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Legal chemicals for smoke bombs in Australia?


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Hi there!


I'm trying to get a smoke bomb effect in a burlesque show for a big competition in Australia. However I cannot find any information on the legality of these?? I have a fog machine but I really would like the effect of a smoke bomb or really just a couple of small smoke pellets (see link below). I can't seem to find any for sale in Australia which leads me to believe they are probably not legal in the prefabricated form(?). A few people have mentioned there might be some chemicals that are not illegal of which I could use to make my own? I'm struggling to find a list of legal and or illegal chemicals that are used for this purpose so I can Give it a go... If anyone has any info id love any tips! I have no idea how to make them but I'm a pretty saavy YouTube student so any links that might be legal options would also be great! Iv also seen crazy colored ones, which are awesome! Iv heard the dye is expensive but for this one off I would be interested in knowing if the dyes would be legal/illegal chemicals also?

Iv been trying to find someone with a pyrotechnics licence to ask but having no luck...

I have personal liability insurance that covers me as I already use angle grinders and snakes (in separate acts...don't worry!) in my shows, so I at least have that bit covered...


There is a vid on this page: which shows roughly the size im after- just small ones that are effective but manageable



However- I would also love to know more about bigger and Coloured ones like this next link... Just cos it looks awesome!

Any tips or links or new directions to hunt would be really appreciated!!

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A basis white smoke bomb can be mady with suger, potassium nitrate and parrafin (the stuff where most candles are made from, it is mostly mentioned on the box. Prefere parafin candles above stearin candles for smoke bombs) and I'm pretty sure they're all legal.

I'm from Belgium, so I don't know much about Australia but I'm pretty sure.


The colored ones are made with lactose (milk sugar) potassium chlorate (one of the more dangerous oxidisers, has incomptabilities with sulfur, ... ) and a dye. I think these chemicals are legal too, except maybe for the potassium chlorate... In Europe you can have it but you can't sell it, altough you can just make it from herbicide (sodium chlorate) that they do sell. The dyes are indeed pretty expensive, but if you want other colors then black or white you'll need them.


It wonders me that you can't buy them. You should look on airsoft gadgets websites ? They use them a lot in airsoft games.


I hope I helped you a little.

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Have you cleared using smoke with your venue? What part of that huge country are you in? Do all the states have the same rules about pyro?

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Doing this legally may be complicated.

I'm pretty sure most smoke bombs/grenades will contain if not ingredients classed as pyrotechnic, then at least classed as security sensitive dangerous materials. Each state has it's own pyrotechnic regulations, NSW are listed at http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/

Smoke grenades will be classed as Theatrical pyrotechnics. Your best bet is probably to ring workcover and ask their advice. They will point you to somewhere you can find out what you need to know.

I assume you will be working indoors. Some vital considerations are combustion product toxicity and ventilation.

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The venue is fine with it, Iv seen fireworks there before they just require you have the relevant licencing if necessary. Its the factory theatre in Sydney. Ok i might try give workcover a shot, Thanks!

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I have a friend in another Sydney theatre, I'll ask some quiet questions. BUT you are not going to get permission from the State government to make illegal fireworks are you!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just yesterday, in the chimney and ventilation section of home depot I looked at a can with those white smoke airflow testers. It was next to all the fire starters and chimney maintenance chemicals (soot and pitch removers etc). It didn't list complete set of ingredients, but explicitly warned that it contains KClO3 and NH4Cl, that it is a strong oxidiser and can catch on fire easily. If you're interested, next time I can look up the exact product.


BUT, knowing how unstable that composition is, I'm certain that those cartridges contain multiple unlisted additives, to keep it stable and control the reaction when ignited.


As for legality, I'm not sure about Australia, but here it all depends on your legal status (person or company). AFAIK in EU, it's planned to make possession of KClO3 and similar oxidisers illegal for individuals starting sometime in 2016. Companies can buy whatever they want, as long as they store them safely. Permits are required when you make specific stuff.

But since the cartridges are sold to anyone (didn’t even have 18+ rating), I believe if you produce the composition as company then the mixture is probably inert enough to be used freely afterwards. Still, I think the key factor is additives, that turn the composition in just another stinky smoker, like any plastic, rubber or whatever is.. albeit less poisonous and more effective.


P.S. Just did a quick search of some Australian paint-ball forums (all paint-ballers love smokes), those are the main things that caught my attention:


Another issue in australia is, Orange smoke is standard for a distress signal, White smoke looks like a bush fire from a distance, ... , so you would have to use coloured smoke.


It will be a bit of work as they are classified as a prohibited import -
Dazzle and decoy devices designed or adapted for warfare or like purposes
Equipment designed or adapted for the making of smoke screens
Explosives and incendiary materials designed for warfare or like purposes

So it seems it's not as much about the chemicals, but the actual effect that's important. Once again, what is classified probably depends on your legal status - if you're a company doing pyro stuff, it might be OK. Also - screen usually means thick, opaque smoke. If they don't specify chemicals or delivery methods, maybe anything mist and fog - like is fine (as long as you can't hide a tank or something behind it). If you're after indoors effect - different rules may apply.

Edited by deer
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