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Thread: My homemade black powder

  1. #3801
    Boolit Master
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    Better to ask for forgiveness, than to ask for permission, (and get denied!)

    ;~)

    Vettepilot
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
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  2. #3802
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    VP, if you have a toaster oven with convection setting, or if your kitchen oven has a convection setting, use that. It apparently works better than not.

    I put my wired thermometer in the oven to monitor temperature accurately, because to get them the hardest you want to have them as close to melting point as possible. Of course, it's different depending on alloy. For straight wheel weights, I think it is in the upper 400s or low 500s. So, I put my oven on 475F, waited for preheat, put the media in, then waited for my thermometer to get back up to about 460 and started the timer for an hour. I ended up going about 75 minutes. I don't know how much time matters. I had a bucket of cold water, probably 40F, ready. I pulled them out if the oven and dumped them into the water as quick as possible and let them sit while I did some other stuff.

    Here's where I got my info and guidance.
    http://www.lasc.us/HeatTreat.htm

  3. #3803
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    I could be wrong on that coww melt point. The listed melt point on that link shows the range I stated, but I think that may ght include his addition of 3% tin.

    The sticky on this website in the lead alloy forum says coww melt point is much higher

  4. #3804
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    I decided to let it rip last night.

    I did a total of a half pound of ingredients in the mill, so about 170g kno3, 34g charocal, and 22.7g sulfur. I m milled it for 7 hours. I added a little bit more tape to the drive pulley and got the speed very close to 65 rpm.

    I did a very quick unscientific burn test on a piece of parchment paper this morning. I put down about a teaspoon and a line about 4 in long and lit it.

    To be honest, it didn't burn quite as quickly as I was expecting. I will have to test it again in a more controlled manner this evening against some of the OE I have. When other people have compared they're homemade powder to commercial right after they have miiled it, are they grinding up the commercial powder so that it's also a powder?

    Also, I don't really want to have to go back through the many pages of this thread to find this information, but what is the most meal that people are able to mill in the single barrel harbor freight tumbler at one time? I'm wondering if I had too much in there. I had my mailing media in the barrel and added my 227 g of ingredients and it looked to be about 4/5 of the way to the top. I know the instructions are to have your container half filled with media and a quarter filled with meal ingredients, but I figured that most of my ingredients are just piled up on top of the media and not getting down into the spaces between the media underneath. I don't know

  5. #3805
    Boolit Mold henryinpanama's Avatar
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    "To be honest, it didn't burn quite as quickly as I was expecting."

    I had the same result. I use an HF tumbler and mill 100 gms for 8 hours or more. I discovered that my powder needed a thorough drying. Once dry, it was very fast. I used an oil filled space heater to dry the powder, but I'm planning to use my wife's greenhouse (no plants) when it warms up.
    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

  6. #3806
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    Quote Originally Posted by henryinpanama View Post
    "To be honest, it didn't burn quite as quickly as I was expecting."

    I had the same result. I use an HF tumbler and mill 100 gms for 8 hours or more. I discovered that my powder needed a thorough drying. Once dry, it was very fast. I used an oil filled space heater to dry the powder, but I'm planning to use my wife's greenhouse (no plants) when it warms up.
    I was wondering if that could be the issue. I live in utah and it's pretty dry here, so I wouldn't think humidity would be an issue. It wasn't clumped at all when spooned some out.

    I just found where maillemaker stated he makes his in 100g batches in his harbor freight tumbler.

    So, either my powder isn't quite as dry as I thought or I loaded up the tumbler a little too full. I'll do some testing tonight

  7. #3807
    Boolit Master
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    Go ahead and granulate it, dry it thoroughly, and then test it. What charcoal did you use?

    Be careful when wetting it to granulate. It's real easy to get it too wet, which is not good for it. (KN03 can be affected.)

    Vettepilot
    Last edited by Vettepilot; 05-13-2021 at 02:22 PM.
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  8. #3808
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vettepilot View Post
    Go ahead and granulate it, dry it thoroughly, and then test it. What charcoal did you use?

    Be careful when wetting it to granulate. It's real easy to get it too wet, which is not good for it. (KN03 can be affected.)

    Vettepilot
    Paulownia! Some charcoal I made in my paint can with thermometer a couple of weeks ago.

  9. #3809
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    I don't think a half pound should be too much in that tumbler, but it probably would be max. The KNO3 is hygroscopic though, and will absorb moisture out of the air, so that could possibly be your problem.

