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.

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)
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.
Actually ceramic has a risk of sparking, lead is apparently the only metal ball that will not spark.
<p>aye brass doesn't spark.</p>
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
<p>take a aluminium rod and start grinding it over a paper and you will get fine powder of aluminium, even you can cut the pipe using a saw then the powder will be less</p>
grind down aluminium drinks can
lol i love the smell of thermite in the morning
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.
www.northstarpyro.com or www.unitednuclear.com both have it, I think northstarpyro has a better selection though
<p>is this smokeless powder or black powder </p>
<p>Black powder, smokeless contains lots of other chemicals and is hard to manufacture.</p>
<p>Will this work in a modern rifle or pistol?</p>
<p>In a shotgun shells maybe, but if you have a black powder you can use it.</p>
<p>can you use a blender instead of a ball mill?</p>
<p>You can use a mortar and pestle. Make sure not to make any sparks or else, BOOM!</p><p>Some people also prefer to use water in the mix it makes it less likely to explode, it also is said to have more power.</p>
Sounds like a good idea but the steel blades might spark and ruin your whole day.....
<p>How did people in the 1400's make it </p>
<p>how do I know if the lead balls are actually lead?</p>
<p>The old way actually calls for a wooden mortar and pestle so you actually didn't need to have the expense of the ball mill. It has to be wood to not spark</p>
<p>After taking a good look at the chemical reaction (2 KNO3 + S + 3 C &rarr; K2S + N2 + 3 CO2) and calculating the molar mass of the ingredients I noticed you rounded down the ratio's too much. The correct ratio's are:</p><p>74.8% KNO3</p><p>11.9% S</p><p>13.3% C</p><p>Rounding these values down can extremely affect the quality of the reaction.</p>
<p>or this PREMIUM ACTIVATED BAMBOO CHARCOAL POWDER FOOD GRADE TEETH WHITENING CARBON. Hres the link: <strong>http://www.ebay.com/itm/281742021177?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&amp;var=580746569908&amp;ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT </strong></p>
<p>also can the charcoal you use b premium activated (used for teeth whitening)?</p>
<p>cool but how reactive and explosive is it or does it just react like KNO3 and sugar?</p>
I recommend making your charcoal, as for sulfur it can be bought in bulk at about 98% purity from just about any place that sells gardening fertilizers and supplies
Do you need to add any alcohol or water
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 <br>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 <br>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
<p>I hope this gets forwarded to you , but for others as well, (your post is 4 years old).</p><p>The making of explosive powders is dangerous and should not be done carelessly and w/o parents/teachers helping out. If you are an adult, others should know what you are doing in case of accident. </p><p>Alcohol may be used to extract nitrates if you make them from enviromental sources, and you DO NOT need Everclear. 95 % pure methanol will do just fine and a smidgeon of the cost. </p><p>I read several long treatises here on the web years before your post , and they all mention mixing the stuff with alcohol so they could really grind it well, using a stone or bronze-brass( both are a NON SPARKING METAL), mortor and pestle. They mixed the ingredients together, and then ground them, you then push the wet mass through a screen onto a plate and allow it to dry. Then they regrind it. ( in a non sparking ball mill). The finest grind was used in powder horns as flash powder. Different sized screened bits have different burn rates and are used in different applications. </p><p>Kno3 is hydroscopic, but not horribly so, and in the middle ages they used urine as a wetting agent as well as alky spirit. Dry time is much slower as spirits dry very fast. </p><p>Urine adds a stinkyness to the stuff and contains various nitrates salts as well as others. The British Crown had the right to come to your farm/ptoperty and remove all the crytalized nitrate salt from barns for use in powder making, (and while Bow and Arrows were the weapon of choice, you were not permitted to randomly cut down ewes, which can grow tremendously large, as they were use to make the very powerful and famous English Long Bow!)</p><p>As My chem teacher always said...Poof, no more freshman!</p>
You're right about not grinding it all at the same time. If it sparks - POOF! Shrapnel everywhere, including in you.
<p>Any idea on how much grinding media should be put in the mill?</p>
If I can figure out how and where to get the 3 chemicals from, I will gladly purchase this ball mill.
<p>Just bought 3 lbs of the potassium nitrate and a lb of sulphur powder from &quot;ebay&quot; for about $15, they also have charcoal powder but I haven't gotten to that one yet.</p>
<p>I went a different way, after making the powder I &quot;cooked&quot; it making a crystal. Whilst cooking it formed a past with the excess sulfur evaporating. When the crystal was lit it burned fast and flew across the room, it was about 2x3cm in size</p>
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 &quot;static&quot; 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!
How do i get the gunpowder to grains?<br>
For black powder, grains is volume. So 50 grains of lead or 50 grains of powder have the same volume, but different masses. <br> <br>You can't measure &quot;volumetric grains&quot; on a massing scale. You use a miniature graduated cylinder, calibrated in grains. <br> <br>However, there is a &quot;weight grain&quot; also. <br> <br>1 volumetric grain of water is 1 weight grain of water. <br> <br>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.) <br> <br>Black powder by different manufactures and particle size has different weights for the same (or nearly same) substance. <br> <br>You can buy a black powder measuring scoop (mini graduated cylinder) at a decent gun shop, or order one on-line.
I feel like every science teacher I have ever had cringed as you wrote scale and grams. :b
How can i make an altanate fire cracker? <br>
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<br>

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