Instructables
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This is an instructable for how to make gunpowder from its basic chemcials. The cost is initially expensive for the scale and ballmill (a little over 100$) but once you have those parts all you need is the chemcials which are relatively cheap.
 
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Step 1: Parts list

There are three basic chemicals in gunpowder Potassium Nitrate, Charcoal powder, and Sulfur powder. Gunpowder would be a lot simpler to make if you could just mix the three chemicals together in the right ratio and have the final product, however chemistry dosent always work that way. If you look at a piece of charcoal under a microscope you can see very tiny holes called pores. Even when the charcoal is ground up into a fine powder each particle of it still contains microscopic pores. To properly make gunpowder the particles of charcoal must be ground together with the potassium nitrate and sulfur, the process of grinding them smashes the potassium nitrate and sulfur into the pores of the charcoal creating a subastance that will readily burn when ignited.

Parts list:

1. Ball mill ( Can be bought at unitednuclear.com for 70$, if you buy it someplace else or decide to make it, make sure you also buy lead grinding media (ceramic media can also be used) as it is the only metal that wont give off sparks when ground together)
2. Scale ( I prefer the electronic ones which can be bought on e-bay fairly cheap, less then 20$, make sure it has a capacity of at least 200 grams, otherwise you will be making gunpowder in very small batches)
3. Potassium nitrate, Sulfur powder, and Charcoal powder(All obtainable on e-bay) When buying try to buy as close to 5x as much potassium nitrate as charcoal powder, and 2/3 as much sulfur as charcoal ( I will explain the ratios later)
4. Wire spaghetti strainer
5. Old newspapers
6. Tupperware container
7. Calcuator ( To measure the amount of chemical to use)
If I can figure out how and where to get the 3 chemicals from, I will gladly purchase this ball mill.
spawnos37172 years ago
could one put a static pad on or in the mill to absorb static and discharge it safely away from aparatus?
It isn't a "static" issue so much as if you use steel balls to grind the powder, a steel back will strike another steel ball and make a small spark. BOOM!
ancaf332 years ago
How do i get the gunpowder to grains?
For black powder, grains is volume. So 50 grains of lead or 50 grains of powder have the same volume, but different masses.

You can't measure "volumetric grains" on a massing scale. You use a miniature graduated cylinder, calibrated in grains.

However, there is a "weight grain" also.

1 volumetric grain of water is 1 weight grain of water.

I found a 50AE shell casing, and it held very close to 50 grains of water by volume or by weight. So it also holds 50 grains of black powder by volume (but not by weight.)

Black powder by different manufactures and particle size has different weights for the same (or nearly same) substance.

You can buy a black powder measuring scoop (mini graduated cylinder) at a decent gun shop, or order one on-line.
Algag1 year ago
I feel like every science teacher I have ever had cringed as you wrote scale and grams. :b
TaylorLA2 years ago
How can i make an altanate fire cracker?
Demascus2 years ago
have made gun powder years ago, on technique I used was wetting all the ingredients as you mix them. Yes it looks like black mud. However the potassium nitrate will dissolve in the water. Gives everything else a great coating in that form. Will allow for more aggressive forms of grinding to put them all together. Once you have it right. You can use window screen to spread the mud out on and some form of roller or dowel rod (I used a rolling pin) Let it dry and then flex the screen and the little pieces fall out. It worked for me. Other thought is you could use your coffee bean grinder on your charcoal to powder it first. In other words you powder each component separately then mix.
does it have to be weight or can you just mix 75 quarter teaspoons to 15 quarter teaspoons to 10 quarter teaspoons, and where can you get sulfur?
i buy potassium nitrate and sulfer all the time, i make my own powder, but my potassium nitrate i mainly use on military grade smoke bombs, one smoke bomb the size of a pop can will cover a 2 block area if u know wat ure doin, u can by both at almost any hardware store, plant shop anything like that, i buy a big bottle of dry stump killer for $4 and it last quite a while
its not as acurat and u can get it from ebay
Tetranitrate (author)  buildingteen7 years ago
It has to be weight, its the only sure way of measuring the proper amounts.
Not to be technical, but its actually in mass.
Pathological circumstances notwithstanding, units of weight and units of mass are generally interchangeable on Earth at reasonable altitudes.

Even more technically speaking, electric scales measure weight, not mass. Consider an object resting on a scale falling in an elevator. The mass of the object does not change, but the readout on the scale would, due to the lower effective gravity.

The only accurate way to measure *mass* is to use a balance, since both ends of the scale would be affected equally by whatever gravity there is, and so the reading would be the same.

