Learning to Hack Fireworks with the WPA

Craft & Design Science
Learning to Hack Fireworks with the WPA
Photo: Christian Haselgrübler

comingtobayareamakerfaire_2013Founded in 1989 by a handful of dedicated “pyros,” the Western Pyrotechnics Association is a west-coast answer to the older Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI) and other fireworks enthusiast and advocacy groups. The WPA works with hobbyists and professionals to promote fireworks safety, educate about the science and art of fireworks display, and to entertain the public. They host two major events, each year, featuring seminars and workshops on how to build rockets, mortar shells, girandolas and other pyrotechnic effects.

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Embedded above, some impressive display footage from one of their recent “Winterblast” events. The WPA also organizes group sales of firework-making supplies and chemicals. If you’re a lonely, west-coast pyro looking to meet some like-minded folks, you can sign up for membership at their web portal, linked below, or check ’em out up close and personal at the upcoming Bay Area Maker Faire.

Western Pyrotechnics Association

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan