:About the Book
Please send me any submissions/comments/insane ideas/suggestions. This book
is still undergoing work (and seeking a hardcopy publisher) and currently
1. Illustrations (I have a few in B&W, but need assistance)
2. An 'introduction to basic chemistry concepts' section
3. A couple case studies- please make suggestions!
World Trade Center Bombing
The Unabomb case(s)
Major professional pyrotechnical mishaps.
I will pay a share of any profits for professional-quality illustrations!
:Read me first
AUTHOR: David Richards (email@example.com)
TITLE: The Big Book Of Mischief
EDITION:Interim release (1.5) from DTP file
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THE RIGHT TO PRINTED PUBLICATION, DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS TO THIS
AND ALL FUTURE EDITIONS, AND ALL OTHER RIGHTS AS DETAILED BY
INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT LAW.
If you encounter this book being distributed in printed or
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HOW TO CONTACT THE AUTHOR, AND/OR GET THE BOOK VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL:
Suggestions are welcome, as are submissions, complaints, and just about
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Internet mail can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
A copy of this file (in four parts of around 50K each) will be sent on
request. A print version may be available in the future.
:Credits and Disclaimers
This book is dedicated to Ben, who made it possible, to Arthur, who helped
keep it going, and to all the amateur pyrotechnicians who have lost their
lives, senses, and limbs in the search for knowledge.
The processes and techniques herein should
not be carried out under any circumstances!!
On the advice of my lawyer,I hereby state that I assume no responsibilities
for any use of the information presented in this book. The intention of
this book is to demonstrate the many techniques and methods used by persons
in this and other countries to produce a number of conceivably hazardous
devices. None of the statements herein should be taken to indicate the
opinions or actions of the author. The techniques described here may be
found in public libraries and all the information given is available from
public sources. Any loss of life, property, or other perceived loss, injury
or harm is the sole responsibility of the purchaser.
Any instructions, formulas, and other statements herein are for
informational purposes only.Although most of the procedures can be
accomplished with minimal preparation and from easily available supplies,
this is a work of fiction and no assumption should be made about the
accuracy or safety of any of the procedures. This book is void where
prohibited, and shall not be sold to any person who is ineligible to
receive it. If you are under the age of 18, a convicted felon, mentally
retarded, or a member of an organization that has as its stated or unstated
goals the overthrow of the legitimate government of the United States of
America, you are required to turn yourself in to the nearest officer of the
law without delay.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
:Table of Contents
Table of Contents
SAFETY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Basic Safety Rules. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
How To Mix Dry Ingredients. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
BUYING EXPLOSIVES AND PROPELLANTS. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Propellants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Explosives. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
PREPARATION OF CHEMICALS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
EXPLOSIVE FORMULAS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Explosive Theory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Impact Explosives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Low Order Explosives. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
High Order Explosives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Other Reactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
COMPRESSED GAS BOMBS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Bottled Gas Explosives. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Dry Ice Bombs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
USING EXPLOSIVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Ignition Devices. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Impact Ignition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Electrical Ignition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Electro-mechanical Ignition . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Delays. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
EXPLOSIVE CASINGS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Paper Containers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Metal Containers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Primed Explosive Casings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Glass Containers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Plastic Containers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
ADVANCED USES FOR EXPLOSIVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Tube Explosives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Atomized Particle Explosions. . . . . . . . . . . . 57
SPECIAL AMMUNITION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Primitive Weapons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
Firearms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Compressed Air/Gas Weapons. . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
ROCKETS AND CANNONS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Rockets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Cannon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
VISUAL PYROTECHNICS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Smoke Bombs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Colored Flames. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Fireworks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
MORE INFORMATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
USEFUL CHEMICALS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
FUEL-OXIDIZER MIXTURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
USEFUL PYROCHEMISTRY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Safety is an important concern in many activities, but it is even more
important when working with explosives and related compounds. If you have
an accident with a power tool you can permanently maim or kill yourself. An
automobile accident can not only kill yourself, but a dozen or more others
who have the bad luck to be on the same road as you. When an airplane
crashes, it often kills not only the passengers on board, but anybody who
happens to have lived near the crash site. An accidental explosion can be
much destructive than any of these. Any accident involving explosives is
likely to be fatal, and a serious accident can, under some circumstances
circumstances, kill hundreds of people.
There are no such things as truly "safe" explosive devices. While some
explosives are less dangerous than others, all such compositions are, by
their very nature, extremely hazardous.
Basic Safety Rules
1) Don't smoke! (don't laugh- an errant cigarette wiped out the
Weathermen). Avoid open flames, especially when working with flammable
liquids or powdered metals.
2) Grind all ingredients separately. It is alarming how friction
sensitive some supposedly safe compositions really are. Grinding causes heat
and possibly sparks, both of which can initiate an explosion.
3) Start with very small quantities. Even small quantities of high
explosives can be very dangerous. Once you have some idea of the power of
the explosive, you can progress to larger amounts. Store high explosives
separately from low explosives, and sensitive devices, such as blasting
caps, should be stored well away from all flammable or explosive material.
4) Allow for a 20% margin of error. Never let your safety depend on
the expected results. Just because the average burning rate of a fuse is 30
secs/foot, don't depend on the 6 inches sticking out of your pipe bomb to
take exactly 15 seconds.
5) Never underestimate the range of your shrapnel. The cap from a
pipe bomb can often travel a block or more at high velocities before coming
to rest- If you have to stay nearby, remember that if you can see it, it can
6) At the least, take the author's precautions. When mixing sensitive
compounds (such as flash powder) avoid all sources of static electricity.
Work in an area with moderate humidity, good ventilation, and watch out for
sources of sparks and flame, which can ignite particles suspended in the
air. Always follow the directions given and never take shortcuts.
7) Buy quality safety equipment, and use it at all times. Always wear
a face shield, or at the minimum, shatterproof lab glasses. It's usually a
good idea to wear gloves when handling corrosive chemicals, and a lab apron
can help prevent life-threatening burns.
How To Mix Dry Ingredients
The best way to mix two dry chemicals to form an explosive is to use
a technique perfected by small-scale fireworks manufacturers:
1) Take a large sheet of smooth paper (for example a page from a
newspaper that does not use staples)
2) Measure out the appropriate amounts of the two chemicals, and pour
them in two small heaps near opposite corners of the sheet.
3) Pick up the sheet by the two corners near the piles, allowing the
powders to roll towards the center of the sheet.
4) By raising one corner and then the other, rock the powders back and
forth in the middle of the open sheet, taking care not to let the mixture
spill from either of the loose ends.
5) Pour the powder off from the middle of the sheet, and use it
immediately. Use airtight containers for storage, It's best to use 35mm film
canisters or other jars which do not have screw-on tops. If you must keep
the mixture for long periods, place a small packet of desiccant in the
container, and never store near heat or valuable items.
:BUYING EXPLOSIVES AND PROPELLANTS
Almost any city or town of reasonable size has a gun store and one or
more drugstores. These are two of the places that serious pyrotechnicians
can visit to purchase potentially explosive material. All that one has to
do is know something about the mundane uses of the substances.
Black powder, for example, is normally used in blackpowder firearms.
It comes in varying grades, with each different grade being a slightly
different size. The grade of black powder depends on what the calibre of
the gun that it is intended for; a fine grade of powder could burn too fast
in the wrong caliber weapon. The rule is: the smaller the grade, the faster
the burn rate of the powder.
There are many varieties of powder used as propellants, and many of
these can be adapted for use in explosive devices. Propellants are usually
selected for stability and high gas production, and can be very effective
if used in a strong container. Some propellants, such as nitrocellulose,
burn at a much higher rate when under pressure, while others burn at
basically the same rate in the open and when confined.
Black powder is commonly available in four grades. The smaller, faster
burning sizes are more difficult to find than the large, slow grades. The
powder's burn rate is extremely important when it is to be used in
explosives. Since an explosion is a rapid increase of gas volume in a
confined environment, quick-burning powder is desired. The four common
grades of black powder are listed below, along with the usual bore width
(calibre) of the gun they would be used in. Generally, the fastest burning
powder, the FFFF grade is desirable for explosives, and the larger grades
are used as propellants. The FFFF grade is the fastest burning, because th
e smaller grade has
more surface area exposed to the flame front, allowing the flame to
propagate through the material much faster than it could if a larger sized
powder was used. The price range of black powder is about $8.50 - $9.00 per
pound. The price per pound is the same regardless of the grade, so you can
save time and work by buying finer grade of powder.
There are several problems with using black powder. It can be
accidentally ignited by static electricity or friction, and that it has a
tendency to absorb moisture from the air. To safely crush it, you should
use a plastic or wooden spoon and a wooden salad bowl. Taking a small pile
at a time, slowly apply pressure to the powder through the spoon and rub it
in a series of light strokes or circles. It is fine enough to use when it
reaches the consistency of flour.
The particle size needed is dependent on the type of device it is
going to be used in. The size of the grains is less important in large
devices, and in large strong casings coarse grained powder will work. Any
adult can purchase black powder, since anyone can own black powder firearms
in the United States.
Pyrodex is a synthetic powder that is used like black powder, and
which can be substituted by volume for standard blackpowder. It comes in
the many of the standard grades, but it is more expensive per pound.
However, a one pound container of pyrodex contains more material by volume
than one pound of black powder. Pyrodex is much easier to crush to a very
fine powder than black powder, and it is considerably safer and more
reliable. This is because Pyrodex is less sensitive to friction and static
electricity, and it absorbs moisture more slowly than black powder. Pyrodex
can be crushed in the same manner as black powder, or it can be dissolved
in boiling water and dried in the sun.
Rifle and shotgun propellants are usually nitrocellulose based with
additives to modify the burning rate. They will be referred to as smokeless
powder in all future references. Smokeless powder is made by the action of
concentrated nitric and sulfuric acid upon cotton or some other cellulose
material, a process that is described on page 19. This material is then
dissolved by solvents and then reformed in the desired grain size.
When dealing with smokeless powder, the grain size is not nearly as
important as that of black powder. Both large and small grained powders burn
fairly slowly compared to black powder when unconfined, but when it is
confined, smokeless burns both hotter and produces a greater volume of gas,
producing more pressure. Therefore, the grinding process that is often
necessary for other propellants is not necessary for smokeless.
Smokeless powder costs slightly more than black powder. In most states
any citizen with a valid driver's license can buy it, since there are
currently few restrictions on rifles or shotguns in the U.S. There are now
ID checks in many states when purchasing powder at a retail outlet, however
mail order purchases from another state are not subject to such checks. When
purchased by mail order propellants must be shipped by a private carrier,
since the Postal Service will not carry hazardous materials. Shipping
charges will be high, due to Department Of Transportation regulations on
packaging flammable and explosive materials.
Rocket Engine Powder
Model rocketry is an popular hobby in the United States and many other
countries. Estes*, the largest producer of model rocket kits and engines,
takes great pains to ensure that their engines are both safe and reliable.
The simple design of these engines makes it very easy to extract the
Model rocket engines contain a single large grain of propellant. This
grain is encased in heavy cardboard tubing with a clay cap at the top and
a clay or ceramic nozzle in the bottom. The propellant can be removed by
slitting the tube lengthwise, and unwrapping it like you would a roll of
paper towels. When this is done, the grey fire clay at either end of the
propellant grain should be removed. This can be done by either cracking it
off with a sharp bow, or by gently prying with a plastic or brass knife.
The engine material consists of three stages. First the large fuel stage,
which is at the end nearest the nozzle. Above this is the delay stage, which
may not be found in some engines. This stage burns slowly and produces a
large amount of smoke. Last is the ejection charge, which normally would
produce gases to push the parachute out through the top of the rocket.
The propellant material contains an epoxy which makes it exceptionally
hard, so it must be crushed to a fine powder before it can be used.be used.
By double bagging the propellant in small plastic bags and gripping it in
a pliers or small vise, the powder can be carefully crushed without
shattering all over. This process should be repeated until there are no
remaining chunks, after which it may be crushed in the same manner as black
Model rocket engines come in various sizes, ranging from şA -2T to the
incredibly powerful D engines. The larger engines are much more expensive,
and each letter size contains about twice as much propellant as the previous
one. The D engines come in packages of three, and contain more powder than
lesser engines. These engines are also very useful without modification.
Large engines can be used to create very impressive skyrockets and other
There are many commercially available materials which are either used
as explosives, or which are used to produce explosives. Materials which are
used to produce explosives are known as "precursors", and some of them are
very difficult to obtain. Chemical suppliers are not stupid, and they will
notice if a single person orders a combination of materials which can be
used to produce a common explosive. Most chemicals are available in several
grades, which vary by the purity of the chemical, and the types of
impurities present. In most cases lab grade chemicals are more than
sufficient. There are a few primitive mixtures which will work even with
very impure chemicals, and a few which require technical grade materials.
