This instructable will guide you step-by-step on how to EASILY produce large quantities of extremely fine German Dark aluminum powder.

For those of you that don't know, German Dark aluminum powder is a special type of aluminum powder that has charcoal added to it. The charcoal prevents the aluminum from oxidizing into aluminum oxide when the aluminum is of a very fine grain. Preventing this makes the powder considerably more reactive, and, not to mention dangerous.

DISCLAIMER: I CANNOT be held responsible for any harm, injury, or death caused by misuse of this material. By following these instructions, you must be aware at all times that you are risking the safety of yourself and others.

Here's a video of me igniting a bit of the powder because I was bored. I sound like Justin Bieber in it due to the fact that I was 14 at the time.

Okay then, let's make some of the stuff!

Step 1: Get the Ingredients and Supplies

The materials you need are:

  • Aluminum Foil
  • A Rock Tumbler
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered charcoal
  • About 25 steel balls, for the grinding media
  • A Large Magnet (Not pictured)
  • Sheets of paper (Not pictured)
This page is the #1 hit on google for the search 'aluminum powder'.<br>Congratulations!
Not for me, but it's on the first page.<br><br>Still pretty awesome, I admit. :D
The screenshot doesn't lie!<br> Additionally, the belt on my ball mill broke. :(<br>
O_O<br><br>Sorry to hear about your ball mill belt, hopefully they don't cost too much to replace.
I'm trying to do this and it's not working. I actually have the same rock tumbler as you. I'm using Walgreens brand aluminum foil I used a paper shredder to cut up my foil. I'm using 25 1/2&quot; steel balls and i used a tbsp of charcoal. After an hour the aluminum is just flatten that's it, it's not turning into grain. If you could tell me what I'm doing wrong or anyone it be much appreciated. also when you put in the next big hand full of the aluminum do you but another tbsp of charcoal in? thank you for the help
Just a note to all you Ball Millers out there: If you use the RED, Harbor Freight, 3lb. rock tumbler, you will need to add something (piece of plastic, etc) inside your container to keep the 1/2&quot; steel balls from lining up and basically stopping the milling process. <br> <br>After the 4th day of milling, none of the bits of aluminumin my Harbor Freight tumbler were getting any smaller. A closer examination of the tumbler used in this article revealed a few raised areas or &quot;speed bumps&quot; in the rock container. The container supplied with the Harbor Freight tumbler is completely smooth. <br> <br>The thin plastic insert shoud span the inside diameter of the H/F container (side-to-side) and leave enough room for the steel balls and aluminum to escape around the insert. This creats a lifting and falling action that amplifies and shortens the milling process exponentially. <br> <br>Hope this helps! <br> <br>inthefrey
I little epoxy and 1/8th inch dowel split down the center is perfect size. Then to get best resultn want to unstall it so it looks like a V. Not so steep of an angle though. Have one point face anothet on opposite sides. This way, on first half of the rotation it brings balls/rocks to the center, then in other half of rotation, pushes them to the sides. This is a far superior mixing and action tub at this point. I know this post is years after original publication but still pertinent none the less. I have 6 HF tumblers. 1 for daughter and her stones, two for pulverizeing and 3 for brass casing cleaning. Can only do a few shells at a time but x3, it goes quick and is far cheeper than a big tumbler dedicated to shells.
<p> I will try this! Many Thanks!</p>
Ball mills are not common in my country. In fact, I could translate it but have no idea of wtf it should do or look like because I've never seen one. I've tried viewing the youtube video, but it won't play because it's a private video. So, I was wondering if I could make a ball mill which would produce aluminum and iron powder. I want aluminum and iron powder to ignite thermite, then drip the molten metal into custom-shaped plaster, so I could design my own metallic parts. Any idea?
If you don't know what a ball mill looks like, there's always Google Images. :)<br /> <br /> I have heard of people doing very interesting things with thermite, but your idea is unheard of to me. But I wouldn't say no to you trying it.<br />
JFYI Thermite was invented for casting and welding, and is still used for welding railroads together<br />
I know that.<br />
Ahh but did you know that Kenny Rodgers makes a bad poker partner?
I've been into a mining company recently and I've seen what is a ball mill! They have some huge ones to make powder from the material they extract.
DIY cast Iron Very clever man, you need to make instructable for use to try
What about the moister from ones breath? could that be enough to ignite it? i had a respirator on that channeled it downward towards what i was working on and i nearly lost my shop just now.
Why are you asking me to confirm what you already know? Of course moisture poses some threat, but it depends on how fine your powder is, and what safety precautions you are taking while handling such materials.<br><br>Another user told me that putting your material in a plastic bag before milling it was a good idea, not only because it can keep your mill cleaner, but also because it's safer for when you extract your powder from the mill. If you're considering grinding up another batch, keep the hint in mind.
