Introduction: Ballistics Gel

Picture of Ballistics Gel

This is a cheap and easy way to make ballistics gel easily 
The Mythbusters use this stuff all the time
I got this idea from mythbusters and i see them use it all the time on the show so I wanted to make some

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

-  Unflavored gelitan packets 
-  Measuring cups
-  Measuring bowl
- Spoon
- Tupperware container

Step 2: Step 1

Picture of Step 1

measure out 2 cups of warm water

you need to add 2 gelatin packets for every cup of water  

Step 3: Step 2

Picture of Step 2

Slowly mix in the 4 packets of gelatin with the 2 cups of water
make sure you are stirring the water as you are adding the  gelatin 
if you don't the gelatin will clump up

Step 4: Step 3

Picture of Step 3

Add your mix into your Tupperware container then 
freeze it for a half an hour
let it sit in room temp for 10 minutes 
then refrigerate it for 30 minutes 
then freeze it again for 12 - 14 hours

Step 5: Finished

Picture of Finished

It should look like this when you're done 
I love to make this stuff  I test my knives and airsoft guns on this 

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Snipekill98 (author)2015-11-14

to get the gel to be the closest to fbi standards you need to add 1 oz of gelatin to 1 cup of cold water then mix it until there are no chunks then heat it on a stove at about 130 degrees until it is in a liquid state it should be like water. then you have to refridgerate for 3-4 hours then re heat and refridgerate for 12-24 hours i make it this way all the time and it always turns out perfect every time.

STF (author)2013-02-14

Can you make it more clear at all?

smitty16 (author)STF2013-02-14

what do u mean

STF (author)smitty162013-02-14

I mean are there any tricks to making it so you can see into the gel more than you can the gel you pictured?

Like this

JonathanL20 (author)STF2015-09-10

I would try using HOTwater like scalding hot water

STF (author)JonathanL202015-09-10

Talk about comments back from the dead! LOL Thanks,

dad_a_monk (author)STF2013-02-15

Yes STF, his looks like that because of haveing the wrong temps and cooling times. Regardless of guides like this and the 30 minute guides there is no way to rush the process with off the shelf gel. There are actual ballistic gels that have a shorter prep time and have less steps than the one I published, however one theses cost more than 20x what off the shelf gel does and two they still have to cure so even if you only need 30 mins to make it it still needs 24 to 48 hours to use.

Now Smitty's gel is just five for things like looking at knife impact but it would never be regulation density even adding more gelatin powder. To get exactly 10% by weight and a stable gel it take a much more methodical scientific approach .
Again many people only have things like Mythbusters as a source and they never show all the steps or tell you how long it takes to cure. So people see them pour powder in a bucket stir it with a drill paint stirer and pour it in a mold and proof its ready to use. It is just NOT that simple.

What you have here and in many guides is basicly the Jello Jigglers recipe that just makes dense gel but usually too dense and not stable enough.

There is still a good use for this type of gel but it will not show you proper penetration. He said he uses it for testing knives and -airsoft guns, I'm sure its great for that.

Epicgamerz (author)smitty162013-04-10

he means that he wants it to be more transparent not as opaque

btrog (author)2014-09-09

If i am not use it right away after 14 hours do i refridgerate it or what?

btrog (author)btrog2014-09-10

what should i do mine is frozen solid?

jack 8 years old (author)2014-07-15

I ment follow

jack 8 years old (author)2014-07-15

Mix does not turn out right every time but I voted and I allready knew how to make it and I'm 8 ps their are difrent ways to make it cool

razzakbane (author)2013-08-07

I froze it the last time for 12 hours like it says and it became a block of ice, is that wrong?

SKATERPRO (author)2013-08-01

Ill follow u if u don't curse

sprnklz54 (author)2013-05-27

How long does it stay gel-like after you take it out of the freezer?

TREX ZoaR0K (author)sprnklz542013-07-07

im pretty sure forever

pcanywii (author)2013-04-12


Epicgamerz (author)2013-04-10

Do airsoft bbs actual go into it, if it does this isn't for testing something realistic

Epicgamerz (author)2013-04-10

Does it really need so much freezing and cooling?

dad_a_monk (author)2013-02-14

I'm a retired cop and have made the real thing and been stuck using off the shelf gelatin quite a few time. It comes out MUCH cheaper if you are doing a lot of testing. Unfortunately, this is nowhere near accurate for testing. Close in that its gelatin but mixing ballistic gel is much more scientific then making jello jigglers which is more or less the recipe you have here. The cloudy color in it alone shows a the wrong temps being used and the wrong steps. It's not a knock on your skill it is NOT easy to do. However if you don't have the weight and density correct your results will be no where near correct.

Ballistic gel must be 10% by weight gelatin to articulate human density.
To calibrate gelatin, you should follow the FBI calibration the first time you are playing with a new recipe or product. Even if you change brands of gel, although my department found Knox plain gelatin to be the best sub for the real stuff. Test your block by shooting a steel BB into it at a velocity of 590 feet per second ± 30 fps. The BB should penetrate 8.5 centimeters.

I have looked at the other ballistics gel guides on here and they are to simple to be accurate as well, most found on line are written by people assuming that store bought gel is close enough and that steps don't have to be scientificly complex. Unfortunately they really do.

I am working up a guide using the formula I have used for over 13 years when stuck using off the shelf gelatin, as long as it is followed exactly it will come out within FBI standard each time.

