As you have have seen on my page I have been utilizing 3D printing to make components for use in fireworks displays. Once of the questions that always comes up is "hey won't that melt" when people realize your holders are made of PLA or ABS plastic. The answer is no, not if it's treated properly. When finishing products we treat anything that will be exposed to heat with silicone. The silicone greatly increases the temperature that the PLA or ABS will melt as it is a polymer and has been used in this application for many years. You can read about others use of similar techniques here.
One of my most recent projects is to create shell bodies out of PLA. When creating shell bodies that will hold composition, it is necessary to build in weak points so that when the shell burst, it creates smaller particles (fallout). In addition using very thin materials will ensure that the material is broken up into small pieces that burn prior to reaching the ground (there will always be some fallout).
I have read the arguments that many people don't like plastic in construction but plastic materials have been used for a long time and even some commercial builders use it in construction (although becoming rare these days). The truth is that I can build with this material more quickly than paper equivalent. For the moment though I am waiting on my ATF license to come through so there will be no building (manufacturing) until I find land for a new facility (as I'm not allowed to build where my storage is currently). The search is on as building is a passion of mine. The move from hobbyist to professional is where I'm at and I'm sure you will see many examples in my future blog post.
After all this pyrotechnics thing is fun but also a lot of work! One of my other passions is model rocketry. As you can see below, 3D printing can also be used to make custom built model rocket parts and components that are sometimes better than what can be purchased.
In the display to the left I am making rocket guides for line rockets using model rocket motors and off the shelf components. These rockets can be built cheaper than they can be purchased and since model rockets of this size are not a regulated item I plan on selling the kits to build your own.
In short there are many uses for 3D printing in pyrotechnics. Drop me a line if you can think of other ideas and look for my post on shell building using 3D printed designs soon. Also jump over to skylighter and have a look at the plastic shell kits they sell. I plan on making many types of plastic shell kits once I have my ATF license and find the time and suitable location to do testing. It will be nice to have my own facility and the search is on. Until next time, Stay Green!