Ammonium nitrate is a high explosive material that is used as a
commercial "safety explosive". It is very stable, and is difficult to ignite
with a match, and even then will not explode under normal circumstances. It
is also difficult to detonate; (the phenomenon of detonation will be
explained later) as it requires a powerful shockwave to cause it act as a
Commercially, ammonium nitrate is sometimes mixed with a small amount
of nitroglycerine to increase its sensitivity. A versatile chemical,
ammonium nitrate is used in the "Cold-Paks" or "Instant Cold", available in
most drug stores. The "Cold Paks" consist of a bag of water, surrounded by
a second plastic bag containing the ammonium nitrate. To get the ammonium
nitrate, simply cut off the top of the outside bag, remove the plastic bag
of water, and save the ammonium nitrate in a well sealed, airtight
container. It is hygroscopic, (it tends to absorb water from the air) and
will eventually be neutralized if it is allowed to react with water, or used
in compounds containing water. Ammonium nitrate may also be found in many
Flash powder is a mixture of powdered aluminum or magnesium metal and
one of any number of oxidizers. It is extremely sensitive to heat or sparks,
and should be treated with more care than black powder, and under no
circumstances should it be mixed with black powder or any other explosives.
Small quantities of flash powder can be purchased from magic shops and
theatrical suppliers in the form of two small containers, which must be
mixed before use. Commercial flash powder is not cheap but it is usually
very reliable. There are three speeds of flash powder commonly used in
magic, however only the fast flash powder can be used to create reliable
Flash powder should always be mixed according to the method given at
the beginning of the book, and under no circumstances should it be shaken
or stored in any packaging which might carry static electricity.
:PREPARATION OF CHEMICALS
While many chemicals are not easily available in their pure form, it
is sometimes possible for the home chemist to partially purify more easily
available sources of impure forms of desired chemicals.
Most liquids are diluted with water, which can be removed by
distillation. It is more difficult to purify solids, but there are a few
methods available.If the impurity is insoluble in water but the pure
chemical is, then the solid is mixed into a large quantity of warm water,
and the water (with the chemical dissolved in it) is saved. The undissolved
impurities (dregs) are discarded. When the water is boiled off it leaves a
precipitate of the desired material. If the desired chemical is not water
soluble and the impurity is, then the same basic procedure is followed, but
in this case the dregs are saved and the liquid discarded.
Nitric acid (HNO3)
There are several ways to make this most essential of all acids for
explosives. It is often produced by the oxidation of ammonia per the
4NH3 + 5O2 4NO + 6H2O; 2NO + O2 2NO2; 3NO2 + H2O 2HNO3 + NO
If the chemist has sodium and potassium nitrate available, they can
be used to convert the much less useful sulfuric acid. While this method can
be used to produce nitric acid, the process is extremely hazardous, and it
should not be carried out unless there is no other way to obtain nitric
acid. Do not attempt this on a larger scale without the use of remote
potassium nitrate ice bath stirring rod
conc sulfuric acid distilled water retort
collecting flask with stopper retort (300ml) heat source
sodium nitrate mortar and pestle
1) Carefully pour 100 milliliters of concentrated sulfuric acid into
2) Weigh out exactly 185 grams of sodium nitrate, or 210 grams of
potassium nitrate. Crush to a fine powder in a clean, dry mortar and
pestle, then slowly add this powder to the retort of sulfuric acid. If all
of the powder does not dissolve, carefully stir the solution with a glass
rod until the powder is completely dissolved.
3) Place the open end of the retort into the collecting flask, and
place the collecting flask in the ice bath.
4) Begin heating the retort, using low heat. Continue heating until
liquid begins to come out of the end of the retort. The liquid that forms
is nitric acid. Heat until the precipitate in the bottom of the retort is
almost dry, or until no more nitric acid forms.
If the acid is heated too strongly, the nitric acid will decompose as
soon as it is formed. This can result in the production of highly flammable
and toxic gasses that may explode. It is a good idea to set the above
apparatus up, and then get away from it.
Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4)
There are two common processes used to make sulfuric acid,
unfortunately neither of them is suitable for small scale production outside
of a laboratory or industrial plant. The Contact Process utilizes Sulfur
Dioxide (SO2), an intensely irritating gas.
2SO2 + H2O 2SO3; SO3 + H2O H2SO4
The Chamber Process uses nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide. On contact
with air, nitric oxide forms nitrogen dioxide, a deadly reddish brown gas.
The reaction used for production is as follows:
2NO + O2 2NO2; NO2 + SO2 + H2O H2SO4
Sulfuric acid is far too difficult to make outside of a laboratory or
industrial plant. However, it is readily available as it is a major
component of lead-acid batteries. The sulfuric acid could be poured off from
a new battery, or purchased from a battery shop or motorcycle store. If the
acid is removed from a battery there will be pieces of lead from the battery
which must be removed, either by boiling and filtration. The concentration
of the sulfuric acid can also be increased by boiling it or otherwise
removing some of the water from the solution. Very pure sulfuric acid pours
slightly faster than clean motor oil.
Ammonium nitrate is a very powerful but insensitive high explosive.
It could be made very easily by pouring nitric acid into a large flask in
an ice bath. Then, by simply pour household ammonia into the flask and keep
a safe distance away until the reaction has completed. After the materials
have stopped reacting, one simply has to leave the solution in a warm dry
place until all of the water and any neutralized ammonia or acid have
evaporated. Finely powdered crystals of ammonium nitrate would remain. These
must be kept in an airtight container, because of their tendency to pick up
water from the air. The crystals formed in the above process would have to
be heated very gently to drive off the remaining water before they can be
Potassium nitrate can be obtained from black powder. Simply stir a
quantity of black powder into boiling water. The sulfur and charcoal will
be suspended in the water, but the potassium nitrate will dissolve. To
obtain 68g of potassium nitrate, it would be necessary to dissolve about 90g
of black powder in about one liter of boiling water.
Filter the dissolved solution through filter paper until the liquid
that pours through is clear. The charcoal and sulfur in black powder are
insoluble in water, and so when the solution is allowed to evaporate, small
crystals of potassium nitrate will be left in the container.
Once again, persons reading this material should never attempt to
produce any of the explosives described here. It is illegal and extremely
dangerous to do so. Loss of life and limbs could easily result from a failed
(or successful) attempt to produce any explosives or hazardous chemicals.
These procedures are correct, however many of the methods given here
are usually scaled down industrial procedures, and therefore may be better
suited to large scale production.
An explosive is any material that, when ignited by heat, shock, or
chemical reaction, undergoes rapid decomposition or oxidation. This process
releases energy that is stored in the material. The energy, in the form of
heat and light, is released when the material breaks down into gaseous
compounds that occupy a much larger volume that the explosive did
originally. Because this expansion is very rapid, the expanding gasses
displace large volumes of air. This expansion often occurs at a speed
greater than the speed of sound, creating a shockwave similar to the sonic
boom produced by high-speed jet planes.
Explosives occur in several forms: high order explosives (detonating
explosives),low order explosives (deflagrating explosives), primers, and
some explosives which can progress from deflagrating to detonation. All high
order explosives are capable of detonation. Some high order explosives may
start out burning (deflagration) and progress to detonation. A detonation
can only occur in a high order explosive.
Detonation is caused by a shockwave that passes through a block of the
high explosive material. High explosives consist of molecules with many
high-energy bonds. The shockwave breaks apart the molecular bonds between
the atoms of the material, at a rate approximately equal to the speed of
sound traveling through that substance. Because high explosives are
generally solids or liquids, this speed can be much greater than the speed
of sound in air.
Unlike low-explosives, the fuel and oxidizer in a high-explosive are
chemically bonded, and this bond is usually too strong to be easily broken.
Usually a primer made from a sensitive high explosive is used to initiate
the detonation. When the primer detonates it sends a shockwave through the
high-explosive. This shockwave breaks apart the bonds, and the chemicals
released recombine to produce mostly gasses. Some examples of high
explosives are dynamite, ammonium nitrate, and RDX.
Low order explosives do not detonate. Instead they burn (undergo
oxidation) at a very high rate. When heated, the fuel and oxidizer combine
to produce heat, light, and gaseous products.
Some low order materials burn at about the same speed under pressure
as they do in the open, such as blackpowder. Others, such as smokeless
gunpowder (which is primarily nitrocellulose) burn much faster and hotter
when they are in a confined space, such as the barrel of a firearm; they
usually burn much slower than blackpowder when they are ignited in the open.
Blackpowder, nitrocellulose, and flash powder are common examples of low
Primers are the most dangerous explosive compounds in common use. Some
of them, such as mercury fulminate, will function as a low or high order
explosive. They are chosen because they are more sensitive to friction,
heat, and shock, than commonly used high or low explosives. Most primers
perform like a dangerously sensitive high explosive. Others merely burn, but
when they are confined, they burn at a very high rate and with a large
expansion of gasses that produces a shockwave. A small amount of a priming
material is used to initiate, or cause to decompose, a large quantity of
relatively insensitive high explosives. They are also frequently used as a
reliable means of igniting low order explosives. The gunpowder in a bullet
is ignited by the detonation of the primer.
Blasting caps are similar to primers, but they usually include both
a primer and some intermediate explosive. Compounds used as primers can
include lead azide, lead styphnate, diazodinitrophenol or mixtures of two
or more of them. A small charge of PETN, RDX, or pentolite may be included
in the more powerful blasting caps, such as those used in grenades. The
small charge of moderately-sensitive high explosive initiates a much larger
charge of insensitive high explosive.
Impact explosives are often used as primers. Of the ones discussed
here, only mercury fulminate and nitroglycerine are real explosives;
Ammonium triiodide crystals decompose upon impact, but they release little
heat and no light. Impact explosives are always treated with the greatest
care, and nobody without an extreme death wish would store them near any
high or low explosives.
Ammonium triiodide crystals (nitrogen triiodide)
Ammonium triiodide crystals are foul smelling purple colored crystals
that decompose under the slightest amount of heat, friction, or shock, if
they are made with the purest ammonia (ammonium hydroxide) and iodine. Such
crystals are so sensitive that they will decompose when a fly lands on them,
or when an ant walks across them. Household ammonia, however, has enough
impurities, such as soaps and abrasive agents, so that the crystals will
detonate only when thrown, crushed, or heated.
The ammonia available in stores comes in a variety of forms. The pine
and cloudy ammonia should not be used; only the strong clear ammonia can be
used to make ammonium triiodide crystals. Upon detonation, a loud report is
heard, and a cloud of purple iodine gas will appear. Whatever the
unfortunate surface that the crystal was detonated upon, it will probably
be ruined, as some of the iodine in the crystal is thrown about in a solid
form, and iodine is corrosive. It leaves nasty, ugly, brownish-purple
stains on whatever it contacts. These stains can be removed with
photographer's hypo solution, or with the dechlorinating compound sold for
use in fish tanks.
Iodine fumes are also bad news, since they can damage your lungs, and
they will settle to the ground,leaving stains there as well. Contact with
iodine leaves brown stains on the skin that last for about a week, unless
they are immediately and vigorously washed off.
Ammonium triiodide crystals could be produced in the following manner:
iodine crystalsfunnel filter paperglass stirring rod
paper towels clear ammoniatwo glass jarspotassium iodide
1) Place 5 grams of iodine into one of the glass jars. Because the
iodine is very difficult to remove, use jars that you don't want to save.
2) Add enough ammonia to completely cover the iodine. Stir several
times, then add 5 grams of potassium iodide. Stir for 30 seconds.
3) Place the funnel into the other jar, and put the filter paper in
the funnel. The technique for putting filter paper in a funnel is taught in
every basic chemistry lab class: fold the circular paper in half, so that
a semicircle is formed. Then, fold it in half again to form a triangle with
one curved side. Pull one thickness of paper out to form a cone, and place
the cone into the funnel.
4) After allowing the iodine to soak in the ammonia for a while, pour
the solution into the paper in the funnel through the filter paper.
5) While the solution is being filtered, put more ammonia into the
first jar to wash any remaining crystals into the funnel as soon as it
6) Collect all the crystals without touching the brown filter paper,
and place them on the paper towels to dry. Make sure that they are not too
close to any lights or other sources of heat, as they could well detonate.
While they are still wet, divide the wet material into small pieces as large
as your thumbnail.
To use them, simply throw them against any surface or place them where
they will be stepped on or crushed. When the crystals are disturbed they
decompose into iodine vapor, nitrogen, and ammonia.
3I2 + 5NH4OH 3 NH4I + NH3NI3 + 5H2O
iodine + ammonium hydroxide ammonium iodide + ammonium nitrogen triiodide + w
The optimal yield from pure iodine is 54% of the original mass in the
form of the explosive sediment. The remainder of the iodine remains in the
solution of ammonium iodide, and can be extracted by extracting the water
(vacuum distillation is an efficient method) and treating the remaining
product with chlorine.
