Instructables

Poor mans ball mill

Picture of Poor mans ball mill
Make a cheap ball mill for light use.

I needed to grind up some cat little to test if it would be suitable as a source of bentonite clay, I needed a ball mill but I didn't want to spend a lot of time making a decent ball mill if the cat litter wouldn't suit my needs.
 
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Step 1: What you will need

you will need the following

--------------------

a plastic tub ideally with a screw top

a cordless drill

1 bolt

1 nut or wing nut

2 washers

and some lead balls, you can make these using the following instructable

http://www.instructables.com/id/Lead-Pewter-Casting-at-home/

Step 2: Prepare the tub

Drill a hole in the top of the tub the same size of the bolt

put a washer on the bolt and push it through the lid so the shaft of the bolt is on the outside.

then put a washer on the bolt and put the nut on the bolt and tighten it up.

that's it, for the tub, just pour in the medium you wish to grind and put in the lead balls, screw the top on and move to the next step of this instructable.

Step 3: Prepare the drill

preparing the drill is really easy

clamp the drill to a solid desk

put the bolt on the tub in to the chuck of the drill and lock it in place.

Step 4: Start the milling

ok we are now ready to start milling.

using another clamp, a pump clamp would be ideal, tighten it around the grip of the drill depressing the button, do this slowly you don't want the drill to get out of control.

its best with this method of milling to go slowly, other ball mills run faster than this one, but this is not intended to be used a lot, it's a light mill.

have a look at it working.



after about an hour and a half it has turned the cat litter in to a fair powder, if it left it much longer it could be much finer.
Servelan1 year ago
Curious to know - is cat litter a good source of bentonite? And what do you use it for?
n1cod3mus (author)  Servelan1 year ago
i dont know if its a good source but its cheep, I use it to make plugs in pyrotechnics and also for sandcasting.
DoxxRoxx1 year ago
This design would work better if you could form four or more evenly spaced longitudinal (parallel to the axis of rotation) ridges on the inner wall of your drum. This would allow the grinding media (balls) something to grab onto to be dropped creating a smashing force, instead of sliding on the smooth wall of the drum. They need not be very thick. Think; inside of a clothes dryer.

Perhaps an epoxy putty could be used. Or maybe heating the plastic drum to soften, then forming the bumps by pressing in from outside of the drum.

Just a thought...

n1cod3mus (author)  DoxxRoxx1 year ago
not a bad idea that, epoxy putty would be good, or you could as you say heat the plastic up maybe with a heat gun then push something in it.

for me this was a quick and dirty solution
Anodean1 year ago
What was your opinion of the powdered bentonite you obtained? It seemed to me that cat litter was adulterated with too many other fillers (including obnoxious "deodorizing" substances) to trust it for personal or household use. Since then I have spotted finely powdered bentonite on sale at health food stores, USP for internal use, which would certainly have met my external application requirements, but day-um.
n1cod3mus (author)  Anodean1 year ago
well i'm just using it as a clay for green sand so for that it was fine
heathbar641 year ago
I need to make something like this. One question, why Lead balls? are they just easier for you to obtain or is the lead's softness needed?
n1cod3mus (author)  heathbar641 year ago
leads heavy and i had lead already, its easy to mould, plus at a later stage i will build a proper ball mill for pyro technics so i will need lead to prevent sparks
n1cod3mus (author)  n1cod3mus1 year ago
the whole point of building this is that it was quick and easy for me to test what i needed to do, its not suppose to be a perminant ball mill.
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