Jump to content
APC Forum

BP soo slow (24HR ball milled)


pyralex

Recommended Posts

Please read my whole post before replying. So, recently i have moved from California to Upstate New York (state) and before the move i, very unfortunately had to "dispose" of all flammable mixes (mostly BP) in my house, of course i didnt throw it in the trash it was all burned as open powder on a concrete floor (about 5 LBS), it was a big waste but i had no choice. So now after i moved to NY state, school has ended and i now resumed my pyro manufacturing of various Firework devices . the first thing i had to do is to make a brand new batch of BP to make any firework (cuz without BP u cant make almost any fireworks). so i got my good ol' ball mill out and started to measure in 150 G Potassium Nitrate, 30 G 80-Mesh Charcoal (from Skylighter), and 20 G Sulfur. i decided to make a 200G batch because i was very eager to continue making Fireworks after a 1 1/2 year inactivity of pyrotechnics. Unfortunately while measuring out KNO3, i ran out of it and had to take some more out of my 10LB bag i wrote down the weight of my KNO3 (112G) so i needed 38G more (for 150G). i went took my 10LB bulk potassium storage bag and poured some more into my smaller container which i used for short term storage (its difficult to take small ammounts out of a 10LB bag) so iam still not 100% sure that the ratios are exact (there might have been human error, but very unlikely im like 99.9% sure). so then i measured out 30 G of 80-mesh Skylighter bought charcoal (note that i had poured all of the charcoal out of my bag into a plastic container which was very clean and was taped up with ductape when moving), measured out 20G sulfur (once again in the exact same type of plastic container and ductaped too). i put my chemicals on hold because i discovered that my ball mill was filled with another chemical. i forgot that 1 1/2 years ago, i was milling magnesium turnings in my ball mill to create fine powder (turnings are very cheap). so i cleaned out my ball mill (including my glass marble media). obviously, the glass marbles milled my MG turnings even worse than i could have done in a blender or even by hand. The drum was very dirty with MG powder and knowing that MG contaminations would be very unsafe and bad for BP manufacture i washed my Ball Mill drum VERY thorougly. it literally took me like 3 hours to wash it in my kitchen sink (and then 2 more hours washing my moms kitchen sink due to her complaining that it was the sink where we wash our food and that it was all black now). i dried the drum for about 1hr using napkins, then 1hr air-dry, and then 15 min drying with a hair dryer (to make sure all the moisture had gone out).. i was very satisfyed with the level of cleanness of my drum because even when i touched the inside of it, it didnt leave any solid residue on my fingers, although the drum still had metal "marks" from the past MG milling. then i got out my Lead-Antimony grinding media (i use those only for BP related chems and star comps) and put them inside my ball mill ( here is a link to a photo of my grinding media if anyone wants to see it: http://unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=25_35&products_id=366) i had about 98 single "balls" of grinding media. i always put the media before the powder so i inspected my media very carefully. they werent clean but they had residue of earlier BP chemical grinding. with all the chemicals inside, the ball mill was almost full. i then closed the ball mill (NOTE: i have a 3LB Rotary Rock Tumbler from Hatbor Freight) i ran the ball mill for about 3 hrs when the ball mill started making weird noises, i then measured my drum and it is 3.8 LB exceeding the Rock Tumbler limit by 0.8 pounds. i didnt think much of it so i ran the ball mill. the mill ran the rest of the day, overnight, and then almost all day. the total milling time was about 24 HRS. when opening the drum i already started noticing "weird" things. first of all, the last lid making contact with the BP was somehow farther inside than i had put it, i speculate the BP somehow made a "vacuum" inside the barrel because when i pried open the drum lid it made a TSSSS noice of air either escaping or getting sucked into the drum. the lid was also somehow "filled with air" the inside part so it was blown up like a baloon. at first i speculated that the BP had increased the pressure in the drum so the lid was blown up, but then it would push the blown up air out of the lid so it is very likely that the BP had created a vacuum inside the drum. i then took a spoon and took about 2-7 G of BP to test, the powder was EXTREMELY fine although it still somehow "clumped up". to my surprise and astonishment, the BP Burned very slowly, about twice (2) as fast as KNO3+sugar. the burn rate was about 4-5 times slower than the fastest BP that i have ever made. i searched for a solution through the whole internet and thought about why in the world is the BP so slow for about a week now. so now i have discovered the forums and i joined just to get this post out and ask for help.