Mercury fulminate is perhaps one of the oldest known initiating
compounds. It can be detonated by either heat or shock. Even the action of
dropping a crystal of the fulminate can cause it to explode. This material
can be produced through the following procedure:
5 g mercury glass stirring rod blue litmus paper
35 ml conc nitric acid filter paper small funnel
100 ml beaker (2) acid resistant gloves heat source
30 ml ethyl alcohol distilled water
Solvent alcohol must be at least 95% ethyl alcohol if it is used to
make mercury fulminate. Methyl alcohol may prevent mercury fulminate from
Mercury thermometers are becoming a rarity, unfortunately. They may
be hard to find in most stores as they have been superseded by alcohol and
other less toxic fillings. Mercury is also used in mercury switches, which
are available at electronics stores. Mercury is a hazardous substance, and
should be kept in the thermometer, mercury switch, or other container until
used. At room temperature mercury vapor is evolved, and it can be absorbed
through the skin. Once in your body mercury will cause damage to the brain
and other organs. For this reason, it is a good idea not to spill mercury,
and to always use it outdoors. Also, do not get it in an open cut; rubber
gloves will help prevent this.
1) In one beaker, mix 5 g of mercury with 35 ml of concentrated nitric
acid, using the glass rod.
2) Slowly heat the mixture until the mercury is dissolved, which is
when the solution turns green and boils.
3) Place 30 ml of ethyl alcohol into the second beaker, and slowly and
carefully add all of the contents of the first beaker to it. Red and/or
brown fumes should appear. These fumes are toxic and flammable.
4) between thirty and forty minutes after the fumes first appear, they
should turn white, indicating that the reaction is near completion. After
ten more minutes, add 30 ml distilled water to the solution.
5) Carefully filter out the crystals of mercury fulminate from the
liquid solution. Dispose of the solution in a safe place, as it is
corrosive and toxic.
6) Wash the crystals several times in distilled water to remove as
much excess acid as possible. Test the crystals with the litmus paper until
they are neutral. This will be when the litmus paper stays blue when it
touches the wet crystals.
7) Allow the crystals to dry, and store them in a safe place, far away
from any explosive or flammable material.
This procedure can also be done by volume, if the available mercury
cannot be weighed. Simply use 10 volumes of nitric acid and 10 volumes of
ethanol to every one volume of mercury.
Nitroglycerin is one of the most sensitive explosives ever to be
commercially produced. It is a very dense liquid, and is sensitive to heat,
impact, and many organic materials. Although it is not water soluble, it
will dissolve in 4 parts of pure ethyl alcohol.
Heat of Combustion: 1580 cal/g
Products of Explosion: Carbon Dioxide, Water, Nitrogen, Oxygen
Human Toxicity: Highly toxic vasodilator, avoid skin contact!
Although it is possible to make it safely, it is difficult to do so
in small quantities. Many a young pyrotechnician has been killed or
seriously injured while trying to make the stuff. When Nobel's factories
make it, many people were killed by the all-to-frequent factory explosions.
Usually, as soon as nitroglycerin is made, it is converted into a safer
substance, such as dynamite. A person foolish enough to make
nitroglycerine could use the following procedure:
distilled water eyedropper thermometer
1 100 ml beaker 20 g sodium bicarbonate glycerine
3 300 ml beakers 13 ml concentrated nitric acid
blue litmus paper 39 ml concentrated sulfuric acid
2 ice baths:
2 small non-metallic containers each filled halfway with:
6 tablespoons table salt
The salt will lower the freezing point of the water, increasing the cooling eff
iciency of the
1) Prepare the two ice baths. While the ice baths are cooling, pour
150 ml of distilled water into each of the beakers.
2) Slowly add sodium bicarbonate to the second beaker, stirring
constantly. Do not add too much sodium bicarbonate to the water. If some
remains undissolved, pour the solution into a fresh beaker.
3) Place the 100 ml beaker into the ice bath, and pour the 13 ml of
concentrated nitric acid into the 100 ml beaker. Be sure that the beaker
will not spill into the ice bath, and that the ice bath will not overflow
into the beaker when more materials are added to it. Be sure to have a
large enough container to add more ice if it gets too warm. Bring the
temperature of the acid down to 20 centigrade or less.
4) Slowly and carefully add 39 ml of concentrated sulfuric acid to the
nitric acid. Mix well, then cool the mixture to 10 centigrade. Do not be
alarmed if the temperature rises slightly when the acids are mixed.
5) With the eyedropper, slowly drip the glycerine onto the acid
mixture, one drop at a time. Hold the thermometer along the top of the
mixture where the mixed acids and glycerine meet.
The glycerine will start to nitrate immediately, and the temperature
will immediately begin to rise. Do not allow the temperature to rise above
30 celsius. If the temperature is allowed to get to high, the nitroglycerin
may decompose spontaneously as it is formed. Add glycerine until there is
a thin layer of glycerine on top of the mixed acids.
6) Stir the mixture for the first ten minutes of nitration, if
neccessary adding ice and salt to the ice bath to keep the temperature of
the solution in the 100 ml beaker well below 30. The nitroglycerine will
form on the top of the mixed acid solution, and the concentrated sulfuric
acid will absorb the water produced by the reaction.
7) When the reaction is over, the nitroglycerine should be chilled to
below 25. You can now slowly and carefully pour the solution of
nitroglycerine and mixed acid into the beaker of distilled water in the
beaker . The nitroglycerine should settle to the bottom of the beaker, and
the water-acid solution on top can be poured off and disposed of. Drain as
much of the acid-water solution as possible without disturbing the
8) Carefully remove a small quantity of nitroglycerine with a clean
eye-dropper, and place it into the beaker filled in step 2. The sodium
bicarbonate solution will eliminate much of the acid, which will make the
nitroglycerine less likely to spontaneously explode. Test the
nitroglycerine with the litmus paper until the litmus stays blue. Repeat
this step if necessary, using new sodium bicarbonate solutions each time.
9) When the nitroglycerine is as acid-free as possible, store it in
a clean container in a safe place. The best place to store nitroglycerine
is far away as possible from anything of value. Nitroglycerine can explode
for no apparent reason, even if it is stored in a secure cool place.
Although the procedure for the production of picric acid, or
trinitrophenol has not yet been given, its salts are described first, since
they are extremely sensitive, and detonate on impact.
By mixing picric acid with a warm solution of a metal hydroxide, such
as sodium or potassium hydroxide, metal picrates are formed. These picrates
are easily soluble in warm water, (potassium picrate will dissolve in 4
parts water at 100 C), but relatively insoluble in cold water (potassium
picrate will dissolve in 200 parts water at 10 C). While many of these
picrates are dangerously impact sensitive, others are almost safe enough for
a suicidal person to consider their manufacture.
To convert picric acid into potassium picrate, you first need to
obtain picric acid, or produce it by following the instructions given on
page 26. If the acid is in solid form it should be mixed with 10% water (by
Prepare a moderately strong (6 mole) solution of potassium hydroxide,
and heat it until it almost reaches a slow boil. Lower the temperature 10
degrees, and slowly add the picric acid solution. At first the mixture
should bubble strongly, releasing carbon dioxide. when the bubbles cease
stop adding picric acid. Cool the solution to 10 C. Potassium picrate will
crystallize out. The solution should be properly disposed of.
These crystals are impact-sensitive, and can be used as an initiator
for any type of high explosive. The crystals should be stored in a plastic
or glass container under distilled water.
Low Order Explosives
Low order explosives can be defined as a single compound of mixture
of compounds which burns at a high rate producing a large amount of gas,
which is usually accompanied by heat and light. Most have the following
An oxidizer: This can be any chemical which contains a large
amount of oxygen. When heated the oxidizer gives up this oxygen.
A fuel: The fuel is often carbon, or a finely powdered metal.
It is the material that does the actual burning.
A catalyst: The catalyst makes it easier for the oxidizer to
react with the fuel, and is mandatory for many of the less powerful
explosives. Not all low explosives need a catalyst, and in many cases
(such as flash powder) adding a catalyst can make the explosive
There are many low-order explosives that can be purchased in gun
stores and used in explosive devices. However, it is possible that a wise
store owner would not sell these substances to a suspicious-looking
individual. Such an individual would then be forced to resort to making his
own low-order explosives.
There are many common materials which can be used to produce low
explosives. With a strong enough container, almost any mixture of an
oxidizer and a fuel can be used to make an explosive device.
First made by the Chinese for use in fireworks, black powder was first
used in weapons and explosives in the 12th century. It is very simple to
make, but it is not very powerful or safe. Only about half the mass of
black powder is converted to hot gasses when it is burned; the other half
is released as very fine burned particles. Black powder has one major
danger: it can be ignited by static electricity. This is very hazardous,
and it means that the material must be made with wooden or clay tools to
avoid generating a static charge.
75 g potassium nitrate distilled water
charcoal wooden salad bowl
10 g sulfur wooden spoon
heat source breathing filter
grinding bowl 3 plastic bags
500 ml beaker fine mesh screen
1) Place a small amount of the potassium or sodium nitrate in the
grinding bowl and grind it to a very fine powder. Grind all of the
potassium or sodium nitrate, and pass it through the screen to remove any
large particles. Store the sifted powder in one of the plastic bags.
2) Repeat step one with the sulfur and charcoal, being careful to
grind each chemical with a clean bowl and tool. store each chemical in a
separate plastic bag.
3) Place all of the finely ground potassium or sodium nitrate in the
beaker, and add just enough boiling water to the chemical to moisten it
4) Add the contents of the other plastic bags to the wet potassium or
sodium nitrate, and mix them well for several minutes. Do this until there
is no more visible sulfur or charcoal, or until the mixture is universally
5) On a warm sunny day, put the beaker outside in the direct sunlight.
Sunlight is really the best way to dry black powder, since it is seldom too
hot, but it is usually hot enough to evaporate the water.
6) Using a wooden tool, scrape the black powder out of the beaker, and
store it in a safe container. Static proof plastic is really the safest
container, followed by paper. Never store black powder in a plastic bag,
since plastic bags are prone to generate static electricity. If a small
packet of desiccant is added the powder will remain effective indefinitely.
Nitrocellulose is commonly called "gunpowder" or "guncotton". It is
more stable than black powder, and it produces a much greater volume of hot
gas. It also burns much faster than black powder when in a confined space.
Although the acids used can be very dangerous if safety precautions
are not followed, nitrocellulose is fairly easy to make, as outlined by the
cotton (cellulose) (2) 300 ml beakers
small funnel blue litmus paper
concentrated nitric acid concentrated sulfuric acid
distilled water glass rod
1) Pour 10 cc of concentrated sulfuric acid into the beaker. Add to
this 10 cc of concentrated nitric acid.
2) Immediately add 0.5 gm of cotton, and allow it to soak for exactly
3) Remove the nitrated cotton, and transfer it to a beaker of
distilled water to wash it in.
4) Allow the material to dry, and then re-wash it.
5) After the cotton is neutral when tested with litmus paper, it is
ready to be dried and stored.
One common formula specifies 3 parts sulfuric acid to one part nitric
acid. This has not been demonstrated to be more effective than equal volumes
of each. Runaway nitration is commonplace, but it is usually not disastrous.
It has been suggested that pre-washing the cotton cloth in a solution of
lye, and rinsing it well in distilled water before nitrating can help
prevent runaway nitration. If the reaction appears to be more vigorous than
expected, water will quench the runaway reaction of cellulose.
All the usual warnings about strong acids apply. H2SO4 has a tendency
to spatter. When it falls on the skin, it destroys tissue very painfully.
It dissolves all manner of clothing. Nitric also damages skin, turning it
bright yellow in the process of eating away at your flesh. Nitric acid is
a potent oxidizer and it can start fires. Most strong acids will happily
blind you if you get them in your eyes, and these are no exception.
Nitrocellulose decomposes very slowly on storage if isn't correctly
stabilized. The decomposition is auto-catalyzing, and can result in
spontaneous explosion if the material is kept confined over time. The
process is much faster if the material is not washed well enough.
Nitrocellulose powders contain stabilizers such as diphenyl amine or ethyl
centralite. Do not allow these to come into contact with nitric acid! A
small amount of either substance added to the washed product will capture
the small amounts of nitrogen oxides that result from decomposition. They
therefore inhibit the autocatalysis. NC eventually will decompose in any
Commercially produced Nitrocellulose is stabilized by spinning it in
a large centrifuge to remove the remaining acid, which is recycled. It is
then boiled in acidulated water and washing thoroughly with fresh water. If
the NC is to be used as smokeless powder it is boiled in a soda solution,
then rinsed in fresh water.
The purer the acid used (lower water content) the more complete the
nitration will be, and the more powerful the nitrocellulose produced. There
are actually three forms of cellulose nitrate, only one of which is useful
for pyrotechnic purposes. The mononitrate and dinitrate are not explosive,
and are produced by incomplete nitration. The explosive trinatrate is only
formed when the nitration is allowed to proceed to completion.
As a rule, any oxidizable material that is treated with perchloric
acid will become a low order explosive. Metals, however, such as potassium
or sodium, become excellent bases for flash type powders. Some materials
that can be perchlorated are cotton, paper, and sawdust. To produce
potassium or sodium perchlorate, simply acquire the hydroxide of that metal,
e.g. sodium or potassium hydroxide.