Mmm... physics. =)
if your mind wondering this much, don't play with this stuff, you could smart yourself right in to the burn unit of the nearest hospital. You have had pain till you have had a powder burn, it fells like it goes inside the pores and burns it s way out.
Yeah, if you measure by volume, it'll probably screw you over. Particle size and thus space between particles varies from different suppliers.
In a different experiment, measuring by mass made a smoke bomb; measuring by volume made a rocket.
garden store or nursery
the plant shop has sulfur for fertilizer.
cseaman3 years ago
also united nuclear has chemicals so you can get just about anyhting you need from there.
milamber4 years ago
 ok so kno3( potasium nitrate ) is a 5.1 oxidiser yes?>
chlorine is a 5.1 oxidizer so could you substitute kn03 for chlorine?
No. Chlorine would prevent the reaction from taking place. If you are talking about Pool Chlorine tablets, that's another matter. I think you can use them, but you will have to look it up.
chlorine is a gas
i dont think cloren can ige nit maby im wrong try it
xfox44mag3 years ago
the olny thing i gring is potasium nitrate and chracoal for griding your stuff you can use a coffe grinder it works grate just never grind it all at the same time and clean it every time you swich to grind outher stuff
ok now win you mix it do not use water that kills black powder or gun powder in the old days thay use alcohol 100% or 90% i use everclear lol you do not need to use a lot just a nuff to get it damp the reson for this is so you do not blow your hand off it keeps the powder fom exploding till it drys out makes it a bit stronger too but not a lot i ues this mix in my guns and i need 0.7cc more then the storng nonsmoking stuff you can buy in the gun shop the mix i ues is 75% potasium nitrate 10% sulffer 15% charcoal use a soff wood chracoal and the more you put in the faster it will brun i made a fast mix with this form 70% potasium nitrate 10% sulfer 20%charcoal if you look for some were to buy stuff you can get it a lows stump remover is potasium nitrate just shaks the can to make sher its dry stump remover on the same rack look for sulfer dust for killing mights o and on the buttom of the can a big cap lol now you can make the chracoal just burn some soff wood i use balsa i build r/c planes so i have a lot of scrap it works beter then pine makes it burn to slow
o and BQ charcoal not the same thing and you do not need a ball mill i have made it bouth ways and the mess of the ball mill not worth it i just mix it in a coffe can with a stick i ues this in my cannon too works grat and buy fuse form a fire works sulpier its a lot cheper you can get 50ft for under 20 bucks i got 150ft for 35 on sell just shop around thers a lot out ther you just got to look and if your in can you can still get the stuff you just got to know what to look for
You're right about not grinding it all at the same time. If it sparks - POOF! Shrapnel everywhere, including in you.
jj.inc3 years ago
can i attach a 2' liter bottle to my bike (ill find a way) and fill it with led fishing weights.
Yes. It should work. Make sure you sand the weights first, to remove the zinc coating, or they could spark.
Is it bad that ours don't have a coating, (health wise) :)
Kinda, yeah. The zinc coating could spark and detonate the powder. I'm sure zinc oxide (in the smoke if the zinc gets into the mixture) is not too good for you, either.
Quantinuim4 years ago
Just woderin but coudnt u just crush the potassium nitrite powder and sulfer with a hamer???
Bananas hav lots of potassium in them any idea how to make a banana bomb?
?
itel make a spark and blow ur face off but sure
You could but the quality would be absolutly terrible.
Howfine a powder does the Potassium nitrite have to be?
To make a good gunpowder, the potasium nitrate would have to be a powder similar to sugar.
I have to make gunpowder for a firework for a chemistry project in school.
Unfortunately, I don't have time to buy pure sulfur powder on the internet and have it shipped to me, so I bought Bonide Sulfur Plant Fungicide, which is 90% sulfur and 10% other unspecified ingredients.
Does anyone know how I would go about extracting the sulfur from the mixture?
dasta6 years ago
thanks for the info , i'm kinda on a low budget, and motors are expensive here, even from the scrap yard. although sulphur is relatively cheap and easy to obtain from hardware or gardening shop (called rubbing sulphur or flowers of sulphur. just say ur a coin collector and they'll understand). i found a different way of making the powder using 2 buckets and a cloth, but i'm still gathering the money for 2 and a half litres of whiskey to test it... in the other recipe it says you should use wood charcoal. btw, completely off topic, where or how can i get aluminium powder????
Dasta I'm also from SA, here's the deal if you don't have the time/energy/inclination to make a ball mill. Take a empty baked beans can or some such container, put your material in, chuck in a few balls or weights or whatever, close it with one of those can seal plastic lid jobbies, tape it up so it don' fall of, and roll it around under your feet while you on the net or whatever. Takes time but hey it's easy! (Of vat jy net jou spice blixem en donder die vokken goed deurmekaar;)
NO!!!! don't use metal to make a ball mill.... I work in the trade and I had a buddy litteraly lose a hand over it. He was stupid enough to put glass marbles in a metal can with flash powder because it was caked up.... you know the rest, and yes, glass on glass does spark. You a plastic paint can or bucket, and use either ceramic ball bearings or aluminum, it has a much lesser chance of sparking.
osmonde BOXHARD5 years ago
Actually ceramic has a risk of sparking, lead is apparently the only metal ball that will not spark.
jj.inc osmonde3 years ago
not only, just cheapest and most abundant.
could i use fishing weights as the balls because they are made out of led right?
hmm, yes thatt would work, but i think it would take a ridiculous amount of time in order to get better gunpowder, and i'd be worried about static buildup. In most cases, i would be glad for a cheap alternative, but with higher level projects involving danger, i'd prefer to use a device designed for that specific purpose
grind down aluminium drinks can
godhanger dasta5 years ago
lol i love the smell of thermite in the morning
unitednuclear.com
osmonde dasta5 years ago
eBay!
ah, aluminum powder. this can be bought at a paint store as tint, or, use a coffee grinder and some pop cans. its soft enough that it wont ruin your coffee grinder. good luck making that thermite :)
aluminum foil in a coffee grinder...cheap and always available
You can also use an aluminum core and a metal lathe.
agitate dasta6 years ago
www.northstarpyro.com or www.unitednuclear.com both have it, I think northstarpyro has a better selection though
3 things 1 i have that same mill 60 bucks at www.cannonfuse.com 2 your tittle should say black powder and 3 you should send ppl to this wabsite for compositions and in compatable chemicals link
I've heard you can use a coffee grinder to mix it, but not really sure. also, could u substitute sugar for the charcoal powder?
No sugar could take the place of sulfur.
Why not? I mean, sugar is just a complex version of carbon.
Yeah. I think I'll make mine with diamonds.
which actually are flammable, BTW
Very flammable, once lit.
great, now I want to order united nuclear's death ray :(
No i read his comment wrong (don't know how tho) yes i know you can use sugar in place of sulphur.
Possibly, but I prefer sulphur for emotional reasons. It just smells so much more like danger and fun. Sugar, IMNSHO, is better suited to things like smoke bombs.
dude no sulphur is added to make the potassium nitrate act like potassium sulphate. which burns quickly as opposed to very slowly. in gunpowder sugar is indispensable.
dos it still explode when lit in non closed contaner
LukeQuietus4 years ago
A few quick things. 1. Using the plastic and electric scale is fine for measuring the ingredients separately. It's when they're together I'd be careful. But plastic isn't too dangerous. In china in fireworks factories they have a metal cylinder everyone has to touch before handling anything to take the possible static charge from your hands. 2. I'd work outside. Seeing as Potassium Nitrate will give it's own source of oxygen a fire inside with this around would be impossible to put out. 3. Use stones in the grinding mill to avoid sparks and possible charges. Obvious really. Also I'd make sure the inside of the Ball Mill has no metal just in case. 4. Mix the three in the grinding mill with some boilng water. This will help the binding process. Afterwards use rubbing alchohol which has been chilled in a freezer for 24 hours to remove the water and then sieve, CAREFULLY. Remember that's a metal sieve there. Perhaps a coffee filter would be better... 5. Use extension cords for the Ball Mill. This will mean you can stand behind a wall to turn it on and off so if it does blow up you're nowhere near it.
Actually, gunpowder type mixtures are quite safe near static. And if you ball mill, with lead media, you're going to be fine. It's when you get to FLASH POWDER that you want to be careful with static and friction.
Mr.Mayhem7 years ago
and where do you get led balls from to put in the ball mill
TjT Mr.Mayhem5 years ago
You could use large fishing weights...
dutch712 TjT4 years ago
DO Not use any ferrous metal balls or container in milling you stuff, I use pvc pipe and end caps, then made plaster of Paris to make cask of jack ball or golf balls then poured lead into them or you could buy some musket ball from a a shooting supply or from a sporting goods store. Just nothing that will cause a spark.
I think we can replace the lead ball by other metal ball bearing. Do not use ceramic, glass and wood
oh hey u could get the lead balls from a hunting store or a fishing store (fishing weights)
That's a great suggestion. I might be able to get all my shopping done in town, heh.
I'd use bananas, garlic and charcoal pencils if I were you.
HAHAHAHAHAHA seriosly mayb bananas coud b d next nukler bom
You should try making one. I use my blender for food. Anyway, I'm broke.
dats a good idea usin a blendr 2 mix ingrdiants wil try
thedavid7 years ago
First let me state that I am a firearms safety instructor. Second, BLACK GUNPOWDER is a Class C EXPLOSIVE. Thirdly, contrary to Tetranitrate, black powder can innite with a static spark, or friction, or heat, or if a bee farts on it. Anyone who "plays" with bangy stuff will get burned sooner or later. Either Tetranitrate is a concealed but remiss "powder monkey," or just DAMN LUCKY. Don't try this unless you are seeking the answer to the ultimate question.
Reliq thedavid7 years ago
But we already know the answer to the ultimate question....

'''''42'''''

BUT WHAT IS THE DAMN QUESTION!?!?
What do you get, when you multiply six by nine?
54
No, is 42...look up 42 on wikipedia
I know the meaning of life is 42 but
6*9=54
read a maths book
what scares me is people talk about that so much, you would almost think they really believe the meaning of life is 42.
Thats because it is.
LOL
are you dudes obsessed with hitchikers guide to the galaxy?
Reliq killa6966 years ago
For some, its more than a book.
It's a way of life
it IS life
SO you are satisfied with saying that the answer to life is 42 ? ....2 digits.... ?
Google agrees. Search: "Answer to life, the universe and everything"
So! that dosent answer the question for me.... did 42 create us ? did 42 create the earth billions of years ago? The answer isn't a number !
Decides this is getting off topic!
Well it's either 42 or the belief that there was nothing then nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded creating everything then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense. Qft. I like 42 better. It's easier to write.
Wat the heck is 42 got to do with the unioverse?
So do people like worship 42 just because google says ? You feel completely satisfied that the answer to mankinds greatest question is 42? Where here on earth because of 42 ? That makes NO! sense
Listen man, if you want to flame people for their opinions on life, the universe, and everything, go do it somewhere pertinent. Nobody worships 42 because of what google says, get off the computer and open a book. Its called the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Not the pathetic excuse for a movie either, that thing is an abomination. I mean, go to your local Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, Franks Corner Cafe and Bookery, or any other place you can find books made of paper, and buy a copy. Hell, give me your address and Ill send you one of mine to read. Seriously, I made a damn joke about a comment on an Instructable, if it offends you that much, don't look at it. We all have our opinions on life, and we are mostly cooperative when it comes to talking about them. You don't need to push your whatever on our whatever in a place that has nothing to do with it. There is a theory which states that if anyone ever discovers what the universe is actually here for, it will be immediately replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened. I apologize to everyone else here, and especially to Tetranitrate, the creator of this, and many other fine instructables. Who would have thought that making a joke in a public forum on the internet would result in so much creationist backlash that it would detract from the purpose of the original posting. What this world really needs is not a savior, its an extinction.
milamber Reliq4 years ago
 i concur 
I'd say its more of a guide
My friend, I don't know if you have read this book, but it is one of the greates pieces of literature to ever come from human imagination.
 very true but if you want good sci-fi you should read larry niven stuff eg ringworld
I have read it(twice), it is a fantastic book, but that does not mean we have to talk about it on a gunpowder instructable LOL. (and for anyone who has watched that south park episode where canada goes on strike, "i'm not your friend, guy"
Oops 4got )
Maths have nothing to do with it. Besides, if you want to get into maths, you could read the whole book, and see what happens when you do 6*9 in base 13.
milamber Reliq4 years ago
 FAIL maths is everything 2do with it math is everything especialy this subject
 tho i get your point is that the answer isnt about simply xing 2 numbers
cupebill Reliq5 years ago
two orgasms
How many roads must a man walk down?
sonaps Reliq5 years ago
I freaking love those books, and the movie.
This is the amount of time it takes to travel through the Earth, no matter what position you start at and no matter what position you are going to. Newtonian math ... it sounds absurd ... but the math works...But Mr. Adams just pulled it out of the eather...
it is not that sensitive
dla888 thedavid5 years ago
I'm not denying that you are wrong thedavid, yes gunpowder is dangerous, but when handled properly the risk is almost none. You can also buy much higher power gunpowder at a sporting goods store compared to the labor intensive process of making this stuff. Now with flash powder, even handling that properly there is a much higher risk of losing limbs and other vital body parts. In very small batches it is somewhat safe, but I would still reccomend a face shield for handling it. (ewhilhem has a face shield instructable if I'm not mistaken)
Simple smoke bomb: two parts P.Nitrate one part icing sugar, half a part charchoal, mix and put in newspaper and light, fizzing noise, then smoke everywhere! XD
austin killa6966 years ago
you don't even need charcoal for this you just melt the potassium nitrate( stump remover) and sugar together.
Gakki thedavid6 years ago
Bee farts, the leading cause of death amongst Liliputian gunsmiths.
BOXHARD Gakki6 years ago
hahaha... see my reply to that...
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz phut BANG! outrageous!
Hey man, first off, where does being a "fire arms instructor" make you an authority on black powder or explosives in general? Is black powder what's even in modern munitions?... no Common black powder, and this is not even true back powder, well it is, but it's primitive, is very stable. You make it sound like it will go off if you look at it wrong. The only time you could get into trouble storing back powder is if there are any metals in contact with it. Potassium Nitrate is an oxidizer and could theoretically produce enough heat by an oxidation reaction to ignite the compound.... but I've never actually heard of any documented cases of this. Oh and you are right in saying its a Class C Explosive... it means that it is for sale to the general public, and that no permits or licenses or required to play with it. Go out and buy some... or make some... you'll have fun doing it... and smokeless powder for your knight muzzle loader doesn't count... it's nitrocellulose... and that's even MORE stable than black powder...
well, i'm probably long overdue to see that answer anyways.
920334 years ago
In case 'anyone' is 'seriously interested' in this topic...see if you can find a copy of the book: "PYROTECHNICS"...published in the 1940's (doubt if you will find one).

