flame thrower resources/guides/plans?

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
morleybear
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flame thrower resources/guides/plans?

Post by morleybear » Fri Sep 05, 2003 12:18 am

i was mesmerised this year by the flame thrower orchestra on friday night. i am very seriously interested in building my own portable backpack-style flamethrower. i don't need the biggest nastiest flames.. just something that i can take out into the playa and burn up the sky with. there were quite a few people with such flamethrowers out and about on friday, but at the time i was too entranced to ask them the tips & tricks!

if anyone has any resources on how to build/get such a device, i would be very grateful! i'm handy with tools, but have never worked with propane/etc. before. i promise i'll be very, very safe :)

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III
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Post by III » Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:41 am

this always comes up, and the answer usually is "it takes a lot of experience to do these things right, and the only way to get that experience is to do it. you can't absorb it over a bbs."

but, to get you started, you can get an assortment of propane torches at home depot and harbor freight, along with tubing and fittings. get a couple, try builfing yout own, learn how to solder and braze leak free connections, and you're on yout way.
[url]http://3playa.cultureshark.net/[/url]

morleybear
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indeed, thanks

Post by morleybear » Fri Sep 05, 2003 11:24 pm

i figured that might be the response, and i understand entirely. i'm not looking for a "ez flamethrower kit", i'd rather learn how it works and build it from the ground up by myself anyway.

i figure if i start looking and learning and experimenting now, then maybe i can have something basic by next year's burn.. or the year after.. :)

do you know if there are any lists/forums for developers and builders and users of such things? hearing other folks' ideas, suggestions, tricks, and common pitfalls would also be helpful. (i know there's a listserv for EL artists, for example, and i've gleaned a lot of useful tips on soldering techniques and inverter hoohah from it.)

thanks!

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Peace_Tolero
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Googling fire-monkeys

Post by Peace_Tolero » Sat Sep 06, 2003 11:27 am

I googled'recreational flamethrowers' and came up with Bonefire


The same good fiery folks from the Playa.

It looks like what the good doctor of conflagration ordered.


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tbone
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Post by tbone » Mon Sep 08, 2003 9:26 pm

If you want to start small, buy a weed burner, or roofing torch from HD or Harbor Freight.

Light it.
Turn the bottle of propane upside down.

All the liquid goodness comes out first, and the flame is larger.
Sadly, the Ralph Naders of the world have required new tanks that shut off when you turn them upside down.

I wouldn't recommend it, but you might be able to take an empty tank, take the valve off and remove the offending safety parts. Read your ticket.
---
I spent a lot of time with the guy with the Bronco with three flamethrowers on the back. Here's the really short version (from memory) of how it worked.

He had 3 50 gallon tanks on the back of the truck, and a 5 gallon tank inside it.

Each of the large tanks fed (through a regulator) storage tanks. The storage tanks had no regulator (so there was nothing to slow down the flow), and he had welded a large pipe (1" galvanized to my eye) to the top.

There was a tank of oxygen - it only fired the solenoid. It never added O2 to the flames. "That would make a bomb" is what he said to me. It might be smarter to use an inert gas.

When you hit the button on the control panel, it fired a small 12v solenoid that fired a larger compressed air solenoid. The air solenoid was a "double action" type - meaning that the air oipened and closed the valve. There were no springs involved.

When the air solenoid fired, it opened a 1" valve on the storage tanks (they were allowed to build to about 200 psi).

He used a Harbor Freight weed burner as a pilot, and they had a seperate LPG feed. The pipe opened a huge-ass quantity of PLG onto the pilot, and boom there was flame.

"Simple", but not easy. And don't fuck it up.
And don't blame me.

Rider
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I need a Valve

Post by Rider » Thu Sep 11, 2003 11:10 am

I am looking for the valve that they use on flame throwers. The one I saw was a Lukenheimer valve. Is that a stock valve or it is it modified valve? I am looking for a manual valve; I don't want to mess with any electricity. I want to make a fire ball toy, with a fire ball 2-3 feet across. Where can I buy this valve?

