Instructables
Picture of Make a Ball Mill in 5 Minutes
This is for all the pyro nuts that I came across on Instructables.

This can be used to grind chemicals to a very fine grain or to polish rocks.

Wiki says "A ball mill is a type of grinder used to grind materials into extremely fine powder for use in paints, pyrotechnics, and ceramics."

Many instructables refer to United Nuclear Ball Mills. Their small ball mill cost between $70 and $80 dollars.

For no more than $30 and in 5 minute you can build a ball mill of appreciable performance.

Check out my other Instructables:
MAKE A HIGH VOLTAGE SUPPLY IN 5 MINUTES
Hack The Spy Ear and Learn to Reverse Engineer a Circuit
Super Easy E-mail Encryption Using Gmail, Firefox and Windows
Make a Rechargeable Dual Voltage Power Supply for Electronic Projects
Make a Voltage Controlled Resistor and Use It
SODA CAN HYDROGEN GENERATOR


 
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Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need
You need

1. A rugged container (You can use PVC pipes or big plastic bottles)
2. An electric screwdriver (these are fairly cheap, I got mine for $10)
3. A bolt, a nut and maybe a washer.
4. Epoxy putty.
5. Steel or lead balls which in my case I substituted with screwdriver bits that I got for $3.
6. A vise clamp to hold down your ball mill.

Step 2: Bolt the container

Picture of Bolt the container
Drill a hole dead center of the container's bottom. Put the bolt through the hole. Thread the nut tight.

Step 3: Join the Container to the Electric Screwdriver

This is the most important step. The joint holding the the container and electric screwdriver should be strong and able to hold the weight of the assembly.

Put a little putty on the bolt first. Insert the bolt into the screwdriver's bit holder. Cover the whole joint with putty. The more putty the better the ball mill stays together.

Step 4: Clamp the Assembly to a Table Top

Picture of Clamp the Assembly to a Table Top
Fill the container with the screwdriver bits or with steel balls or lead balls. Add the chemical you need to grind. Close the container and clamp the whole assembly to a table top.

I use a popsicle stick to hold the screwdriver button down. I jam it between the clam vise and electric screwdriver (see video). But that depends on your electric screwdriver.
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hardlec3 years ago
I may well be able to find a power drill at a resale shop, or buy an inexpensive one for the purpose. Any feedback on how well a power drill motor will hold up to being run for 24 hours continuously?

I plan to make paper machie. I want to make a very fine paper pulp. While I doubt this is flammable, I would like to hear any comments on this as well. Who'd a thought flour was explosive?

If you want fine paper pulp, you may wish to consider using a blender. Ball mills are typically only needed for moderately-to-very hard materials that need to be crushed to effectively split them, and which might damage a blender if used in it.

7654321 hardlec3 years ago
I seriously doubt paper will ignite. Also, if you can get a motor that plugs in, you dont have to worry about battery life. I got my motor for mine from a fan.
netbuddy7 months ago
Someone replied to this but I can't see the reply.

It should be worth noting that I have seen other users do large amounts of ball milling and that they have done it wet so that theirs no risk of causing an inadvertent ignition event.
arty2 years ago
Wouldn't it be much more convenient to put the bolt thru the lid? You could pack the plumber's epoxy around both ends of the bolt, which would make it much more durable. And when your grinding or polishing is finished, you get to move things around in the bottle without that screw driver attached. Further, if you have one bottle of that size, you might have more, for use as interchangeable containers, for convenience of transport and storage.

Cordless drills with dead battery packs would provide an endless supply of variable speed motors for this project. (I have three on-hand.) All I have to do is cobble up a connection to the power supply from a dead computer.

