This whole thing started one winter when I was getting Glasgows Christmas decorations ready for installation. Another employee and I were having a silly competition to see who could fire a Smartie lid the furthest, and since there were no official rules to the game, I decided that thumping the tube with my fist wasn't enough and a small explosive charge was required.
Being with a theatrical installation company I have access to special effect equipment including pyrotechnic cartridges, and it followed that I used one to "boost" a Smartie tubes lid firing capacity quite considerably. When I set this arrangement up for the first time we all stood round in the warehouse that we were working in at the time and watched intently as I detonated the empty Smartie tube.
Although I had used a low power FX cartridge as the source of the components, it certainly wasn't low power when used in a Smartie tube... There was an almighty THUD! and a vertical column of intense white flame followed by a gentle fluttering of confetti which had originated from the Smartie tube.
We never found the lid, but I did win the competition.

Here we go then... Yum, yum. Delicious Smarties, now what could be bad about that?

This is a gutted pyro FX cartridge of the type that you see used on stage and film.
As you can see, it contains a small amount of flash powder and an electric match with a spring loaded contact.
The flash powder has been tipped into a container and the electric match removed.

To make connection easier, the spring is desoldered from the electric match and a pair of wires are soldered in place.
Be very careful if you do this, the electric match alone can cause serious finger and shrapnel damage if detonated in your vicinity. Remember that you are "soldering" onto a heat sensitive device. (that should put you off)

A small hole is made in the base of the Smartie tube and the detonator is taped into place.
A few wraps of tape will also strengthen the base of the tube.

Once the tube is ready it is sat into a steady base like a roll of insulation tape, and loaded with the flash powder (the lift charge) and a small portion of Smarties.
At this point it should be noted that the Smarties will become high speed shrapnel which could cause injury including blinding. For this test we were wanting to ascertain how far the Smarties would be spread in the vicinity of the explosion, and we took cover behind a steel door when we detonated the tube.
For fun applications, I would strongly recommend that the tube is only loaded with the flash powder and no solid objects at all.


OK, it's time to confess. I used an empty tube for this shot, since I didn't want a Smartie embedded in either my camera or my forehead. The photo has been taken just after the detonation since it would have been hard to get the timing exactly right for the actual explosion and the smoke plume is a big part of the effect.
The first firing was with a load of Smarties, and was rather spectacular. A huge boom followed by the sound of Smarties landing on the top of the adjacent buildings.

The tube has been completely destroyed and there are no Smarties in sight.

Part of the shredded tube.

After a long search we finally found a couple of cremated Smarties and a few more shreds of Smartie tube.

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