Instructables

How can you manufacture black powder without the use of a ball mill?

I don't own a ball mill and wish to make BP for lift charges in my fireworks, I am curious to see if anyone knows a good method (apart from the CIA method) to make BP

Kiteman5 years ago
Ball mills merely take the drudgery out of grinding the powders. You can use a pestle and mortar to grind the ingredients seperately, then put them into an air-tight container to shake and tumble it around to mix the powders.
This is false.
It works for me.
mitchells4 years ago
What I do is I take all the ingredients at the correct ratios (I found the easiest is napkin charcoal, flowers of sulphur from the chemist and saltpetre fertiliser), I just leave the saltpetre in its rough granular form, but the sulphur is bought fine and the charcoal is easily made fine because napkin charcoal is very soft.

This is what I do:
throw the rough saltpetre, sulphur and napkin charcoal ( its okay if you dont want to grind the charcoal, I just use the charcoal flakes for this process) into a pvc pipe with two end caps, fill it with 20 or so small ball bearings and shake it up for 30 minutes, it should be perfect. But if you want more power than I suggest you put the powder on a sheet of paper and compress it against the page with the bottem of a glass jar and scrape it off the paper with a ruler. Hope it helps!
Prfesser5 years ago
A ball mill is much more than a simple mixer; it incorporates the potassium nitrate into the pores of the charcoal, which is part of what makes BP burn so quickly. The experts indicate that the BP must have a (small) moisture content during milling, to aid in this incorporation.

Milling the powders separately and mixing them mechanically gives what is sometimes called 'greenmix'. It does not burn nearly as fast as BP but is sometimes used as a fireworks ingredient or in rockets.

All that being said, I have seen one other method for making a mixture that is close to BP: http://www.wichitabuggywhip.com/fireworks/blackpowder2.html, scroll down to "Cheap Tricks #1". The mixture is described as not being good for very small shells.

Good luck and be very careful,
Prfesser
Tombini (author)  Prfesser5 years ago
I know how a ball mill works, I wanted to know of an ALTERNATE method. By the way, your link doesn't work...