How To Make Slow Burning Fuses

How To Make Slow Burning Fuses

experimenting with homemade pyrotechnics,
things go wrong, and you don’t want to be too close if your composition explodes. I
need some sort of a pyrotechnic time-delay, so for this project I’m using items from around the house,
to make a simple form of a slow burning fuse. If you’ve seen my videos on making rocket
fuel and smoke flares, you’ll probably recognize these ingredients. This time I’m mixing up
36 grams of my stump remover with 24 grams of white table sugar. This gives me a 60 gram
composition that needs to be shaken up vigorously. I have a pre-heated frying pan set at medium
heat, so that when I add 1/3 cup of water, it boils instantly. At this point, I’ll slowly
sprinkle in the 60g mixture because I want this all to dissolve. I can stir that in with
a spatula and because the water is so hot, it dissolves completely. That’ll need to sit
for a minute, to heat up and let the water boil out, so it’s a good time to prepare my
cord. This is 100% cotton yarn, and I’m gonna be using about 12 feet of it. Ok, the water
has boiled down to the point where the slurry is getting very frothy which means this solution
is super saturated. It’s time to add the yarn into the mix to soak up the chemicals. As
the last bit of water continues to evaporate out, it’s important that every bit of yarn
is absorbing an equal amount of the solution. Holding onto one end will help prevent the
yarn from knotting up when I pull it out. This gets transferred onto a cookie sheet
using a pattern resembling a sine wave, and with about 6 turns on each side, the yarn
is evenly spaced and fits perfectly. Now this goes into an oven set to 300ºC for about
20 minutes. And while the cord is still hot, I can nudge it slightly to prevent it from
sticking to the pan when it cools later on. Alright, the time is up and this cord has
a slightly golden tinge to it, and that’s a good sign, so I’ll leave it out to cool
for about 5-10 minutes. When the cord has fully cooled, you can see it’s become stiff
and retains the shape from when it was baked. Now I can just cut these strands at the base
of the turns, using some scissors, and I’ve got a nice piece of fuse cord ready to go.
The cord is easy to cut, and a few of these strands will get cut down smaller to be used
in a batch of smoke flares I made in another project. Look for how I built those in a different
video. Ok, testing out the fuse, the first thing I notice is it lights off really quickly,
and continues a steady and progressive burn. Even with a little breeze, it’s still got
a nice flame shooting off the back, and seems to burn steady at about 3 seconds per inch.
Sweet. I tried making different fuses, this time soaking a coffee filter in the solution
and laying it out for baking. I also tried soaking some paper towel, then twisting pieces
of it into shorter but thicker fuses. After they were baked, they were very dry, and very
rigid. I cut a strip of the coffee filter first, and tested it with a rock on top, to
see if it would fizzle out when it lost contact with the open air. Surprisingly, it continued
to burn on underneath the rock, and kept on burning right out the other side. One of the
paper towel fuses was lit, but maybe twisting it wasn’t such a good idea, because when the
pressure built inside, it was gone in an instant. I tried another one, and got pretty much the
same result. When this one was lit without anything holding it down, it went airborne
So as far as consistency, reliability and aesthetics go, I’m pretty happy with the results
using the yarn. Well there’s how I made some cheap, but functional, slow burning fuses
with things around the house. If you liked this project, perhaps you’ll like some of
my others. Check them out at

100 thoughts on “How To Make Slow Burning Fuses

  1. i wouldnt uste the sugar mix, it absorbs moisture, cant be held for too long. Maybe starch? never tried myself.

  2. Is the last step of baking it in the oven really neccesary? I assume its made to prevent the potassium nitrate from crystalzing?
    I have no problems with any of the other steps nor getting the materials. But i dont have an oven available.
    Please advice?

  3. If I mix a little water with black powder and soak the yard in it, then of course dry it, will that work? I have 4 lb of ffg black powder to work with, and a can of IMR 4198 smokeless powder.

  4. For all the people in the coments:you can get potassium nitrate(KNO3)(Salpeter)from internet or buy it in the form of Stump Remover or natural fertilizer.

  5. In Afghanistan, the use of fertilizer containing KNO3 is prohibited, because there are many homemade bombs from that material.

  6. Is there a replacement for KNO3, I have no access to it in Australia cuz my hardware stores don't supply stump remover, for whatever reason.

  7. I tried it and it didn't work. Is there a special brand of stump remover I should use? I used a brand called "Bondie." It stank up the house and didn't light.

  8. Made 20 feet just an hour ago. Works like a charm. Need it for the Bullet Catch V, a mini cannon magic illusion. Thank you King of Random.

  9. Use this instead

    Take a paper and mut matches in it and then roll/twist it like a rope

    It may take a few trys but trust me its cheaper and quicker

  10. How about just rolling together multiple rolls of paper towels into a single one and then load it in a large tube? will it explode or fly off like a rocket?

  11. If i try and order KNO3 here in the UK, what are the chances of my front door being battered down in the middle of the night and me dragged away by armed Police. :o)

  12. An interesting project. The term "white table sugar"? Is that the same as White Granulated Sugar? Also after coating the Cord and placing on the Baking Tray, the Video suggests 300 deg C. ( you don't actually say which scale to use) but 300C is 572F and the Oven on MY stove doesn't even go up that high. Are you Sure its 300C??

  13. How would you make the fuses waterproof? Using them to actuate signaling devices, such as smoke flares, will not be possible if they won't burn in inclement weather. Would dipping them in paraffin work?

  14. What occurred to the tubular type fuse/s, is a form of 'thermal runaway'. If you provide an atmosphere in which 'like' gases can congregate, for reasons not totally understood by myself, the reaction accelerates exponentially.
    I was looking for a bid in which they burn det. cord – once exposed in the open. Then, insulated by a small tube, maybe 6mm ID.
    the difference in burn rate, from the same fuse material is astounding.

  15. It's Dinner time at the Bazooka family. Dad: Jonny, don't put so much salt on your meal! Jonny Bazooka: It's not salt Dad it's just Potassium Nitrate. Dad: O.K. that's alright then but little Sally, not so much of that Syrup with your pancakes! Little Sally Bazooka: Aw! Dad it's not syrup it's only Nitro Glycerine. Just everyday Household Items one can expect to find. (Warning. Anyone taking the preceding seriously will be Morphed into a Klingon)

  16. I just happened to have this chemical, I originally bought it to speed up germination for peppers

  17. What if I connect the cotten yarn fuse end to end? Will the fire reach the second part of the fuse??? What can I do to connect 2 of them? I actually need to make a very long fuse. Please help ASAP, it's required urgently. Thank you

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