Author Topic: Dragon Eggs  (Read 589 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Astroboy

  • Court Jester
  • Pyro Supremo
  • *****
  • Posts: 83
  • Karma: +10/-0
    • shell caliber >12"
    • Pyrolife
Dragon Eggs
« on: March 10, 2014, 09:39:25 PM »
Dragon Eggs

Making Dragon Eggs isn't difficult, but a lot of guys find getting them to work to be pretty difficult.
There are a few little tricks, mainly in the preparation that will have your eggs crackling every time.

Step 1 - Gather your bits together

Ok, you're going to need the usual bowls, spoons, gloves, scales & screens etc if you're going to cut them (for larger eggs) you'll need a good flat blade knife, some baking paper and a rolling frame & roller. If you're after smaller eggs you can just granulate them with a screen or press them through a garlic press. The garlic press makes excellent mouse poo sized eggs with very little effort. These work really well as small star cores.

Next you'll need some raw materials, You will need one of the following: Lead Tetraoxide, Bismuth Sub Carbonate or Bismuth Trioxide. The first 2 work exceptionally well but the Lead is very toxic and Bismuth Sub Carbonate seems to be pretty hard to find. Bismuth Trioxide is a little easier to find but its very hard to get working, If you're using the Trioxide it MUST be very dry, you really need to use it on the same day you dry it, once you've stored it even for a few days it seems to only work sluggishly if at all. Also it must be milled as fine as possible. The drying and milling are critical to getting the Trioxide to work. The Lead & Sub Carb seem to work without Issues

The next thing you will need is Black Copper Oxide, this is not required in a couple of comps.

You will also need some Magnalium Powder, Ive used many sizes from -60m to 325m, All sizes work, the bigger the particle size the bigger the crackle, 6 mm Eggs made with -60m go off like 1/2 gm flash crackers while eggs made with smaller sizes have multiple smaller crackles.

This brings us to the final and make or break component, Nitrocellulose Lacquer. Ill go through making NC Lacquer before the next step. Without doubt the most important part of a Dragon Eggs energetic lifestyle is the smolder stage, where a drop of molten Mag/Al forms and then explodes. The NC Lacquer is a key component in this stage, so if your lacquers not right your Eggs wont work.


Nitrocellulose Lacquer

Making NC Lacquer Isn't hard, just find any source of NC and dissolve in Acetone, but what you make the Lacquer from and the consistency you end up with can make big differences. For NC you can use homemade, made by nitrating cotton balls or pads Ive also heard you can purchase NC online from Aliexpress, Smokeless Gunpowder or the most commonly available is Table Tennis balls(not the Vinyl ones). The first 2 work very well and Table Tennis balls do work but results vary, not all Table Tennis balls are created equal, i believe some contain Dyes, Plasticizes and Stabilizers, I tried lighting a couple of different brands and they varied from just burning to burning quite aggressively, the later would obviously make a better lacquer. Below are some pics of the batch of NC Lacquer I made to make the Eggs in this thread, the main requirement for the lacquer is that there's enough NC in there, the Lacquer made with homemade NC comes out a little gelatinous and about the consistency of store bought apple sauce. If your'e using Table Tennis balls aim to end up with a Honey like consistency.
Eggs made with Table Tennis ball lacquer are notoriously hard to light you will need to ensure you prime them very well with a hot Dragon Egg prime


Step 2 - Weigh up and mix the dry components together

For this thread I'm using a modified version of the 37.5/37.5/25 formula found here http://www.yourehooked.com/forum/index.php?topic=78.0

Weigh up the dry ingredients for a 200 gm batch as follows:

70 gms Bismuth Trioxide/Antimony Oxide Mix.
For this mix Ive MILLED TOGETHER well dried Bismuth Trioxide 70% and Antimony Oxide 25%
70 gms Black Copper Oxide
50 gms Magnalium -100 mesh +300 mesh

This mix is more reliable and performs better than straight Trioxide, It also stores very well, this batch was made over a year ago and i don't need to dry it before use

Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and combine well with a spoon or stirrer


Screen the ingredients 2 or 3 times till very well intergrated, you should not be able to see any specs of individual chems


Step 3 - Add the NC Lacquer - Don't be shy

For this 200 gm batch I added 4 large spoons (I use the Chinese soup spoons) of NC Lacquer, better to add more than not enough, Its easier to combine when it's a little gooey and only just drips off the spoon, NC Lacquer being Acetone based will dry up pretty quick


Let the mix dry up a bit till it becomes a firm dough. When it doesn't slump when formed into a peak its ready to turn out onto baking paper.