I've been wanting to polish some rings. Thanks for the idea.
argon ion2 years ago
any plastic bottle will do? and i wont have to worry about static charges if i decide to use it for pyrotechnics?
lisass2 years ago
That is great.
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Rocks can spark so probably not a good idea unless you plan to use it for crushing seed for your birds or something.
skicero4 years ago
Use shotgun shells in place of the balls. Buy a pack of buckshot (make sure they are not steel if your mixing anything pyrotechnic), break open the shells and use the pellets.
MrBrownstoo6 years ago
hmm... methinks you should support the container. lead balls are heavy and (I'm assuming most people will want to make gunpowder with this so they'll have to use only lead balls) the current setup is going to make the screwdriver wear a lot, and the bottom of the container isn't going to last very long... I like this idea though, I haven't found a suitable motor to drive my ball mill, they're all either too weak or they're way too fast.
Supporting the container world be tricky, but posiible. Try something like this. Not quite sure what you'd make it out of, but something along that idea.
stand.bmp
OR, you could just attach a bolt into the cap like he did for the bottom. Make a triangular piece of wood. Drill a hole for the bolt to fit through. And find some way to support the piece of wood? Seems like it would work to me, could even make your own cradle to support everything for that matter :P I'd never use something like this so have no need to make one, but that would be my advice :D
Thx, that looks much easier to make than my suggestion. Ill keep itmin mind.
No problem, hope it works for ya, I don't have the materials to make one myself :(
shotgun balls work really good if they are of the lead variety
Can you only use lead if you intend to make black powder? Why does it have to be lead?
No you can also use some of the new ceramic balls but they're even more expensive than lead balls. The reason you have to use lead or ceramic balls is because the won't spark when they slam together in the ball mill. Which if you were making black powder or another explosive chemical would otherwise result in an explosion.
Powders can explode due to the mix of fine particles and air. If you have ever worked in dangerous situations and had the "Health and Safety" training videos, you may have seen the "Exploding Flour Lorry" video. You wouldn't normally associate flour as in the stuff you bake with as being highly explosive. The video shows a flour truck being detonated, the film crew are about half a mile away when they ignite the truck contents. They couldn't fine anything of the truck other than a mangled chassis and one set of wheels. The rest of the truck had been blown to bits. So when grinding, you are advised to follow some basic H&S protocols or you could end up seriously hurting yourself, killing yourself or find the local anti-terrorism squad kicking your door off and holding you under the prevention of terrorism laws we all now live under. Happy grinding.
True but the chances of that happening in the mill, because it's in such a small tight space (not saying that it won't happen, but that it is very unlikely).
Go ahead, blow yourself up. A bullet only needs a few grams of powder, so what do you think half a pound could do to you?
try using something like an old drill press motor, or you could check out one of the tesla motor instructables, and use a gear system to put into low speed - high torque.
Christorium4 years ago
 The sulphur in BP only serves to reduce the ignition temp. BP works fine without it. First grind the charcoal but add a little water to keep all the dust together. After adding the saltpeter, keep the mixture wet to reduce the chance of sparks and to get a better mix. Use only lead, copper or brass balls. The BP can be dried afterwards. 
 Would large lead shot work? Its only like $1.50 for a couple pounds at a near by metal shop.
How much does the epoxy putty cost?
fatboy1065 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
You'd have to gear it down, you don't want it going too fast.
Kryptonite4 years ago
Gotta make sure the "balls" you use don't spark.
mlapoi79956 years ago
There are many ways this can be done. you could build a simple jig out of plywood to mount the motor and the entire drum assembly. you can also use bearings scarfed from old roller blades for the end shaft. motors can come from anything but if you use an AC motor I would suggest you get a controller from Harbor Freight to control your speed its just a plug with a potentiometer built in and is used to control the speed of a router...If you wish to use DC motors one of the best sources is Goodwill or any thrift store, look for old calculators that use paper rolls. They have heavy duty motors in them and if you go even older on them they have small AC motors...I also scarf motors from printers, washers and dryers for AC motors. You get a motor turning 1725 RPM and about a 1/4 HP. Thanks for the Instructable my wife wants a rock tumbler so you have given me a way to do it cheaply with parts I already have. ANd a way for me to polish metal parts.
You know what crossed my mind for grinding media is heavy steel nuts, instead of steel balls, since they are more commonly available.  What do you think?  Or do you think you can find steel balls at a  auto junk yard, under ball bearing request?
dude you can use lead balls, much better, you can easily get them at big 5, they are used as weights for fishing, although their not really balls more like egg shaped but whatever
Adrien7 years ago
Everyone should just buy a ball mill! Its only 60 dollars at united nuclear...
SURE!! everyone can so totally afford to pay 60 bucks and shipping and yeah everyone lives in america. think of those who are unable to come up with 60 bucks plus shipping or people who live outside america with no real ballmill suppliers. come on man...
Yeah $60 is rediculus I got a rock tumbler from the thrift store for a few dollars and am using a mixture of marbles and slingshot ammo (already had both) as the grinding media to mage fine powdered magnalium. It works great.
lop145 Adrien4 years ago
stop spamming!
i dont have the money for the mill or the shipping.
unitet nuclear is great if u live in u.s.a. but i lie in europe.
and why would i buy one if i have all the parts lying around?
panzuman Adrien5 years ago
hey will a rocck tumbler work i have one of those so....... will it?
yep itll work youll have to keep it on for around two weeks
oh and is the more grinding media used the better? i was thinking 75 steel balls for my ball mill they come from sling shot ammo from Walmart :)
Yeah, United Nuclear is great. If you live in the US.
killa696 Adrien5 years ago
stuff you we wanna do it our way
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