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Ceramic Alumina Black Powder Media


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#1 LambentPyro

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:57 PM

Does anyone use ceramic alumina media in their mill? I have some that I purchased from PyroCreations for milling Barium Nitrate and Strontium Nitrate as I received crystals. On their website it says it's a great alternative to lead and is non-sparking.

It's a lot of risk to take to trust word coming from a store who is trying to sell you their product. I trust experience from you guys more than the word of a salesman.

For those who use it, is it safe for BP? More specifically, for those who purchased it from PyroCreations, have you used it for BP? Was it effective?

Edited by LambentPyrotechnics, 29 October 2013 - 03:58 PM.

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#2 Bobosan

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 05:17 PM

I use the Pyrocreations ceramic for individual chems only and haven't tried any BP with it.  Seems to light to be more effective on BP than hardened lead media

 

That being said, the ceramic from Pyrocreations is reasonably priced.



#3 LambentPyro

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 07:40 PM

I use the Pyrocreations ceramic for individual chems only and haven't tried any BP with it.  Seems to light to be more effective on BP than hardened lead media
 
That being said, the ceramic from Pyrocreations is reasonably priced.


You're right, it does seem more lightweight.
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"It looks like it's held together with duct tape, chewing gum, and good hopes" (Mumbles).

#4 nater

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 09:31 PM

I use ceramic media in my large mill.  Between ceramic and lead, I think you'll find lead to be more efficient. I'll probably be buying 35 lbs of lead balls over the winter for my larger mill. 


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#5 leedrill

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 07:49 AM

i just bought 20 lb from leadballs he is a member on here and has a link on fireworking.com best media ive ever seen for lead if it was not for the weight and having been told they where lead i would honestly mistake them for stainless steel i have good hard lead media and these surpass by far am milling right now will be posting a review when im done 


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#6 fredjr

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 09:04 AM

Have used ceramic media for few years. My mill makes 2.5Kg of BP in about 2.5 hours. So yes ceramic will work just fine in a large mill.



#7 LambentPyro

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 04:08 PM

I mill my powders for a day, so I'm not too concerned about it. Regarding the lead seller, what's his username on here?
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#8 LambentPyro

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 10:09 PM

Have used ceramic media for few years. My mill makes 2.5Kg of BP in about 2.5 hours. So yes ceramic will work just fine in a large mill.


Where did you obtain the media?
http://www.YouTube.c...entPyrotechnics
This is my channel dedicated to the wonderful world of Pyrotechnics, displaying each firework as just as fascinating as the other.

"Men's arguing respectfully and adamantly has probably resulted in more actual learning than all forms of formal education combined" (Lloyd Sponenburgh).

"It looks like it's held together with duct tape, chewing gum, and good hopes" (Mumbles).

#9 Arthur

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:19 PM

Ceramic media is useful as you can load up a cheap rock tumbles and it will turn which it may well not do with lead media. It's also quieter than lead media which helps reduce any potential nuisance to neighbours.



#10 Bobosan

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 04:53 PM

Ceramic media is useful as you can load up a cheap rock tumbles and it will turn which it may well not do with lead media. It's also quieter than lead media which helps reduce any potential nuisance to neighbours.

I don't believe any type media is quiet with PVC jars.  And if the neighbors can hear it, it ain't bunkered well enough.



#11 leedrill

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 05:35 PM

sorry lambent his name on here is leadballs


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#12 LambentPyro

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 09:53 PM

sorry lambent his name on here is leadballs


Yea, thanks, I think you gave me his email in chat.
http://www.YouTube.c...entPyrotechnics
This is my channel dedicated to the wonderful world of Pyrotechnics, displaying each firework as just as fascinating as the other.

"Men's arguing respectfully and adamantly has probably resulted in more actual learning than all forms of formal education combined" (Lloyd Sponenburgh).

"It looks like it's held together with duct tape, chewing gum, and good hopes" (Mumbles).