Turn the firm dough out onto baking paper and knead into a ball, the remnants in the bowl and spoon will dry quickly, i used a plastic bowl and spoon so a quick twist will see the remnants flake off, knead this into the dough ball


Spread the dough ball out roughly by hand and then roll out to even sheet, I used a rolling board with 5 mm rails so might sheet is a nice even 5 mm thick, Start cutting the sheet with a flat bladed knife, I use a thin blade cleaver a got from the Chinese grocery store for about $4


Cut the entire sheet in both directions with the gap between cuts being the same as the thickness of the sheet to end up with nice little cubes, in this case 5mm x5mm x5mm. It should be getting fairly dry as your doing this and the top layer or skin will most likely crack up like flaky pastry, don't worry too much about this. These little flakes can be removed later and come in handy.


Once you've  finished cutting give it a couple of minutes to dry up then drag the paper sheet over a square or round bar to open up the cuts, do this in both directions and repeat a couple of times during drying, doing this will make the cubes separate very easily when dry, Its best to break them up before they are completely dry, they come apart easier.


When they've dried up pretty well I put them in a Kitchen sieve and swirl them around and also rub them around gently, this removes the small flakes and loose dust, I put this through a very fine sieve to remove the dust leaving just the flakes, these can be used in fountains or put in star comps for effect.


« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 09:12:56 PM by Astroboy »
He who dies with the most toys wins

Offline Bismuth

  • Full Addict
  • Pyro Supremo
  • *****
  • Posts: 75
  • Karma: +3/-0
    • shell caliber <2''
Re: Dragon Eggs
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 04:09:46 PM »
Touches on the intricate details and tips for making great dragon eggs. Very nice tutorial, thank you.

And thanks to the mass-produced commercial cake market from China. You're not allowed to make a cake if it doesn't crackle 8).

Offline leedrill

  • Full Addict
  • Pyromaniac
  • *****
  • Posts: 68
  • Karma: +4/-0
    • shell caliber 6"
Re: Dragon Eggs
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 06:30:39 PM »
as im sure you are aware astro that tute is brilliant very short and to the point rather than long winded and confusing
thanks so much for putting in the time for the bits youve done recently greatly appreciated

Offline Astroboy

  • Court Jester
  • Pyro Supremo
  • *****
  • Posts: 83
  • Karma: +10/-0
    • shell caliber >12"
    • Pyrolife
Re: Dragon Eggs
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 07:53:21 PM »
Thanks Lee, hope its helpful , trying not to waffle on. Hopefuuly will be doing a lot more as we go along

Today I decided that I'd do it by the book and prime them properly and see what happens.
I used Perc 70% Red Gum 20% Mag/Al 325 10%

Normally I use 60 or 70 mesh in the Eggs themselves but this time I used -100m +300m and I'm really happy to be getting a multi crackle effect, could also be a change in the comp, when I proof read the thread I noticed the scale photos show I only weighed out 70 gms ea of the CUO and Bis/Ant mix instead of 75 whoops, anywho they worked and I'm pretty happy with the result - Check the vid

<a href="http://youtu.be/1WqNCDpuzag" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://youtu.be/1WqNCDpuzag</a>
Might have to light a few more of those
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 08:14:35 PM by Astroboy »
He who dies with the most toys wins

Offline Falcon

  • Full Addict
  • Pyromaniac
  • *****
  • Posts: 58
  • Karma: +3/-0
  • I only use Gunpowder, the one and only!
    • shell caliber 3"
Re: Dragon Eggs
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2014, 10:52:18 PM »
Great tutorial Astro.
Also thanks for putting up your prime formula, I haven't been too sure on what to prime mine with, so I might give that a go.

Another thing; does you camera muffle the sound of the eggs?
Its just that for me they don't seem to be that loud on the video. Mine are 6mm cubes and sound like gunshots when they go off. So I have to be careful when I'm testing them so I don't annoy any neighbors!

Offline Astroboy

  • Court Jester
  • Pyro Supremo
  • *****
  • Posts: 83
  • Karma: +10/-0
    • shell caliber >12"
    • Pyrolife
Re: Dragon Eggs
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2014, 11:17:44 PM »
The camera is muffling it a little but this lot seem to go more smaller cracks, normally they are as you describe and I don't let them off in the back yard, Ill try a couple more tomorrow and see what thy're like when the primes completely dry, I bound the prime with metho which can have a bit of moisture in there and take a day or so.
I've read a couple of articles where they recommend you use a different solvent to apply the prime, possibly so the prime chems don't leach into the star comp.
I used a different Mag/Al this time and screwed the comp a little which could have made a bit of difference. Might do a do over in a week or so and see if it makes any difference.
Also I didn't re dry the Bis/Ant mix and wondering if it may have a little moisture in there.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 11:22:36 PM by Astroboy »
He who dies with the most toys wins