Instructables

What is the best way to make Aluminum powder?

I don't have a coffee grinder, or a blender that will make it fine enough, and my belt sander spins the wrong way to collect it. I have all of the aluminum. Can you help?

go and buy a etch a sketch, open it up and inside will be aluminum powder

cart5622 years ago
could totally just grind some into a bucket with a bench grinder....
I don't know that this would work. If you use a bench grinder you would need a special grinder wheel. Most that are meant for steel will gum up if you use aluminum.
1. You cut up foil into small pieces. 2. Grind the pieces in a coffee mill to make smaller pieces. 3. Put the small pieces in a ball mill (like that used for stone polishing) along with a little graphite (to prevent caking) and run the mill to get the desired fineness. ~Bob~
Correct me if I am wrong, but is this not a fire hazard?
It is just plain explosive. It is all but certain that aluminum oxide in the paint on the fabric panels covering the Hindenburg caused its hydrogen bags to explode and burn when a differential in static charges caused a spark discharge ignition.
baldou16 Phil B2 years ago
the hindenburg was, in the simplest form possible, painted with jet fuel and thermite.
jtobako Phil B5 years ago
Really? If you look at the pics, the hydrogen is burning above the dirigible. The standard of the day was to have thin fabric soaked with nitrocellulose varnish! The contributing factor of the aluminum was that it created a conductor. If powdered aluminum was explosive, Etch-a-sketches would be going off everywhere!

Phil B jtobako5 years ago
There is an interesting article on the investigations of NASA scientist Addison Bain into the causes of the Hindenburg disaster at: http://protium.us/hindenburg/ It mentions that aluminum powder is used as a fuel in solid rocket boosters on the space shuttle. Part of Bain's investigation mentions the popular belief that the flames from the Hindenburg are from hydrogen, but hydrogen burns with a bluish cast and its flames are barely visible in daylight. Witnesses to the disaster reported that the flames above the Hindenburg were orange and red, not blue. Perhaps the amount of oxygen inside an Etch-a-sketch is not sufficient to create an explosive hazard.
I just checked in to read a reply. I am new to the site. I was reading through. And read what you had said. I just want to say. That You know that for flash powder. Your aluminum. Must be in a particuler mesh range. The best would be like 2500 and like 3 micron. Like the King of flash of all the Aluminums Super German dark 5413H Others will do. But won't come close to the one I mentioned. I have some 600 mesh lyin around. That is quit good. But 425 mesh and below. Is to slow burning. And is only good for rocket fuels and slower burning things. The aluminum inside etcha sketch is no where near the mesh size that you need to make good flash. And even if it was the best in the world. It is all %100 harless until an oxidizer is added to it. Like Potassium Chlorate. Or Potassium perchlorate. At a 70/30 ratio. Until then no Al is explosive without an oxidizer. What made the hinedenburgh go up was not really the gas in it. Even though that was most likely was detonated it. But what they had painted it with. They did a really good theory breakthrough about it on mythbusters once. Anyway you were correct about the etchasketch not being explosive. But not for the right reason. Well hope I was of some help? I was just reading down the colum. And had seen your comment is all. By the way they are having a great sale at scientifics on chinese perchlorate with caposil for easy free flowing mixing at -325 mesh ready to mix with AL it's only 6.00 a lb! Stock up! Ya never know when there going to tighten up on these guy's again. And have everyone claming up like skylighter did. Because of pressure from the ever crushing laws of FLASH! lol ; )
jtobako Phil B5 years ago
And perhaps you are panicking? The solid rocket boosters contain a rather nasty perchlorate? oxidizer as well as aluminum. And perhaps there wasn't any nasty, heavy oxygen in the lift chambers?
All fireworks and rocket propellants are fire hazards. Then again, so are synthetic fabrics : )
The aluminum powder can produce a dust explosion.
So can flour. Every year or so a grain storage site goes off.
how much graphite do would you need?
You only need a small amount. I think it is probably used to prevent caking and get a finer result.
~Bob~