It is a good idea to test the material to be treated with a very small
amount of acid, since some of the materials tend to react explosively when
contacted by picric acid. Solutions of sodium or potassium hydroxide are
ideal. Perchlorates are much safer than similar chlorates, and equally as
powerful. Mixtures made with perchlorates are somewhat more difficult to
ignite than mixtures containing chlorates, but the increased safety
outweighs this minor inconvenience.
Flash powder is a fast, powerful explosive, and comes very close to
many high explosives. It is a very hazardous mixture to work with, due to
the sensitivity of the powder. It is extremely sensitive to heat or sparks,
and should never be mixed with other chemicals or black powder. It burns
very rapidly with a intense white flash, and will explode if confined. Large
quantities may explode even when not confined. This is because a large pile
of flash powder is self-confining, causing the explosion. Flash powder is
commonly made with aluminum and/or magnesium. Other metals can be used, but
most others are either two expensive (zirconium) or not reactive enough to
be effective (zinc)
Here are a few basic precautions to take if you're crazy enough to
produce your own flash powder:
1) Grind the oxidizer (KNO3, KClO3, KMnO4, KClO4 etc) separately in a
clean container. If a mortar and pestle is used, it should be washed out
with alcohol before being used to grind any other materials.
2) NEVER grind or sift the mixed composition. Grinding and sifting can
cause friction or static electricity.
3) Mix the powders on a large sheet of paper, by rolling the
composition back and forth. This technique is described in detail on page
4) Do not store flash compositions for any amount of time. Many
compounds, especially ones containing magnesium, will decompose over time
and may ignite spontaneously.
5) Make very small quantities at first, so you can appreciate the
power of such mixtures. Quantities greater than 10 grams should be avoided.
Most flash powders are capable of exploding if a quantity of more than 50
grams is ignited unconfined, and all flash powders will explode even with
minimal confinement (I have seen 10 g of flash wrapped in a single layer of
waxed paper explode)
6) Make sure that all the components of the mixture are as dry as
possible. Check the melting point of the substances, and dry them
(separately) in a warm oven. If KNO3 is used it must be very pure and dry,
or it will evolve ammonia fumes.
Almost any potent oxidizer can be used for flash powder. Some
materials may react with the fuel, especially if magnesium is used. KClO4
with Al is generally found in commercial fireworks, this does not mean that
it is safe, but it is safer than KClO3 if handled correctly.
The finer the oxidizer and the finer the metal powder the more
powerful the explosive, except in the case of aluminum. This of course will
also increase the sensitivity of the flash powder. Beyond a certain point,
the finer the aluminum powder the less powerful the explosive, due to the
coating of aluminum oxide which forms on the surface of the aluminum
NOTE: Flash powder in any container will detonate. This includes even
a couple of layers of newspaper, or other forms of loosely confined flash.
Potassium perchlorate is safer than sodium/potassium chlorate.
High Order Explosives
High order explosives can be made in the home without too much
difficulty. The main problem is acquiring the nitric acid to produce the
high explosive. Most high explosives detonate because their molecular
structure is made up of some fuel and usually three or more nitrogen dioxide
molecules. Trinitrotoluene is an excellent example of such a material. When
a shock wave passes through an molecule of T.N.T., the nitrogen dioxide bond
is broken, and the oxygen combines with the fuel, all in a matter of
microseconds. This accounts for the great power of nitrogen-based
explosives. Remembering that these procedures are never to be carried out,
several methods of manufacturing high-order explosives in the home are
R.D.X., (also called cyclonite, or composition C-1 when mixed with
plasticisers) is one of the most valuable of all military explosives. This
is because it has more than 150% of the power of T.N.T., and is much easier
to detonate. It should not be used alone, since it can be set off by a
moderate shock. It is less sensitive than mercury fulminate or
nitroglycerine, but it is still too sensitive to be used alone.
R.D.X. can be produced by the method given below. It is much easier
to make in the home than all other high explosives, with the possible
exception of ammonium nitrate.
hexamine or methenamine 1000 ml beaker ice bath
glass stirring rod thermometer funnel
filter paper distilled water ammonium nitrate
nitric acid (550 ml) blue litmus paper small ice bath
1) Place the beaker in the ice bath, (see page 15) and carefully pour
550 ml of concentrated nitric acid into the beaker.
2) When the acid has cooled to below 20, add small amounts of the
crushed fuel tablets to the beaker. The temperature will rise, and it must
be kept below 30, or dire consequences could result. Stir the mixture.
3) Drop the temperature below zero degrees celsius, either by adding
more ice and salt to the old ice bath, or by creating a new ice bath.
Continue stirring the mixture, keeping the temperature below zero for twenty
4) Pour the mixture into 1 liter of crushed ice. Shake and stir the
mixture, and allow it to melt. Once it has melted, filter out the crystals,
and dispose of the corrosive liquid.
5) Place the crystals into one half a liter of boiling distilled
water. Filter the crystals, and test them with the blue litmus paper.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the litmus paper remains blue. This will make
the crystals more stable and safe.
6) Store the crystals wet until ready for use. Allow them to dry
completely before using them. R.D.X. is not stable enough to use alone as
Composition C-1 can be made by mixing (measure by weight)
Knead these material together in a plastic bag. This is one way to
desensitize the explosive.
HMX. is a mixture of TNT and RDX; the ratio is 50/50, by weight. it
is not as sensitive as unadultered RDX and it is almost as powerful as
By adding ammonium nitrate to the crystals of RDX produced in step 5,
it is possible to desensitize the R.D.X. and increase its power, since
ammonium nitrate is very insensitive and powerful. Sodium or potassium
nitrate could also be added; a small quantity is sufficient to stabilize the
RDX. detonates at a rate of 8550 meters/second when it is compressed
to a density of 1.55 g/cubic cm.
Ammonium Nitrate (NH4NO3)
Ammonium nitrate can be made by following the method given on page 10,
or it could be obtained from a construction site, since it is commonly used
in blasting, because it is very stable and insensitive to shock and heat.
A well-funded researcher could also buy numerous "Instant Cold-Paks" from
a drug store or medical supply store. The major disadvantage with ammonium
nitrate, from a pyrotechnical point of view, is detonating it. A rather
powerful priming charge must be used, or a booster charge must be added.
[ ILLUSTRATIONS AVAILABLE ONLY IN COMMERICIAl PRINTED RELEASE ]
The primer explodes, detonating the T.N.T., which detonates, sending
a tremendous shockwave through the ammonium nitrate, detonating it.
Ammonium Nitrate - Fuel Oil Solution
Ammonium Nitrate - Fuel Oil Solution, also known as ANFO, is a
commonly used high explosive. ANFO solves one of the major problem with
ammonium nitrate: its tendency to pick up water vapor from the air. This
absorption results in the explosive failing to detonate when fired. This is
less of a problem with ANFO because it consists of 94% (by weight) ammonium
nitrate mixed with 6% fuel oil (kerosene). The kerosene helps keep the
ammonium nitrate from absorbing moisture from the air.
This mixture, like straight ammonium nitrate, is very insensitive to
shock. It requires a very powerful shockwave to detonate it, and is not very
effective in small quantities. Usually a booster charge, consisting of
dynamite or a commercial cast charge, is used for reliable detonation. Some
commercial ANFO explosives have a small amount of aluminum added, increasing
the power and sensitivity. These forms can often be reliably initiated by
a No. 8 blasting cap.
These disadvantages are outweighed by two important advantages of
ammonium nitrate explosives- cost, and safety. In industrial blasting these
factors are much more important than in recreational activities, and this
has contributed to the popularity of these explosives. If the explosive is
initiated without confinement it not propagate well, and most of the
ammonium nitrate will burn and scatter, rather than detonation as most other
high explosives would.
Ammonium nitrate explosives are much cheaper per pound than most other
explosives, with the price per pound at about 1/10 that of dynamite.
Straight ammonium nitrate can be transported to the blasting site without
the extract expenses incurred when transporting high explosives. At the
site, the ammonium nitrate, in the form of small pellets, or prills, can be
mixed with the fuel oil just prior to blasting.
If too much oil is added the power of the mixture will decrease,
because the extra oil will absorb some of the energy from the ammonium
nitrate, and it tends to slow propagation. If commercial fertilizer is used
to provide the ammonium nitrate, it must be crushed to be effective. This
is because fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate is coated with a water
resistant substance which helps keep moisture from decomposing the material.
This material also keeps the fuel oil from soaking into the ammonium
If fertilizer grade material is poured into a vat of warm, liquified
wax, the coating will be displaced by the wax, which can also serve as fuel
for the ammonium nitrate. This form is more sensitive than the fuel oil
mixture, and does not require as much confinement as ANFO.
T.N.T., or 2,4,6 trinitrotoluene, is perhaps the second oldest known
high explosive. Dynamite, of course, was the first. T.N.T. is certainly the
best known high explosive, since it has been popularized by early morning
cartoons, and because it is used as a standard for comparing other
In industrial production TNT is made by a three step nitration process
that is designed to conserve the nitric and sulfuric acids, so that the only
resource consumed in quantity is the toluene. A person with limited funds,
however, should probably opt for the less economical two step method. This
process is performed by treating toluene with very strong (fuming) sulfuric
acid. Then, the sulfated toluene is treated with very strong (fuming) nitric
acid in an ice bath. Cold water is added to the solution, and the T.N.T. is
Potassium Chlorate (KClO3)
Potassium chlorate itself cannot be made in the home, but it can be
obtained from labs and chemical supply houses. It is moderately water
soluble, and will explode if brought into contact with sulfuric acid. It is
toxic and should not be brought into contact with organic matter, including
If potassium chlorate is mixed with a small amount of vaseline, or
other petroleum jelly, and a shockwave is passed through it, the material
will detonate, however it is not very powerful, and it must be confined to
explode it in this manner. The procedure for making such an explosive is
potassium chlorate zip-lock plastic bag wooden spoon
petroleum jelly grinding bowl wooden bowl
1) Grind the potassium chlorate in the grinding bowl carefully and
slowly, until the potassium chlorate is a very fine powder. The finer the
powder, the faster it will detonate, but it will also decompose more
2) Place the powder into the plastic bag. Put the petroleum jelly
into the plastic bag, getting as little on the sides of the bag as possible,
i.e. put the vaseline on the potassium chlorate powder.
3) Close the bag, and knead the materials together until none of the
potassium chlorate is dry powder that does not stick to the main glob. If
necessary, add a bit more petroleum jelly to the bag.
Over time the this material will decompose, and if not used
immediately the strength will be greatly reduced.
Dynamite (various compositions)
The name dynamite comes from the Greek word "dynamis", meaning power.
Dynamite was invented by Nobel shortly after he made nitroglycerine. He
tried soaking the nitroglycerine into many materials, in an effort to reduce
its sensitivity. In the process, he discovered that Nitrocellulose would
explode if brought into contact with fats or oils. A misguided individual
with some sanity would, after making nitroglycerine would immediately
convert it to dynamite. This can be done by adding one of a number of inert
materials, such as sawdust, to the raw nitroglycerine. The sawdust holds a
large weight of nitroglycerine. Other materials, such as ammonium nitrate
could be added, and they would tend to desensitize the explosive, while
increasing the power. But even these nitroglycerine compounds are not really
One way to reliably stabilize nitroglycerin is to freeze it. In its
frozen state, nitroglycerine is much less sensitive to shock, and can safely
be transported. The only drawback to this method is that the nitroglycerine
may explode spontaneously while being thawed.
Nitrostarch explosives are simple to make, and are fairly powerful.
All that need be done is treat any of a number of starches with a mixture
of concentrated nitric and sulfuric acids. Nitrostarch explosives are of
slightly lower power than T.N.T., but they are more readily detonated.
filter paperpyrex container (100 ml)distilled water
glass rod 20 ml concentrated sulfuric acidacid-resistant gloves
1 g starch20 ml concentrated nitric acid
1) Add concentrated sulfuric acid to an equal volume of concentrated
nitric acid in the pyrex container. Watch out for splattering acid.
2) Add 1 gram of starch of starch to the mixture, stirring constantly
with the glass rod.
3) Carefully add cold water to dilute the acids, then pour the mixture
through the filter paper (see page 13). The residue consists of nitrostarch
with a small amount of acid, and should be washed under cold distilled
Picric Acid (C6H3N3O7)
Picric acid, or 2,4,6-trinitrophenol is a sensitive compound that can
be used as a booster charge for moderately insensitive explosives, such as
T.N.T. It is seldom used for explosives anymore, but it still has
applications in many industries, including leather production, copper
etching, and textiles. Picric acid is usually shipped mixed with 20% water
for safety, and when dried it forms pale yellow crystals.
In small quantities picric acid deflagrates, but large crystals or
moderate quantities of powdered picric acid will detonate with sufficient
force to initiate high explosives (or remove the experimenter's fingers).
Picric acid, along with all of it's salts, is very dangerous, and should
never be stored dry or in a metal container. Contact with bare skin should
be avoided, and ingestion is often fatal.
