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Where do you get your "free" pyro supplies?


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I work at a car dealership which affords me many opportunists for different supplies, they are:

  • Brake lathe machine for steel powder/ granules. Just need to screen out the old carbide bits the techs leave in the mix and also scale rust. Not the best quality powder but its great for free.
  • Bentonite clay the techs use for oil spills
  • Credit card machine rolls when the paper runs out.
  • Thick paper towel tubes and toilet paper tubes.
  • Large poster shipping tubes used for mortars or storage containers like for my quick match.
  • Reinforced packing tape from the parts department.
  • Plastic Ziploc bags from parts
  • Fire extinguishers, fire garbage cans.
  • No smoking signs
  • Air vent screens & sealing speaker guards to size rolled stars.
  • Florescent light guards to cut stars (this bullet and the last three are from the old abandon service department so no one notices or cares.)
  • Packs of different forms sent by the manufacture have thin card bored inserts for sturdiness when shipping. I use them to cut end disks for cylinder shells.
  • Old computer power supply to run my star roller.
  • Rubber gloves
  • Old tire weights to make lead media
  • Small metal drum to make fire in when making charcoal
  • 5 gallon pales
  • Random supplies like pieces of metal used as a thin blade to cut stars or make different things.
  • Razor blades.
  • Old bolt bucket with different sleeves and random metal parts to make pumps and tools.
  • Broom sticks for pumps, plugs for my smaller HDPE tubes, and parts for my string spiking tool.
  • Old empty brake clean cans, not explaining this one.
  • Lunch brakes on the computer to learn more about pyro.
  • Pallets to cut apart for firewood for the charcoal cooker
  • Crazy glue
  • Will be getting an old metal file cabinet to store chemicals(unmixed).
  • Cardboard
  • Cardboard lids to paper filled boxes that are used to hold drying stars
  • And probably some others I cant think of at this moment

Edited by chemtech89
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I'm an opportunist :D I see not only what it is, but what it can be. Also, id rather take a broken broom stick and use that one things for many different purposes then buy a $6 wooden dowel form home depot... If anything I'm just cleaning up the garbage.
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Liftcups for small shells - at McDonalds. They also have drinking straws for passfires that you can put over a 5.5mm fuse :P
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Don't forget gallon paint cans for mixing, storing, and even using on a set of rollers as mill containers. They are now made of plastic...some even HDPE...latex paint peels right out when dry, cut off the wire bail supports with razor knife....good container. Try your local sign and upholstery shops for tubes.
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The cardboard tubes used to hold palletized shipping shrink wrap are excellent for mortars after proper treatment. Most are 3' ID, very thick walled 3/8 to 1/4 inch and 15 to 18 inches long. Edited by Bobosan
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I've seen 3" shipping tubes with 1/2" walls, long too. I have a 2" tube with 1/4" walls at 3' length I will (when I get around to it) make a great morter. I'll just have to make sure to use ~65% of the lift I normal would.. Edited by AirCowPeacock
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1 inch walled 3 inch bore tubes for mortars (work)

till rolls, 2mm card boxes for small disks, knives, string, 3inch postal tubes 1/8th inch walls (work)

100gsm recycled kraft for pasting, rolling 6mm tubes,cans and match pipes/passfires (ikea)

stubby card tubes/large lift cups in various sizes 2 inch and up (ikea)

200gsm recycled card 3x4 foot sheets, bombettes/3/4inch tubes, 10mm rocket tubes (argos)

willow wood ( local trees after storms )

pine wood ( local timber merchant scraps )

rocket sticks ( the street after bfn and new year )

4mm greyboard from hardback books, large end disks ( charity bookshop, donation optional )

deoderant can/pvc pipe case formers, syringe or copper pipe star pumps.

All homemade tooling from scrap/recycled materials: 10mm endburner and coreburner tooling, fuse and plug tools, bombette tooling, 3/4 inch endburner and gerb tools, fuse and plug tools.

Homemade dextrin.

Big handfull of cat litter from my nan when i need it.

And never walk past a full skip, roofing lead, dowels and wood scraps.


No im not tight :) i find it very rewarding knowing it can and does cost less, the only things im willing to see money spent on is chems, fuse, solvents and glue, most of which the missus buys for birthdays and crimbo.

Looking back ive spent less than £50 myself in four years :)




Edit: forgot the hemis ( 200 gsm card, argos ) and 40mm bore shrinkwrap tubes ( work ) ketchup cups (ikea) wooden coffe stirrers ( ikea )

Edited by dan999ification
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I found a large spent cake containing 10 1.75" mortars... it's real hard to find small sized mortars here other than that. As for shipping tubes... I tried asking around and none of them would give them up.
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  • 4 weeks later...
I shoot shows for a local fireworks company and come home with all kinds of goodies. 1.3g cakes contains up to 500 tubes for instance. Leftover quick match, electric matches, tape ect all a bonus if you ask me.
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In the produce section at the grocery store I keep my eyes out for rolls of produce bags that are almost empty, they have a nice thick walled cardboard tube in the middle.
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I tried that at the local supermarket... but they kept the tube locked in and when I asked the employee if I could have it they said they had to turn them back in... I tried other stores that had lots of spare tubes lying around and they would not give them up either.
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I get nice 1.5" ID 1.75" OD spiral wound tubes at Walmart in the fabric section. They are the cores from rolls of fabric.


Tube from walmart_


Tube from walmart




Edited by WonderBoy
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Christmas, Birthday parties supply me with plenty of tissue paper.
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