#13 Sammikins

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 08:10 PM

Does anyone use ceramic alumina media in their mill? I have some that I purchased from PyroCreations for milling Barium Nitrate and Strontium Nitrate as I received crystals. On their website it says it's a great alternative to lead and is non-sparking.

It's a lot of risk to take to trust word coming from a store who is trying to sell you their product. I trust experience from you guys more than the word of a salesman.

For those who use it, is it safe for BP? More specifically, for those who purchased it from PyroCreations, have you used it for BP? Was it effective?

 

I also bought it from him, and it seem to work great for black powder. I made two one-hundred gram batches of black powder, and it works perfect. After one hour, the black powder was dust. It seems to be a great alterative to lead balls. My only complaint Is that some of the ceramic had some chips on the edges.



#14 Merlin

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 07:52 PM

From what I have read on skylighter he says not to use ceramic for BP because of sparking potential. He recommends lead balls 



#15 NickT

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:29 PM

For the record I use ceramic media and it works quite well for making serviceable powder in a few hours.  However, I have had a batch burn in the mill.  I'm not sure if a small piece of metal worked its way into the batch or what but it did light off.  At the time I was milling dry and have switched to milling slightly moist.  My mill jar is a thin plastic protein shake jar about 6" around and 10" tall.



#16 dagabu

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:05 PM

From Skylighters web site;

 

"Ceramic is hard, does not wear out quickly, but some types of ceramic do spark. Once again, many pyros have used it for all their mill runs, but that does not mean that the next time couldn't present a problem. Some people have said that if they bang pieces of their ceramic media together in the dark, they can see little sparks being generated. Others say that these are just little luminous 'light' sparks and they don't present a danger in milling.

 

Lead or brass is reliably the only really spark-free media and is considered to be the standard for milling comps like BP. But lead is softer than the other media and will wear down over time. If one mills a white powder like potassium nitrate with lead media, the powder will come out of the mill gray. That means there is some lead in the chemical, which will be in the smoke that results from it being burned. That presents a danger of lead poisoning if one breathes a lot of that smoke. But lead media has probably been and will continue to be used more than any other in amateur pyrotechnic milling.

Nothing is perfect. Everything presents some risk as well as benefit. We just have to weigh the plusses against the minuses and 'lay our money down.' Nothing in fireworks making is completely safe. But we can make wise decisions and then take steps to minimize the inherent risks. You're going to see in a minute that those of us who mill complete compositions assume that 'this time' the mill could explode. Even though it has never done so during the last 200 runs, we plan as if it will explode, and take the necessary precautions."

 

​There will always be speculation about ceramic milling media, there is always the possibility that the cascade heap will fall too fast and a single particle of BP could get pinched just right causing the jar to burn.  IT CAN HAPPEN.  Lead is heavy, does a decent job but consider this, when was the last time you wore a respirator when emptying your jar?  Not a mask, a respirator?  Got black boogers after your were done?  Where did that now powdered and oxidized lead go?  

Without getting all of us in a he said-she said argument about milling media, there is absolutely no safe milling media, period.  Keep in mind these words:  "we plan as if it will explode, and take the necessary precautions.""


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#17 MB3

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 07:42 AM

I use Alumina ceramic cylinders 1 pack of 13/16 $16 and 1 pack of 1/2 $7 from pyrocreations.com I mix the 2 togeather and its enough to fill 2, 3lb mill jars more the half way. In 4 hours they make very fast bp I have tried alot of diffrent media types and these are by far the best I have found. the only down side is they make the ball mill run a little louder and rougher because of there shape but its well worth it

#18 Livingston

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 12:21 AM

I agree with Dave!! and theres many ways to skin a skunk!!



#19 Arthur

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:03 AM

IF you use a cheap rock tumbler then ceramic media is the only way to get a reasonable amount of media in the drum and get the motor to turn it. Make some assumptions, it could explode so keep it well away from life and property, minimise the risks by being very clean and never mix chlorates an sulphur comps in the same drum or media.


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#20 Mumbles

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:17 AM

The cheapest mill available in the US is probably a harbor freight model.  Mine had no trouble turning a full load of lead, so I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at.  


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