Captain Plumbean
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Valve source

Post by Captain Plumbean » Fri Sep 12, 2003 5:07 pm

The valve you want is called a whistle valve or a lever arm valve.

If you go to www.mcmaster.com and enter whistle valve and look down the resulting catalog page you will find them.

The characteristics that make them good for flames is they open quickly and they're self closing when you let go. I may replace the solenoid valve on my flame thrower with one of these.

The nice thing about the solenoid valve is its easy to set up a safety interlock switch to guarantee I can't spew flame until I'm safe above people's heads. The bad thing is it's sized too small for the size flame I want and a big propane rated solenoid valve ain't cheap.

A general warning if you're going to play with fire. You MUST use hoses, fittings, and valves rated for what you're putting through them. You don't want seals to get eaten by propane and fail.

The ratatat car that burned up was because of using improper hose that melted. This is serious shit and you can't be too careful. Every part must be compatible with gas and with every other part.

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tbone
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Re: Valve source

Post by tbone » Fri Sep 12, 2003 6:12 pm

Captain Plumbean wrote:The ratatat car that burned up was because of using improper hose that melted. This is serious shit and you can't be too careful. Every part must be compatible with gas and with every other part.
I'm confused. I heard that car was burned by arson. Same car? I think it was called the Rouge.

Again, I may be confused - but I know I'm curious.
I thought it was brilliant, by the way.

Captain Plumbean
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Post by Captain Plumbean » Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:32 pm

Same car. I heard arson at first too, then heard the real story was improper hose that was not rated for propane, failed, and caused the fire.

A friend on the pyro inspection team told me last year that a piece of fire art burned up within a couple hours of inspection also due to improper hose.

When I bought the hose for Playa Air's flamethrower I went to the local forklift repair place and got the real thing. I think it was $5 something per foot. It has a propane proof inner core, then a steel braid around that, then another layer of rubber, with a fabric braid around that to protect it from abrasion. I spent about $85 for 17 feet of it. Fittings are extra, about $5 each.

Captain Plumbean
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Do not turn a propane cylinder upside down!

Post by Captain Plumbean » Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:43 pm

When you do that you do get liquid, but you lose the safety vent feature of the tank. The valve contains a pressure release that will vent excess pressure. If that vent needs to release when the tank is upside down, it will vent liquid. That liquid will prompty boil and expand 231 times its original volume. All of that gas will be right where you're playing with a very large flame.

My first year at BM, we brought 400 pounds of propane that were filled in the Bay Area. When we brought them to higher altitude and temperature, they all started to vent.

If you need liquid you can have your cylinder modified at a propane dealer. The valve will be replaced with one that has a dip tube that runs to the bottom of the tank and still allows the safety vent on the valve to work. I've only seen this done to 100 LB cylinders but I can't imagine why it couldn't be done to smaller ones.

We (the playa air crew) joke about safety 3rd all the time, but this is the kind of shit we take very seriously, and others should too. People's lives are at stake.

Rider
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Plans/advice

Post by Rider » Mon Sep 15, 2003 10:34 am

Thanks for all your help. This will be my first fire toy as an adult. Is there anyone with a basic set of plans and parts needed, gages, pressures, etc? I need as much advice as I can get. Or can some one advise me? I live in Sacramento.

flamebrain
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lightweight personal recreational flamethrowers

Post by flamebrain » Tue Oct 14, 2003 9:29 am

Hey Morlebear, I've got the goods, can answer your ?'s, and sell you the plans and parts. Let me know where you're at in your quest. :twisted:

crazybuthappy
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recreational flame throwers

Post by crazybuthappy » Mon Oct 27, 2003 12:06 pm

Flamebrain,
I am interested in what you have got. My friends and I built a flamethrower for this group Fire Fabulon. It was really just a prototype, our ignition system kept failing. However we could shoot 15 ft flames and make big rolling fire balls. Can you PM me with more details on your set-up. I would be interested in purchasing your plans if they meet my design criteria.
Thanks.

