This is for all the pyro nuts that I came across on Instructables. This can be used to grind chemicals to a very fine grain or to polish rocks.Wiki says "A ball mill is a type of grinder used to grind materials into extremely fine powder for use in paints, pyrotechnics, and ceramics."Many instructables refer to United Nuclear Ball Mills. Their small ball mill cost between $70 and $80 dollars.For no more than $30 and in 5 minute you can build a ball mill of appreciable performance.Check out my other Instructables:MAKE A HIGH VOLTAGE SUPPLY IN 5 MINUTESHack The Spy Ear and Learn to Reverse Engineer a CircuitSuper Easy E-mail Encryption Using Gmail, Firefox and WindowsMake a Rechargeable Dual Voltage Power Supply for Electronic ProjectsMake a Voltage Controlled Resistor and Use ItSODA CAN HYDROGEN GENERATOR
You need 1. A rugged container (You can use PVC pipes or big plastic bottles) 2. An electric screwdriver (these are fairly cheap, I got mine for $10) 3. A bolt, a nut and maybe a washer. 4. Epoxy putty. 5. Steel or lead balls which in my case I substituted with screwdriver bits that I got for $3. 6. A vise clamp to hold down your ball mill.
This is the most important step. The joint holding the the container and electric screwdriver should be strong and able to hold the weight of the assembly. Put a little putty on the bolt first. Insert the bolt into the screwdriver's bit holder. Cover the whole joint with putty. The more putty the better the ball mill stays together.
Fill the container with the screwdriver bits or with steel balls or lead balls. Add the chemical you need to grind. Close the container and clamp the whole assembly to a table top. I use a popsicle stick to hold the screwdriver button down. I jam it between the clam vise and electric screwdriver (see video). But that depends on your electric screwdriver.
Im interested in this mill to dispose of mercury by combining it with sulphur to make mercury sulphide (HgS).A test report done in EU says an hours milling is best so there is no elemental mercury left.And the mercury sulphide is insoluble and is the same substance that mercury is found in the Earth which is cinnabar.
I may well be able to find a power drill at a resale shop, or buy an inexpensive one for the purpose. Any feedback on how well a power drill motor will hold up to being run for 24 hours continuously? I plan to make paper machie. I want to make a very fine paper pulp. While I doubt this is flammable, I would like to hear any comments on this as well. Who'd a thought flour was explosive?
If you want fine paper pulp, you may wish to consider using a blender. Ball mills are typically only needed for moderately-to-very hard materials that need to be crushed to effectively split them, and which might damage a blender if used in it.
Instead of using an electric screw driver, you could use a drill and a drill bit. Just putty the drill bit (preferably an old one) to the bolt inside the container. Seems like it would be a more powerful ball mill. But I'm definitely going to try this idea. Seems like it would be cool to make some gun powder. There's some simple step-by-step instructions on Wiki How if you guys need some instructions.
I would stay away from lead if you are making gun powder. That smoke that surrounds black powder ignition is not good for you. Fine particles of lead suspended in that smoke would be hell on your lungs etc.. i use a tumbler to get crud off of coins taken from the sea. Beach sand won't work well with water to do the job. But the sand at the oceans edge which is coarse makes a great scrubbing agent. Maybe some aquarium gravel would work to reduce some objects in size. Commercial media is often hell to work with.
hmm... methinks you should support the container. lead balls are heavy and (I'm assuming most people will want to make gunpowder with this so they'll have to use only lead balls) the current setup is going to make the screwdriver wear a lot, and the bottom of the container isn't going to last very long... I like this idea though, I haven't found a suitable motor to drive my ball mill, they're all either too weak or they're way too fast.
I know this is quite literally 10 years late, but for other hobbyists, try supporting it with a screw on the other side like the design pictured. The back end's screw can go through a piece of wood, brick etc. at the same level as the screw driver, creating a healthy amount of support, for a vitamin bottle filled with lead Potassium Nitrate, Sulfur and Carbon.
