This is an instructional for manufacturing your own homemade German Dark Al powder. Homemade aluminum powder may not be as good as Eckart aluminum powder; however it is practical for use in pyrotechnics. German Dark Al powder is a particular aluminum powder that has charcoal added to it to prevent oxidation while milling. Not only does charcoal prevent aluminum from oxidizing into aluminum oxide as it mills, it also makes the aluminum powder more reactive bringing about an acceptable product for pyrotechnics. German Dark Al powder is a key ingredient in many pyrotechnic compositions especially in low grade explosive compositions such as flash powder. German Dark Al powder can range from a coarse grade such as 100 mesh to a super fine grade such as 7000 mesh. The finer the grade of the aluminum, the more reactive it is.

Aluminum foil
Willow charcoal (1 tablespoon)
Ball mill (or rock tumbler)
Steel media
Measuring tape or ruler
Scissors (or your hands)

Step 1: Measuring the Aluminum Foil

First, what you’ll need to do is use your scissors to cut ten 18 inch long pieces of foil.
<p>Generally what I do is buy the cheap atomized aluminum from fleabay and then ball mill that for a few days, it is a lot faster and yields a better product then from foil, I use ceramic media or .5 inch stainless steel ball bearings, I don't use lead, even hardened lead can contaminate your stuff. I would also not use normal steel ball bearings as they are more prone to sparking inside the mill, why take the risk.</p><p>I would never mill Magnesium, This article is not the only one where there have been fires and serious injuries. I milled Magnalium that is an alloy of aluminum and magnesium and that got slightly warm and emitted a smell that caused me to put the mill jar in a safe spot till it stabalised </p>
<p>NaHCO3 isn't a great fire suppressant for Aluminum or Magnesium. Mg and Al can steal oxygen from water, CO2, or carbonates to keep burning. I would think aluminum or magnesium oxide would be better, though no where near as available. If you do use bicarbonate, be aware the residue can contain sodium oxide and lye, as well as produce hot lye vapor - seriously bad to breathe.</p>
<p>Nice tutorial. Short and well explained.</p>
<p>I would think you would want the steel balls to <em>not</em> be coated at all, so none of the coating can chip off the way it sometimes does.</p>
Can't you use hardened lead balls?
<p>I would say no, for hardened lead still is softer then Aluminium, thereby it will consumed in the milling process, and contaminate your product...</p>
If I milled the aluminum for a longer period of time and also milled it with a bit of stearin do you think it would work as well as the Eckart? Thanks! You should try it sometime
Nice job! That ball milling really broke it down!
Thank you for your comment.

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