Ball mill mead question?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Sburk1993, Jan 19, 2022.

  1. Sburk1993

    Sburk1993 Member

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    So I made a ball mill this weekend to start making my own powder in the future. I have read several places that people use hardcas lead balls. Is there any reason that I can't use soft cast such as Hornady round balls. I have a fair amount of them and don't mind using them for my mill
     
  2. hawg

    hawg Member

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    From what I understand lead will wear down much faster than other media and soft lead even faster which will contaminate the powder with lead dust.
     
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  3. Sburk1993

    Sburk1993 Member

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    What would be a better choice then so I don't mess up my powder?
     
  4. hawg

    hawg Member

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    I would think ceramic would be best.
     
  5. noelf2

    noelf2 Member

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    I have used nickels with good results. They don't spark. Just mill a few hours longer. I now use hard lead from wheel weights in .60 caliber (it was the only mold I had at the time).
     
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  6. Sburk1993

    Sburk1993 Member

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    How long do you mill for? I have seen seen people say 2 or 3 up to 16.
     
  7. noelf2

    noelf2 Member

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    At least 6 hours with a harbor freight double drum at regular speed if all ingredients are already powdered. I just use one drum though. I plan to speed up the mill a bit by putting layers of heat shrink on the driven shaft. I think the regular speed is too slow. It works, but could mill faster I think.
     
  8. The old gunsmith

    The old gunsmith Member

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    The soft lead balls will work just fine. They won't last as long as harder allow will;but, they will get you going until you can get some harder ones cast. Even with the soft lead, the amount of lead getting incorporated into the powder is pretty minimal. What I generally do is mill the KNO3 by itself for 6 hours using steel ball media then mill the charcoal/sulfur mix for 6 hours again with steel media. Combine the KNO3 and charcoal/sulfur and mill for 4 hours using lead media.
     
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  9. noelf2

    noelf2 Member

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  10. PWC

    PWC Member

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    1/2" copper tubing filled with lead and cut into 1" pieces. Corners anf surface area are more than round ball.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2022
  11. dirt-poor

    dirt-poor Member

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  12. Bibbyman

    Bibbyman Member

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    I found a couple hundred 429 Keith bullets cast from very hard lead that I decided I'd never use. Figured the sharp edges would work well.
     
  13. Rustmangler

    Rustmangler Member

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    Brass would work and last a long time.
     
  14. Sburk1993

    Sburk1993 Member

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    Thanks for the info
     
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  15. Sburk1993

    Sburk1993 Member

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    I was thinking about brass because I know it won't spark. I also thought about marbles since it's glass but I've read some people say they can spark in some people say they can't.
     
  16. Sburk1993

    Sburk1993 Member

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  17. Sburk1993

    Sburk1993 Member

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  18. noelf2

    noelf2 Member

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    Did you determine the critical speed rpm of your drum and set an appropriate milling rpm based on that? If not, you could be wasting your time. I know you don't have the HF mill, but for example (and as in the link I posted earlier), the critical speed of a HF drum is 133 rpm. That's when centrifugal force keeps the balls stuck to the edge of the inner surface of the drum, and no milling will happen. 50% to 70% of critical speed is pretty much where to be. So, at 60 rpm (factory set) the HF mill is only running about 45% of critical speed. It should be running about 80 to 90 rpm to be optimal. That is why so many people run their mills for a long time to get a fine grind when it should only take a couple of hours. I'm guilty of that as well. Several years ago I wrapped duct tape on the spinning shaft in the right places and my mill speed ran about 73 rpm which is 55% of critical speed. The tape worked but it's tedious to apply and measure, and it loses shape over time. I think I can do better with plastic tubing as per the link I posted.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2022
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  19. mmb617

    mmb617 Member

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    After reading about people doing this to make media it hit me that .45 caliber FMJ bullets were pretty much the same thing. Since I reload for my modern guns I already had those on hand, and that's what I've been using with good results. I run my unmodified HF tumbler for 8 hours using ingredients that are already in powder form.
     
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  20. Sburk1993

    Sburk1993 Member

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    I did actually just test my mill. it's rotating at 41 rpm. It is slow but my motor is a veriable speed drill at only 1/2 trigger pull. I'm still in the development stage you could say. It's pretty much functional. I need to put some shields on it to cover up the motor in case of spillage so nothing has the chance to ignite. I could turn it up some more. And I'm sure I will when it comes time.
     
  21. Sburk1993

    Sburk1993 Member

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    I think I'm going to order from sky lighter for my ingredients in powder form. I don't reload but that's sounds like a good media for a mill. I'd really like to use marbles but I keep hearing too many conflicting stories on if they spark or not someone suggested nickels and that don't sound too bad.
     
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  22. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Marbles are very light weight compared to anything metal, and especially lead. I'd be afraid that marbles would increase milling time quite a bit. They may tend to "float" in the media rather than mill. ? I'm not sure how they could spark. ?
     
  23. Sburk1993

    Sburk1993 Member

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    True I didn't think of there weight I'll just use lead for now I guess
     
  24. damoc

    damoc Member

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    Not sure if I have posted this here yet but this ball mill is working well. I use hard lead/wheel weights.

     
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  25. Sburk1993

    Sburk1993 Member

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    That is awesome and very safe I like it
     
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