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Home made natural explosives


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#1 pedrotuga

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:50 AM

Hey there, I believe this is the best section to post this topic, though is not really high tech.

Ok, for the fun and science of it I thought it could be interesting to make explosives out of natural resources.

From my limited knowledge of explosives working principles, I believe they need to have some substance that burns like charcoal or so, some that lows the ignition temperature (tar, resin, or so) and then something to provide extra oxygen, I believe this is where Sulfur comes in, it sguess it should be in fact sulfur dioxide or whatever releases oxygen easily.

Now, I am not sure about this I just wrote, I would like somebody would correct me whatever I said that is wrong, and guive me some extra tips. Like... which natural materials can be used? Resyn, tar, are they usable in explosive manufacture?

Also, what can i use as a catalyst? I heard something about using guano, it had something to do with the fact that some bats don't go in the sun then for some reason their shit would be richer in nitrogen or something. I don't know. Can somebody give me some tips?

#2 M0ralGray

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 01:29 PM

From my limited knowledge of explosives working principles

Based on this part of a sentence alone i wouldn't recommend you try and make anything explosive. If you don't understand the basic chemistry behind what makes things go boom you'll just end up hurting yourself.

Unless of course you're determined to win a Darwin Award

Remember..."the tree of life is self pruning" ;)

#3 Colonel Panic

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 01:49 PM

When I was a kid, we used to mix saltpeter, sulphur and charcoal to make gunpowder. We experimented with the ratios to make it burn faster or slower.

That's about all the practical experience I have with making explosives, though I can tell you that ammonium perchlorate makes one hell of an oxidizer. It's commonly used in rocket engines and professional fireworks, along with nitorcellulose as a fuel.

BTW, playing around with such things nowadays is a good way to get the FBI breaking down your door (not to mention getting yourself killed). 3 years ago, some college kids who lived a few blocks away from me were playing around with explosives. They made a very small pipe bomb out of a 1½-inch length of 1" diameter steel pipe and a couple end caps. When they tightened the last end cap after filling the thing with explosive, either a spark or the compression set the thing off and one of the guys lost a finger and a good-sized chunk of his shoulder. His friends rushed him to the emergency room and within an hour their apartment building was swarming with Feds.

Edited by Colonel Panic, 17 September 2008 - 05:05 PM.


#4 Lord Wud

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 02:07 PM

My cousin is missing the tip of one of his fingers, so when he taps them on the table it goes "tapknocktaptap". He was breaking off match heads into shotgun shells, inserting a wick and gluing the top with epoxy. One of them went off a bit early. Luckily for him it was in the 80s and the police didn't seem to care.

#5 Ohm

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 03:54 PM

Dear Binrev, I hate my fingers. Please tell me how I might remove them. I've tried sandpaper, but that just takes too long! Obviously, I'll need an explosive, but such materials are controlled. Please tell me how I can remove these pesky fingers using only the fruits of the earth.

P.S. This may be my last post, typing is exceedingly difficult without fingers.

Playing with explosives is not bright. Be extremely careful and always know what you're doing. Never make anything big, never tell anyone you know about what you're doing (law enforcement doesn't like it, and if you're in high school, they'll probably find a reason to expel you or something) and always have a phone for 911 handy. My friend once tried a draino bomb, but a piece of shrapnel hit him right in the neck. He would have bled to death if he didn't get to the ER. Dangerous stuff, be extremely careful.

#6 PurpleJesus

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 05:42 PM

P.S. This may be my last post, typing is exceedingly difficult without fingers.

Ahh it's not that bad.. The hardest part was learning to hit the space bar with the left thumb.

BTW: I blew off half my right hand. The fun I had wasn't worth the price I paid.

#7 IndexPhinger

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 10:34 PM

P.S. This may be my last post, typing is exceedingly difficult without fingers.

Ahh it's not that bad.. The hardest part was learning to hit the space bar with the left thumb.

BTW: I blew off half my right hand. The fun I had wasn't worth the price I paid.


I cantt....seento type with chooopsticks....

DONT FUCKKK WITH FIRREEWOORKS.......

#8 jfalcon

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 10:56 PM

P.S. This may be my last post, typing is exceedingly difficult without fingers.

Ahh it's not that bad.. The hardest part was learning to hit the space bar with the left thumb.

BTW: I blew off half my right hand. The fun I had wasn't worth the price I paid.


I would agree. I have family members who live with the disfigurement due to the combination of homemade explosives and poor knowledge. To live with it sucks ass.

#9 SwartMumba

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:35 PM

@op: if you have not noticed, the last few posters are trying to say that your fingers/hands are important.
Rather be safe than sorry. Get a friend to make, and ignite, the explosive. :P

If you do not want to heed the warnings of the billy goats, I would recommend making an HTH bomb.
As you can see, the explosive reaction is slow.
I made them when I was a lighty and it was great fun, for a while.

If you are simply looking for making a big bang, go to the shooting range and rent a gun.
It is a controlled explosion, where you get that loud ass bang, plus you penetrate shit!

#10 chown

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 03:22 AM

For gunpowder my mates & I used to use potassium chlorate instead of potassium nitrate (saltpetre), in the ratios 75% potassium chlorate, 25% charcoal powder and 5% sulphur.
Be very careful mixing sulphur (especially "flowers of") with potassium chlorate though. If you don't know why, then don't.

Alternatively, if you want something a tinge more powerful, you can use potassium or ammonium perchlorate mixed about 8:2 with charcoal powder for fuel, no sulphur. By tinge, I mean fuckload.

But, gunpowder is boring.
Now, contact explosives, they're fun!

On our last day at highschool, a couple of mates & I made a about half a litre of nitrogen triiodide and painted it on door handles and light switches all over the school :)
Nitrogen triiodide is probably easiest and least expensive contact explosive to synthesise, and once dry, explodes if so much as a fly lands on it.
(It's the explosive used in that Braniac episode)


PS: I still have all my bits!

Edited by chown, 18 September 2008 - 03:24 AM.


#11 systems_glitch

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 07:45 AM

For gunpowder my mates & I used to use potassium chlorate instead of potassium nitrate (saltpetre), in the ratios 75% potassium chlorate, 25% charcoal powder and 5% sulphur.
Be very careful mixing sulphur (especially "flowers of") with potassium chlorate though. If you don't know why, then don't.

There's a story about the discovery of potassium chlorate. After chemists discovered and could create potassium chlorate in quantity, and showed what a good oxidizer, one English powder maker decided he was going to make a better gunpowder using it. He bought a powder mill, got the chemicals together, and had a bunch of noblepeople come out for a big party in honor of the first run of the mill. Within minutes, there were pieces of noblemen and noblewomen scattered across the English countryside.

Potassium chlorate should only be mixed with sulphur in very small quantities. I used to make "snappers" with it -- that is, we'd fill gelatin pill capsules (the kind of pill capsule that comes in two parts which you can separate) with the mixture, and hit it with a hammer, rocks, etc, to set it off. It's extremely unstable.

Potassium chlorate in combination with sulphur is what makes up the white tips of strike-anywhere matches. As kids, my brother and I would break the heads off strike-anywhere matches, place them in the breach of a pellet gun, white head facing out, and shoot them into hard surfaces. They go off like a firecracker.

As Kurt Saxon mentioned, in lieu of his mishap with red phosphorous, shock-sensitive compounds can turn your hands into "fingerless hamburgers." Don't mess with them unless you have experience with tame stuff first. And you probably shouldn't even mess with that if you live anywhere near other people...with people being so paranoid nowadays, you're likely to get arrested for terrorism for setting off firecrackers. I was, along with several other friends -- some passerby saw us setting off a few homemade firecrackers at night, and reported us to the police as "terrorists training with explosive devices." Keep in mind, this was in rural-ish Virginia -- there weren't any houses for at least a mile.