It has 'every formula' and information to make every known type of gun powders, fireworks, (crackers, salutes, aireals, etc)...primarily for manufacturing fireworks.
artb604 years ago
Hummph.........The meaning of life is what ever I decide that it is.
So, play nice, or I might change my mind....
Light_Lab4 years ago
For 13 years I researched and worked making black powder (as used in period muzzle loading rifles and shot guns).  I have to say that conventional black powder is not as dangerous an explosive as many others are. Nevertheless as presented, this instructable is quite dangerous.
Black powder will not explode unless initiated in a confined space. For example in a sealed ball mill with lead balls that would contribute dangerous shrapnel!
There is at least one very important part in the process that is omitted here that makes this instructable dangerous and ensures that the product produced is less than optimum = gray (per the photos) not black. I consider that it would be irresponsible to disclose the missing steps, particularly in this time of terrorists etc.
Overall, considering the the officiousness of the authorities cracking down on people with explosives and the considerable dangers involved,  any activity with any explosive without proper training and permits, should be avoided.
(I hate to be a party pooper - I like a good bang too. But I could not live with myself if one of our good Instructable fans blew themselves up, or even got arrested for terrorism, because I kept my mouth closed. )
jupeter54 years ago

If im correct, modern anmunition uses pirodex as an alternitive to black powder

alexhammy944 years ago
what in the size of the powder when finshed? (coarseat-Fg.FFg.FFFg,FFFFG-fine)
t3hr4v3n8 years ago
To save money on a ball grinder: Got to toys'r'us or somewhere similar and find a rock polishing kit (they usually run around $20 or so and they usually have a little cheapo ball-mill in 'em (minus the lead balls, which can usually be found at a fishing, hobby, or hardware store). viola! cheapo ball mill! though you'd probably have to make slightly smaller batches.
very good i was thinking of that too!! 
will there be static in the mill because its intended for rocks that wont be affected by static.
THATS A BLOODY GREAT IDEA but i cant find my old rock-tumbler either way man its good
dasta6 years ago
uh, i live in south africa(yes, those languages u hear on tv are real), and i can't get get such things as ballmills or stuff like that(without a permit). so i want to know if i can use a spice blixem(not the real name. i can't spell the real thing)? (it's a small, deep wooden cup with a rounded bottom and a small dildo-like stick that u use to roll around in the cup to crush seeds and spices and stuff. works on sunflower seeds very well) thanks in advanced
whatt your thinking of is a morter and pestle (i think thats how you spell it) and i think theres a posibility that the powder would explode. you can try making a ball mill search ball mill on youtube to get some insperation...or you could try mixing it in a bowl (not metal) with a stick but then again theres the chance that it would explode from impact.
http://www.fortliberty.org/military-library/how-to-make-black-powder-and-other-explosives.shtmlacually i dont think there is a possibility that it could explode because it is not very powerful... if you want something that powerful you would have to go with a 7:3 ratio of potassium perchlorate and Al powder making flash powder

it is alot easier to make too because all you have to do is mix and go but it is VERY dangerous if made right

also a way to make this particular powder more powderful is to boil the potassium nitrate and then stir in a sulfur/charcoal/alcohol mixture into the water KNO3 solution then all you have to do is separate the water from the black powder

try it out
www.fortliberty.org/military-library/how-to-make-black-powder-and-other-explosives.shtml
 Where can potassium perchlorate be bought from then? All the websites I have seen have banned sales of it :(
Camel KA-BOOM!
Heres to you dude! People are whack with their ideas of black powder. I STRUGGLE to light mine, and I always use a M&P, theres no way in hell it'll ignite standard 75:15:10 BP.
My moms friend had a friend that made black powder and one day it ignighted when he was mixing it and hurt his hand, but i'm not sure if its true, he might have been scaring me into not doing it
sorry the link is at the top
Sylkhr dasta6 years ago
what your talking about is called a pestle & morter
can i use a coffee bean grinder?
No.
owwio5 years ago
nice but you can save a hell of a lot of money by using a pestle and mortar instead of the ball mill.
Yeah, but you can save a hell of a lot of time by using the ball mill. Both have upsides and downsides. Also, if something does ignite it, chances are a ballmill will be safer for it to ignite in, rather than in a mortar you're holding, dontcha think?
Potassium nitrate(KNO3) in PELLET form can be safely ground up in a mortar and pestle. I did it in my high school chemistry class many times.
pyroarchist7 years ago
would CVS and ACE hardware have the chemicals you need for this??
yea buy stump remover, garden sulphur and charcoal.
dla888 austin5 years ago
Charcoal that you buy at the store has too many additives in it. To make gunpowder grade stuff. Take 5-6 cm lengths of willow wrap them in a multi layered, airtight package of foil and put them in a roaring campfire and leave them there overnight. Then comeback later, fish them out and unwrap them. If you've done everything right you should have "true" homemade charcoal.
this is very dangerous!! never use plastic (i.e. the plastic cup previously used) due to static electricity can cause an explosion, and NEVER use any type of metal to process your GUNPOWDER, IF A MICROSCOPIC SPARK, LIGHTS UP, WELL THE PICTURE YOU SEE ABOVE, GOES KABOOM. WHEN MAKING GUNPOWDER MAKE SMALL AMOUNTS, THE ABOVE PIC IS WAYY TOO MUCH!!
LOL. never use plastic or metal? what then? wood?
yeah...i forgot to add that....but thats exactly what your supposed to use! WOOD!
GLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
King bean6 years ago
just have one question well maybe two i bought the potasium nitrate but im not sure where to buy the sulfur or wat kinda of charcoal i should use. and is there anyother way i can grind all it without buying a ballmill?
i used sugar because hell where is a 14 y/o gonna get sulfer it didnt burn as fast but is still good and you can make a ball mill with a motor, can, and some quarters for the balls
The sweet sweet internet my friend.
i can get sulphur and i live in australia. it's in the gardening section of any home and hardware store
brmonkey125 years ago
Lol me and my friend do it ghetto style, Well I suppose ghetto style would be emptying shotgun shells but you know what I mean. We grind our won charcoal measure with a triple beam balance scale and grind it all in a mortar and pestle. It hurts your arms but hey it gets the job done.
how much did you spend on charcoal
skywalk215 years ago
just a note: You have to stir the gunpowder every once in a while or else it become useless... and since it takes all the work and money, you might use 5 minutes every week or two to save like $20
nonickname5 years ago
This is black powder, not gunpowder. There's a difference.
DarkTrinity6 years ago
My one and only concern really is sparks in the ball mill. Has anyone had a case of this happening yet?
If it is a concern, you should use a non-sparking media to grind with. United Nuclear sells a ceramic media in varying sizes that is not able to spark due to a lack of materials that can do so.
Forces sonaps5 years ago
CERAMIC CAN SPARK AND SHOULD NOT BE USED!