OR, you could just attach a bolt into the cap like he did for the bottom. Make a triangular piece of wood. Drill a hole for the bolt to fit through. And find some way to support the piece of wood? Seems like it would work to me, could even make your own cradle to support everything for that matter :P I'd never use something like this so have no need to make one, but that would be my advice :D
Brian Johnson: [closing narration] Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...
Brian Johnson: [opening narration immediately after the title sequence] Saturday, March 24, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois, 60062. Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed.
Andrew: And the bizarre thing is that I did it for my old man. I tortured this poor kid because I wanted him to think that I was cool. He's always going off about how when he was in school and all the wild things he used to do. And I got the feeling that he was disappointed that I never cut loose on anyone, right? So I'm sitting in the locker room and I'm taping up my knee, and Larry's undressing a couple lockers down from me. And he's kinda, he's kinda skinny. Weak. And I started thinkin' about my father, and his attitude about, about weakness. And the next thing I knew, I jumped on top of him and started whaling on him. And my friends, they just laughed and cheered me on. And afterwards, when I'm sitting in Vernon's office, all I could think about was Larry's father and Larry having to go home and explain what happened to him. And the humiliation - the fucking humiliation he must have felt. It must have been unreal. I mean, how... how do you apologize for something like that? There's no way. It's all because of me and my old man. God, I fucking hate him. He's like this mindless machine that I can't even relate to anymore.
Andrew: 'Andrew! You've got to be number one! I won't tolerate any losers in this family! Your intensity is for shit! Win! Win! Win!' You son of a bitch. You know, sometimes I wish my knee would give. And I wouldn't be able to wrestle anymore. And he could forget all about me.
John Bender: God! You're so pathetic. Don't you ever, *ever* compare yourself to me, okay. You got everything, and I got shit. Fuckin' Rapunzel, right? School would probably fuckin' shut down if you didn't show up. Queenie isn't here. I like those earrings, Claire.
John Bender: I'll bet he bought those for you. I bet those were a Christmas gift. Right? You know what I got for Christmas? Oh, it was a banner fucking year at the old Bender family. I got a carton of cigarettes. The old man grabbed me and said, "Hey, smoke up Johnny." All right? So go home and cry to your Daddy. Don't cry here, okay?
Allison Reynolds: I don't have to run away and live in the street. I can run away and I can go to the ocean, I can go to the country, I can go to the mountains. I could go to Israel, Africa, Afghanistan.
Bender: [running through the halls singing] I wanna be an airborne ranger / I wanna lead a life of danger / Before the day I die / There's five things I wanna ride / Bicycle, tricycle, automobile / Virgin's mother and a ferris wheel...
John Bender: My impression of life at Big Bri's house, "Son?" "Yeah, Dad?" "How was your day, son?" "Great, Dad. How's yours?" "Super. Say, how would like to go fishing this weekend?" "Great, Dad. But I got homework to do." "That's okay, son. You can do it on the boat." "Gee." "Hon, isn't our son swell?" "Yes, dear. Isn't life swell?"
Claire Standish: What would your friends say if we were walking down the hall together. They'd laugh their asses off and you'd probably tell them you were doing it with me so they'd forgive you for being seen with me.
John Bender: Don't you ever talk about my friends. You don't know any of my friends. You don't look at any of my friends. And you certainly wouldn't condescend to speak to any of my friends. So you just stick to the things you know: shopping, nail polish, your father's BMW, and your poor, rich drunk mother in the Caribbean.
John Bender: And as far as being concerned about what's gonna happen when you and I walk down the hallways of school together, you can forget it cuz it's never gonna happen. Just bury your head in the sand and wait for your fuckin' prom.
Carl: Oh really? You guys think I'm just some untouchable peasant? Serf? Peon? Well, maybe so. But following a broom around after shitheads like you for the last 8 years, I've learned a couple of things. I look through your letters. I look through your lockers. I listen to your conversations, you don't know that but I do. I am the eyes and ears of this institution, my friends.
