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Faster Set Up Time

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  • Faster Set Up Time

    I've been doing 1.4 backyard shows for many years now. But I'm always looking for ways to be more efficient and speed up my prep time. Even if it's minor, multiplied by several cakes adds up. I'd love some constructive criticism. First things first though... I attach my cakes to boards because that is the best choice for my storage, shoot site, and ease of setup.

    Gluing cakes to boards
    500g: I peel the bottom paper off, take hot glue and make a bead around the perimeter, then connect each corner with a giant X across the middle. Attach to the board. Block together a few cakes and wrap duct tape around the block to create a larger footprint as a safeguard.

    200g: Peel the bottom paper off. Since there isn't typically a nice board to put glue on, I run a bead around the edges of EVERY cardboard tube in the cake, and stick it to the board. This takes forever, and I'm thinking is overkill. Especially since I block up groups of cakes and wrap duct tape around them just like the 500gs.

    Clip Ignitors/Scab wire
    I efire and have one central system. For my stations out wide I run scab wire. But I also wait until the day of the show to strip the ends of the scab wire that attach to the system. Why? Because I have in my head that somehow there's a chance of lightning nearby that will be enough charge to send a current through the exposed copper and fire the igniter in my shed. Please tell me this is ridiculous.

    Any feedback or other tips is much appreciated.



  • #2
    Independence,
    I have never understood the reasoning for gluing product to boards. Most 500 gram cakes don't need this. I find it much easier to block them together or tape and stake. The 200 gram cakes can be grouped together and taped or staked. Boards could be used if your shoot site is soggy. Otherwise, I never glue any product. Any zipper cakes should be placed by themselves due to their propensity to catching on fire. All your pre- wired product should be shunted. Don't know if this would still prevent ignition due to a close lightning strike. Think of money saved by not using glue or boards plus I believe this is more time consuming. Anyhoot, that's my two cents.
    President- Bluegrass Pyrotechnic Guild
    Registered Ohio Assistant

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    • #3
      The cost of boards and glue is minimal. I use boards for ease of set up ahead of time, storage, and transport. Plus with the frequent pop up storms we get, it keeps cakes off the ground if the ground gets soggy. But that's not what I was asking about.

      I've seen some contradicting opinions on shunting, but I think it's a good idea.


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      • #4
        one year we got in a pinch for time and just sunk screws into the boards close to the cakes but left them mostly sticking out of the board... then wrapped tape around the cakes and the screws with the screw heads above the tape... no matter how hard the cakes tried to jump the tape couldn't get over the threads and heads of the screws so they stayed put.

        didn't have to wait for glue to cure or a glue gun to heat up... just started a bunch of screws into boards and ran some tape and they were good to go.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Stoney View Post
          one year we got in a pinch for time and just sunk screws into the boards close to the cakes but left them mostly sticking out of the board... then wrapped tape around the cakes and the screws with the screw heads above the tape... no matter how hard the cakes tried to jump the tape couldn't get over the threads and heads of the screws so they stayed put.

          didn't have to wait for glue to cure or a glue gun to heat up... just started a bunch of screws into boards and ran some tape and they were good to go.
          That's the first I've heard of this, but sounds effective. How long of screws did you use? How thick were your boards?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by independence View Post

            That's the first I've heard of this, but sounds effective. How long of screws did you use? How thick were your boards?
            so like a 3 or 4 inch screw into 1/2 inch wood... might have been 3/4... drove the screws into them till they were about to poke through the other side.

            even without the tape, just driving some screws into the wood along side the cakes kept them from sliding around... then a few wraps of tape secured them to the screws. they weren't going anywhere.

            when the shows over just back the screws out and save em for next time.

            try it out on a small board, you'll see what i mean it's quick and easy but it might only make sense if you happen to have a buncha screws laying around from an old project. might not be worth buying a bucket of screws just for that purpose but we had a bunch of old ones from a deck project just gathering dust in the shed so it worked out perfect.

            i will say though it's probably not the best idea, i mean you're adding metal screws to explosives so yeah...

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            • #7
              If you tape the 200 g cakes into blocks of 4, they will be quite stable. For 500 g cakes, it is nice to stabilize them, as they can fall over, the screws work well, using 2 x 8 boxes that are slightly bigger than the largest cake is a nice way to hold them from moving, that you can reuse. Taping or gluing them down works, if that works, it is fine. If you do a lot of cakes, then you can build a grid from 1 or 2" x 8 wood with slots to allow them to form a set of cubbie holes, that allows you to assemble the grid quickly and then store the wood later. Most of the time the holes will also hold a 4 block of 200 g cakes as well.

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              • #8
                When I fused my shows, I did the hot glue to boards just like your doing. Now that i efire, i don't glue to boards anymore and rarely use boards at all, I just put the cakes on the ground.
                Here is what I do. I block all my 200s together with tape in anywhere from 4-8 cake blocks. My 500s in blocks of 2-6, depending on their size. Yes, I understand 500s by themselves already provides a wide enough foot print but blocking all the 200s and 500s together like this makes for easy storage, transport and setup.
                For me, I try and block the same height cakes or as close as you possible can together and that makes them easy to stack and easy to load in your vehicle.
                Then come shoot day, just throw your board down on the ground and place the cakes on the board and plug in.
                I always strip my wires ahead of time (I use talons if that matters at all) but i have never shunted my wires, never really thought about it to be honest with you. I guess if your that worried about lightning, you can shunt your wires or maybe a piece of electrical tape between the wires? Not sure if that would do any good or not but its just a thought.

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                • #9
                  I glued my cakes to a board once! Too much of a mess to rip the cakes off afterwards. Plus, the board becomes wayyyy to heavy to lift.
                  I prefer to tape 4 together to get that bigger footprint.

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                  • #10
                    I tape all my cakes together in reasonable amounts and then stake them to the grass. Boards are too heavy and then you have to comprimise on what ematch lengths you use rather than just staking them around your cobra in a circle.

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