When ever using a ball mill with flamable materials lead balls only.
sonaps Forces5 years ago
Bro, that had been corrected a good deal of time ago. Also, the point was no more proven by use of caps lock, it makes it seem like you're just yelling your head off.
mr.space sonaps5 years ago
mix some expensive fabric conditioner with water, then put in a spray gun and spray once!
sonaps mr.space5 years ago
Might I ask why?
mr.space sonaps5 years ago
its basicly a anti-static spray
sonaps mr.space5 years ago
That would work in this case much better if the chemicals contained in the conditioner wouldn't alter the outcome of the gunpowder. Still a good idea though.
I copied this off their Ball Mill page: "If you are going to be grinding Black Powder, you must ONLY use Lead balls as they are completely non sparking. Steel Ball Bearings and ceramics will spark and ignite the Black Powder mixture." I wouldn't take any chances with ceramic.
You have bested my comment, and I yield victory to you, sir.
Can you get lead poisoning from the lead media? Can I use lead shot in mine?
No not unless you swallow one, LOL
Potassium nitrate and sugar works Just as good Not as powerfull but just as gd And cheaper too
Thats a smoke bomb mixture. -PKT
It is also a mixture for Rcandy (rocket candy). And also for a slow fuse. It all depends on the ratio of sugar to KNO3
its not its a substitute for Black powder BUT you can make smoke bombs with pottasium nitrate
henkow5 years ago
tungsten carbide, agate, sintered aluminium oxide, zirconium oxide. Would any of these be suitable in place of Lead?
archmonde115 years ago
I think lead is too soft. It would rapidly wear away by grinding each others and you'd get a lot of lead in whatever you're grinding. I was not sure if they would deform ( In fact, I can use my knife to cut it ). And I think lead is bad for our heath when touch by bare hand. Can I replace the lead by any other materials ? Such as brass, bronze, glass, wooden marbles ... I think about rough glass marbles. Smooth glass marbles may spark.
Lead is actually a LOT less "bad" than you think it is. If you handle lead, it wont kill you, but it's a good idea to wash your hands if you're going to repeatedly hold the lead. Lead is the hardest, non-sparking grinding media avaliable. -PKT
what is the 75:15:10 ratio
Relatedly, why isn't this ratio reduced? I look at that "75:15:10" and think "why not 15:3:2?"
Tetranitrate (author)  blackvayne50008 years ago
It is the ratio of weights. All pyrotechnic powders are measured by their weight, so for example you wanted to make 100 grams of gunpowder, you would have 75 g. potassium nitrate, 15 g. charcoal powder, and 10 g. sulfur.
As a ghetto alternative to a ball mill, would a rounded wooden dowel and a plastic/wooden bowl work? I know it would take AAGES, but a bowl and a stick would be much easier to hide from parents than a ball mill grinding for 2 hours. Would it work?
It is possible to get wooden balls from places such as Cherrytreetoys.com. Maybe they would work.
I got a mortar and pestle, finally!
That would be called a mortar and pestle. And yes, it would work. But no, it would not necessarily take longer, in fact, it may only take a half hour or so, the downside being that your actually physically grinding it instead of watching TV while the mill does the work. But if patience is not an issue, your only concern may be whether or not your body is more energy efficient than he electric mill. Hmmm....
Yes, I KNOW what a mortar and pestle is, lol. I was just wondering whether wooden dowel and a bowl would work, instead of granite...?
Koosie5 years ago
Scratch scratch .... Scratch scratch.........BANG! Hey, were'd my hand go ??????
I haven't read every comment so if my comment has been said by others I apologize for the repeat. I would like to suggest that you store the powder in a metal can rather than in a plastic food container. A metal can won't develop a static charge that will spark and ignite the powder. A plastic container can develop a charge and if it causes a spark, may blow your container of powder up along with anything nearby.
And if you are really worried about static charge on the metal can, connect the can to an ESD strap and ground it.
i'd only ground it if i was making drums of the stuff. which i'm not.
How much does it take to blow your hand apart or to blow a chunk of the plastic bowl into your eye? Good luck with that! TD
very little, but not enough to cause serious damage to anything else. therefore, only ground it in large quantities. i keep mine in empty pill bottles in an inch thick fireproof box. that way there's nothing to ground, and the powder is in a measured container.
skunkbait5 years ago
Thanks for the ible. I haven't been around much lately, I've been preparing for Armageddon, so this ible will realy help. Any idea what the best kind of charcoal would be? I already have my sulfur and saltpetre.
gwarboy20005 years ago
ok, I have no clue why people always say combine all 3 chems in a ball mill, people don't know that KNO3 is friction sensitive and is even more dangerous when combined together. DO NOT COMBINE ALL 3 INTO THE MILL!!!!! THERE IS A RISK OF EXPLOSION!!!!!!!!!. screen all the materials together with a 100 mesh screen. never never never combine in a ball mill!
sweet only i don't have One hundred dollars to spend on it right now.Do you think their is a cheaper way make the ballmill?
use a mortar and pestle it might take a while don't use metal
Tetranitrate (author)  supermichael27 years ago
Buy a cheap rock polisher. Just be sure to buy a lead grinding media.
what a lead grinding meadia?
lead grinding media means lead balls for use in the ball mill to crush whatever you put into there into fine particulates. for gunpowder, never use any metal media except for lead, because lead is the only metal (or one of the only, not sure) that doesn't spark when stricken.
now I feel stupid, tetranitrate already mentioned that in his supplies list...
What is the purpose of each ingredient? What will happens when one ingredient is lowered? I have made meal powder an the longer you grind it the better :_:
26858665 years ago
I live in oz, in Brisbane, does anyone know where i can get potassium nitrate and other chemicals.
Gardening shops have potassium nitrate where I live, I think it is called saltpetre. That may be sodium nitrate though.
Sodium nitrate is almost the same thing as potassium nitrate.
Sodium nitrate is hygroscopic and will absorb moisture from the air, if you want your BP to stay dry and burn as intended, be sure to use Potassium Nitrate
But potassium nitrate is just as hygroscopic.
no, quite right, saltpetre is potassium nitrate
Killercake5 years ago
would a rock tumbler work
ohshnit17 years ago
i have also heard of people using a 80:10:10 ratio does the result change much? it seams like the increase in KNO3 would speed up the burn time.
Yes, and it goes BOOM louder. And if you use less, then it burns slower. I use a 60:30:10 ratio to make model rocket engines (fun!), for a slow, controlled burn.
You may want to increase the charcoal, (Fuel,) and the ration should be 70:20:10 KNO3, Charcoal, Sulfur
its less stoichometric but it would burn... like green mix I think
maxpower495 years ago
i like your work station i also do most of my pyro work on the washer and dryer
for those of you who don't want to have to buy a ball mill, you can make one yourself. united nuclear has posted plans
just get a rock tumbler and some pennies :) or something i havent tried yet, marbles..but they may make a glass powder
any suggestions for making a rock tumbler?
*sighs* they must cost about £10
if you really want to make one...
this is a one use barrel one.get a can of coke, drink it while you stick a drill in a vice and find a drill bit you dont want or is broken.
glue the unwanted drill bit to the side of the coke can
put what you want to be powdered in the can and seal
put the drill on the slowest possible setting
there you go
wow, thats a great idea! you should write an instructable about that!
Notbob5 years ago
I should like to point out something from UnitedNuclear's web site:

"If you are going to be grinding Black Powder, you must ONLY use Lead balls as they are completely non sparking. Steel Ball Bearings and ceramics will spark and ignite the Black Powder mixture. "
Shadowfury5 years ago
I used a pestle and mortar before to make small batches. Works fine.
If you live in Western Australia or even Australia and are having a hard time finding potassium nitrate go to your local bunnings or hardware store and look for Yates Thrive Soluble Flower & Fruit Plant Food
heres a link of what it looks like. It contains 26% potassium nitrate however it is the main ingredient and it seems to work well for me
Here's a link:
http://www.yates.com.au/Products/Fertilising/WaterSoluble/Thrivesolubleflowfruit.asp
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Epsom salts is a sulfide. I think its Magnesium Sulfide, useful for smokeless powders. (Can somone second this?)
three's got to be enough oxygen in it to work
There is oxygen in it, but no, it wont work for BP since the oxygen is not available (enough)
no, its fairly inert
ok if U live in WA like me just get potassium nitrate from here. just ring them up and ask for potassium nitrate they will simply see if there is a ripped bag of it (so you can buy a desirable amount without having to pay for 25 kilos of kno3.... tho that would be sweet :) then just rock up with some kind of liscence and its all yours! as for the liscence i got my dad to buy it lol.
mr.space5 years ago
if you dampen the powder with a dextrin/water solution until crumbly but will just about stick together, and push it through a sieve, you'll have granuals of it, this is slightly better because the dampening allows some of the KNO3 to be absorbed into the carbon, increasing burn rate :) just trying to help
recyclebin6 years ago
will bonide stump out work?
As KNO3? It's probably 98%pure, so it should work. It definatly wont burn by itself though
thanks. I just wanted to see if that particular brand would work, but I ended up buying pure KNO3
Is there a good way to buy pure KNO3 apart from the little overpriced amounts on United Nuclear? Maybe as a fertilizer or something?
I just bought mine from cheap-chemicals.com, but i dont know what the best deal is. I know people say it is sold as fertilizer and stumpremover
I've heard NaNO2 works to, and I have stump remover that has NaNO2 as the main ingredient.
lucek lucek6 years ago
all so Grant's stump remover has a warning on it "cation contains potassium nitrate" and lists no other ingredients.
lucek lucek6 years ago
oh and if that all fails its in your pis.
Spectracide stump remover is KNO3 based. It's pretty cheap.
ebay... around 30 dollars for kilo incl postage at least it was for me
No. I doubt it even has potassium nitrate. It uses a different active ingredient. It is a good thing you bought pure KNO3, or you would have wasted your money. P.S. Revenge Stump Remover Doesn't Contain KNO3 either.
milamber5 years ago
for all us ausies who find these chemicals hard to find try this