Edited by systems_glitch, 18 September 2008 - 07:47 AM.


#12 chown

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 09:46 AM

For gunpowder my mates & I used to use potassium chlorate instead of potassium nitrate (saltpetre), in the ratios 75% potassium chlorate, 25% charcoal powder and 5% sulphur.
Be very careful mixing sulphur (especially "flowers of") with potassium chlorate though. If you don't know why, then don't.

There's a story about the discovery of potassium chlorate. After chemists discovered and could create potassium chlorate in quantity, and showed what a good oxidizer, one English powder maker decided he was going to make a better gunpowder using it. He bought a powder mill, got the chemicals together, and had a bunch of noblepeople come out for a big party in honor of the first run of the mill. Within minutes, there were pieces of noblemen and noblewomen scattered across the English countryside.

Potassium chlorate should only be mixed with sulphur in very small quantities. I used to make "snappers" with it -- that is, we'd fill gelatin pill capsules (the kind of pill capsule that comes in two parts which you can separate) with the mixture, and hit it with a hammer, rocks, etc, to set it off. It's extremely unstable.

Yeah, if you can get your hands on potassium perchlorate it's preferable as a substitute cause it's stable in the presence of sulphur. (It's also a better oxidiser)

#13 pedrotuga

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 10:07 AM

Please read the topic opening post before starting to blindly bash the subject.

Now for the subject itself...
I think most of you misunderstand me or didn't pay enough attention while reading this thread. I am interested in the manufacture of explosives using natural ingredients.

Like, I could blast literally dozens of kilos of gunpowder if I wanted, my grandfather used to run a drug store, dozens of chemical products are still somewhere at my parents' basement, including gunpowder itself i believe. Also my father has been a hunter since I can remember. Believe me, I am not after listening to a bang.

I am interested in ancient explosives knowledge.

#14 chown

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 11:18 AM

The gunpowder recipe Colonel Panic mentioned is about as "ancient" as you can get (9th century) in terms of explosives. It's also made entirely from ingredients that occur naturally and in great quantities.

Edit: Actually potassium nitrate doesn't occur naturally in great quantities, but both charcoal and sulphur do.
Edit2: By the way, the ideal mixture ratios are: 75% potassium nitrate, 15% charcoal, and 10% sulphur.

Edited by chown, 18 September 2008 - 11:31 AM.


#15 Colonel Panic

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 11:43 AM

Oh, you want really natural ingredients. OK well here's a recipe that dates back to Iron Age China:
  • a handful of straw and/or dry leaves
  • ¼ lb bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar (must be powdered; granulated won't work. If you want to be really authentic, you could use 1tbsp honey diluted with like 2 tbsp water)
  • 1 cup overcooked rice, mashed and boiled into a lumpy paste
  • ½ lb of animal feces (dog shit will work well)
  • 2 cups lemon juice
Mix the solid ingredients together in a large bowl. Under direct sunlight, stir them constantly for about 30 minutes, then add the lemon juice and stir for about 10 more minutes. Knead well, roll into small balls and set out in the sun to bake dry. There you have it, the ancient equivalent of plastique.

To ignite the explosives, bang two rocks together over them making sparks until they catch fire, then run away!

Edited by Colonel Panic, 18 September 2008 - 12:00 PM.


#16 systems_glitch

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 12:57 PM

Well, as long as you know how to make gunpowder anyway, here's how the chemicals were collected before you could go to drug stores:

Potassium Nitrate /can/ be obtained by fermenting animal waste. However, that's not a very fun way to obtain it. You can leach it from soil, specifically soil that has come from an area with a lot of natural decay (graveyards, especially). Basically, you allow water to slowly percolate through the soil, collect what comes out, and dry it in the sun. The crystals left are largely potassium nitrate.