Picric acid is fairly simple to make, assuming that one can acquire
sulfuric and nitric acid in the required concentration. Simple procedures
for it's manufacture are given in many college chemistry lab manuals. The
main problem with picric acid is its tendency to form dangerously sensitive
and unstable picrate salts. While some of these salts, such as potassium
picrate are stable enough to be useful, salts formed with other metals can
be extremely unstable. For this reason, it is usually made into a safer
form, such as ammonium picrate, also called explosive D. A procedure for
the production of picric acid is given below.
variable heat source ice bathdistilled water
38 ml concentrated nitric acid filter paper500 ml flaskfunnel
concentrated sulfuric acid (12.5 ml) 1 L pyrex beaker10g phenolglass rod
1) Place 9.5 grams of phenol into the 500 ml flask, and carefully add
12.5 ml of concentrated sulfuric acid and stir the mixture.
2) Put 400 ml of tap water into the 1000 ml beaker or boiling
container and bring the water to a gentle boil.
3) After warming the 500 ml flask under hot tap water, place it in the
boiling water, and continue to stir the mixture of phenol and acid for about
thirty minutes. After thirty minutes, take the flask out, and allow it to
cool for seven minutes.
4) After allowing the flask to cool for 10 minutes. Place the 500 ml
flask with the mixed acid an phenol in the ice bath. Add 38 ml of
concentrated nitric acid in small amounts, stirring the mixture constantly.
A vigorous reaction should occur. When the reaction slows, take the flask
out of the ice bath.
5) Warm the ice bath container, if it is glass, and then begin boiling
more tap water. Place the flask containing the mixture in the boiling
water, and heat it in the boiling water for 1.5 to 2 hours.
6) Add 100 ml of cold distilled water to the solution, and chill it
in an ice bath until it is cold.
7) Filter out the yellowish-white picric acid crystals by pouring the
solution through the filter paper in the funnel. Collect the liquid and
dispose of it in a safe place, since it is highly corrosive.
8) Wash out the 500 ml flask with distilled water, and put the
contents of the filter paper in the flask. Add 300 ml of water, and shake
9) Re-filter the crystals, and allow them to dry.
10) Store the crystals in a safe place in a glass container, since
they will react with metal containers to produce picrates that could explode
Ammonium Picrate (C6H2.ONH4.(NO2)3)
Ammonium picrate, also called ammonium piconitrate, Explosive D, or
carbazoate, is a common safety explosive which can be produced from picric
acid. It requires a substantial shock to cause it to detonate, slightly less
than that required to detonate ammonium nitrate. In many ways it is much
safer than picric acid, since it does not have the tendency to form
hazardous unstable salts when placed in metal containers. It is simple to
make from picric acid and clear household ammonia. All that need be done is
to dissolve picric acid crystals by placing them in a glass container and
adding 15 parts hot, steaming distilled water. Add clear ammonia in excess,
and allow the excess ammonia to evaporate. The powder remaining should be
ammonium picrate. The water should not be heated, as ammonium picrate is
sensitive to heat. Vacuum distillation and open evaporation are relatively
safe ways to extract the picrate.
Ammonium picrate most commonly appears as bright yellow crystals, and
is soluble in water. These crystals should be treated with the care due to
all shock sensitive materials. Some illegal salutes have been found to
contain ammonium picrate, which makes them much more hazardous.
Nitrogen Chloride (NCl3)
Nitrogen chloride, also known as nitrogen trichloride, chlorine
nitride, or Trichloride nitride, is a thick, oily yellow liquid. It
explodes violently when it is heated to 93 C, exposed to bright light
(sunlight), when brought into contact with organic substances, grease,
ozone, and nitric oxide. Nitrogen chloride will evaporate if left in an open
vessel, and will decompose within 24 hours. It has the interesting quality
of exploding 13 seconds after being sealed in a glass container at 60 C .
It can produce highly toxic byproducts, and should not be handled or stored.
Because of the hazards of chlorine gas, if this procedure should never
be carried out without an adequate source of ventilation. If a fume hood is
not available the procedure should be done outside, away from buildings,
small children, and pets.
ammonium nitrate 2 pyrex beakersheat source glass pipe
hydrochloric acid one hole stopperlarge flask fume hood
1) In a beaker, dissolve 5 teaspoons of ammonium nitrate in water.
If too much ammonium nitrate is added to the solution and some of it remains
undissolved in the bottom of the beaker, the solution should be poured off
into a fresh beaker.
2) Collect a quantity of chlorine gas in a second beaker by mixing
hydrochloric acid with potassium permanganate in a large flask with a
stopper and glass pipe.
3) Place the beaker containing the chlorine gas upside down on top of
the beaker containing the ammonium nitrate solution, and tape the beakers
together. Gently heat the bottom beaker. When this is done, oily yellow
droplets will begin to form on the surface of the solution, and sink down
to the bottom. At this time, remove the heat source immediately.
4) Collect the yellow droplets with an eyedropper, and use them as
soon as possible.
Alternately, the chlorine can be bubbled through the ammonium nitrate
solution, rather than collecting the gas in a beaker, but this requires
timing and a stand to hold the beaker and test tube.
The chlorine gas can also be mixed with anhydrous ammonia gas, by
gently heating a flask filled with clear household ammonia. Place the glass
tubes from the chlorine-generating flask and the tube from the ammonia
generating flask in another flask that contains water.
Lead Azide is a material that is often used as a booster charge for
other explosive, but it does well enough on its own as a fairly sensitive
explosive. It does not detonate too easily by percussion or impact, but it
is easily detonated by heat from an ignition wire, or a blasting cap. It
is simple to produce, assuming that the necessary chemicals can be procured.
By dissolving sodium azide and lead acetate in water in separate
beakers, the two materials are put into an aqueous state. Mix the two
beakers together, and apply a gentle heat. Add an excess of the lead acetate
solution, until no reaction occurs, and the precipitate on the bottom of the
beaker stops forming.
Filter off the solution, and wash the precipitate in hot water. The
precipitate is lead azide, and it must be stored wet for safety. If lead
acetate cannot be found, simply acquire acetic acid, and put lead metal in
it. Black powder bullets work well for this purpose.
Lead azide can also be produced by substituting lead nitrate for the
acetate. the reaction is given below:
lead nitrate + sodium azide lead azide + sodium nitrate
Pb(NO3)2 + 2NaN3 Pb(N3)2 + 2NaNO3
The result is the same precipitate of lead azide, leaving behind the
sodium nitrate and traces of lead. The contaminated water should be disposed
of in an environmentally safe manner.
This section covers the other types of materials that can be used in
pyrotechnic reactions. although none of the materials presented here are
explosives, they are often as hazardous as explosives, and should be treated
with due respect.
Thermite is a fuel-oxidizer mixture that is used to generate
tremendous amounts of heat. It was not presented earlier because it does not
react nearly as readily as most mixtures. The most common form of thermite
is a mixture of ferric oxide and aluminum, both coarsely powdered. When
ignited, the aluminum burns by extracting oxygen from the ferric oxide. The
thermite reaction is is really two very exothermic reactions that produce
a combined temperature of about 2200 C. It is difficult to ignite, however,
but once it is ignited, thermite is one of the most effective fire starters
To produce thermite you will need one part powdered aluminum and three
parts powdered iron oxide (ferric oxide or Fe2O3), measured by weight. There
is no special procedure or equipment required to make thermite. Simply mix
the two powders together. Take enough time to make the mixture as homogenous
as possible. The ratio of iron oxide to aluminum isn't very important, and
if no weighing equiptment is available a 1/1 mixture by volume will work.
If a small amount of finely powdered material is used as a starter, the bulk
of the thermite mixture can be made up of larger sized material, in the same
There are very few safety hazards in making thermite. The aluminum
dust can form an explosive mixture in air, and inhaling powdered metals can
be very bad for your health. It is important to take precautions to insure
that the powdered metals are very dry, or the water vapor produced during
the reaction will cause the thermite to spray droplets of molten steel in
a large radius.
Ignition of thermite can be accomplished by adding a small amount of
potassium chlorate to a teaspoon of thermite, and pouring a few drops of
sulfuric acid on it. This method and others are discussed on page 49.
Another method of igniting thermite is with a magnesium strip. The important
factor in igniting thermite is having a material that will produce
concentrated heat in a very small region. For this reason, matches will not
work, but sparklers and other aluminum based flares will.
One of the simplest incendiary devices invented, The Molotov cocktail
is now employed in the defense of oppressed people worldwide. They range
in complexity from the simple bottle and rag to complicated self-igniting
firebombs, but in any form a molotov cocktail can produce devastating
By taking any highly flammable material, such as gasoline, diesel
fuel, kerosene, ethyl or methyl alcohol, lighter fluid, turpentine, or any
mixture of the above, and putting it into a large glass bottle, anyone can
make an effective firebomb. After putting the flammable liquid in the
bottle, simply put a piece of cloth that is soaked in the liquid in the top
of the bottle so that it fits tightly.
Then, wrap some of the cloth around the neck and tie it, but be sure
to leave a few inches of lose cloth to light. Light the exposed cloth, and
throw the bottle. If the burning cloth does not go out, and if the bottle
breaks on impact, the contents of the bottle will spatter over a large area
near the site of impact, and burst into flame.
Flammable mixtures such as kerosene and motor oil should be mixed with
a more volatile and flammable liquid, such as gasoline, to insure ignition.
A mixture such as tar or grease and gasoline will stick to the surface that
it strikes, burn hotter and longer, and be more difficult to extinguish. A
a bottle contain a mixture of different fuels must be shaken well before it
is lit and thrown.
Other interesting additives can include alcohol, acetone or other
solvents, which will generally thin the contents and possibly increase the
size of the fireball. By adding a gelling agent such as disk soap,
polystyrene, or other material the flaming material can be made sticky
enough that it will adhere to a vertical surface, such as a wall or the side
of a vehicle.
Chemical Fire Bottle
The chemical fire bottle is really nothing more than an advanced
molotov cocktail. Rather than using burning cloth to ignite the flammable
liquid, which has at best a fair chance of igniting the liquid, the chemical
fire bottle utilizes the very hot and violent reaction between sulfuric acid
and potassium chlorate. When the container breaks, the sulfuric acid in the
mixture of gasoline sprays onto the paper soaked in potassium chlorate and
sugar. The paper, when struck by the acid, instantly bursts into a white
flame, igniting the gasoline. The chance of failure to ignite the gasoline
is very low, and can be reduced further if there is enough potassium
chlorate and sugar to spare.
potassium chlorate (2 teaspoons)12 oz.glass bottle w/lined capplastic spoon
gasoline (8 ounces) sugar (2 teaspoons) cooking pan
baking soda (1 teaspoon) sulfuric acid ( 4 ounces)paper towels
glass cup glass or teflon coated funnelrubber cement
1) Test the cap of the bottle with a few drops of sulfuric acid to
make sure that the acid will not eat away the bottle cap during storage.
If the acid eats through it, a new top must be found and tested, until a cap
that the acid does not eat through is found. A glass top is excellent.
2) Carefully mix the gasoline with the sulfuric acid. This should be
done in an open area and preferably from a distance. There is a chance that
the sulfuric acid could react with an impurity in the gasoline, igniting it.
3) Using a glass funnel, slowly pour the mixture into the glass
bottle. Wipe up any spills of acid on the sides of the bottle, and screw the
cap on the bottle. Wash the outside with a solution of baking soda in cold
water. Then carefully rinse the outside with plenty of cold water. Set it
aside to dry.
4) Put about two teaspoons of potassium chlorate and about two
teaspoons of sugar into the glass cup. Add about cup of boiling water,
or enough to dissolve all of the potassium chlorate and sugar.
5) Place a sheet of paper towel in the raised edge cooking pan. Fold
the paper towel in half, and pour the solution of dissolved potassium
chlorate and sugar on it until it is wet through, but not soaked. Allow the
towel to dry.
6) When it is dry, put a line of cement about 1" wide down the side
of the glass bottle. Starting halfway across the line of cement, wrap the
paper towel around the bottle, with the bottom edge of the towel lining up
with the bottom edge of the bottle. Coat the inside of the remaining edge
of the towel with cement before pressing it into place. Store the bottle in
a place where it will not be broken or tipped over.
7) When finished, the solution in the bottle should appear as two
distinct liquids, a dark brownish-red solution on the bottom, and a clear
solution on top. The two solutions will not mix. To use the chemical fire
bottle, simply throw it at any hard surface.
8) NEVER OPEN THE BOTTLE, SINCE SOME SULFURIC ACID MIGHT BE ON THE
CAP, WHICH COULD TRICKLE DOWN THE SIDE OF THE BOTTLE AND IGNITE THE
POTASSIUM CHLORATE, CAUSING A FIRE AND/OR EXPLOSION.
9) To test the device, tear a small piece of the paper towel off the
bottle, and put a few drops of sulfuric acid on it. The paper towel should
immediately burst into a white flame.
If you intend to subsitute other flammable liquids for the gasoline,
first make sure that they will not react with the sulfuric acid. This can
be done by mixing a small amount in a bottle, then testing the Ph after
several days have passed.