http://stores.ebay.com.au/Hobby-Fertiliser-Pottery-Chemicals
327688 years ago
Lead is really pretty nasty stuff to have around. Would there be any problem with using ceramic media?
SIR COOL 327687 years ago
I found out marbles would work in stead of lead balls
JJrulz SIR COOL6 years ago
im pretty sure the glass marbles can spark so i wouldnt use them
sonaps JJrulz5 years ago
No, it won't spark. Glass just shatters when you tumble it......and powdered glass is some nasty stuff (it will effectively break and continue grinding itself into a fine powder).
or big ballberings form a vehicle
ball bearings are made from iron or steel, which SPARKS, and can cause the powder to ignight. if you're really desperate, and they are the only thing you have arround (strange thing to keep... but hey?) then you could use them. it would just be more likely that the powder sets off.
well he DID say you could but i dont see why you think lead is bad to have around
You know those Magic Bullet countertop wizard things? I wonder how well of a grinding/mixing job that would do on this.
mateusz7195 years ago
Can't you just take a bowl and grinding mallet (the kind herbalists use to grind plants into powder)and use that to grind the chemicals?
Mortar and pestle for future reference.
It's definitely possible! That's how I used to do it but quickly discovered that it's not just arduous it's result is far inferior. Sore forearms and less potent powder didn't appeal to me so I've switched to the CIA method
Yes, you can. And I think you mean a mortar and pestle :)
deadpyro5 years ago
But if a metal can exploded...
duct tape7 years ago
Wouldn't you be able to make a pyrotechnic mixture simaler to gunpowder, but with zinc dust instead of potassium nitrate? Because Homer Hickam used zinc-sulfur rockets
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Ya. Have you seen the movie, or read the book?
good movie "October sky" anyone know were zinc powder is used?
ebay :)
i meant in what profession could i get it at.
i think its used in anti-corrosion paints
No, Zn/S rockets are rockets not exploding devices, they don't have enough chemical energy to release quick enough. With sulfur as a "catalyst" (it does react) it might speed up the reaction
dciocoiu5 years ago
what is potasium naitrate?
planeglory5 years ago
what if I only have a "pet safe" deterrent,will that work?
madtrick7 years ago
How about mixing the stuff in a blender, any good or will that break my blender with a bang.
Tetranitrate (author)  madtrick7 years ago
bang.
lol, exactly BANG
mje madtrick7 years ago
If you just put the ingredients in a blender dry, they WILL ignite and you WILL have chunks of glass distributed through your face, eyes and chest, There is a safe way to make BP in a blender, using a wet slurry- lots of water- and filtering and drying after. But mixing BP dry in a blender would be suicidal.
first of all, madrick i like ur picture thingy. Second of all, any1 know where i would be able to buy potassium nitrate without being arrested? cuz im looking for hi-yeild tree stump remover... in new jersey! I called up like 10 places, and 2 of tem said they have potassium chlorate or sumtin. Thanx 4 ur help guys :)
madtrick7 years ago
Hi, would a mortar and pestle work for grinding the chemical, it shouldn't create sparks, should it? I just dont want my hand to blow off. Thanks, Madtrick
I dont think that any home made explosives are going to blow off your hand, i good way to get gun powder is to my model rocket engines and peel the card board of and all the cement until you grt to the black stuff light that off in your hand and it will be gone
-There are lots of household explosive that can blow your hand off! ie Acetone Peroxide, Nitrogen triiodide -Rocket engines don't use proper black powder only a variation with less sulfur
Tetranitrate (author)  james jame7 years ago
I know lots of home made explosives that can blow off your hand.
My father grew up in russia, and yes, it would work (so he sais...) my dad used to scrape off sulfer from the matches, but if the pestal and mortar is marble, then there shouldnt be any problems....
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I Wouldnt see why not... As long as its ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE to make a spark, then you're completey fine..
i dont see why it would but grind it up in small amounts jsut to be sure that aproach will be tedious.
mukiman7 years ago
patatium nitrate also used for curing meat
Tombini mukiman5 years ago
ill be sure to have a look for "patatium nitrate"
biggfoot37 years ago
that IS NOT how you mix it. Even if you use ceramic or lead balls in the mill, it sill has the chance of exploding due to outside influences. This is the SAFEST (still not 100% safe) way to mix the powder. 1) powder each ingredient separately in a mortar an pedestal, this is a lot faster than any other way. 2) measure the right amounts 3) put the right ratio in, and then add WATER. it seems odd, but it ensures no explosion. 4) mortar and pedestal it again while wet. This gunpowder is smaller in size, but it explodes with twice the power. 5) mortar and pedestal again when dry. BE REAL CAREFUL ON THIS STEP.
This is a good method but add equal parts of methylated spirits to water as the liquids, this allows the KNO3 to better get into the pores in the charcoal. btw its a "Pestle" not "Pedestal"
Defended7 years ago
Hi guys, If possible I would like to know how to get hold of a ball mill in the UK. On the site unitednuclear it says 'All Ball Mills operate only on U.S. standard 115 volts, 60 Hz'. How / Where can i get one that would work in the UK. Thanks
Tetranitrate (author)  Defended7 years ago
I would guess the best way is to buy one in a store in the UK. They are sold as rock tumblers, and shouldn't be too expensive.
Ive just read on a website it would be ok to use a coffee grinder... will this be safe?
Don't use one unless you add 5% methalated spirits and 5% water added weight of the gunpowder. If you don't it WILL explode
Rock tumblers are a semi-acceptable substitute for a ball mill. They will work, but with a full load of media they will go so slow that you will end up running the mill for 24hrs to get a similar quality product to some powder milled for 3hrs with a ball mill.
surely a 3 lb ball mill is the same as a 3 lb rock tumbler? getting the chemicals i found easy :S
Not quite correct because rocktumblers have very low-powered motors and lack the torque to rotate a jar to its optimum rpm and therefore will take longer to make good quality bp.
Tetranitrate (author)  Defended7 years ago
Yup the same 70$ ball mill that United Nuclear sells, can be bought as a "rock tumbler" from Harbor Freight for 20$.
Do you know where i can buy lead media from? i cannot find it on any sites in the uk. thank you for your help with the rock tumbler i think ive got the right one now. i have the chemicals and now all i need is media. Much appreciated.
The only rock tumblers advertised just seem to be for polishing stones and not grinding. Have you any idea of where to get one? Could you link me to a site? Do you have any more information? Thanks
the ballmill is the easy part , getting the chemicals is the hardest part
static toogood7 years ago
The Charcoal you can make out of hard wood. Potassium nitrate you can process from urine. I don't know of any stealthy means of acquiring sulfur if one isn't near nature deposits. Volume five of the foxfire series contains a number of clues how black powder was made back in the day, when risking life and limb was often par for the course.
toogood static7 years ago
cool ill try that!
knobep5 years ago
iv been making this for years and i always use a 14$ hand cranked grain mill to both powder the ingredients and mix it. its like a meat grinder but has 2 ribbed plates that turn agenst each other. the only down side is that you must mix the ingredients with a good amount of water so it cant lite. (should b done no mater how you make it because it allows the charcoal to absorb some KNO3 making it burn FASTER!!) ps. i have made bp with icing sugar in place of charcoal and it worked fine, this is because of the basic chemistry of black powder: oxidizer (KNO3), stabilizer (sulfur) , and fuel (charcoal). the sulfur allows the kno3 to relies its oxygen faster and more efficiently, this lets the coal burn with its own oxygen supply. theoretically any solid fuel can be put in place of charcoal.
joedynamite6 years ago
if u live by a gunshop u can just go there and u dont have to own a gun to buy it
In civilised countries, we don't have local gunshops :p
How the hell would you explain that? "What do you need this powder for, son?" "I'm blowing stuff up!"
or you could say that you're making a school project about time delays in multi staged engines
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You could, but the quality wouldn't be anywhere near as good. You'd be lucky to get it to burn consistantly.
It can ignite very easily from a cigarette end or even a spark. Although i never had any trouble with it when i was a kid doing it. Smoking is a NO NO and its perhaps best done outside with welding gloves and a facesheild. Its risky these days and perhaps not worth having a visit from the anti terror police, who sometimes can't tell the difference bettween wideboys having a laugh and dangerous terrorists out to kill people. Its sad how the world has become, they have allowed the terrorists to win by sacrificing all our freedoms which we all held so dear. Its the reason most kids nowdays are unemployable in Engineering, they lead such sheltered lives now, they are not prepared for the world of work. Many many times, the knowledge i learn't has a kid, from making Fireworks, small explosions and building dens; has helped me do my job as a Marine Engineer, even if its only in a indirect way.
killa6966 years ago
just got sulphur :) XD :p
Does anyone know if gunpowder ignites from impact? Also, what is primer made of? Is that also gunpowder?
i dont think gunpowder ignites from impact but it will from a spark
Just cut open an estes rocket engine and use the powder from that. it is the same as or at least very close to black powder
I don't think it has any charcoal.
Not really. The powder that Estes uses is a stabilized form. This is why a rocket soars instead of blowing up(usually)
callmeshane6 years ago

Hi - nice INS, Butt....

When I grind powder...

1. I grind my powder WET... I use about 90% alcohol and 10% water.. you only need just enough liquid to enable the mix to FLOW around inside of the drum, without caking on the inside.. Steel or ceramic (glass) balls are fine.

I prefer to dissolve a little bit of gelatin into the water, perhaps 3% of the total powder volume.This makes for a more well cemented powder grain.

2. IMPORTANT - ADD some GRAPHITE to the mixer ~ 2% by volume, this is to conduct the static electricity out of the mass (of dried powder), instead of having a charge build up within the mass - thereby earthing and sparking and possibly lighting the powder while it does so.

3. To MAKE granulated powder (really good propellant = GUN powder) cast the ground powder mix into something like a cake tin ~ 2 to 4 cm thick. tamp down with a spoon.