If you've never made your own charcoal, that's actually a pretty safe, fun educational experience. You pack a bunch of wood into a mostly airtight container with a single open hole in one end. For a small trial batch, use a cookie tin with a nail hole punched in the top. Load it up with soft wood -- or hard wood if you're making cooking charcoal or a slow-burning composition. I use dried grapevine for mine. Place the container on a hot fire -- you'll see steam come out of the hole after a little bit, followed by gray-yellow smoke. This smoke is the tar being boiled out of the wood -- you can ignite it, and it'll burn like natural gas! In fact, many houses far away from towns used devices which boiled out wood tars to run gas lamps during the night (this was especially popular in southern plantation houses, where gas lights would be considered a luxury). Anyway, after the smoke stops, put a piece of clay or other stiff mud over the hole, so the newly formed charcoal isn't ignited when you remove it from the fire (it'll try to draw air in, as it cools, and without a plug in the hole, it will draw air fast enough to ignite the still-hot charcoal). Let cool an hour or so, and you'll have charcoal inside, which can easily be ground into a floury powder with a hand mill or coffee grinder.

Sulphur, of course, is a rock. You can find it in natural deposits, usually around volcanoes. You probably shouldn't go up to volcanoes to get sulphur, though. Any well-equipped rock shop will have sulphur specimens, if you wish to grind your own up.

Edited by systems_glitch, 18 September 2008 - 12:59 PM.


#17 PurpleJesus

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 07:33 PM

Wasn't saltpeter also mined in some places? or was it some kind of bat guano processing?

#18 systems_glitch

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 09:21 PM

Wasn't saltpeter also mined in some places? or was it some kind of bat guano processing?

It was often collected from caves. Basically, caves, tunnels, etc, do the earth-leaching process naturally. Ever seen white, powdery crystal formations on the inside of a basement with cinderblock walls? That's largely potassium nitrate/saltpeter.

#19 pedrotuga

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 08:06 AM

Now this is getting interesting!

I don't think I'll easily have access to minerals in rock-state. There's now interesting rocks around where I live AFAIK.
But there's some cool tips on how to get some ingredients and I would be pleased to know more :)

system glitch, that's interesting, I heard about a similar method to extract the tar: using a metal container sealed on top and with a hole in the bottom the tar can be collected in liquid state as it drips from the hole. BTW, can that tar be used in any way in explosives?
But you got me confused, can't I obtain charcoal simply by interrupting the combustion of wood? Or is there any important characteristic that that kind of charcoal is missing?

I guess the kind of wood would also be important...is it? grapevine i usually good for BBQs as it lasts for quite long, pine on the other hand burns really fast. which kind of wood would be better? or.. does that really matters that much.

What about resin? I can fetch litres of it. I would imagine it would have some use as it burns pretty well.

Now, the shit, :lol: , I believe this is a key element, which animal produces the best ( explosively wise :) ) shit? My parents grow chicken in a traditional fashion, I could go there and fetch nitrate potassium the way systems_glitch have described, Some dry chicken shit is also available in generous amounts.
Well, problem is my parents live in Portugal and I live in Sweden ATM. But i guess this kind of stuff is rather easy to find.

I'll try t extract some crystals from crow and dove shit, there's loads of it out there.

I gave a quick look at 'The Do-it-yourself Gunpowder Cookbook', it's awsome, I'll read it as soon as I have it in print. Then I can share with you guys whatever cool info there's in it.

Apparently there's an easy alternative to gunpowder which uses only iron rust, charcoal and saltpepper. I think I'll use this recipe to test which kind of saltpepper is best. Then after playing around with that i'll eventually try out actual gunpowder.

Meanwhile, keep it coming, more tips! Don't be shy, feel free to post info concerning other explosives, not only gunpowder.

@purplejesus, yes, that's what i believe it came from thus asking all those questions about birdshit et al.

Edited by pedrotuga, 19 September 2008 - 08:08 AM.


#20 PurpleJesus

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 08:54 AM

You may also want to look into history. During WWII, cooking fat was recycled for making explosives. I think glycerin was harvested from it somehow.




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