These are some of the tools I use, some essential, others simply useful. I probably spend as much or more time making or acquiring tooling as making the final products. A lot of materials can be found as scrap or free, most others obtained cheaply, though a few you just have to spend the money on.
This is my homemade starplate. A friend of mine had some scrap pieces of 3/8 inch plexiglass that he gave me for the plates. I initially had some trouble finding a good source for the 3/8 inch acrylic rod. My local suppliers wanted to charge me three dollars a foot! I finally found a great source on-line that has a great inventory and no minimum at United States Plastics. I ended up paying $2.75 for twelve feet. Complete instructions can be found on Dan William's site.
This is a 1 1/8 inch crossette comet pump. You can make basic comet pumps in a variety of ways, but with the crossette cavity it becomes more difficult. I bought this pump from Richard Wolter who makes excellent quality products at great prices.
This is my one ton arbor press. It's a very useful tool, especially when you're just starting out in pyrotechnics. I use it for pressing smaller items like whistles, small comets and crossettes. You can find them in a variety of places, I got mine from Harbor Freight Tools.
This is a 12 ton hydraulic press that I got from Hobby Fireworks. You need more than an arbor press when you start pressing larger comets and rockets. You can build a basic press for less, but I chose to purchase mine. This model can be attached to an air compressor to eliminate the monotony of hand pumping the jack.