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Gearing up for my first crackle experience


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#1 Uarbor

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Posted 19 April 2022 - 01:54 PM

I have done my due diligence but I still have some questions about making Crackle. First off how thick should my nitrocellulose lacquer be for this project? Mine is like honey I have a feeling I should dilute it with a little more acetone. I am aware of the accepted Crackle formula with 75% bismuth trioxide. My next question is about the Chinese formula floating around that is 68% black copper oxide 30% magnalium and only 8% bismuth trioxide. Is this worth trying? It sure would save on the Bismuth. Any info or tips would be greatly appreciated

#2 SharkWhisperer

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Posted 19 April 2022 - 02:48 PM

Honey viscosity is fine. If you are aiming to get to 5% final NC concentration, even using 10% NC lacquer much of your processing time is going to be spent waiting for acetone to evaporate. I stopped aiming for 5% final and go with around 2.5% NC final, with no obvious effect on crackle character and using half the NC/acetone.

 

Re formulations; I almost immediately switched from the classic high-bismuth formulation to a 35:35 CuO/Bi2O3 formulation, again with no impact on final product functioning. I did this when bismuth was super pricey, though now FWC had dropped the price down to $15/pound, which is closer to the CuO that has gone up in price in recent years.

 

Never tried straight CuO...

 

Also started testing using phenolic resin in place of NC for binding, which was promising, but got sidetracked. I'm not convinced NC is necessary in DEs and highly doubt that Chicom crackle uses NC or high % of Bi2O3 in their very functional crackle and DEs.  Maybe check USAPyro's old thread on No-NC crackle for ideas. My preferred processing steps are also outlined in some thread a few years old, as are others'.

 

Crackle's a hoot, though, and your next scrap gerb will be very eventful!


Edited by SharkWhisperer, 19 April 2022 - 02:50 PM.


#3 Richtee

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Posted 19 April 2022 - 07:08 PM

I have been using the 35^2 formula too. I make 33 grambatches... 12.5/12.5/8.3333333. That .3333 bugs the HELL outta me :D

 

Honey is good. Maybe a touch thinner by the time you pour them... acetone’s fast.

 

It’s kinda amazing the snap ya get out of a tenth gram or so.


I like smoke! On food or in the air equally well.

#4 Uarbor

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Posted 01 May 2022 - 10:11 AM

Well my chemicals came in and I mixed up a batch of 37.5 / 37.5 / 25. I took a little less than 1/8 teaspoon of the powdered mix and put it on a piece of sheet metal to test. Lit it with a torch for a second and it's smoldered for about a second and a half and kapow. Scared the crap out of me LOL my wife heard it from in the shower LOL sounded like a pistol shot. I can't believe it was so loud unconfined I can't wait to bind it up with my n.c. lacquer. I assume it won't be that loud in a Micro Star form. I am pretty fascinated with it. I would love to know the scientific reason it does this.

Edited by Uarbor, 01 May 2022 - 10:14 AM.

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#5 Richtee

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Posted 02 May 2022 - 10:47 AM

 Scared the crap out of me LOL my wife heard it from in the shower LOL sounded like a pistol shot. I can't believe it was so loud unconfined I can't wait to bind it up with my n.c. lacquer. I assume it won't be that loud in a Micro Star form. I am pretty fascinated with it. I would love to know the scientific reason it does this.

HAH! I bound mine and tested a .25” X eighth inch or so square similarly.  SOMMABEEECH! Blam! When ya see that glow, she gonna blow :D

 

And I too am curious on the technical explanation...even if I won’t understand all of it ;) I DID have to take 2 semesters of chem at college and 1 class in HS but yeah, that was 30+ years ago,  and I was not all that good at it even then hahaha


Edited by Richtee, 02 May 2022 - 10:50 AM.

I like smoke! On food or in the air equally well.

#6 Uarbor

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Posted 02 May 2022 - 05:17 PM

HAH! I bound mine and tested a .25 X eighth inch or so square similarly.  SOMMABEEECH! Blam! When ya see that glow, she gonna blow :D
 
And I too am curious on the technical explanation...even if I wont understand all of it ;) I DID have to take 2 semesters of chem at college and 1 class in HS but yeah, that was 30+ years ago,  and I was not all that good at it even then hahaha

I just made my first batch of micro Stars. I think they are dry now I cannot detect the smell of acetone. Although I must say I could have Ford little piles of powder composition out and let it fill it was all used LOL

#7 Uarbor

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Posted 02 May 2022 - 06:24 PM

Here's a test. 1/8 teaspoon in paper.



#8 Uarbor

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Posted 02 May 2022 - 06:25 PM

Seems 👍

Edited by Uarbor, 02 May 2022 - 06:26 PM.


#9 Richtee

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Posted 02 May 2022 - 07:35 PM

Fun stuff! I made a post on coating a hunk of visco with it. Damned entertaining! As you seen..it DOES tend to jump around tho. :D


I like smoke! On food or in the air equally well.

#10 Uarbor

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Posted 03 May 2022 - 07:46 PM

Fun stuff! I made a post on coating a hunk of visco with it. Damned entertaining! As you seen..it DOES tend to jump around tho. :D

I did see that. It looked like fun it made me want to dip some e matches in that stuff and set them off at will with no warning of a fuse, keep my bonfire guests on their toes LOL

Edited by Uarbor, 03 May 2022 - 07:48 PM.


#11 Uarbor

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Posted 03 May 2022 - 07:55 PM

I have been reading up quite a bit here and elsewhere and falling just short of forking over fifty bucks to Ned Gorski. And I read that larger Stars require larger mg/al. I read somewhere that you can make big ones that are more like a salute a novelty item or something like half inch? I have some 20-60 mg/al. I might make that my next project I like small devices. I think I'll make a star gun shooting one big slug of crackle and trying to get it to go off just once using all the composition. Any advice is more than appreciated

Edited by Uarbor, 03 May 2022 - 07:58 PM.


#12 SharkWhisperer

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Posted 04 May 2022 - 01:26 PM

I have been reading up quite a bit here and elsewhere and falling just short of forking over fifty bucks to Ned Gorski. And I read that larger Stars require larger mg/al. I read somewhere that you can make big ones that are more like a salute a novelty item or something like half inch? I have some 20-60 mg/al. I might make that my next project I like small devices. I think I'll make a star gun shooting one big slug of crackle and trying to get it to go off just once using all the composition. Any advice is more than appreciated

It's possible you might run up against a wall in trying to balance MgAl particle size to DE size. I've used -60 MgAl (mixed mesh; lots of smaller particles along the spectrum) for microstars and up to about 1/4"-3/8" cores (6-10mm for our metric-based folks) with good effects. Unprimed cores when ignited would be loud but blow small chunks of unburned comp around. With a good thick hot prime they went off in entirety. Never tried larger MgAl, so will be interesting to hear how it goes. I habitually add 5% Al (fine atomized or smallish flake both seem to work fine) to DEs, and adding it into your large eggs might help keep the burn/smoulder going long, hot, and uniformly enough to get complete response from the whole DE mass. That, too, is speculation. At a certain size, besides "because I can", I'd imagine simple 70/30-based small inserts would provide more reliable large bursts than comparatively heavier (and more expensive) big-ass DEs. Wasn't that you who improvised a "crackle" shell last year with a handful of 1.4g firecrackers, hah ha? Anyways, good luck! 






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