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Looking for some suggested formulas


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#1 dannytsg

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:45 AM

Hi all,

I am now looking to progress to experimenting with fountains and flares. I wanted to get some collective ideas of which formulas are the simplest and still give good effect.

At present the chemicals I have are:
KNO3
S
Charcoal
Aluminium powder
Iron Oxide
KMNO4

All I really want to aim towards is a nice fountain/gerb or flare with either some nice metallic sparks or colour.

Any suggestions of compositions?

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#2 Mortartube

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 08:46 AM

Forget the KMNO4, it is too nasty for anything but little interesting experiments in oxidisation.

 

Do you have a ball mill? Can you make a decent meal powder? Some good choked fountain formulae, have a percentage of Meal in them.

 

Some form of press would be useful too. Bashing the heck out of a drift on compositions with metal powders in is not good.

 

I would suggest that you go for a straight gunpowder based gold fountain at first. If you have mixed charcoal sizes, that helps. Some airfloat, some 100 mesh and a bit of 60 mesh or thereabouts.

 

What size tubes are you using and are they choked or unchoked?

 

I would initially suggest that you go here to the Fountains section, and try the first Lancaster fountain mix, that has 72% KNO3. It contains no meal powder and is very simple.

 

http://www.privateda.../pfp/Index.html

 

Start by screening the chemicals (except charcoal) to 100 mesh and make one. If it explodes, you have either not rammed/pressed it hard enough or you need to back off the KNO3 by a couple of percent and increase the Charcoal by the same amount.

 

If you get this working well, use the same mix and add an extra 10% of aluminium and press.

 

If you don't have a press and can't afford a hydraulic press. A small 1 ton arbor press can be useful for small fountains and rockets etc. Something like this.

 

http://www.axminster...arbor-press-ap1

 

With the chemicals you have, you can also make rockets, hummers, bees, farfalle, drivers, quickmatch (need dextrin), willow and tiger tail stars and most important, good BP.

 

Hope this has helped. Post a video of the results. :)


Edited by Mortartube, 03 September 2014 - 08:48 AM.

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#3 dannytsg

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 11:18 AM

Thanks for that reply. The PFP website has some great compsition information which is exactly what i have been looking for. The KMNO4 was something I had lying about for water purification of our old pond however I am lead to believe it can be used as an alternative to KCLO3/KCLO4 in some flash mixes anyway I digress.

 

As for tubes, I haven't purchased any directly yet, I have previously rolled my own for expermiental rocket motors but I will most likely go for 3/4" ID x 5" long and purchased online to save time and try to ensure reliability in results.

 

I have an old hydraulic bottle jack that I was thinking of mounting upside down into a metal frame and using that as a staged press with home made dowel tooling.

 

With regards to the actual making am I right in syaing that to get the best burn and effect the composition has to be packed very hard within the tubes?


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#4 helix

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 12:37 PM

Depending on the grades of aluminium powder you have you may be able to try an aluminium gerb (zambelli gerb from Passfire)

 

you need equal weights of the following:

 

KNO3

S

Aluminium (german blackhead / indian blackhead works fine also)

Fine Flake Aluminium or flitter - 100 to 325 mesh

 

pressed into tubes 



#5 Mortartube

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 01:42 PM

KMNO4 can be used to make flash. But it is not ideal and can have issues with sensitivity and is best avoided as there are no second chances with flash if it goes wrong.

 

For the mixture I suggested, a wooden dowel and a mallet would probably suffice, ONLY ram gunpowder type mixes without metals in. Press everything else.

 

The increments should be pressed/rammed fairly hard. When it comes to ramming. 8 medium blows are better than 2 or 3 whacks. It consolidates the powder better and there is less risk of splitting the tube. Keep the increments small. Each scoop filling a little over the I.D of the tube each time works for me.

 

The PFP database is excellent and also points out any dangerous or sensitive comps.

 

With the size of tubes that you are using, I would suggest that you begin with mixtures that do not contain meal powder. One bit of loose or badly pressed meal will result in an explosion. After filling, keep your tubes in a dry place with a fairly steady temp. Card can absorb moisture and swell. This can crack the grain and lead to explosions in pressed goods, (although I doubt they will remain unlit for very long) :)


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#6 helix

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 02:04 PM

for coloured gerbs try -

 

http://www.skylighte...k-fountains.asp

 

you would need some other chemicals though.  If you had some Antimony Trisulphide you could also make glitter gerbs which can be nice.

 

For colour in a charcoal gerb you can add microstars to your mix.



#7 dannytsg

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 03:57 PM

Thanks for the input. I appreciate would need some more chemicals to acheive different compsitions and I am not aversed to getting more providing I feel proficient enough to justify the expense.

 

I will find some and work with what i have for now and progress on as I can.

 

Thanks again, this is the reason why I joined this society. :)


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#8 Arthur Brown

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:15 PM

There are numerous gerb/fountain mixes with a fast fine BP and additionally some mixed mesh charcoal. These can be rammed into a tube with nozzle. 

Charcoal makes orange sparks, carbon steel filings make whiter sparks and Titanium flake makes bright white sparks.

 

Once you add metals you should only press the comp.


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#9 starseeker

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:17 PM

Be warned though , after you have made your first fountain and tested it you will be hooked and there will be no turning back  :)

 

It is a great feeling when testing your first one,whether it works as intended or goes bang the buzz you get is magic ,

 

Good luck and please let us know  how it went.


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#10 phildunford

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:50 PM

At the risk of elf-promotion, you can always take a look at my website - see below...


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#11 Arthur Brown

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:51 PM

Permanganate can be unfriendly, Put it safely away til you have a lot more experience. Aluminium is all things according to the particle size and shape, you need to know what sort of aluminium it is before you start to use it


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#12 dannytsg

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 08:58 PM

I'm going to start with a home made BP and try to mix in some colourants to see how it goes. I'll start small and report back to show my progress

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#13 Arthur Brown

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 10:09 PM

Fountain mix is a name for BP that's too slow to be useful! 


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#14 dannytsg

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 12:58 PM

Another silly question but once a fountain is packed is it fused from the top or the bottom?


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#15 Arthur Brown

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 01:11 PM

A fountain is fused from the top. 


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