Ringer1633 (author)dad_a_monk2013-04-07

Woo man! we just want to have some fun sticking knives in this stuff not test the penetration of a 3 inch blade for a scientific journal.

nbcengineer (author)dad_a_monk2013-02-15

At what distance is the BB fired from to calibrate your ballistic gel?

smitty16 (author)dad_a_monk2013-02-14

ya i know what you mean, but if you put enough gelatin in it it will be dense enough

dad_a_monk (author)dad_a_monk2013-02-14

Just finished an Instructables on the recipe I have used over 13 years and always gives me great results as long as followed EXACT.

chocolatechip (author)2013-04-01

How does it feel?

hoss1589 (author)2013-02-22

how long does it take to unfreeze?

smitty16 (author)hoss15892013-02-23

if you leave it in room tempature for about a half an hour
or you can put it in the microwave for ten seconds and let it sit in room tepature for 5 minutes
make sure if you use the microwave dont leave it in for too long because it will mealt and you will have to re freeze it

cleveind22 (author)2013-02-16

Your account name is wierd

rimar2000 (author)2013-02-12

Surely you can use it to get molds, isn't?

smitty16 (author)rimar20002013-02-12

se puede utilizar con los moldes si eso es lo que estamos pidiendo
pero no lo uso para hacer los moldes

me no hablar Espanol
me saber pequeno Espanol
me hablar Ingles

Chimex14 (author)smitty162013-02-14

For those wondering,
"You can use is to make molds if that is what you are asking
But I do not use it to make molds

I do not speak Spanish
I know little Spanish
I speak English"

rimar2000 (author)Chimex142013-02-15

Thanks for both responses.

Harlan Whitman (author)2013-02-15

Just would like to point out this is only gel. This is not Ballistics Gel. For an ible on Ballistics Gel check out

kanson (author)2013-02-15

How many grams of gelatine are in each pack. I. Some countries we don't get them prepacked instead we get them in tubs.

smitty16 (author)kanson2013-02-15

probably about 3 - 7 grams in each little packet

eng_Andy (author)2013-02-14

"my rule of thumb is 2 gelatin packets for every cup of water"
You didn't even specify how big the packet was. I don't mean to be harsh, but this is not an instructable on how to make Ballistic Gel, this is an instructable on how to make flavourless jelly.

Unless you are very accurate in your recipe and process, this would be mostly useless for measuring ballistic penetration.

smitty16 (author)eng_Andy2013-02-14

unflavored gelatin packets are all the same size

if you don't beleve this recepe works try it

dad_a_monk (author)smitty162013-02-15

They are not all the same size. Knox alone makes 4 different size boxes and even commercial bulk 45kg drums. That's why measuring is required.

One other thing you might want to add is material patches in front of the gel. This simulates clothing. Layers of clothes and thick winter coats can really slow down a round. I saw a suspect that was shot 6 times by an offer and the rounds only penetrated a inch into his fat layer. He was a big fat guy with a thick coat like a ranch coat and a few layers of clothes under that. It was all enough to slow the round down form the distance the officer had to fire form.

You can take old jeans and shirts and make patches like 12" by 12" to layer if front of the block. Pork bones you can get form butchers are also good to put in the gel before it cures to see how bones effect penetration. The gel only simulates flesh and organs not the whole body.

eng_Andy (author)dad_a_monk2013-02-15

Spot on. Ballistic gel is often used to measure how far a projectile goes and how much tumble damage there could be after passing different types of clothing/armour. If your gel doesn't closely match the properties of animal flesh then the measurements don't have absolute usefulness (i.e. will this reach a particular organ or pass right through somebody?) but may be able to compare different penetrations within an experiment anyway. However, if you aren't careful and consistent in your recipe & process, then you won't even be able to compare results because all the blocks will have different material properties.

SG1Oniell (author)2013-02-14

This isn't at all ballistic gel, it isn't even close. Despite your comments, its nowhere close. Ballistic Gel is a specific type of gelatin mixed in very specific amounts, and is scientifically matched with pig tissue. This is useless for any ballistic purpose, and will never accurately reflect tissue damage. The two aren't even close. Do you have any idea how heavy ballistic gel is? Its far more dense.

smitty16 (author)SG1Oniell2013-02-14

this is the mixture if you cant get your hands on that sort of mixture

SG1Oniell (author)smitty162013-02-14

No its not. This isn't anywhere near close. This is just jello, food products aren't a good substitute for ballistic gel. Especially if we're talking NATO mixture. There's a reason the stuff is expensive. You're better off buying a pot roast and shooting that to see accurate tissue damage. This is simply a food product, shouldn't even be labeled "ballistics gel". If your airsoft gun can penetrate it then its NOWHERE close.

tstrain (author)2013-02-14

Awesome! My boyfriends favorite show is Mythbusters so I'm going to make this for his Valentine's Day present!!!! Thanks!

smitty16 (author)tstrain2013-02-14

cool he will like it

skin_chops (author)2013-02-13

i used to use this to spike my hair when i was younger almost the same recipe

MCUman (author)skin_chops2013-02-14

Did you ever draw bullets?

smitty16 (author)skin_chops2013-02-14

but i bet you didn't need to refrigerate it

claramecium (author)2013-02-14

The Mythbusters use this stuff all the time! Cool!

Replicator (author)2013-02-14

What size are the gelatin packs you are using?

smitty16 (author)Replicator2013-02-14

unflavored gelatin packets are all the same size

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