4. Place in a WARM to HOT sunny area.

5. Grind the DRY and HARD cake with a VERY fine steel HAND grater.

6. The granules can then be sifted to give a range of UNIFORM grain sizes....

7. The coarser or larger the grain size the LONGER the burning time.

8. Very large grains like fine gravel are used in commercial blasting, because of the sustained long expansion.... very very fine grains are used in pistols, because of the need for the grains to burn very quickly.

9. Work in an all metal environment, with WOODEN tools. Make sure that all the metal is earthed.

10. ONLY make SMALL batches at a time - 200 grams in the mill, 200 grams of cake drying somewhere else, 200 grams being crumbed and sieved, and keep the powder stored in airtight metal containers, in an area that is not accessable to "silly or ignorant people".

Only create and store enough powder at a time for the job at hand.

There have been gun nuts, working away in their basement, reloading cartridges, with enough powder on hand to level a building - which is great, till they drop their cigarette etc...

If they had of only had enough powder ready to use, to fill say 100 cartridges at a time, with 100 cases, and 100 bullets, and the powder was stored far away in another room, and the finished munitions were stored far away... with that small amount of powder lighting up, all they get is a fright and few scorch marks.

Cheers

Shane

I just dumped my dry mix into a frying pan and hit it with a hammer. It worked fine.
Cool. Try this at home!
dariel246 years ago
can I make it without ball mill? if i can, how?
you can use ,whats called the cia method.basicly all the ingredeints are put in a blender with just enough boiling water to make a slurry,and add pure alcohol whilt its spinning the Black powder will precipitate and sink to the bottom,yoy can strain it dry it then crush it through a METAL STRSAINER And dry it
cvxdes6 years ago
this ball mill thing.. it's just a rotating drum with lead balls in it? Could I not attach a container onto a drill and make some lead balls out of old solder? or would that be doing it wrong..
turner22 cvxdes6 years ago
you don't need lead balls. just use marbles.
NOOOOO glass sparks do not use marbles!!!!!
I've never seen marbles spark before.
I have. Listen to the bin
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Neither will copper.
I've still never seen glass spark before, on impact or otherwise.
cyf531 turner226 years ago
Marbles aren't heavy enough.
--Thatguy--6 years ago
Are you sure ceramic media is okay to use? I've read that it can also spark.
"If you are going to be grinding Black Powder, you must ONLY use Lead balls as they are completely non sparking. Steel Ball Bearings and ceramics will spark and ignite the Black Powder mixture." - From unitednuclear itself
Stormrage6 years ago
mate can i use a coffee grinder for the potassium nitrate to get dusty and then put the charcoal and sulfur so it will have a perfect mixed gunpowder??? and if i can i could make a 5 or 6 kg of it MUHHAHAHAHA cos i got about a 50kg of potassium nitrate and a 2 kg of sulfur and the charcoal is easy to find man
storing large amounts of gunpowder is probably not a good idea...if you have it in a stiff airtight container, after a period of time, pressure could build up, and ignite your gunpowder...and possibly burn down wherever its stored.
pressure will not ignite gunpowder. try it with a tiny amount of gunpowder and a hammer. if your an adult male you'll be striking about 300lb. (yes, 300). now if 300lb of pressure wont ignite it, than a few pounds or air pressure wont either.
actually you can ignite things with pressure. put cotton and soak it inlighter fluid and then let it dry out. put it in a tube and put a piston in the top and push down. as the pressure increases, the molecules move more rapidly, thus resulting in friction, causing heat
I think you may be joking, but just in case you're not the answer is definitely NO. When one is preparing the separate components for an explosive, it is a big no-no to prepare one after the other in the same mixing device.
where do you get potassium nitrate from?
its used as stump remover. i think you buy it in garden supplies store, say you're a gardener, its an ingredient in fertiliser, and is good to sprinkle on plants.
What type of powder is this. What would it compare to. Do you know the burn rate, or any thing that would help to reload.
mr chompo8 years ago
Is it true that all the ingredients for gunpowder can be bought from a drugstore? I heard this was true, but any reliable info would be helpful...
Tetranitrate (author)  mr chompo8 years ago
Kinda sorta. It would have to be a really well stocked drug store, not some generic chain like CVS, and the ingredients would also probably not be too pure.
How about a garden store? People sprinkle sulphur around to repel snakes.
Tetranitrate (author)  xenobiologista7 years ago
A well stocked garden store should have it.
can you give specific retail names and specific stores in the USA the ingredients can be found? just the 3 chemicals. ive seen "kingsford charcoal briquettes" and "garden sulphur," also called "elemental sulphur," with a 90% purity. the only potassium nitrate ive ever seen is a 1-0-1 fertilizer with ironite additive. please get back to me =)
stump remover is 100% potassium nitrate
ebay is a good place to get ingreedients
twisted1016 years ago
anyone know how to liquify this? or better yet, make a liquid form of this?
John Smith7 years ago
For my birthday, I got a 3lb ball mill frompyrocreationsand made some black powder, I had it grinding all night, only to open it up in the morning to find it compacted into a ring around the opening of the cylinder.I made some before, but using a rock tumbler. My only guess is that the charcoal might have been moist when I put it into the tumbler, because I used my own charcoal.

Tetranitrate (author)  John Smith7 years ago
Same mill I have. When you say you used your own charcoal, what type of charcoal were you using? Not charcoal briquets I hope.
No, I didn't use the briquettes. I made charcoal out of oak, and a little bit of pine. Here in southeast Florida,it has rained constantly, and that might of absorbed the water. Do you know the burn speeds of different types of charcoal? I'm looking for wood I can find easily, or get at the hardware store. I heard balsa wood charcoal burns pretty quick. My oak charcoal is too slow for some of my needs.
Tetranitrate (author)  John Smith7 years ago
"The charcoal should never be made from hardwood as hardwood has too much ash. Such woods as chinaberry, willow, cottonwood, soft pine with no knots, or redwood and Western cedar make the best grade charcoal. A fifty-five-gallon drum with a snap-on lid and a match-stem-sized hole in the lid set over a fire Pit is a good charcoal maker. Take the wood and chip it or cut it into inch chunks and put a bucketful in the drum. Then build a hardwood fire under the drum and when smoke begins to spurt from the vent, light the wood with a match. When the flame goes out, your charcoal is made. Rake the fire out from under the drum, plug the vent with a bit of asbestos fiber or a nail that fits in tight, and let the drum sit overnight to cook. You can then crush and powder the charcoal with a mortar and pestle, or run it through a hand-cranked grain grinder to a flourlike fineness. "