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BURNING GIRL
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Flame Burner

Post by BURNING GIRL » Sat Nov 01, 2003 9:15 am

From what I've experienced, the Bonefire guys are awsome. They make really nice stuff. Although it's a little pricey. My friend Dave has the largest back pack Bonefire on the playa. He has also branched out to making his own flame thowers. He uses a decomissioned scuba tank as his expansion chamber. If you happened to be out in front of the fire conclave camp (5:30-esplanade) you probably saw them. We aslo burnt the house of cards and johny on the spot. Just make sure that you use equipment made for gas lines. they have piping hoses fittings and all of your needs at Home Depot. Dave has made four of these bad boys, and once he got the hang of it, the last one only took 4 hours to buy and put together.
A littlt word of caution-depending on where you live,Law Enforcement hates the word flame thrower because it is a military grade weapon. I suggest you call them flame burners or something of the like.
HAVE FUN
Holly from Reno. The biggest little Hell hole in Nevada

Para
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Post by Para » Fri Dec 05, 2003 1:31 pm

if your looking for buying just a simple fire wand or something they do have " weed burners" a stick thats kinda like a torch you atach a propane tank of any size onto it and turn gas on slowly and lighter up then you can adjust the flame heck i wonder if i should just take my welding junk out there
"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things."
" its five o clock somewhere"
" where are we going? why am i in this hand basket"

Rider
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Weed / Roof burner

Post by Rider » Fri Dec 05, 2003 2:04 pm

8) Thanks, I did buy a weed burner, modified it and it works great, but it needs a bigger turbo valve. I am looking at some roof torches; they look like they put out more BTU’s. They come packaged with torch, hose, valve and regulator, everything you need for some fun :twisted: . Try this link, http://www.abccatalog.com/store/listcat ... tegory=215 .

Para
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Post by Para » Sat Dec 06, 2003 9:17 am

I belive for my first trip i dont want to take any compresed gases out there in the heat ill hang back my first year and see what everyone else has going on........
"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things."
" its five o clock somewhere"
" where are we going? why am i in this hand basket"

robotland
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Post by robotland » Mon Dec 22, 2003 12:36 pm

If you want fireballs without using gasses, pick up some "gun cotton" from your local black powder firearms vendor.....It's chemical-soaked cotton wadding that ignites readily from a spark, and as long as it's not compressed and confined it's relatively safe to play with. Or hit your friendly neighborhood magic shop for flashpaper.....
Howdy From Kalamazoo

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Bob
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Post by Bob » Sat Dec 27, 2003 1:57 pm

Bic lighter... can o' hair spray... 12" of duct tape...
cutting-torch goggles... welder's gloves, leathers & silica blanket... ABC fire extinguisher... bucket o' water... 8" collanders for big bugeyes... two busted black umbrellas for batwings... fancy playa name... all set...
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

"Let us say I suggest you may be human." -- Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

robotland
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Post by robotland » Mon Dec 29, 2003 10:57 am

You Go, Balrog Bob!
Howdy From Kalamazoo

Rider
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valve

Post by Rider » Thu Jan 15, 2004 3:54 pm

I am looking for a valve to use on my Flamethrower / Fire Belcher Volcano, any help would be appreciated . I would like a 12 volt valve about ½ inch.

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diggum
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Post by diggum » Fri Feb 13, 2004 4:26 pm

a few years back I built a small flamethrower using a butane lighter refill canister, some tubing, a nozzle and a clicker-type bbq lighter.

basically, the tubing fit snug over the nozzle of the butane can, and snaked a few feet where it was zip-tied to the top of the lighter. a metal nozzle was fitted to the end of the tub so that when I pressed the top of the butane can a bit to the side, the gas would eject the tubing just prior to the bbq lighter flame, making a nice squirt of fire.

probably dangerous as all hell. don't try it at home, kids. bring it to school and test it out there.