 

 

 

 

POSSIBLE REASONS I CAME UP WITH WHILE THINKING WHY MY BP IS SO SLOW

1. residual moisture in the drum after washing it for several times (although i dried it with a hairdryer and was very dry to the touch) NOTE: i have no dextrin in my bp

2. moisture in the air (it was about 80% humididty the day i made my BP (pretty unlikely though i think)

3. Charcoal is bad (NOTE: i have made BP with this 80-mesh charcoal before and it works exceptionally well, why didnt it work this time?)

4. chemicals became "moist" and bad when i moved from California to New York state (very unlikely, i closed the chemicals very well)

5. not enough mil time (i think 24HRS is enough)

6. Ball mill too heavy (the RPM was the same even for an empty drum)

7. not enough RPM, (i used this mill to make pounds of powerful BP and this RPM is good)

8. Human error / ratios messed up (very unlikely as my scale was calibrated several times after i moved, iam almost certain that the ratios are good)

9. residual MG in my mill (very unlikely ball mill was washed very thorougly)

10. chemicals are of bad quality (possible but i used them to make powerful BP before, why are they not working now)

 

 

 

 

WHEN BURNED THE BP WAS VERY SLOW, 4-5 TIMES SLOWER THAN I WANTED IT TO BE, ALTHOUGH THERE WAS LITTLE OR NO RESIDUE ON THE BURNING DISH SHOWING THAT THE CHEMICALS ARE OF HIGH QUALITY AND THAT THE BP IS OF HIGH QUALITY TOO, EXPCET ITS VERY SLOW

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow

can you please be nice and give advice here? it took me a long time to type all that. if my BP fails, my hobby fails, i take these things very seriously you know?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, don't ever use marbles. Even if something doesn't seem flammable don't do it as you will introduce glass and grit and it's just a bad habit. There was a recent bad accident due to marbles and he will probably chime in.

 

Second, don't try to mill magnesium into powder. Just buy it if you really need magnesium for something. Magnesium is very energetic and can strip oxygen from things you would never imagine could be an oxidizer and cause a magnesium fire.

 

For your BP, look up the rock tumbler modification. It may be on skylighter. But your charcoal IS the problem and why you don't have great BP. Why it isn't as good as last time could be anything. Maybe moisture? But even BP that has been optimized and made as good as possible, will not be that good when made with that skylighter commercial charcoal. Buy or make some good charcoal and be amazed at your BP.

 

It also sounds like you may be cutting corners and rushing things. Pyro is not the hobby to get in a rush with. It sounds like you may be young and there is nothing wrong with that, except that many young people think they know everything and are bullet proof. At least I was. But that just means you have more to lose in an accident. Maybe I'm wrong but it really is worth reading as much GOOD literature as you can and stay away from YouTube and anything with 'cookbook' or 'anarchist' in the name to get your information from. Also, try to find a local pyro club and you can learn more in a day than you can a month of watching questionable internet videos. Maybe I should specify; questionable internet pyro videos.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, don't ever use marbles. Even if something doesn't seem flammable don't do it as you will introduce glass and grit and it's just a bad habit. There was a recent bad accident due to marbles and he will probably chime in.

 

Second, don't try to mill magnesium into powder. Just buy it if you really need magnesium for something. Magnesium is very energetic and can strip oxygen from things you would never imagine could be an oxidizer and cause a magnesium fire.

 

For your BP, look up the rock tumbler modification. It may be on skylighter. But your charcoal IS the problem and why you don't have great BP. Why it isn't as good as last time could be anything. Maybe moisture? But even BP that has been optimized and made as good as possible, will not be that good when made with that skylighter commercial charcoal. Buy or make some good charcoal and be amazed at your BP.

 

It also sounds like you may be cutting corners and rushing things. Pyro is not the hobby to get in a rush with. It sounds like you may be young and there is nothing wrong with that, except that many young people think they know everything and are bullet proof. At least I was. But that just means you have more to lose in an accident. Maybe I'm wrong but it really is worth reading as much GOOD literature as you can and stay away from YouTube and anything with 'cookbook' or 'anarchist' in the name to get your information from. Also, try to find a local pyro club and you can learn more in a day than you can a month of watching questionable internet videos. Maybe I should specify; questionable internet pyro videos.

