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Making Black Powder


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#1 Techohead

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 12:39 PM

hello everyone, i'm Techohead and i am new to this site, so forgive me if i'm creating a new post thats been done to death, but i'm having problems making my own Black Powder, in that it's grey. this powder seems to still work somewhat, but i'm positive i'm using the correct ratios. the only conclusion i can come to is that there may be a percentage of ash within my homemade charcoal, although i made it by the specified process.

please post any comments, and i will probably report back to this same post when my next BP making problem arises, and i wish to keep this post open to any other similar questions regarding black powder, as i must master it before i begin attempting making my own aerial shells.

Edited by Techohead, 19 October 2007 - 12:42 PM.


#2 Bonny

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 01:01 PM

hello everyone, i'm Techohead and i am new to this site, so forgive me if i'm creating a new post thats been done to death, but i'm having problems making my own Black Powder, in that it's grey. this powder seems to still work somewhat, but i'm positive i'm using the correct ratios. the only conclusion i can come to is that there may be a percentage of ash within my homemade charcoal, although i made it by the specified process.

please post any comments, and i will probably report back to this same post when my next BP making problem arises, and i wish to keep this post open to any other similar questions regarding black powder, as i must master it before i begin attempting making my own aerial shells.



I'm sure you can find the answers to your questions here somewhere.Might take some time searching, but there's a wealth of info on BP here. Plus you can learn a lot more while you read looking for your answers.
My BP is always grey before wetting and pressing and/or corning. I think the colour is because the KNO3 is white and the sulfur is yellow. As for ash,you should be able to see it on your charcoal before you process it. When I've had some ash, I've blown the ash off with compressed air or washed it off with water.

#3 YT2095

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 02:16 PM

gray and with a hint of Green, it`s perfectly normal :)
you need to damp it a little and press it into a solid (almost a ceramic) with a car jack or the likes.
it`s a totally different beasty then :)
"In a world full of wonders mankind has managed to invent boredom" - Death

#4 W.P

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 05:44 PM

the only conclusion i can come to is that there may be a percentage of ash within my homemade charcoal, although i made it by the specified process.


Or it could be that you are using the wrong charcoal for a cooking process designed for a different type of charcoal. What charcoal are you using?

Edited by W.P, 19 October 2007 - 05:44 PM.


#5 Mumbles

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 12:11 AM

To my knowledge, there are no different methods for different types of woods. Destructive distillation is the only way I know of to make charcoal, aka heat decomposition in the absence of oxygen. I would imagine chemical dehydration(ie sugar w/ sulfuric acid) would produce rather poor charcoal from all the excess acid and salts.

#6 icarus

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 12:19 AM

ive got reasonable results using barbecue charcoal as long as you avoid brickettes they have cement in them. for bigger rockets good bp needs slowing down i make a faster powder with a small percentage of iron oxide in it for lifting charges
protodezine@gmail.com

#7 W.P

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 06:31 AM

To my knowledge, there are no different methods for different types of woods. Destructive distillation is the only way I know of to make charcoal, aka heat decomposition in the absence of oxygen. I would imagine chemical dehydration(ie sugar w/ sulfuric acid) would produce rather poor charcoal from all the excess acid and salts.


What I meant is the cooling down process, some charcoals require much longer cooling down times than others.

#8 Techohead

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 10:31 AM

Thanks for your quick responses, i'm making my charcoal by plaining (with an electric plainer) a hard wood plank, and compressing the shavings into an air tight tin until it is completely full, sealing it, punching a nail hole in the top, then throwing it into a huge wood fire for a few hours until it stops smoking.

i've nearly succedded in making a ball mill for my purpose, using an iron drum (130mm diameter x 220mm long, weighs 4.5 kilo's empty) and 60 iron cylinders (2/3" diameter, 1/2" long). only problem being i can't weld, so i'm building my structure out of wood, which keeps bending and warping as the barrel spins at 52RPM. i usually load about 200 grams of black powder ingredients into this mill, and mill for about 6 hours dry, (the mill is about 15 meters from the house, and not near anything that i would care about if it blew up) and i've only done this a few time's but it's making a grey powder as fine as talcom powder. this burns at about an Fg rate... how can i increase this? if someone would post a step by step sort of thing. thankyou very much again... i will be sure to imput any of my knowledge to this forum, and return the favour.

