cap.
1. Paint or apply contact paper, duct tape, and/or stickers to the barrel and base as desired.
Load the “ammo”
1. Fill a 15 ml portion cup (the kind that you put ketchup in at McDonald’s) about a quarter full with confetti. (The less you pack, the higher the pop.)
2. Push the portion cup down the barrel of the mortar tube until it rests on the slip coupling.
3. Hold the base firmly with one hand and grab the string with the other. Pull smartly and enjoy the show!
> One 40 mm diameter PVC pipe, 150 mm long (“A”)
> One PVC fitting: 20 x 20 mm slip x slip coupling (“B”)
> One PVC adaptor fitting: 12 x 20 mm slip x threaded (“C”)
> One 110 mm PVC DWV drain cap (“D”)
> One 12 mm male adaptor locknut or one 20 mm conduit locknut
> Party poppers
> One 15 ml paper portion cup (McDonald’s ketchup cup)
> One 300 mm length of string
> Masking tape
> Drill with 3 mm bit and 22 mm spade bit
> Contact paper/decorative duct tape, paint, stickers Will wraps tape around the coupling so it’ll hold tight inside the adaptor fitting.
Special thanks to Author Tilford, a veteran of aerospace technology, for his original design of this project.