Just destroys the plastic....contaminates your powder and is useless. Works about as good as shooting in the nude makes you more accurate. .... try that in winter...
I've known about this instructable for awhile now, and now that im finally getting into making flash powder and seeing how expensive aluminum is, im considering making it this way. Do you know what the mesh/particle size is when you grind the aluminum for a week? And if you grind it longer will that number continue to decrease? Im looking for something under 6 microns. Thanks!
Old post new response...you can get pretty damn small this way. Then put your finger in the dust and wipe finger on clean paper to get a thin layer of dust on paper. Take it to the college/university to the science building. Talk to a graduate student in chem or inorg bio. They have excellent microscopes and wull tell you the size of your duse. Challeng them that they wont be able to find out and if they do, they can have a 6 pack. They will also weigh your powder for you using super fine scales. You can get a 1000th of a gram per fixed volume weight too. Just food for thought.
<p>Can I use hardend lead-antimony non-sparking media, I'm a little scared of using a sparking media like steel?</p>
<p>What's the 'official' ratio of charcoal to aluminium, gram for gram?</p>
I put the aluminum foil through a paper shredder. That worked great.
<p>I did too and it works fast ! I knew my paper shredder was good for something besides just shredding paper :D</p>
<p>I like your process, it's well thought out and easy. Thanks for sharing that ! :D raa7</p>
i am planning on making a smaller batch than what was made in this instructible so does anyone here know the ratio of charcoal to aluminium?
cant wait to make this! too bad i have school today
my rock tumbler barrel leaks and it brand new and not broken. do you know how to fix it
Anyone who is actually going to make this needs to use lead grinding meadia, otherwise the steel could cause a spark
I noticed that your video is private. If you are putting this information out publicly, why is your YouTube video on the subject private? Can you help, please.<br>Thank you, with respect-<br>patriot777
He made that private so his mom wouldn't see that vid.
A great source of charcoal powder is old respirator cartridges. Break them open, and pour out the contents, then grind it into powder.
can i just make aluminum powder with this not dark german?<br>
Dark German has charcoal which coats the particles to keep it from oxidizing. Normal is less reactive, and more easily electrically charged.
dude! that is so fohshizzle too bad i threw out my rock tumbler
Get another one! :P<br />
tru,&nbsp;u should get like a mini blender and blend the little strips of alfoil so that it doesn't take so long (do the charcoal seperately.)
Blenders are a no-no. You have to use a ball mill.<br />
Why are blender's a no-no?
I think he means using a blender to tear the foil up before you put it in the tumbler.
Please tell me what size steel shot to use in my ball mill, I am about to order one right now.&nbsp; 3/4 diameter, or 1/2 inch diameter.&nbsp; I am considering using activated carbon from aquarium supply stores for my &quot;dark&quot; adding.&nbsp; What do you think, mr Berkin.?
I used 1/2 inch balls.<br />
I have tried your method.&nbsp; I failed miserably.&nbsp; I wasted a hundred dollars on equipment.&nbsp; I am reverting back to purchasing aluminum powder instead.&nbsp; It just seemed to take damn near forever to crush the confetti down.&nbsp; Plus, noisy, and I anticipated burning the motor out on the ball mill eventually
If one could combine a standard mill with something like 'jpoops' setup, (a set of driven wheels under the mill container in addition to the main drive motor), it should balance the power between the two and augment speed as well
@randyclark747 what size steel balls did you use? If it took forever to crush down the confetti, is the foil too thick? I put a bucket over the tumbler to reduce the noise.<br />
Holy crap. That sucks. :(<br /> <br /> I can only say that the same method does not work for everyone, I do apologize for wasting your time.<br />
How is this more cost effective than say buying Star Molecule (military grade aluminum powder), Eckart Super H, or an off indian blackhead powder?<br><br>Serious question if anyone can answer. I have never seen anyone beat an Eckart Super powder, and not even come close to Star Molecule with a homemade powder. Did i miss something?
I'm guessing that these military grades are so volitile and the ingredients are highly regulated that even if one were to top intensity, their freedom could be at stake. The government hates competition and no potential martial law would be possible without superiority.
I am <strong>not</strong> saying that my method of producing powder is &quot;superior&quot; over all others, as that would be an outright lie. I posted this as a fast means to get good quality powder that burns well, and suits the average hobbyist's needs. I never suggested that this be used in any professional applications or commercial fireworks.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a nerd. That is all.
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