#9 YT2095

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 10:36 AM

it`s very Likely to "Blow up" if you`re using Iron on Iron!

Iron on Iron in a ball mill is Universally Dumb!
"In a world full of wonders mankind has managed to invent boredom" - Death

#10 cooperman435

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 10:59 AM

Honestly Techohead stop using the metal barrel now!

iron on iron WILL make sparks and its simply a matter of time till it goes up, with a metal drum the compresion will be immense and a 15m clear zone wont come be anywhere near enough distance.

if that goes up you basically have a shrapnel B**B and a housed wall wont stop iron cylinders when launched at speed!

plastic brass or stainless steel barels and brass lead or stainless media is the only option and they still carry their risks.


Also hardwood makes the lowest bp simply cheap white pine gives very good results and planing it before hand slows down the cooking process as it almost insulates the inside of the container. small strips about 1 or 2cm square and as long as your container are the easiest and cleanest method.

#11 Techohead

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 07:40 PM

ok... so the past month i've spent nearly half my days making this mill... and i cannot use it? it has proven extremely efficient with talcom powder fine BP after only three hours. can anyone actually recount an iron mill incident? not necessarily of their own, but of anyone's?
so if i buy a long 2/3-1" brass rod and cut taht up, will it still be likely to spark off the barrel?

#12 TheExplosionist

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 10:22 PM

I wouldn't worry about it. The odds of getting run over are higher than getting black powder to ignite from small sparks. Igniting black powder using big sparks from a piece of flint and tool steel is very difficult, iron on iron - no chance. Even if it fired up, there would be little shrapnel since black powder isn't a high explosive basically, instead it would just burst at the weakest point.

#13 Bonny

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 10:57 PM

I wouldn't worry about it. The odds of getting run over are higher than getting black powder to ignite from small sparks. Igniting black powder using big sparks from a piece of flint and tool steel is very difficult, iron on iron - no chance. Even if it fired up, there would be little shrapnel since black powder isn't a high explosive basically, instead it would just burst at the weakest point.



I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the "weakest point". Maybe not much shrapnel from the barrel, but the media could be a different story. Is it really worth the risk? I don't think so. Shitty deal if you put a lot of time into making your mill Techohead, but I guess you should have researched BEFORE you built the mill. You can just as easily build a mill using safer materials and, for your own safety DO IT!!

#14 W.P

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 07:40 AM

I wouldn't worry about it. The odds of getting run over are higher than getting black powder to ignite from small sparks. Igniting black powder using big sparks from a piece of flint and tool steel is very difficult, iron on iron - no chance. Even if it fired up, there would be little shrapnel since black powder isn't a high explosive basically, instead it would just burst at the weakest point.


People still get run over, you know. And people aren't running across the road constantly for up to 12 hours a day.

Not worth the risk, just because black powder is primarily a propellant doesn't mean that I cannot burn fast enough to destroy the mill and send out all sorts of nasties flying towards your face at 200 MPH. Not only that but if you stood in front of a mill most of the hair on your face would be burnt off, and you could even lose your eye sight.

#15 Techohead

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 07:47 AM

BTW i did do substantial amounts of research into ball mills before making, and there are just as many people out there saying milling with iron is safe (with a percentage water added), as there are saying i'm going to kill myself, and seeing as i don't have a metal workshop, and little more than a hammer and drill, i was astounded i made anything at all. i've decided to take the risk, as the milling time is nearly half that of brass/lead components, and i will wet the mixture first (5-6%), as well as keeping the mill at 15meters from my house, on the opposite side of a brick Barbecue.

as for making the powder burn faster... what are your ideas? because milling will only get you to about Fg maybe FFg at it's very best... i heard you should dampen and recompress it or something like that...

thankyou




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