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Can blackpowder be made without a ball mill?

Black Powder Sulfur Charcoal Gunpowder Blackpowder Gun Powder Help

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#1 Soren11112

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 06:08 PM

I don't have a ball mill and I was curious if using a pestled charcoal would significantly effect the performance.



#2 OldMarine

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 06:52 PM

Can you cook your own? My cedar can be reduced to near airfloat by rubbing between the hands. I cook the pet bed chips.

Edited by OldMarine, 29 September 2017 - 06:53 PM.

Come on! Name one other hobby in which you cheer as your money and hard work go up in smoke!

#3 Svimmer

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 07:28 PM

Ofc you can make it without a ball mill but dang your hand is going to hurt after making 100g



#4 usapyro

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 10:20 PM

Back in my early days before I knew how to ball mill properly, I just used H3 for everything.

Its another option.
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#5 usapyro

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 10:23 PM

Btw, replying to your original question precisely... I dont think its possible to make good performance BP with mortar and pestle without exotic charcoal like balsa or straw charcoal.
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I mostly just make rockets nowadays. New YouTube coming soon, lost the password to that one years ago!

#6 Yus

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 03:22 AM

It is possible to make good BP with mortar but only small amounts.



#7 MadMat

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 05:33 PM

It can be made with mortar and pestle, but to make good performance BP, it would take an exceptionally long time and you have to remember that there is a chance, albeit a very small one, of ignition while grinding BP. Do you want your hands right there if it does ignite? I will say again, it would take a very long time and be very labor intensive. I built my own ball mill for less than $25. It's not the greatest looking, but I have made many batches of very good performing BP in it.



#8 Hdcr1

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 09:45 PM

I have seen several methods to make it by cooking it on top of electric hot plate in  a mixture of 50 % water and alcohol everything must be ground very fine to start and you have to heat it  to a boil then dump it in denatured alcohol while hot. strain and screen it and let it dry in the sun. or press into rocket motors I haven't tried it that way yet but plan too.it is said to make great BP for shooting and rockets. I think you can find a video on u tube.  It is said in the mix of water and alcohol there is no way it can go off but I don't know I would do some testing first./ Or just buy or build a ball mill . I built mine from stuff I had laying around .



#9 Hdcr1

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 11:29 PM

I was wrong about the heating of the mixture. it must be mixed in 1/4 cup of water then a cup of water more before heating . not a mix of water and alcohol. I can give the entire process on request.  sorry for the confusion.



#10 Hdcr1

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 12:04 AM

​Just so there I no confusion. Black powder will burn in a solution of water and alcohol if it is above 100 proof  say 51% alcohol and 49% water. That's how the old timers tested there moonshine if powder wouldn't burn in it  It was too watered down. 



#11 Mumbles

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 12:07 AM

What you've described is basically the CIA method.  It produces mediocre black powder at best, and is rather dangerous.  


Just so you guys quit asking, here is the link to the old forum. http://www.xsorbit2....forum/index.cgi

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#12 usapyro

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 02:07 PM

If your seriously into this hobby, you should consider some long term investments. About $350-400 for a good mill and media and youll be set for a decade. I have only spent about 3k total on this hobby since 2008.
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I mostly just make rockets nowadays. New YouTube coming soon, lost the password to that one years ago!

#13 Arthur

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 03:09 PM

While BP has been made without a ball mill for years, professionally a wheel mill is used, early history was the use of a manual stamp mill, there is now no justification for failing to buy the basic minimum rock tumbler, which is usually available for below £100. A charge of suitable lead or ceramic media completes a very satisfactory process.  



#14 OldMarine

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 04:51 PM

I started with a little rock tumbler and hand cast lead balls (still have it) and progressed to the Rebel 17 mill. I improved my mills as the money was available after I was stocked up on basic chems and supplies. A Harbor Freight rock tumbler was the best first thing to happen to my BP so I'll keep it!
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Come on! Name one other hobby in which you cheer as your money and hard work go up in smoke!

#15 Arthur

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 11:34 PM

Most people start by thinking that they can do it cheaply, then they realise that some tools make it better, quicker and safer. A moderate ball mill and media is a worthy starting point for better pyro.



#16 Yus

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 03:17 AM

MadMat, grind separately carbon and KNO3/S binary mixtures in the mortar.



#17 AussieBombTech

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 02:20 AM

You could yes, make sure the chemicals pass a 200# screen. What I did when I didnt have a ball mill was get a small tub and put media in it with the black powder, I would then shake the living shit out of it for half an hour. Surprisingly it actually worked quite well, i granulated it and it was pretty good. If you have a paint shaker or something like that use it. But a mortar and pestle will never get the grains fine enough to be mixed in a microscopic level
My kryptonite is fe2o3, that stuff stained my work bench for months.

#18 rellim

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 08:56 AM

Yes it can. See

#19 Plasmaniax

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 07:42 AM

I just use a coffee grinder. Gets the stuff like flour.

#20 Sulphurstan

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 01:26 PM

If you're frighten to mill the 3 ingredients at once, you can start by milling c and s together, and then kn, Then make a wet mix.... Won't be as good as the 3 milled at once, but ok for a lot of applications.
But without ball mill at all, i can only confirm what the other guys wrote here: it is hard to get a really quick bp (or only as VERY little batches, as Yus wrote).
If you're a little on a handy guy, you can build your own one, like a lot of us did. If you'd see mine you would just LAUGH but it is making the job quite well since 3 years now.
The most expensive part were the ceramic media, around 8 euros, all the rest was stuff laying around, some engineering and some time.

Edited by Sulphurstan, 12 September 2018 - 01:59 PM.






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