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Filling a Lortone Ball Mill with Media


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#1 AustralianPyromaniac

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 06:26 AM

Hello all, this is my first question on the APC so I apologise if I cross any lines.

I have recently purchased a lortone 33B as thus I would now like to buy some 1/2" lead shot to fill it but of unsure of how much I need. So basicly I'm asking if anyone knows approximately how many boxes of 100 shot I should buy to fill one of the jars half way full. I will only be filling one of the jars as that's about at the limit of what the machine can handle. Any info would be great as I have really no ideas of how much I need.

This is the type of shot I will be using
https://www.rebelgun...-ball-490-100pk

Thanks, AP

#2 lloyd

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 07:54 AM

What is the gross volume of one of the jars, AP?

 

Lloyd


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#3 Mumbles

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 08:52 AM

You'll need approximately 200 balls per jar.


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#4 Arthur

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 11:46 AM

If your motor will turn it, use lots of balls, If it's a rock tumbler then the motor will not turn even nearly the optimum number of balls! I used to put some ingredients in and a few balls and do a run test -add a ball at a time til it stops or pull out some balls til it goes. Ceramic balls work well on rock tumbler motors because the weight load is more like that which was intended. 



#5 lloyd

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 12:20 PM

And, Arthur, the ceramic balls work less-well the smaller the jar, because they don't have enough mass to give hard impacts with small fall distances.

 

So... it's a trade-off.  The BEST way to handle it is to put a beefier motor on the thing!

 

Lloyd


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#6 Mumbles

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 01:26 PM

Both the single and double barrel mills have the same motor despite what you may read elsewhere.  At the very least the same replacement motor is supplied for both the single and double jar versions.  Mine didn't have enough startup torque to get the balls spinning, but if you started the rollers before adding the jar or gave the jar a light spin by hand it would roll just fine.  


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#7 DavidF

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 02:04 PM

An alternative that has been mentioned before is single component milling. If a reactive charcoal is milled with small (5/16"-3/8") stainless steel balls, and the nitrate is also milled (separately) with the same balls, the resulting powders can be screened together with sulfur to make 'mill dust' that is perfectly acceptable for all pyrotechnic black powder needs. The charcoal can be milled 50 grams at a time for 4 to 6 hours. The potassium nitrate takes about half that time. Because there is no danger of explosion, the mill can be run anywhere, 24 hours a day. Take it to work and plug it in, change loads at break time :)

 

I use 304 stainless steel balls, and they are were purchased quite cheaply online. Because stainless steel is lighter than lead, the mill will turn with no problems. I base this statement on my experience with a Lortone 33B- single jar. Even with the lighter stainless steel media, 2 jars would not turn. I would expect ceramic to do a poor job, as Lloyd mentioned. As Mumbles said, the tumbler should be running when the jar is set down on it. I modified mine as per Ned Gorski's instructions to make it spin faster. Mine spins at 73 RPM now.

 

I have made powder that matches Goex in performance as lift, using the Lortone rock tumbler.



#8 Arthur

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 02:43 PM

And, Arthur, the ceramic balls work less-well the smaller the jar, because they don't have enough mass to give hard impacts with small fall distances.

 

So... it's a trade-off.  The BEST way to handle it is to put a beefier motor on the thing!

 

Lloyd

 

Yes I totally agree. The best way is a proper mill with a suitable motor and drum and high density media

 

However if you have a rock tumbler then the motor will not turn a full complement of lead balls but it will turn the right number of ceramic balls.-OR you make a small drum from a very short piece of plastic pipe then the turning load is less so a small motor will cope.



#9 AustralianPyromaniac

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:21 PM

Thanks for all the replys. As far as it being to heavy is conserned the product weight listed was 1.209kg (2.66lb) as so two boxes plus say a few hundred grams extra for comp should bring it up to that 6lb mark. So I'm not to conserned about weight unless I'm missing something?

The only other thing is I'm wondering if lead shot will ware down really quickly or if it will be fine as I have found a lot of conflicting evidence on this topic? Sorry for not posting this second question in my first post.

#10 lloyd

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:27 PM

If you purchase shot designed for firearms use, it will be softer than you like.  The best lead media is 'hardened lead' -- usually alloyed with something akin to linotype alloy, and chilled soon after molding, to form a very durable grinding medium.

 

Unfortunately, you're in Oz.  There's a good dealer of hardened lead shot here in the 'states.

 

Lloyd


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#11 DavidF

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:43 PM

AustralianPyromaniac, yes, there is something you may be missing. It's not just about the weight. It's also about the distribution of the weight. 3 pounds of rocks and water have a much greater volume than 3 pounds of lead (or stainless steel) and powder. In other words, when you attempt to use the Lortone at the rated capacity as a ballmill instead of as a rock tumbler, you'll have an uneven load.situation. Because of this you will only be able to use one jar with these materials EVEN IF each jar only weighs 3 pounds. BTDT.





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