Thank you very much for reading and replying. FYI: i dont use Glass for BP i use lead/antimonjy. Also there is not any pyro clubs here! i live in a state where fireworks are illegal, iam lucky that i live 20Min by car from Pensylvania where almost all fireworks are allowed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your mill started making weird noises, maybe the motor is crapping out, it needs oiling, or the drum is slipping on the roller. This could cause it to turn slower than normal and have a significant impact on the quality of the BP. Remember, the reason mills work is because the media is getting swept up the sides of the drum and then cascades down. If the RPM was reduced, the balls might simply roll and not pulverize the BP much. If I were you, I'd take half of the BP and put it back in the mill with some media (less than you used before) and run it to see what happens. Hope you figure out what went wrong!

 

I know I have a bit if a habit of de-railing topics, but I've got an urgent question that is somewhat related. I switched to using half inch cylindrical ceramic media in my 3lb tumbler mill. I didn't buy nearly enough of it (100 pcs) so the mill is maybe a third full. It should be noted that I slid a piece of tubing over the mill's drive shaft to increase the drum's RPM a bit. Anyways, I milled a 100g batch of BP with it like I normally would for 36 hours (comparable to the length of the ice-age) and was a dissapointed by the results. It burned considerably slower than my previous batches, which were milled for the same amount of time but with 100 chrome-plated steel balls (risky, that's why I switched). Does ceramic media usually produce inferior results to lead or other media? Or is it just that I need more? This would make sense, as ceramic is light so having less of it would make more of a difference than having less lead, or in my case steel.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your mill started making weird noises, maybe the motor is crapping out, it needs oiling, or the drum is slipping on the roller. This could cause it to turn slower than normal and have a significant impact on the quality of the BP. Remember, the reason mills work is because the media is getting swept up the sides of the drum and then cascades down. If the RPM was reduced, the balls might simply roll and not pulverize the BP much. If I were you, I'd take half of the BP and put it back in the mill with some media (less than you used before) and run it to see what happens. Hope you figure out what went wrong!

 

I know I have a bit if a habit of de-railing topics, but I've got an urgent question that is somewhat related. I switched to using half inch cylindrical ceramic media in my 3lb tumbler mill. I didn't buy nearly enough of it (100 pcs) so the mill is maybe a third full. It should be noted that I slid a piece of tubing over the mill's drive shaft to increase the drum's RPM a bit. Anyways, I milled a 100g batch of BP with it like I normally would for 36 hours (comparable to the length of the ice-age) and was a dissapointed by the results. It burned considerably slower than my previous batches, which were milled for the same amount of time but with 100 chrome-plated steel balls (risky, that's why I switched). Does ceramic media usually produce inferior results to lead or other media? Or is it just that I need more? This would make sense, as ceramic is light so having less of it would make more of a difference than having less lead, or in my case steel.

yeah but even with an empty drum it spins the same way it should. 1 year ago (the last time I used the mill) it made VERY good BP, how come i cant do it now?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know. Did you make sure to de-clump the powder periodically during the run? High humidity = more clumping = less powder being pulverized.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know. Did you make sure to de-clump the powder periodically during the run? High humidity = more clumping = less powder being I

I'll try that Thank You

Sometimes I just want to run away from all this stupid, but Mumbles gives me the inspiration to carry on.

 

http://www.amateurpyro.com/forums/topic/10995-powerful-nozzles/

proper grammar please, "from all this stupid...." stupid what, please clarify

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Using glass marbles to mill anything but your baby formula is a bad fucking idea; please don't.

 

You should save yourself some trouble and buy Lloyd sponenburghs book on ball milling, an optimal mill setup should get you fast powder in 3 hours or so, that book will tell you everything you need to know on the subject.

 

There is a few reasons your bp could be shit, foremost, your charcoal. Commercial charcoal makes moderately ok black powder, at best. Cedar, balsa, paulownia, etc. are all better choices for black powder charcoal (far better).

 

As to why -this batch- is slower than before, I'm guessing that it's moisture, potassium nitrate and charcoal both exhibit mild hygroscopic qualities, your proportions are probably off due to that. Dry your shit BEFORE you weigh it.