-http://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/foxfire5.html



very interesting article on how to make gunpowder
Willow is considered a hardwood. Look it up. While willow is the best wood to start with, more importantly, you have to let the wood dry till it has only 10-15% moisture content, this takes about two years for larger pieces. Only then should you char it.
mje John Smith7 years ago
Most charcoal briquettes do not have much charcoal. They're a mix of mineral coal, borax, clay, petroleum binders, sawdust, and wood scraps. Lump charcoal is pure wood charcoal.
the_4nk8tr6 years ago
you can make ball mills your self using any number of items...i have a little frame made up that has a Smallish Tin sitting in it which rotates on some rubber wheels which are in turn being rotated by a air drill run of a compressor and it works really well... Also forget the solder got to you local Bait and Tackle store and grab some Fishing Sinkers, easiest way out... Good Luck!
polak1016 years ago
Hey, I have a question, being new at this, what's the difference between flash powder and gunpowder???
Flash poweder was originally used in photographers flashes and burns much quicker
So pretty much, flash powder will give a bigger bang when used in fireworks?
The faster something burns unconfined the bigger bang it will have when confined. And FP will give you a much bigger bang (be careful).
When I broke open some of my fireworks a while ago, inside was flash powder (found out as my friend lit the pile and blinded everyone temporarily) but I'm not to sure but i think it might
buterSBob296 years ago
=-D
Hey can I buy gunpowder I'm 15 years old. If smokeless powder is much safer, how do i make it.
smokeless powder is another word 4 guncotton,look it up on here there is a instructable
Thanks i will look it up but i am not interseted in this kind of stuff anymore because i want to make a musket
shadowfluid6 years ago
thanx 4 showin people how 2 make this!
madmanxx096 years ago
I just bought a ball mill at Harbor freight for like 35 bucks. I think its the same one you have but it has two barrels. I dont know If It was because of the parking lot sale or if it is always that much, but its worth checking out. do you think lead sinkers for fishing will work in it....they didnt have lead grinding media?
jeffgwapo6 years ago
in my future plans im gana make gunpowder by not using ball mill but my feet to grind it... first im gonna poure all ingredients in a bath thub then grind it in my feet hahaha very easy!!!!
Stormrage6 years ago
well man... im not joking... my dad brought home 4x50kg bags of potasium nitrate but i put all the stuff in my coffee grinder... so i dont like to dissapoint u but it didnt explode in... and the gunpowder... wasnt a gunpowder nothing happened cant ignite it
I saw at youtube that this guy used sugar instead of sulfur, if you really want a cheaper way to get charcoal burn wood and get the remains of the burnt wood. I will conduct experiments on many types of sulfur to make gunpowder.(I will post it when I get it right).
H.e. man6 years ago
Will a rock mill work? it baasicly the same thing but its static electricity formed in the mill im worried about.
Just use anti-static spray.
duct tape6 years ago
It makes the BP easier to ignite if you boil the saltpeter and charcoal together first, and then ball mill it with the sulfur. This makes the saltpeter crystallize into the pores of the charcoal.
Thinkman8 years ago
Oh, and one last lesson for all of you! If you try to make gunpowder with "flowers of sulphur" you will be in danger of premature explosion, since flowers of sulphur contain a little acid, and is much more easily oxidized than the "flour of sulphur" that you really want. ~
shut up for god's sake
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA omg... HAHAHAHA
CanDo Thinkman7 years ago
lol, I don't think that anyone with this many anger management issues should be allowed to get near gunpowder....
Stormrage6 years ago
and guys could u pls tell me if someone is looking for instructable for a smoke bomb just tell him to write on mitre_twister@hotmail.com and i could make an instructable i know a easy way but need some materials that here is hard to find
Stormrage6 years ago
well guys im not afraid of the presure from the box that ill keep the gunpowder but ( i dont know to count in lbs. working with kg only :D) and i was just wondering can i grind the potassium nitrate with coffee grinder??? (and this is for u dellboy)- i have a lot of agricultural plants at home and its easy to find it here but it comes in 50 kg nylon bag that is a lot of it... try to find it in a place that sells things for plants( sry of this but my english is not so good) and u can find it i found 1 kg for a 1/3 of euro
can someone list all the places that you can get sulfer and what contains the sulfer? that would be great.
any home hardware store supplies sulphur in the garden section and but i'm pretty sure sulphur is in math heads
turps6 years ago
I think this Instructable should rather be called "Black Powder" as gun powder is the old term and also modern gun powder is a double based nitrocellulose.
dellboy turps6 years ago
yeh it's nitrocellulose (flash paper) combined with nitroglycerin!
brookech6 years ago
Thanks man! I printed out this page and made it at school in science. we filled a film cannister with it and all the fuses never worked. So Jessie (one of my friends), he went and accidently lit it manually!! He is ok just a mild burn.
flyphising6 years ago
Harbor Freight has the tumbler for $20. and an electronic scale for $10. Pyrodex cost $18.99 for 1 lb can. You can make black powder for $1.00/lb
acid-burn6 years ago
even tho the fire arms instructor is out of date with his terminology, hes got a point. this $h1t is DANGEROUS!!! with that said the comment about parents monitoring were also correct. but some one with a reasonable mental state, could use and maintain a "safe and sane" fire work.. but home made often require a lincence. so be fukin careful, epically to anyone under 21!!!!!!
One-Eye6 years ago
My friend and I fire a homemade cannon at our old high school's football games. We ran into a problem finding bp. We ended up using Pyrodex, but had to use 1/3 lb per load. We've used 2 2/3 to 3 pounds per game. At $20 per pound it gets to be expensive. Could this same process be used to produce in pounds? I know to increase the amount of chemicals, but is the ball mill large enough. Or, would we be spending a lot of time making small batches?
Krovlin6 years ago
Would it be easer and cheaper to just buy it from a gun shop? Its called muzzle loader power. But the info on how to make is cool but no need to make it.
beepers276 years ago
could the Potassium nitrate be substituted for Calcium Nitrate ?
sam33526 years ago
could you just use normal charcoal grounded up ???
beepers276 years ago
I am also looking to buy the charcoal powder. So far all ive found on ebay is activated charcoal powder intended to be used to help with common sicknesses such as the common cold or back pains. Is that what is needed to make the GunPowder?
beepers276 years ago
Earlier someone mentioned that the ball mill at http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=46376 on sale for 20$ was possible where United Nuclear gets theirs then rebrands them however is that specific "rock tumbler" safe to make gunpowder with?
BradWhite6 years ago
you can buy the exact same "ball mill" from Harbor Freight Tools for $20. They call it a rotary tumbler, and it is the exact same machine. Heck, you can buy one with two drums on it for $$40.
is this as hydroscopic as KNo3?
Well it is 75% KNO3... so yes.
man7 years ago
were do u buy sulphur from in aus
jimbo112 man7 years ago
sulphur is also the main ingredient in snake deterants. its that yellow powder stuff that you sprinkle on the ground to keep the snakes away.
cd_will man7 years ago
ebay
thedavid7 years ago
To ALL: PLEASE understand that black gunpowder is a class "C" EXPLOSIVE!!!!! Its manufacture is best left to the HEAVILY insured professional. B.P. WILL fire from friction, heat, pressure, static electric sparks, its own perverse nature, or if you are wearing the wrong color on green Thursday. I am a firearms SAFETY instructor and I DO KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. YOU are NOT immortal!
im doing somthing wrong then it burns kinda slowley can you help?
I think if you're a mature, sensible and responsible adult who has researched the subject, knows all of the safety/danger aspects, is careful and goes into it knowing the dangers and risks, as long as they don't harm anyone else or their property, I think it should be entirely up to the individual. As for myself, it's not so much the black powder I want (buying it would defeat the purpose). I'm taken by the whole black powder story. It's history, the different methods used to produce it. I like to experiment with different quantities of ingredients and different methods to see how it affects the end product. I find grinding the ingredients up in a mortar & pestle theraputic - relaxing. I'm into rocketry (and making some small, pretty, quiet, fizzy fireworks). I'm not into blowing things up.
umm gunpowder does not fire from static like flash powder would and as long as you keep it in a plastic baggie and spray anti static spray stuff( static x maybey?) you should be fine P.S. if anybody is gonna make a mill use only LEAD BALLS because lead is the only thing that will not spark
thedavid, Class "C" is an obsolete US DOT designation for explosives deemed safe enough for unlicensed consumers. Modern UN designation for black powder is 1.1D for bulk BP such as is used for blasting or pyrotechnics, or 4.1 if put up in 1lb. or smaller cans and intended for small arms use. Yes, indeed, making explosives is intrinsically dangerous- Particularly so to those new to the arts. But they aren't going to leave it to "heavily insured professionals", they're mostly around 12 to 15 years old and don't know they can die yet.
pobo2 Bert23687 years ago
lol. I'M 15 and know i can die, but if it weren't for those retards that give us a bad image...
Manufacturing it is messy but it's easy to get for an adult. :) And commercially prepared is resonably safe, safer in some cases than gasoline. There are also even safer substitutes for black powder both on manufacturing and when using it. I don't make fireworks with it as there are some pretty strict limits on that and you can do some scary jail time for doing it wrong. I only use it with black powder revolvers and rifles. And it's simpler to use the substitutes except for some specific types of competition shooting. Kids will make stupid stuff. It's better for them to be shown in a controlled setting how not to be hurt. If they are facinated by it then the parents are responsible to ensure they are properly informed and guided. Taking the mystery out if it does work. If the kid is too irresponsible it's up to the parents to do their job and monitor them and try and encourage responsibility. I've done stupid irresponsible things and I can tell you that immediate pain is instructive but I'd rather have learned that lesson from my parents or at school.
Tetranitrate, how many lead grinding media balls do you need to put in? I found a site that sells them. i hope 100 is enough, and if thats too much, can you tell me a site that sells less for less? Thanks
also, they sell them for around 15bucks. its pyrocreations. Great Site!
How do you think plain old lead fishing sinkers would work? (the round ones - other shapes might also be worth testing)
Tetranitrate (author)  sonataarctican7 years ago
It depends on the size of the ball mill, but 100 should be enough.
mustang7 years ago
O_O OMFG THINKMANS GONE!!!!!!!!!!! wow i think i finaly got through his thick skull. i didnt think it was possible i mean hell that things thicker the the mighty moe's armor! well at least hes gone now. _
uzerzero7 years ago