:COMPRESSED GAS BOMBS
Compressed gas bombs come in several forms, but all of them utilize
the square pressure law- as the temperature of the gas increases, the
pressure increases at a much higher rate. Eventually the pressure will
exceed the rating of the container, and it will burst, releasing the gas.
Bottled Gas Explosives
Bottled gas, such as butane for refilling lighters, propane for
propane stoves or for bunsen burners, can be used to produce a powerful
explosion. To make such a device, all that a destructive person would have
to do would be to take his container of bottled gas and place it above a can
of Sterno or other gelatinized fuel, light the fuel and leave the area in
a hurry. Depending on the amount of gas, the fuel used, and on the thickness
of the fuel container, the liquid gas will boil and expand to the point of
bursting the container in anywhere from a few seconds to five minutes or
In theory, the gas would immediately be ignited by the burning
gelatinized fuel, producing a large fireball and explosion. Unfortunately,
the bursting of the bottled gas container often puts out the fuel, thus
preventing the expanding gas from igniting. By using a metal bucket half
filled with gasoline, however, the chances of ignition are better, since the
gasoline is less likely to be extinguished. Placing a canister of bottled
gas on a bed of burning charcoal soaked in gasoline would probably be the
most effective way of securing ignition of the expanding gas, since although
the bursting of the gas container may blow out the flame of the gasoline,
the burning charcoal should immediately re-ignite it. Nitrous oxide,
hydrogen, propane, acetylene, or any other flammable gas will do nicely.
Another interesting use of compressed flammable gases is in the
production of explosive mixtures of gases. By mixing a flammable gas with
the appropriate amount of oxygen, a very loud explosive combustion can be
The simplest form of gas device is based on the common oxygen-
acetylene cutting torch. First the torch is lit and the mixture of gases is
adjusted for a hot, bright flame.
Next, the gas is diverted into some form of container. This can be a
soft, expandable container, such as a child's balloon or a rigid, inflexible
container, such as a garbage can or metal pipe. It is much safer to use
flexible containers that won't produce (much) shrapnel, however if a rigid
container is used, it can be used to lauch all sorts of interesting
A major danger in using mixed gases is the high chance of stray sparks
igniting the gases. A few simple safety measures can help reduce this
1) Always store the gases in seperate containers! This is the most
important rule in working with flammable gases. Pressurizing oxygen with a
flammable gas is askng for trouble, as under pressure the gases may react
spontaneously, and compressing mixed gases greatly increases the chances of
2) Always work in the open. Flammable gases should never be used
indoors. Large quantities of heavier or lighter than air gases could
accumulate near the floor or ceiling.
3) Avoid static electricity. Static is less of a problem on humid
days, and it can be reduced by wearing clothing made of natural fibers,
removing all metal (such as jewelry, riveted clothes, etc) and wearing shoes
with crepe soles.
4) Keep your distance. Gas explosions can be very powerful and
unpredictable. A 55 gallon trash bag filled with the optimum mixture of
oxygen and acetylene 100 feet away can blow out eardrums and crack brick
6) Start out small. Work your way up from small plastic bags or
The best method for safe ignition is to mount a spark plug into a
length of heavy steel pipe, and imbed this pipe 2-3 feet into the ground,
with less than 2 feet above ground. If desired, a sealed (to prevent any
sparks) switch can be wired across the wires to short the cable when you're
working at the site. Run heavy cable underground from the pipe to a ditch
or bunker at a safe distance, and terminate the cable in a pair of large
alligator clips, like the ones used on auto jumper cables. The outer edge
of these jumpers and the last foot of wire should be painted bright red. Now
drive a second pipe 2 feet into the ground, leaving 3-4 feet above ground.
While working at the site, the shorting switch should be thrown and
the two alligator clips attached to the top of the pipe at the bunker. Once
the gas equiptment is set up, check to ensure that both clips are on the
pipe, then turn off the shorting switch and retreat to the bunker.
At the bunker, remove the clips from the pipe and take cover. The
wires can now be attached to a high-voltage source. The spark plug will
create a short electrical arc, igniting the gases. If the gas fails to
ignite on the first try, wait a few seconds then power up the spark plug a
second time. If this fails do not approach the site until all the gases have
With the use of buried gas piping and anti-flashback devices, safety
can be greatly improved. The safest method is two have 2 bunkers equidistant
from the site, with one unmanned bunker containing the gas cylinders and
remotely controlled valves, and the second bunker containing the controls
During the recent gulf war, fuel/air bombs were touted as being second
only to nuclear weapons in their devastating effects. These are basically
similar to the above devices, except that an explosive charge is used to
rupture the fuel container and disperse its contents over a wide area. a
delayed second charge is used to ignite the fuel. The reaction is said to
produce a massive shockwave and to burn all the oxygen in a large area,
Another benefit of fuel-air explosives is that the vaporized gas will
seep into fortified bunkers or other partially-sealed spaces, so a large
bomb placed in a building would result in the destruction of the majority
of surrounding rooms.
Dry Ice Bombs
(Or: How to recycle empty soda bottles)
Dry ice bombs have been discovered and rediscovered by many different
people, and there is no sure way to know who first came up with the idea of
putting dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) into an empty plastic soda bottle.
There is no standard formula for a dry ice bomb, however a generic form is
Take a 2-liter soda bottle, empty it completely, then add about 3/4
Lb of dry ice (crushed works best) and (optional) a quantity of water. twist
cap on tightly, and get as far away from it as possible.
Depending on the condition of the bottle, the weather, and the amount
and temperature of the water added, the bottle may go off anywhere from 30
seconds to 5 minutes from when it was capped. Without any water added, the
2-liter bottles generally take from 3 to 7 minutes if dropped into a warm
river, and 45 minutes to 1 hours in open air. It is possible for the
bottle to reach an extreme pressure without reaching the bursting point, in
which case any contact with the bottle would cause it to explode. This
effect has resulted in several injuries, and is difficult to reliably
The explosion sounds equivalent to an M-100, and usually results in
the bottle breaking into several large, sharp pieces of frozen plastic, with
the most dangerous projectile being the top section with the screw-on cap.
Plastic 16 oz. soda bottles and 1 liter bottles work almost as well as do
the 2-liters, however glass bottles aren't nearly as loud, and can produce
Remember, these are LOUD! Dorian, a classmate of mine, set up 10
bottles in a nearby park without adding water. After the first two went off
(there was about 10 minutes between explosions) the Police arrived and spent
the next hour trying to find the guy who they thought was setting off
M-100's all around them...
Using anything other than plastic to contain dry ice bombs is
suicidal. Even plastic 2-liter bottles can produce some nasty shrapnel: One
source tells me that he caused an explosion with a 2-liter bottle that
destroyed a metal garbage can. Because of the freezing temperatures, the
plastic can become very hard and brittle, and when the bottle ruptures it
may spray shards of sharp, frozen plastic. While plastic bottles can be
dangerous, glass bottles may be deadly. It is rumored that several kids have
been killed by shards of glass resulting from the use of a glass bottle.
For some reason, dry ice bombs have become very popular in the state
of Utah. As a result, dry ice bombs have been classified as infernal
devices, and in utah possession of a completed bomb is a criminal offense.
Most other states do not have specific laws on the books outlawing these
devices. There are several generic offenses which you could be charged with,
including disturbing the peace, reckless endangerment, destruction of
property, and construction of a nefarious device.
It is interesting to note that dry ice bombs are not really
pyrotechnic devices. As the carbon dioxide sublimes into it's gaseous state,
the pressure inside the bottle increases. When the bottle ruptures, the gas
is released. This sudden release of pressure causes the temperature of the
gases to drop. It is noticed that right after detonation, a cloud of white
vapor appears. This may be the water vapor in the surrounding air suddenly
condensing when it contacts the freezing cold gas.
Almost any reaction that produces large amounts of gas from a much
smaller volume can be used. One common variation is the use of Drano*
crystals and shredded aluminum foil. When water is added the Drano, which
is mainly lye (an extremely caustic substance), dissolves in the water and
reacts with the aluminum, producing heat and hydrogen gas. If the heat
doesn't melt the bottle the pressure will eventually cause it to rupture,
spraying caustic liquid and releasing a large quantity of (flammable)
hydrogen gas, as well as some water vapor.
Another interesting reaction is adding managanese dioxide to hydrogen
peroxide. The manganese dioxide is a catalyst that allows the hydrogen
peroxide to release the extra oxygen atom, yielding free oxygen and water:
2H2O2 + MgO2 2H2O +O2 + MgO2
It may be possible to combine the drain opener reaction with the
hydrogen peroxide reaction, yielding heat, oxygen, and hydrogen. When mixed
in the proper proportion these three components can yield a very powerful
explosion from the violently exothermic reaction of the hydrogen and oxygen.
Preliminary experiments have shown that the drain opener reaction tends to
proceed much more quickly than the peroxide reaction, and it often produces
enough excess heat to cause the bottle to rupture prematurely.
Another possible reaction is pool chlorine tablets (usually calcium
hypochlorite) and household ammonia. This reaction produces poisonous
chlorine gas. Baking soda and vinegar have been tried, but the reaction seems
to become inhibited by the rising pressure.
There are also many variations possible when using dry ice. If a
bottle that is not dissolved by acetone (such as most 2-L soda bottles) is
used, the curshed dry ice can be mixed with acetone. This will greatly speed
up the reaction, since unlike water, acetone remains a liquid at very low
temperatures. One hazard (benefit?) of adding acetone is that the rupturing
bottle will spray cold acetone around in liquid form. This can be very
hazardous, since acetone is a very powerful solvent, and is extremely
Once a person has produced his explosives, the next logical step is
to apply them. Explosives have a wide range of uses, from entertainment to
NONE OF THE IDEAS PRESENTED HERE ARE EVER TO BE CARRIED OUT, EITHER
IN PART OR IN FULL. PLANNING OR EXECUTING ANY OF THESE IDEAS CAN LEAD TO
PROSECUTION, FINES, AND IMPRISONMENT!
The first step a person that would use explosive would take would be
to determine how big an explosive device would be needed to achieve the
desired effect. Then, he would have to decide what materials to use, based
on what is currently available. He would also have to decide on how he
wanted to initiate the device, and determine where the best placement for
it would be. Finally, one must produce the device without unacceptable risk
to ones own life.
There are many ways to ignite explosive devices. There is the classic
"place on ground, light fuse and get away" approach, and there are position
or movement sensitive switches, and many things in between. Generally,
electrical detonation systems are safer than fuses, but there are times when
fuses are more appropriate than electrical systems; it is difficult to carry
a sophisticated electrical detonation system into a stadium, for instance,
without being caught. A device with a fuse or impact detonating fuze would
be easier to hide.
The oldest form of explosive ignition, fuses are perhaps the favorite
type of ignition system. By simply placing a piece of waterproof fuse in
a device, one can have almost guaranteed ignition. Fuses are certainly the
the most economical and commonyl available means of ignition.
Modern waterproof fuse is extremely reliable, burning at a rate of
about 2.5 seconds to the inch. It is available as model rocketry fuse in
most hobby shops, and costs about $3.00 for a package of ten feet. Cannon
fuse is a popular ignition system for use in pipe bombs because of its
simplicity and reliability. All that need be done is light it with a match
or lighter. Of course, if the Army had only fuses like this, then the
grenade, which uses a form of fuse ignition, would be very impractical. If
a grenade ignition system can be acquired, by all means use it, it is the
most effective. There are several varieties of pull-ring igniters available,
sources for some are listed in the appendices. The next best thing to a
pull-ring system is to prepare a fuse system which does not require the use
of a match or lighter, but still retains a level of simplicity. One such
method is described below:
strike-on-cover type matches
1) To determine the burn rate of a particular type of fuse, simply
measure a 6 inch or longer piece of fuse and ignite it. With a stopwatch,
press the start button the at the instant when the fuse lights, and stop the
watch when the fuse reaches its end. Divide the time of burn by the length
of fuse, and you have the burn rate of the fuse, in seconds per inch. This
will be shown below:
Suppose an eight inch piece of fuse is burned, and its complete time
of combustion is 20 seconds.
20 seconds / 8 inches = 2.5 seconds per inch.
If a delay of 10 seconds was desired with this fuse, divide the
desired time by the number of seconds per inch:
10 seconds / 2.5 seconds per inch = 4 inches
Note: The length of fuse here means length of fuse to the powder. Some
fuse, at least an inch, should extend inside the device. always add this
extra inch, and always put it inside the device.
2) After deciding how long a delay is desired before the explosive
device is to go off, add about inch to the pre-measured amount of fuse,
and cut it off.
3) Carefully remove the cardboard matches from the paper match case.
Do not pull off individual matches; keep all the matches attached to the
cardboard base. Take one of the cardboard match sections, and leave the
other one to make a second igniter.