thanks :D
vince 095 years ago
two words etch a sketch I guess thats kinda three lol but ya they are full of it. thats what the picture is scratched into. but a word of warning aluminum powder sticks to EVERYTHING
d2j5 vince 094 years ago
is the etch a sketch thing true? it seems too easy......
ezheng d2j53 years ago
Actully, search it up on youtube, there is one great video that shows the complete process...
vince 09 d2j54 years ago
I think so I have never tried it tho so don't quote me on it and ya I kinda thought the same thing lol
d2j5 vince 094 years ago
if i had to make my best guess on where to get the powder it is at a paint and home supply store.dont take my word for it but usuly they might have some there
Thelonelysandwitch (author)  vince 095 years ago
thanks, I will try to find one.
knektek4 years ago
Well i drilled a numerous amount of holes in a steel can and i got steel powder. You will probably get the same result for an aluminum can. Or get a pestle and mortar with aluminum foil, crush like hell! Only this way because i am concerned about my expensive luxuries.
rengate4 years ago
Thelonelysandwitch (author)  rengate4 years ago
thanks thats great, but i wanted to make some. i need to try different ways of making it to see the best combination for my project.
Berkin4 years ago
Run a couple dozen sheets of aluminum foil through a paper shredder to make a metallic confetti. Then take a Rock Tumbler, add about 25 steel balls and pack as much of the aluminum confetti as you can in there. Run the tumbler for an hour, then fill the barrel with more confetti. Repeat until you have filled the tumbler a bit more than halfway with coarsely ground aluminum. Run the Rock Tumbler for 2 weeks. You'll have a nice batch of fine aluminum powder when you're done.
You forgot charcoal...?
He didn't say he wanted German Dark...
I thought you needed it to stop it from oxidizing though?
It depends on how fine this guy wants his aluminum.
What do they mean stop it from oxidizing?  If you get the aluminum real fine, does it create a problem?
It depends on what your project might be. Would oxidation of the aluminum harm the results, depending on what you need it for?
Ah.
right now im using a coffee grinder with good results just low yields. one roll i got at the 99 cent store only gave me enough powder to fill a medicine bottle.
You can get some great aluminum on ebay. They have some great 5 star Black Indian Head & German aluminum for 14-19 dollars a pound. Then go to skylighter and you can get Ptassium chlorate. You can order 2lbs from them. Potassium perchlorate is a bit more stable. Some people have blamed chlorate on some explosions. Saying it is not as stable. If you are not going to be saving what you are going to make. then it does not matter. Also I myself use a 70/30 mix. "eg"For 10 grams 7 grams of potassium perchlorate & 3 grams of aluminum. Also The diaper mixing method is definately the safest way. Instead of putting your two chems in a plastic bag. Lay them out on a large piece of paper. And take two cards and keep lifting one mix onto another. Until they are thoroughly mixed. By mixing it in a plastic bag. You could get some static. And 10 grams is a good amount of flash to have go off on you. Also for added safety. Alway's use wooden spoons or stainless steal. Don't scoop your mix with plastic spoons. Also you can go to Cannon fuse.com And get some great tubes and plugs. To make very different sizes of reports. And 1/32 visco fuse is very safe and reliable. All the things I mentioned above you can get for relatively cheap. And be able to make a lot of things for a long time. You will also need a cheap scale. They have ones as cheap as 7.95 That are within 0.1 of a gram. Also make sure when you order your scale. that it comes with a calibration weight, This is to make sure your scale is weighing properly. You can obtain the scale at wholesale scales.comThis one time investment of about 50.00 including S/H will be a safe and affective little set up. And you will have a lot of flash. Only mix ten grams at a time or five even. And only mix what you are going to use.
cool thanks
take a grinder to a bunch of can tabs.
sharlston5 years ago
get a piece of aluminium and file it to bits
Thelonelysandwitch (author)  sharlston5 years ago
That takes awhile, anyway I just found aluminum powder radiator fix in my garage.
My only suggestion is take a file and keep fileling it until nothing is left. Good luck! O.o
I do that, But I wanted a faster way.
jtobako5 years ago
Use a blender but add water (or other light solvent) so that the aluminum foil has something 'holding' it as the blades hit it. Aluminum is difficult to grind because it wants to stick to itself and bends much easier than it tears : )
lemonie5 years ago
It's not easy, buy it or be prepared for some hard work I think (I've tried) L