I recently obtained some materials, and set out on a quest to make gunpowder for as cheap as possible. The only things I bought were the sulfur and potassium nitrate, an excellent source of charcoal are wood matches. Take a handful of these (each match weighs around 500mg, I believe), and stick em in a can or something, and light em on fire! After the fire's out, pour them on a plate and see if they're done or not (a white, easily removable match head is a good sign), and then grind them up with a mortar and pestle. You could also break all the match heads off and just use the wood, but then you don't get the cool effects :)
Hi uzerzero, Whe you say "stick em in a can or something, and light em on fire!" do you mean you actually set fire to the match wood or do you mean seal the can and put that in the fire?
badmagic7 years ago
Although I haven't attempted to make any black powder yet (as I like to fully investigate methods, safety issues etc. before I start) this method appears to be the safest. Finely grind all three ingredients SEPARATELY in a mortar and pestle and then mix them together. Wet the mixture with enough water (or stale urine - increases nitrate content for oxidation albeit gross) as to make the batch bunch together with the consistency of biscuit dough and carefully regrind the whole mess together. Lay it in a thin layer on some aluminium foil and allow to dry for 2 - 3 days. Once it's dry, regrind the mixture VERY CAREFULLY AND SLOWLY (if you're fond of keeping your arms attached to your body. This bit sounds very dangerous to me but people do it so...).
you can use a rock tumbler with lead or ceramic balls too.
damn dood i just posted that LOL (didnt read ya :-\)
i dont use a ball mill! I use a cheap-o, kb toys? rock tumbler about 20$i think. (idk i got it for xmas years back from my sisters friend :-D
i would recommend buying black powder instead of going through all the trouble
Overload7 years ago
water bottle taped to a fan with marbles in them
Yo sulfar is easy to get if u r hawian, indonesion or live near the pacific ocean or are a volcano scientist. if a volcano goes off a few weeks later sulfar will gather up. it is hot but is easy way to get sulfar. trust me. ps: i am not trying to kill u it is just a suggestion.
--Thatguy--7 years ago
even though you are like... tetranite.... and u make awesome pyrotechnichs i still have to say that if you use ceramic balls they will spark, if someone already has hopefully they sparked sooner rather than l8r resulting in a minor explosion
How many lead milling media balls do you actually put in the mill, while milling the black powder?
Tetranitrate (author)  Halfamileanhour7 years ago
About 50 marble sized lead balls.
Ok, thanks
Hypn0tic7 years ago
you can use a mortar and pestle to grind up the separate ingredients, however it will be way more coarse and has a larger chance of exploding in your face do this only if your cheap or stupid or cheap
gigilihooie7 years ago
oh ya how much BP can u make with the 3 pound ball mill????
gigilihooie7 years ago
1) hey is that ball mill any good im thinking of getting 1 2) how loud is it 3) does it creat any sparks lol
Mr.Mayhem7 years ago
you can get charcoal powder from crushing charcoal and you can get potassium nitrate from grants stump remover but where do you get sulfur. I've heard that you can get it from a garden store for repeling snakes but is there an easier way??
munkky7 years ago
hey if u do doudle tht amount would you need to leave in for 4 hours or still only 2
Does anyone know of a store that defiantly sells Potassium Nitrate? Supposedly drug and hardware stores sell it but if anyone knows of a specific non-generic brand store place please tell me
the pharmacy at wal-mart sells it, its pretty spendy though
you could find it at any hardware store, just ask for GRANTS brand stump remover. It is mostly potassium nitrate and a pinch of a binder.
i need to know aswell..
3b2657 years ago
do you have to use a ballmill or can you mix it with something else?
you could use a drum, maybe. then put something on the other side with a door/open and close hole and have a pole going through the middle to spin it
BigBangBoy7 years ago
Yeah well I'm sorta new to gun powder (i live in Australia ok) and i'm just wondering would a mortar and pestle be good for making it?
Don't grind all the ingredients together, do them separately then combine them on a sheet of paper.
Tetranitrate (author)  PrescriptionX7 years ago
If the ingredients aren't ground together then it will not work.
Kill Wog7 years ago
should be how to make green powder sorry but patasium nitrate should be mixed whith magnesium or aluminum or zinc its just easyer and performs better ps. potasium nitrate can be bought by the pound for 4$ at home depot Grants stump remover (diodegrades stumps) no need to buy it off ebay it can be sold to minors i just bought 2 pounds you can test it whith sugar
cd_will7 years ago
thanks this has rerly helped me
ohshnit17 years ago
does any1 know where to get a ball mill for cheap or how to make one
Thinkman8 years ago
I bet that in time I will be reading in the news paper, or even see it on the television how you smart people went out and blew yourselves up. No matter, we don't need stupid, ignorant people like this in the world any way! Oh and by the way, I am an active member, and have been for 27 years of the "Bell's Fort Free Trappers Muzzle Loading" We manufacture our own Gun Powder and have been longer than most of you have been alive! Smart ass! Hope to see ya dead or have blown your limbs off real soon! PS: For those of you more serious folk who would like to stop by and see me and our Organization, We are located in Pueblo, Colorado. Not hard to find us! ~
(removed by author or community request)
agreed. let us blow ourselves up if we are that immature :)
we don't need to blow ourselves up, if we wanted to do that, we could just buy fireworks or gunpowder normally
My powder always burns very slowly and always leaves lots of whiteish yellow hard crusty residue. I believe its from the kno3 also would grinding it in a ball mill make it work better than if i grind it in a mortar and pestle? any tips? should i use charcoal that i have crushed up from a bag of grill charcoal or should i burn 2X4s and crush the carbon?
Teen I think you would get better results if you combine the chemicals in the correct ratio and add water to make a thick slurry. Mix thoroughly then pour out onto a cookie sheet to dry. Then either use mortar and pestle or other suitable tool to break the solidified mass into small pieces (not too fine) the pieces are then passed thru screens of various sizes(resulting in grades F(coarse) thru FFFF (priming/fine) Please remember to use tools that will not generate a static charge or cause a spark from friction. The trick is to leave some airspace between the granules to acheive efficient combustion .Some commercial mills also coat the powder with graphite after sizing. About the carbon/charcoal debate , I have found that the natural (not compressed) pieces give better results. take care overload
Black powder is also corned to change its burn rate. Corning is a process which first compresses the fine black powder meal into blocks with a fixed density (1.7 g/cm³). The blocks are then broken up into granules. These granules are then sorted by size to give the various grades of black powder. Standard, USA, grades of black powder run from the coarse Fg grade used in large bore rifles and small cannon though FFg (medium and smallbore rifles), FFFg (pistols), and FFFFg (smallbore, short pistols and priming flintlocks). To reduce accidental ignition due to an electrostatic discharge, coarse black powder grains are sometimes coated with graphite dust, preventing charge build-up during handling. Very coarse black powder was used in mining before the development of nitroglycerine and dynamite.
mukiman7 years ago
can i make pure sulphur powder from just mineral rocks and how?
cant you make gunpowder from sulpher, saltpetre and carbon?
u all just stupidds u also kno nutin about gunpowder
sum one answer !
cant you make gunpowde with saltpetre, sulpher and carbon?
RuiSh7 years ago
water bottle taped to a fan with marbles in them
Mr.Mayhem7 years ago
can you just buy store bought charcoal and crush it up to make the charcoal powder, and does burnt seaweed ashes really produse pottasium nitrate?
madtrick7 years ago
Hi, Do you guys know what the best container (shell) is to put gunpowder in. Thanks
lemon77777 years ago
im bit worries becouse the particals in my mix after 20 mins apeart from the kn03 are still pretty big my costum ball mill that only spins are 13 rpm doesnt seem to be mixing it properly im gonna leave it for a day or two and see how it pans out.
im not sure if anyone is responding to this site anymore (its been a long time) but how much gunpowder does 300gr potasium nitrate, 60gr. charcoal powder, and 40gr sulfer make, is it alot? Thx
Tetranitrate (author)  sonataarctican7 years ago
375 grams.
tyvm, and where do you find lead balls, i was feeling a bit akward talkin to dicks sportin goods, bcuz i said "do u have and lead grinding balls?" and they had no idea what on earth i was talking about. what else are they used for?
Tetranitrate (author)  sonataarctican7 years ago
Buy them online from ebay or a pyrotechnic supply store.
Shafi7 years ago
Thanks for the instructions. In fact I was looking to find simple ways to produce the powder for my shotgun and I think i got it. Although I dont have the machines required for the process, is there other simpler methods to do it at home without the machines? You may help me and write me at shafi_rahimi@hotmail.com
Tetranitrate (author)  Shafi7 years ago
You can use a rock tumbler, they are relatively cheap and do the same thing. You can probably find one on ebay for 20-30$.
ok
nickle pick7 years ago
CAN anyone show me how to make an easy step by step ball mill with pictures????? PLease-------------
Either here or just email me at cool_kiddo9@hotmail.com
Demented7 years ago
Can I just use a mortar? I mean, if you want it finely ground and with the poatssium nitrate and the sulpur smashed into the pores the mortar can do that. Do ball mills really samsh them together that properly?
zawmintu7 years ago
wow great tutorial you have here for gunpowder~ *researches the chemistry about it* -um question: why are there lead balls? i dont recall lead precipitating from the reaction of Potassium nitrate, Sulfur powder, and Charcoal
they are for the ball mill!
vgdukes7 years ago
WHY CAN'T EVERYONE JUST GET ALONG,THAT'S WHAT'S WROHG WITH THIS WORLD TODAY
mustang7 years ago
so thinkman? y dont u just back the fuck off and letem learn the way i learned and or the hard way letem blow off their arms then they might learn some respect for the power of the powder. i meand i had a 12 gauge shotgun shell go off right next to my right ear onece i still cant find out what set it off but i cant realy hear out of my right ear anymore so lettem learn the way i did and stop harrasin them cause theil do it no matter what we say...and ?ru british or alstrailan or somfin easy2rember
Thinkman8 years ago
Baiken can you watch your language please? There are kids on this site (me)! I'm only 8yrs. old. Thank You! oh by the way a even better instructable can found on this site!
8 year olds arn't even aloud on this site.
As i quote "I've been making my own blends , grades, and grain sizes for almost 20 years" and "have been for 27 years of the "Bell's Fort Free Trappers Muzzle Loading"" how do you go from over 27 to 8?
mustang7 years ago
to thinkman ive been in hawii for the past few weeks so no i sm not dead... or am i. well any ways im hear and im kicken o and i didnt say u were a pussy for not wanting to be dead i said u were cause ur to sacred to take a few risks. like that dude up at hampton air field who let me fly his plane during a campere for scouts. yes i am a boy scout omg.
Phoghat7 years ago
I am both a pharmacist and black-powder enthusiast. Some years ago I started making BP fro pharmaceutical grade ingredients in a very large ceramic mortar with ceramic pestle. Worked out ok and after reading this I'll be using ball mill method from now on.
mustang8 years ago
FINALY!!! we all agree on some thing god it took SOOOO!! long!!