4) Wrap the matches around the end of the fuse, with the heads of the
matches touching the very end of the fuse. Tape them there securely, making
sure not to put tape over the match heads. Make sure they are very secure
by pulling on them at the base of the assembly. They should not be able to
5) Wrap the cover of the matches around the matches attached to the
fuse, making sure that the striker paper is below the match heads and the
striker faces the match heads. Tape the paper so that is fairly tight around
the matches. Do not tape the cover of the striker to the fuse or to the
matches. Leave enough of the match book to pull on for ignition.
The match book is wrapped around the matches, and is taped to itself.
The matches are taped to the fuse. The striker will rub against the match
heads when the match book is pulled.
6) When ready to use, simply pull on the match paper. It should pull
the striking paper across the match heads with enough friction to light
them. In turn, the burning match heads will light the fuse, since it
adjacent to the burning match heads.
Making Blackmatch Fuse
Take a flat piece of plastic or metal (brass or aluminum are easy to
work with and won't rust). Drill a 1/16th inch hole through it. This is
your die for sizing the fuse. You can make fuses as big as you want, but
this is the right size for pipe bombs and other rigid casings.
To about cup of black powder add water to make a thin paste. Add
teaspoon of corn starch. Cut some one foot lengths of cotton thread. Use
cotton, not silk or thread made from synthetic fibers. Put these together
until you have a thickness that fills the hole in the die but can be drawn
through very easily.
Tie your bundle of threads together at one end. Separate the threads
and hold the bundle over the black powder mixture. Lower the threads with
a circular motion so they start curling onto the mixture. Press them under
with the back of a teaspoon and continue lowering them so they coil into the
paste. Take the end you are holding and thread it through the die. Pull it
through smoothly in one long motion.
To dry your fuse, lay it on a piece of aluminum foil and bake it in
your 250 oven or tie it to a grill in the oven and let it hang down. The
fuse must be baked to make it stiff enough for the uses it will be put to
later. Air drying will not do the job. If you used Sodium Nitrate, it will
not dry completely at room temperatures.
Cut the dry fuse with scissors into 2 inch lengths and store in an air
tight container. Handle this fuse careful to avoid breaking it. You can
also use a firecracker fuse if you have any available. The fuses can
usually be pulled out without breaking. To give yourself some running time,
you will be extending these fuses (blackmatch or firecracker fuse) with
Finally, it is possible to make a relatively slow-burning fuse in the
home. By dissolving about one teaspoon of black powder in about ş cup of
boiling water, and, while it is still hot, soaking in it a long piece of all
cotton string, a slow-burning fuse can be made. After the soaked string
dries, it must then be tied to the fuse of an explosive device. Sometimes,
the end of the slow burning fuse that meets the normal fuse has a charge of
black powder or gunpowder at the intersection point to insure ignition,
since the slow-burning fuse does not burn at a very high temperature.
A similar type of slow fuse can be made by taking the above mixture
of boiling water and black powder and pouring it on a long piece of toilet
paper. The wet toilet paper is then gently twisted up so that it resembles
a firecracker fuse, and is allowed to dry.
Making Sulfured Wick
There are several ways to make sulfured wick, One method is to use heavy
cotton string about 1/8th inch in diameter. You can find it at a garden
supply or hardware store, it is often used for tieing up tomatoes. Be sure
the string is cotton, and not some form of synthetic fabric. You can test
it by lighting one end. It should continue to burn after the match is
removed and when blown out will have a smoldering coal on the end. Put a
small quanitity of sulfur in a small container (a small pie pan works well)
and melt it in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
The sulfur will melt into a transparent yellow liquid. If it starts
turning brown, it is too hot. Coil about a one foot length of string into
it. The melted sulfur will soak in quickly. When saturated, pull it out
and tie it up to cool and harden.
It can be cut to desired lengths with scissors. 2 inches is about
right. These wicks will burn slowly with a blue flame and do not blow out
easily in a moderate wind. They will not burn through a hole in a metal
pipe, but are great for extending your other fuse. They will not throw off
many sparks. This is quite unlike blackmatch, which generates sparks which
can ignite it along its length causing much less predictable burning times.
Making Quickmatch Fuse
Sometimes it is desirable to have a reliable, fast burning fuse,
rather than to use slow fuse. Quickmatch fuse burns almost instantaneously,
and is useful when two items, located some distance apart, need to be
ignited at the same time.
The simplest way to make quickmatch is to enclose a length of
blackmatch fuse in a tube with an inside diameter about twice the diameter
of the fuse. When one end is lit, the fuse will burn through the tube within
a couple seconds. This is because the tube helps the sparks from the
blackmatch to propagate down the length of the fuse.
Another simple method of making quickmatch is to purchase a roll of
extra-wide masking tape (1-2 inches works well). Unwind a few feet of tape,
then pour a trail of blackpowder or pyrodex down the middle, making sure to
leave " of the tape on the right side clean of powder. When the rest of the
tape is completely covered with powder, fold the left side over to within
ş" of the right edge, then fold the (clean) right side over the left and
press it in place. The finished quickmatch should now be held by one end to
allow the excess powder to drain out. If multiple devices are to be attached
to the quickmatch, a small hole can be poked at the appropriate spot and an
inch of blackmatch fuse should be inserted at that point.
Quickmatch is easily damaged by water, and should not be flattened out
as that will limit its effectiveness. If the fuse has a tendency to go out,
coarser grained powder should be used.
Impact ignition is an excellent method of ignition for any device that
is intended to be employed as a projectile. The problem with an impact
igniting device is that it must be kept in a very safe container so that it
will not explode while being transported to the place where it is to be
used. This can be done by having a removable impact initiator.
The best and most reliable impact initiator is one that uses factory
made initiators or primers. A no. 11 cap for black powder firearms is one
such primer. They usually come in boxes of 100, and cost about $2.50.
To use such a cap, however, one needs a nipple that it will fit on.
Black powder nipples are also available in gun stores. All that a person has
to do is ask for a package of nipples and the caps that fit them. Nipples
have a hole that goes all the way through them, one of the ends is threaded,
and the other end has a flat area to put the cap on. A cutaway of a nipple
is shown below:
[ ILLUSTRATIONS AVAILABLE ONLY IN COMMERICIAl PRINTED RELEASE ]
When making using this type of initiator, a hole must be drilled into
whatever container is used to make the bomb out of. The nipple is then
screwed into the hole so that it fits tightly. Then, the cap can be carried
and placed on the bomb when it is to be thrown. The cap should be bent a
small amount before it is placed on the nipple, to make sure that it stays
in place. The only other problem involved with an impact detonating bomb
is that it must strike a hard surface on the nipple to set it off. By
attaching fins or a small parachute on the end of the bomb opposite the
primer, the bomb, when thrown, should strike the ground on the primer, and
explode. Of course, a bomb with mercury fulminate in each end will go off
on impact regardless of which end it strikes on, but mercury fulminate is
also likely to go off if the person carrying the bomb is bumped hard.
A very sensitive and reliable impact initiator can be produced from
the common MAGICUBE type camera flashbulbs. Simply crack the plastic cover
off, remove the reflector, and you will see 4 bulbs, each of which has a
small metal rod holding it in place.
Carefully grasp this rod with a pair of needle-nose pliers, and pry
gently upwards, making sure that no force is applied to the glass bulb.
Each bulb is coated with plastic, which must be removed for them to
be effective in our application. This coating can be removed by soaking the
bulbs in a small glass of acetone for 30-45 minutes, at which point the
plastic can be easily peeled away.
The best method of using these is to dissolve some nitrocellulose
based smokeless powder (or make your own nitrocellulose see page 19)in a
small quantity of acetone and/or ether, forming a thick glue-like paste.
Coat the end of the fuse with this paste, then stick the bulb (with the
metal rod facing out) into the paste. About half the bulb should be
completely covered, and if a VERY THIN layer of nitrocellulose is coated
over the remainder of the bulb then ignition should be very reliable.
To insure that the device lands with the bulb down, a small streamer
can be attached to the opposite side, so when it is tossed high into the air
the appropriate end will hit the ground first.
Electrical ignition systems for detonation are usually the safest and
most reliable form of ignition. Electrical systems are ideal for demolition
work, if one doesn't have to worry so much about being caught. With two
spools of 500 ft of wire and a car battery, one can detonate explosives from
a comfortable and relatively safe distance, and be sure that there is nobody
around that could get hurt. With an electrical system, one can control
exactly what time a device will explode, within fractions of a second.
Detonation can be aborted in less than a second's warning, if a person
suddenly walks by the detonation sight, or if a police car chooses to roll
by at the time. The two best electrical igniters are military squibs and
model rocketry igniters. Blasting caps for construction also work well.
Model rocketry igniters are sold in packages of six, and cost about $1.00
per pack. All that need be done to use them is connect it to two wires and
run a current through them. Military squibs are difficult to get, but they
are a little bit better, since they explode when a current is run through
them, whereas rocketry igniters only burst into flame. Most squibs will NOT
detonate KClO3/petroleum jelly or RDX. These relatively insensitive
explosives require a blasting cap type detonation in most cases. There are,
however, military explosive squibs which will do the job.
Igniters can be used to set off black powder, mercury fulminate, HMDT,
or guncotton, which in turn, can set of a high order explosive.
A Simple Electric Fuze
Take a flashlight bulb and place it glass tip down on a file. Grind
it down on the file until there is a hole in the end. Solder one wire to
the case of the bulb and another to the center conductor at the end. Fill
the bulb with black powder or powdered match head. One or two flashlight
batteries will heat the filament in the bulb causing the powder to ignite.
Another Electric Fuze
Take a medium grade of steel wool and pull a strand out of it. Attach
it to the ends of two pieces of copper wire by wrapping it around a few
turns and then pinch on a small piece of solder to bind the strand to the
wire. You want about inch of steel strand between the wires. Number 18
or 20 is a good size wire to use.
Cut a by 1 inch piece of thin cardboard of (the type used in match
covers is ideal). Place a small pile of powdered match head in the center
and press it flat. place the wires so the steel strand is on top of and in
contact with the powder. Sprinkle on more powder to cover the strand.
The strand should be surrounded with powder and not touching anything
else except the wires at its ends. Place a piece of blackmatch in contact
with the powder. Now put a piece of masking tape on top of the lot, and
fold it under on the two ends. Press it down so it sticks all around the
powder. The wires are sticking out on one side and the blackmatch on the
other. A single flashlight battery will set this off.
Electro-mechanical ignition systems are systems that use some type of
mechanical switch to set off an explosive charge electrically. This type
of switch is typically used in booby traps or other devices in which the
person who places the bomb does not wish to be anywhere near the device when
it explodes. Several types of electro-mechanical detonators will be
Mercury switches are a switch that uses the fact that mercury metal
conducts electricity, as do all metals, but mercury metal is a liquid at
room temperatures. A typical mercury switch is a sealed glass tube with two
electrodes and a bead of mercury metal. It is sealed because of mercury's
nasty habit of giving off brain-damaging vapors. The diagram below may help
to explain a mercury switch.
When the drop of mercury ("Hg" is mercury's atomic symbol) touches
both contacts, current flows through the switch. If this particular switch
was in its present position, A---B, current would not be flowing. If the
switch was rotated 90 degrees so the wires were pointed down, the mercury
would touch both contacts in that vertical position.
If, however, it was in the vertical position, the drop of mercury
would only touch the + contact on the A side. Current, then couldn't flow,
since mercury does not reach both contacts when the switch is in the
vertical position. This type of switch is ideal to place by a door. If it
were placed in the path of a swinging door in the versicle position, the
motion of the door would knock the switch down, if it was held to the ground
by a piece if tape. This would tilt the switch into the versicle position,
causing the mercury to touch both contacts, allowing current to flow through
the mercury, and to the igniter or squib in an explosive device.
Trip wire Switches
A trip wire is an element of the classic booby trap. By placing a
nearly invisible line of string or fishing line in the probable path of a
victim, and by putting some type of trap there also, nasty things can be
caused to occur. If this mode of thought is applied to explosives, how would
one use such a trip wire to detonate a bomb. The technique is simple. By
wrapping the tips of a standard clothespin with aluminum foil, and placing
something between them, and connecting wires to each aluminum foil contact,
an electric trip wire can be made, If a piece of wood attached to the trip
wire was placed between the contacts on the clothespin, the clothespin would
serve as a switch. When the trip wire was pulled, the clothespin would snap
together, allowing current to flow between the two pieces of aluminum foil,
thereby completing a circuit, which would have the igniter or squib in it.
Current would flow between the contacts to the igniter or squib, heating the
igniter or squib and causing it to explode. Make sure that the aluminum foil
contacts do not touch the spring, since the spring also conducts
[ ILLUSTRATIONS AVAILABLE ONLY IN COMMERICIAl PRINTED RELEASE ]
Radio Control Detonators
In the movies, every assassin and criminal uses a radio controlled
detonator to set off explosives. With a good radio detonator, one can be
several miles away from the device, and still control exactly when it
explodes, in much the same way as an electrical switch. The problem with
radio detonators is that they are rather costly. However, there could
possibly be a reason that one would be willing to spend the amounts of money
involved with a radio control system and use it as a detonator. If such an
individual wanted to devise an radio controlled detonator, all he would need
to do is visit the local hobby store or toy store, and buy a radio
controlled toy. Taking it back to his/her abode, all that he/she would have
to do is detach the solenoid/motor that controls the motion of the front
wheels of a car, or detach the solenoid/motor of the elevators/rudder of a
radio controlled airplane, or the rudder of a boat, and re-connect the squib
or rocket engine igniter to the contacts for the solenoid/motor. The device
should be tested several times with squibs or igniters, and fully charged
batteries should be in both he controller and the receiver (the part that
used to move parts before the device became a detonator).