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Tancorix
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Post by Tancorix » Fri Feb 13, 2004 4:45 pm

I was looking at the roofing torches that Rider linked to, and I'm wondering how much propane something like that would use? I have a spare 20lb tank and at 280,000 btu's, I'm wondering if I can count the burn time in minutes or seconds?

robotland
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Post by robotland » Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:41 am

You may be pleasantly surprised.....I use one to burn the weeds out of my gravel driveway and sidewalks, and have used the same tankful for HOURS so far.... (they make a great jet ROAR!) I've been so damn sick of snow lately that I dragged it out of the barn and blasted some weird melty sculptures out of the five-foot drifts around the house......
Howdy From Kalamazoo

Rider
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Weed Burner

Post by Rider » Tue Feb 17, 2004 7:45 am

Tancorix:
I have been using my weed burner a lot and have hardly used any Propane. I would say the usage would be in the hours. :shock:

Tweeky
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Pretty fire pond

Post by Tweeky » Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:09 pm

I have been playing with fire since before I was born. I come from a long line of pryos. My dad did a cool thing last year...really easy too. He ran a length of hose from a propane tank into a little pond and and threw a match on the pond and the fire danced for hours. It is really easy and mesemerizing. Not too practical for BRC though...fun anyway.

robotland
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Post by robotland » Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:44 am

I made some interesting torches by simply dribbling some gasoline into snowbanks....The burning gas is diluted by the melting snow, and burns for a surprisingly long time......
Howdy From Kalamazoo

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theBrooke
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Weed burner modification...

Post by theBrooke » Sat Mar 13, 2004 11:35 am

I read somewhere sometime that you can fix them up to blow out little balls of fire instead of the rocket afterburner effect you get straight out of the box. I picked one up from harbor freight, just wondering if anyone has any suggestions before I start tinkering? Btw, I'm a pretty safe/paranoid person, so no worries about me blowing my eyebrows off (... although I did that a couple of times before the age of 12). I want a little portable flame device for ... well you know
=(*o*)=(^-^)=(º0º)=(*.*)=(^_^)=(*_*)=

spectabillis
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Flamethrower Design - Issues

Post by spectabillis » Thu Apr 01, 2004 4:39 pm

This is great to hear of your experiences since I am planning on this myself.

Some issues I am facing...
- Igniter
- Nozzle
- Valve

For good throughput I suppose 3/4 or 1 inch connectors and tubing. There seems to be a good choice of valves, but I am guessing one that is fully adjustable with a separate "pilot" setting is preferred for a small amount of gas to keep the nozzle head unit lit - but is this needed if you use a piezo igniter? A valve that auto-closes is also good, and pull rather that solenoid so I do not need an external power source.

The piezo igniters with a push button unit is what I am looking for, I do not want to use a flint sparker.

Nozzles: this seems to be underrated in importance. What comes with weed burners spread the flame out over a wider area but what I want is two separate nozzles that I can screw on/off. One for a wider burst for fireballs, and one for narrow and longer flames.

http://www.flameengineering.com/Jet_Torch_Kits.html
The Jet 4 C Torch Kit is the smaller of the 2 Jet Torch Kits. The torch is 3 feet, 4.5 inches in length and is rated up to 1,000,000 BTU. It is capable of producing a flame up to 5 feet in length. We recommend no less than a 100-lb. vapor cylinder.

robotland
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Post by robotland » Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:12 am

You can score a piezo unit wherever a decent selection of grills are sold, as replacements. Couplafive bucks. You can make a spud cannon with some PVC parts, a piezo sparker and can of aerosol antiperspirant......(WD40 or butane works too, but burning Right Guard has an enjoyably WRONG smell to it....)
Howdy From Kalamazoo

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