Richard Vernon: [Andrew laughs at Bender's backtalk] You think he's funny? You think this is cute? You think he's "bitchin," is that it? Let me tell you something. Look at him - he's a bum. You want to see something funny? You go visit John Bender in five years. You'll see how goddamned funny he is.
Richard Vernon: And YOU... will not sleep. All right, people, we're going to try something a little different, today. We are going to write an essay of no less than a thousand words describing to me who you think you are.
John Bender: Sweets. You couldn't ignore me if you tried. So... so. Are you guys like boyfriend-girlfriend? Steady dates? Lovers? Come on, sporto, level with me. Do you slip her the hot beef injection?
Richard Vernon: That's the last time, Bender. That the last time you ever make me look bad in front of those kids, you hear me? I make $31,000 a year and I have a home and I'm not about to throw it all away on some punk like you. But someday when you're outta here and you've forgotten all about this place and they've forgotten all about you, and you're wrapped up in your own pathetic life, I'm gonna be there. That's right. And I'm gonna kick the living shit out of you. I'm gonna knock your dick in the dirt.
Richard Vernon: What are you gonna do about it? You think anyone's gonna believe you? You think anyone is gonna take your word over mine? I'm a man of respect around here. They love me around here. I'm a swell guy. You're a lying sack of shit and everybody knows it. Oh, you're a tough guy. Hey c'mon. Get on your feet pal. Let's find out how tough you are. I wanna know right now how tough you are.
John Bender: Well not at present, but I can see you really pushing maximum density. See I'm not sure if you know this, but there are two kinds of fat people: there's fat people that were born to be fat, and there's fat people that were once thin but became fat... so when you look at 'em you can sorta see that thin person inside. You see, you're gonna get married, you're gonna squeeze out a few puppies and then, uh...
Allison Reynolds: [after Andrew says he would drive to school naked for one million dollars] I'd do that. I'll do anything sexual, and I don't need a million dollars to do it either. I'm a nymphomaniac.
Andrew: [standing up for Claire after she's been bullied by Bender one too many times] Let's end this right now. You don't talk to her, you don't look at her and you don't even think about her! You understand me?
Supplying the science hobbyist, industry, government, schools & universities since 1998. "We specialize in small orders" Black Powder Manufacture Black Powder (Gunpowder) is the backbone of pyrotechnics. Black Powder is the main ingredient in a variety of firework and rocket formulas.
Black Powder, also known as Gunpowder, is produced in large quantities commercially and sold in small 1 pound containers, mainly for use in antique Black Powder guns. It is also normally sold in different granulations which indicate how fine the Black Powder is granulated by how many "F's" they put on the container. Coarse granulations are called "FG or FFG" (aka "1Fg" and "2Fg"). Finer granulations are "FFFg and "FFFFg" (aka 3Fg and 4Fg). The more "F's", the finer the Black Powder... and the finer the Black Powder is, the faster it burns. Small (fine) granulations burn faster and are used in small bore guns, where larger (coarser) granulations, are used for larger bore guns & cannons... and for launching Aerial Firework Shells out of mortars. Using a finer granulation for these jobs puts too much strain on the gun (or shell or mortar) because the powder burns much faster and creates a fast pressure increase that could damage whatever you're trying to launch, or the gun/mortar itself. Coarser, granulated Black Powder that is used in mortars to launch shells, or in Roman Candles to shoot out stars, is sometimes called "Lift Powder". When Black Powder isn't granulated and is in a super fine powder state (similar to that of Talcum Powder) it is called "Meal Powder".
Smokeless Powder is not to be confused with Black Powder. Smokeless Powder is actually Nitrocellulose, and cannot be used in place of Black Powder. Keep in mind that Black Powder, Gunpowder, Lift Powder, Grain Powder, and Meal Powder are basically all the same material. As far as fireworks are concerned, Black Powder is used both in its finely powdered form (Meal Powder) for coating starts and for mixing in other pyrotechnic formulas, and in its granulated form (Lift Powder) for launching shells out of a mortar, or stars out of a Roman Candle.
