Thursday, February 28, 2008

Making Black Powder

Make 13, themed around the concept of magic is on the newsstands!

It's another excellent issue and includes a PVC air cannon modification (by a different author) that is pretty interesting. It's called the boom-stick and is designed to maximize the noise.

I wrote three articles for this issue. The first is describes the DARPA urban challenge and the uber-makers that attended. While most of the competitors were big money corporate and academic types, there were a few entrants that really exemplified the ardent amatuer, and the skillful maker.

The second was the Maker Calendar and lists upcoming events of interest to those who make things.

The third article is about my foray into the world of gunpowder manufacture. I've received some great feedback from readers already -- it's something that a lot of people find interesting. In this article, I describe what I did to make home made black powder. I don't go into step by step directions for making the powder, but there is a good explanation of how to prepare your charcoal which is the really critical step in making the stuff. Everything else is less important.

Visit or better yet, subscribe via the link below. TIP: if you select Make's autorenew option, you get digital access to the entire library, back to Make Vol 1!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The instructions for making charcoal are great.

The lawyerly prohibition on providing manufacturing details for the black powder itself was just silly, considering it's an industrial process that's been used by millions of people for over a thousand years. But I thought the photos were a fairly nifty way to at least partially subvert the prohibition.

Anybody who really wants details can check out the books section on Perigrin's "Introductory Practical Pyrotechnics" has black powder as its inaugural project.