    Additionally, I find that green meal often doesn't burn as fast as granulated or corned due to difficulty in flame propagation through the super fine powder.

    Those that say "because air can't get to it" are incorrect. The powder carries It's own oxygen. Flame propagation through super fine green meal though, can be problematic/slow.

    Vettepilot
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  10. #3810
    Boolit Master
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    Did you use the Thumblers? When I said half pound would be max, I was thinking of the Harbor Freight mill...

    I believe I had your post mentally mixed up with the next fellow's.

    Vettepilot
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  11. #3811
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vettepilot View Post
    Did you use the Thumblers? When I said half pound would be max, I was thinking of the Harbor Freight mill...

    I believe I had your post mentally mixed up with the next fellow's.

    Vettepilot
    It might have been me on both counts! Yes I used the thumlers. It has the same size barrel as the harbor freight, but the sides are stepped rather than round. So if you think a half pound wouldn't be too much in the harbor freight, I'm sure this one did just fine.

    I'll bet the reason green meal doesn't burn as quickly if it is due to problems with flame propagation as you say, is that there is too much air trapped within the super fine powder.

    I will either screen it or corn it and see how it does.

  12. #3812
    Boolit Master
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    I make 1/2 lb batches in my HF single tumbler.
    For media I use .60 cal balls cast from Monotype

  13. #3813
    I have granulated a couple of batches when I first made powder. It burns MUCH faster than greenmeal. Enough so that when I showed the difference to a friend's mom, she said "Oh, WOW!" - And she's 78 years old. A quart-size ziploc bag and 70/30 isopropyl work well. Put your powder in the bag and squirt some alcohol in there. A nail hole in the protective foil makes a good size squirt nozzle. Mix it around, make a ball and look at it. If it's not shiny, give it another small squirt and repeat. Keep doing that until it JUST gets shiny. Then push it through a seive and let it drop on a paper plate. Put the plate on the dashboard of a car to dry. In Florida, it takes about an hour.

    I use the Harbor freight tumbler. I saw a video that said 100 grams is a perfect batch size and that it can get done in an hour at that size batch. I've always done 100 grams and never had a problem.

    Properly mixed and granulated/corned powder will burn a trail, the entire length of a paper plate, pretty much instantly. Fold the plate like a taco, put some powder in it, spread it out, unfold the plate, and have fun.

  14. #3814
    Boolit Master
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    I really feel it's going to be fine.

    Vettepilot
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  15. #3815
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    Me too! I bet it will turn out great. Excited to try it! I bought a press this evening...

    I'm less worried about that and more worried about my boot gun rebarrel job I just picked up. I'm not too ecstatic about the fit and finish of the work. Hope it shoots

  16. #3816
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    A plate full of willow Danger Cookies!


  17. #3817
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    Quote Originally Posted by maillemaker View Post
    A plate full of willow Danger Cookies!

    Sweet!!! I love it. I out my press together last night and started to press a puck, but the jack wouldn't continue to move passed a certain point. When I opened the box there was some oil all over the jack, so I'm guessing it leaked and got air in there. Picked up some more hydraulic oil today and I'll see if I can get it going tonight.

    Strangely, my meal is very Gray colored, not as black as yours, MM

  18. #3818
    Boolit Bub
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    I used my <100 mesh as priming and my 4F as 21gn charges in Flint Pistol yesterday. Shot passably well; all shots away in time, and good quick lock-time. Had a few flash in the pan for one shot, I think the patent breech is not well enough cleaned by my hot water.
    Fouling tightness was quite close to the breech, and I suspect it is burning very fast.

  19. #3819
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    Strangely, my meal is very Gray colored, not as black as yours, MM
    If you dig through the pages here you will find a similar comment by me when I first started.

    They turn blacker when wet and pressed. But the dry powder turns greyish again. I assume it's the graphite in commercial powder that gives it the blacker hue.

    Steve

  20. #3820
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    I assume it's the graphite in commercial powder that gives it the blacker hue.
    I wonder if the commercial powder is more strongly cleaned of the fines when it is polished before adding graphite; perhaps they use air blast as well as screening, and possibly the stickiness for adding the graphite may also bind a tiny remaining amount of fines back to the grains. So the surface reflection is the same as the rich black of your pucks, PLUS graphite!

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