The formula for Black Powder is 75% Potassium Nitrate, 15% Charcoal, and 10% Sulfur... and like all chemical formulas, it is measured by weight only. However, you just can't mix these chemicals together and expect to produce a well functioning Black Powder mix. The mixing process for Black Powder is just as important as the formula. Black Powder MUST be made in a Ball Mill to work properly. A Ball Mill is a rotating drum with dozens of lead balls inside. The 3 chemicals are loaded into the Ball Mill, along with the lead balls, sealed shut and allowed to rotate for anywhere between 1 hour and 24 hours. As the Ball Mill rotates, the lead balls will crush the chemicals together, forcing some of the Potassium Nitrate into the pores of the Charcoal and Sulfur. At the same time, the entire mass will be reduced to a super fine powder. The longer the Ball Mill runs, the stronger the Black Powder will be. A general rule of thumb for all pyrotechnic mixtures is " the finer the powder is, the faster it will burn ". ONLY lead balls can be used in a Ball Mill as they are completely non-sparking. ONLY Black Powder can be mixed in a Ball Mill. Other pyrotechnic mixtures such as Flash Powder, etc. CAN NOT, as they are too sensitive and will explode. Individual chemicals however, can also be Ball Milled into a fine powder, but the mill must be cleaned before this is done. If you are a do-it-yourself type of person, you can build your own Ball Mill. For those that don't want to go through the hassle of building one from scratch, Ball Mills, complete with hardened lead balls are available from us. They can be found by Clicking Here.
Once the mill has run for a while, it can be opened and the lead balls separated from the fine Meal Powder. As we'll show you below, this Meal Powder can now be used to make all the other forms of Black Powder for use in fireworks.
A lot of people ask which is stronger, Black Powder or Flash Powder... or if Black Powder can be used in Salutes (exploding fireworks). In short, there is no comparison. Flash Powder is a high explosive, a shattering explosive. It converts to a gas so fast, that objects near it, and containers that hold it cannot move out of they way (or vent) fast enough to release this gas so they are destroyed into fragments. Black Powder is a low explosive, a heaving explosive. It converts to gas much more slowly than Flash Powder, and generally pushes things as opposed to fragmenting them. If Black Powder is used in a small Salute like an M-80, it will just make a loud "pop", and push out the end plugs. Flash Powder in an M-80 will make a loud explosion and fragment the tube into small pieces. Flash Powder burns so much faster than Black Powder that in larger Salutes, it doesn't even matter if you've got end plugs on the tube at all, it will still detonate and fragment the Salute, even with 2 open ends. You can NEVER substitute Flash Powder for Black Powder or vice-versa. If you were to use Flash Powder to launch a shell out of a tube, or a bullet out of a gun, it would barely move the shell or bullet, and completely destroy the mortar or gun, most probably killing the operator.
You will need 3 chemicals to make Black Powder, they are: Potassium Nitrate, Sulfur and Charcoal. Stay away from very low grade materials like "Dusting Sulfur" and Bar-B-Que Charcoal Briquettes. The Charcoal you use in a BBQ (Bar-B-Que Charcoal Briquettes) is not pure Charcoal. It contains other materials and chemicals that are designed to keep the material burning evenly and for a long time, but it will make very poor Black Powder. If you use low quality chemicals, it will yield a low quality or non functional Black Powder. The sale of common oxidizers (like Potassium Nitrate) are being increasingly regulated by the U.S. Government and they are becoming very difficult to find. Many customers report that they have used 'Tree Stump Remover', which apparently is almost pure Potassium Nitrate... and is available in most hardware or garden supply stores. The following is the standard formula for Black Powder:
Open the lid to your Ball Mill and add the following: 150 grams of Potassium Nitrate, 30 grams of Charcoal Powder, and 20 grams of Sulfur ( if your lead balls are not already in the tumbling barrel, go ahead and put them in now ). Remember that ONLY lead balls can be used because they are completely non-sparking. When complete, this will make 200 grams of Black Powder ( a little under 1/2 pound ). You can make larger or smaller batches, just keep the percentages of all the chemicals the same. You MUST use an accurate scale to weigh your chemicals, preferably one that is accurate to 1/10th of a gram. If you do not have access to an accurate scale, you can find some for sale on our site here.