 

Now you say "4-5 times slower", is that based in any actual data or are you simply pulling numbers out of your ass?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Make your own charcoal. Softer the wood, faster the BP (generally), harder the wood, better it is for stars (generally.)

 

Look into buying some cedar, willow or whatever else this forum recommends from the lumber store and turn it into charcoal to make fast BP.

 

And buy yourself some lead-antimony milling media.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1/chose your ingredients

2/dry your ingredients first

3/weigh your ingredients carefully

 

Unless you know for certain that your charcoal is from a recommended tree for good BP it's no good. -Here Willow and Alder are the choice woods and both grow like weeds. If these are available to you then use them if not then ask other pyros locally what available wood makes good powder.

 

If the ingredients are DRY they do not clump,

 

95% of all "BP" problems are down to unsuitable charcoal.

For a kilo of bp you need 150g of choice charcoal, if nothing else than go MAKE some.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After glancing through your long post it sounds like you have too much mixture in the drum.

Drum should be half full of media.

Chemicals should be 1/4 of of the drum.

No way should the drum be "almost full"!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"If the ingredients are DRY they do not clump"

They will clump if milled fine enough at that point there is no reason for more milling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have some fresh paulownia seeds if anyone wants to grow the best :D:D:D

I'd grow a beard to my knees before it got big enough to chop down and use for charcoal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

#1 Are you even able to grow a beard yet?

 

#2 On a more serious note, Paulownia is one of the fastest growing trees. It will be 30-40 feet tall and fully mature in a few years. At that point your beard would be a measly 18" long. :)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A single pawlonia tree planted well and treated well will produce a crop of sticks for really FAST BP in two to three years.

 

Carefully chosen pet bedding wood shavings -read the forum! Will take you an hour to buy from a pet store and two more hours to turn into really good charcoal.

Edited by Arthur
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pyralex, there are a few things that need fixing if you really want to make good BP.

 

First, I'll let Ned do most of the talking. Read this article completely, and follow it to the letter: http://www.skylighter.com/fireworks/how-to/ball-mill.asp

 

Do that, and your mill will be properly optimized. With these little mills, it's very easy and inexpensive to do.

 

Your charcoal isn't the best, but should still make useable BP. What I have found to be the quickest/simplest to make is cooking eastern red cedar pet bedding (Example: http://www.lowes.com/pd_4732-55854-I_0__?k_clickID=6c277aeb-fb17-46ff-9f05-db453ec55a50&store_code=3045&productId=50006484&selectedLocalStoreBeanArray=[com.lowes.commerce.storelocator.beans.LocatorStoreBean%40ac10ac1]&storeNumber=3045&kpid=50006484&kpid=50006484&cm_mmc=SCE_PLA-_-SeasonalLiving-_-PetSupplies-_-50006484%3A&DM_PersistentCookieCreated=true&CAWELAID=&CAWELAID=320011480000718086) in a TLUD cooker. That makes some very good charcoal that is very easy to process.

 

Using an optimized HF tumbler and good materials, you should have lightning fast BP at the end of 4 hours, just like this:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ8Jsud6eGo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing that is really annoying to me is some one posts about a problem and never comes back and lets us know if he found any thing, I hope this OP does not do that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for reading and replying. FYI: i dont use Glass for BP i use lead/antimonjy. Also there is not any pyro clubs here! i live in a state where fireworks are illegal, iam lucky that i live 20Min by car from Pensylvania where almost all fireworks are allowed.

 

I'm fairly certain that Pennsylvania is a "Safe and Sane" state

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

It could be a humidity/moisture problem. I recently a very similar situation. I mixed up a batch of BP when there was high humidity (dew point was in the mid 70's and my workshop isn't airconditioned). Well I set the timer on my ball mill for 2.5 hours and left it. When I checked on it later it was clumped up bad and a burn test of a sample was horrendous. I simply put all my mill dust (sort of) in a pan and set it in the sun on a drier day for an hour. I also put my ball mill jar open side up in the sun as well. After drying, I ran it as usual for another 2.5 hours and it turned out just fine. (don't let my wife know that it all turned out good, cause I am hoping on talking her into the idea of putting airconditioning in my workshop)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...