With all 3 chemicals and the lead balls inside, put the lid on the tumbling barrel and seal it, then set it in the Mill. Turn on your Ball Mill and let it rotate for 2 to 4 hours. As the Ball Mill rotates, the lead balls will crush the chemicals together and reduce them into a super fine powder. The longer you let it grind, the stronger your Black Powder will be. Let the Ball Mill do its grinding in an uninhabited area, not in a place like your bedroom. Although the chance of accidental ignition is very remote, it is wise to put your mill in the garage, or better yet, outside to do its work.
At the end of a couple of hours stop the mill. Lay out a sheet of paper ( newspaper will work fine ). Open the lid to the barrel, and dump the entire contents ( lead balls and all ) into a spaghetti strainer over your sheet of paper. The strainer will catch the lead balls and with a little shaking, all the Black Powder will filter through onto your paper sheet. When Black Powder is in a fine "dust-like" state like this, it is called "Meal Powder". The Meal Powder you just made can now be used as-is in a variety of formulas and projects. By adding a little water and Dextrin to it, you can easily make Black Match Fuse or Quickmatch.
There are some applications where very fine Black Powder ( Meal Powder ) will not work well. If you're going to use your Black Powder to launch shells out of a mortar, or for small cannons, it will have to be granulated first. Black Powder that is granulated and used for launching shells and salutes is called "Lifting Powder". The procedure for making lifting powder is easy, but it sometimes takes a few tries to get it perfect. Basically all we're going to do is to add a little of a water soluble glue ( Dextrin ) to the Meal Powder, mix it well, get it a little damp, and push it through the spaghetti strainer again. This will produce small granules of Black Powder perfect for launching shells or anything else. The whole trick to this is not to get the mixture too wet, or it will become gooey and just turn into a big mess.
To convert your Meal Powder into Lifting Powder, take 100 grams of Meal Powder and mix in 10 grams of dextrin. A good way to mix them is to put the mixture in a plastic container with a snap-on lid and shake well. Pour the powder through the spaghetti strainer again, this will break up any lumps in the dextrin. Now place the Meal Powder/Dextrin mix back in your plastic container and add just a little water. This is where experience really pays off. The idea here it to get the mixture damp and not wet. What can be deceiving is that you're adding water to a very fine powder, so it's going to take several minutes of mixing just to get the powder to begin to absorb any water at all. Add just a little water at a time, mixing thoroughly. As the powder begins to take in water, it will turn a bit darker in color. You want the mixture to be damp enough to where if you take a handful of it and squeeze it tightly, it will just begin stick together. You do not want to get it too wet. If you do, it will not go through the spaghetti strainer and will just clump up on the bottom, or not go through the holes at all. If disaster strikes and you have added too much water, you can always just add some plain Meal Powder to the mix to dry it out. Just FYI, adding the water also increases the strength of the Black Powder by allowing some of the Potassium Nitrate to dissolve and be absorbed into the pores of the charcoal particles.
Once the mixture is damp, lay out another sheet of newspaper and dump the mixture into the spaghetti strainer. Using a wooden or plastic spoon ( or your hands if you don't mind getting messy ), rub the mixture through the screen allowing the granules to fall onto the newspaper below. The Lift Powder you're making will have to dry for a few days before it can be used, so make sure to spread it around on the newspaper so it will dry more quickly.
If your mixture isn't all going through the screen, or is sticking on the bottom, chances are it's too wet. Take the mixture out of the strainer and mix in some plain dry Meal Powder and try again. If the mixture is going through easily, but isn't really making granules, it might be a bit too dry. Take the mixture out of the strainer and add a small amount of water, mix well and try again.