One interesting variation on this method is to adapt a mundane device
to serve as a remote detonator. Radio pagers are ideal for this purpose.
Alpha-numeric display pagers can be rented for around $20 per month, and the
display can easily be wired to a detonation device. The pager number can be
called from anywhere in the world, and when the appropriate message is
entered the device is triggered. Similarly, a cellular telephone could be
adapted to respond in the same manner.
A delay is a device which causes time to pass from when a device is
set up to the time that it explodes. A regular fuse is a delay, but it
would cost quite a bit to have a 24 hour delay with a fuse. This section
deals with the different types of delays that can be employed by an
antisocial person who wishes to be sure that his bomb will go off, but wants
to be out of the country when it does.
It is extremely simple to delay explosive devices that employ fuses
for ignition. Perhaps the simplest way to do so is with a cigarette. An
average cigarette burns for between 8-11 minutes. The higher the tar and
nicotine rating, the slower the cigarette burns. Low tar and nicotine
cigarettes burn quicker than the higher tar and nicotine cigarettes, but
they are also less likely to go out if left unattended, i.e. not smoked.
Depending on the wind or draft in a given place, a high tar cigarette is
better for delaying the ignition of a fuse, but there must be enough wind
or draft to give the cigarette enough oxygen to burn. People who use
cigarettes for the purpose of delaying fuses will often test the cigarettes
that they plan to use in advance to make sure they stay lit and to see how
long it will burn. Once the burning rate of a brand of cigarette is
determined, it is a simple matter of carefully putting a hole all the way
through a cigarette with a toothpick at the point desired, and pushing the
fuse for a device in the hole formed.
Improved Cigarette Delay
A variation on the standard cigarette display was invented by my good
friend John A. (THE Pyromaniac). Rather than inserting the fuse into the
SIDE of the cigarette (and risk splitting it) half of the filter is cut off,
and a small hole is punched THROUGH the remainder of the filter and into the
The fuse is inserted as far as possible into this hole, then taped or
glued in place, or the cigarette can be cut and punched ahead of time and
lit as if you intended to smoke it, then attached to the fuse at the scene.
Taking a few puffs can help prevent the cigarette from going out, as well
as improving your chances of dying from lung cancer.
A similar type of device can be make from powdered charcoal and a
sheet of paper. Simply roll the sheet of paper into a thin tube, and fill
it with powdered charcoal. Punch a hole in it at the desired location, and
insert a fuse. Both ends must be glued closed, and one end of the delay must
be doused with lighter fluid before it is lit. Or, a small charge of
gunpowder mixed with powdered charcoal could conceivably used for igniting
such a delay. A chain of charcoal briquettes can be used as a delay by
merely lining up a few bricks of charcoal so that they touch each other, end
on end, and lighting the first brick. Incense, which can be purchased at
almost any novelty or party supply store, can also be used as a fairly
reliable delay. By wrapping the fuse about the end of an incense stick,
delays of up to an hour are possible.
Random Electronic Delay
An interesting delay mechanism that provides an random delay can be
produced from the following items:
Relay (2) 9V batteries Wire
Soldering Iron(2) 9V battery connectors(2) SPST switches
1) Solder 2 wires to the relay. The first wire should be soldered to
one side of the coil (or the appropriate contact) and the other wire should
be soldered to the center contact of the ralay switch.
2) Solder a SPST switch to each of the wires, and solder the red wire
from each of the 9V battery connectors to the other pole of each switch.
3) Solder the other wire from the 9V connector that is attached to the
switch for the relay coil to the other side of the relay coil.
4) solder the other wire from the second 9V connector to one wire from
an electric squib or detonator. The other wire from the squib is soldered
to the normally closed contact of the relay.
5) Making sure that both switches are open, attach both batteries to
their respective connector.
When you're ready to use the device, close the first switch (the one
that energizes the relay's coil). Make sure that you hear a CLICK! The click
signifies that it is safe to throw the second switch.
The squib will blow when the 9V battery that is powering the relay's
coils runs out of power, or if the first switch (the one powering the relay)
is thrown before the second switch.
[ ILLUSTRATIONS AVAILABLE ONLY IN COMMERICIAl PRINTED RELEASE ]
Timer delays, or "time bombs" are usually employed by an individual
who wishes to preset the exact moment of detonation. There are several ways
to build a timer delay. By simply using a screw as one contact at the time
that detonation is desired, and using the hour hand of a clock as the other
contact, a simple timer can be made. The minute hand of a clock should be
removed, unless a delay of less than an hour is desired. One problem with
this method is that many new alarm clocks do not have sufficent torque to
make a good contact between the hour hand and the screw or metal pin. Also,
many clocks have plstic hands, or the metal hands may be coated with an
insulating substance. Any timer made in this manner should be tested several
times to ensure that the circuit closes consistently.
The main disadvantage with this type of timer is that it can only be
set for a maximum time of 12 hours. If an electronic timer is used, such
as that in an electronic clock, then delays of up to 24 hours are possible.
First the speaker should be removed and a meter attached to the wires, to
check if there is any current flowing when the alarm is not active. You
should also check to see how much current is provided when the alarm goes
off.The wires should be attached to a small switch, and then to a squib or
igniter. In this manner a timer with a delay of over 23 hours can be made.
All that one has to do is set the alarm time of the clock to the desired
time, connect the leads, and leave the area. This could also be done with
an electronic watch, if a larger battery were used, and the current to the
speaker of the watch was stepped up via a transformer. This could be very
effective, since such a timer could be extremely small.
There are a few dangers inherent in this method of making timers.
Sveral people have blown themselves up by not taking into account some of
the factors. Some clocks will activate the speaker when the time is set, or
when the power is turned on or off.
The timer in a VCR (Video Cassette Recorder) is ideal. VCR's can
usually be set for times of up to a week. The leads from the timer to the
recording equipment would be the ones that an igniter or squib would be
connected to. Also, one can buy timers from electronics stores that would
be work well. Finally, one could employ a digital watch, and use a relay,
or electro-magnetic switch to fire the igniter, and the current of the watch
would not have to be stepped up.
Chemical delays are uncommon, but they can be extremely effective in
some cases. These were often used in the bombs the Germans dropped on
England. The delay would ensure that a bomb would detonate hours or even
days after the initial bombing raid, thereby increasing the terrifying
effect on the British citizenry.
If a glass container is filled with concentrated sulfuric acid, and
capped with several thicknesses of aluminum foil, or a cap that it will eat
through, then it can be used as a delay. Sulfuric acid will react with
aluminum foil to produce aluminum sulfate and hydrogen gas, and so the
container must be open to the air on one end so that the pressure of the
hydrogen gas that is forming does not break the container.
The aluminum foil is placed over the bottom of the container and
secured there with tape. When the acid eats through the aluminum foil, it
can be used to ignite an explosive device in several ways.
Sulfuric acid is a good conductor of electricity. If the acid that
eats through the foil is collected in a glass container placed underneath
the foil, and two wires are placed in the glass container, a current will
be able to flow through the acid when both of the wires are immersed in the
acid. The acid will also react with potassium chlorate or potassium
permanganate, see below.
Some of the ingredients for these can only be had from a chemical
supply while others can be obtained with a little effort.
Scatter out approx. 5 g of chromic anhydride. add 2 drops of ethyl
alcohol. It will burst into flame immediately.
Measure by weight, four parts ammonium chloride, one part ammonium
nitrate, four parts powered zinc. Make sure that all the powders are very
dry, and mix in a clean dry vessel. Pour out a small pile of this and make
a depression on top. Put one or two drops of water in the depression. Stay
well back from this.
Spoon out a small pile of powdered aluminum. Place a small amount of
sodium peroxide on top of this. A volume the size of a small pea is about
right. One drop of water will cause this to ignite in a blinding flare.
Measure by volume 3 parts concentrated sulfuric acid with 2 parts
concentrated nitric acid. Mix the two acids in a large pyrex beaker. Hold
a dropper of turpentine about 2 feet above the mixture. When drops strike
the acid they will burst into flame.
Sulfuric acid reacts very violently with potassium chlorate and
potassium permanganate. If a few drops of sulfuric acid are added to a pile
of either of these oxidizers, the pile will burst into flame within seconds.
Most of the above mixtures can have other chemicals added to them
(oxidizers, powdered metals) and can be placed on the top of a pile of a
flammable substance, or used to start a fuse.
This section will cover everything from making a simple firecracker
to a complicated scheme for detonating an insensitive high explosive, both
of which are methods that could be utilized by protectors of the rights of
the common man.
Paper was the first container ever used for explosives, since it was
first used by the Chinese to make fireworks. Paper containers are usually
very simple to make, and are certainly the cheapest. There are many possible
uses for paper in containing explosives, and the two most obvious are in
firecrackers and rocket engines. Simply by rolling up a long sheet of paper,
and gluing it together, one can make a simple rocket engine. Perhaps a more
interesting and dangerous use is in the firecracker. The firecracker shown
here is one of Mexican design. It is called a "polumna", meaning "dove". The
process of their manufacture is not unlike that of making a paper football.
If one takes a sheet of paper about 16 inches in length by 1.5 inches wide,
and folds one corner into a triangle which lines up on the top of the sheet,
then folds that end of the paper over in another triangle, a pocket is
formed. This pocket can be filled with black powder, pyrodex, flash powder,
gunpowder, or any of the quick-burning fuel-oxidizer mixtures that occur in
the form of a fine powder. A fuse is then inserted, and one continues the
triangular folds, being careful not to spill out any of the explosive. When
the polumna is finished, it should be taped together very tightly, since
this will increase the strength of the container, and produce a louder and
more powerful explosion when it is lit. The finished polumna should look
like a thin triangle of paper, less than inch thick.
The classic pipe bomb is the best known example of a metal-contained
explosive. Less fortunate pyrotechnicians take white tipped matches and cut
off the heads. They pound one end of a pipe closed with a hammer, pour in
the white tipped matches, and then pound the other end closed. This process
often kills the fool, since when he pounds the pipe closed, he could very
easily cause enough friction between the match heads to cause them to ignite
and explode the unfinished bomb. By using pipe caps, the process is
somewhat safer, and any person who desires to retain of their limbs would
never use white tipped matches in a bomb. Regular matches may still be
ignited by friction, but it is far less likely than with "strike-anywhere"
First, one needs to obtain a length of water pipe and two caps. For
obvious reasons, it is best not to buy all three items from the same store.
The pipe should not be more than six times as long as its diameter.
Next, the pipes and caps are cleaned with rubbing alcohol, and rubber
gloves are put on. The pipe is allowed to dry, and never handled with bare
hands. If the outside of a glove it touched, and then the pipe is handled
with that glove, it is possible to transfer a fingerprint onto the pipe.
A hole is drilled one pipe cap, and a fuse is placed through the hole.
If a bit of tissue paper is packed around the fuse on the inside of the
cap, the fuse will not come out during handling, and powder will be unable
to escape if the pipe is inverted. The fuse would extend at least an inch
inside the pipe. There are several possible variations in fusing pipes.
One bomber in New York City used 3 inch diameter pipes, each a foot
long. He would solder a six inch piece of copper tubing to the inside of the
pipe cap, and extend the fuse down this tube. The end of the fuse was tied
into a knot, just big enough to block the copper pipe so powder would not
enter. This added some delay once the fuse burned down into the pipe, and
it also caused the powder to start burning from the center outward, creating
a more uniform blast effect.
One famous pipe bomber used large diameter pipes with four holes
drilled into each of the end caps. Each hole had a length of threaded steel
rod run through it, and extending about inch from both end caps. These
rods were held in place by heavy nuts on both ends of all four rods. The
intention of this was to help the pipe stay intact until all the powder had
burned, to increase the effective power of the bomb.
Once the fused end cap is prepared, the cap would be screwed on
tightly. To help secure it, a drop of Loctite* could be added to the
threads. The pipe could now be filled with any fast burning powder. Packing
the powder down is very dangerous, and does not increase the force of the
explosion. It will increase the amount of smoke and flames produced by the
The pipe is usually filled to within an inch of the end, and a large
wad of tissue paper ( Many brands of tissue paper, including Kleenex*, are
moisturized and should not be used) is packed into the pipe to keep any
powder from getting onto the threads.
Finally, the other pipe cap would be screwed in place. If the tissue
paper is not used, some of the powder could be caught in the threads of the
pipe or pipe cap. This powder would be crushed, and the friction can ignite
the powder, which could be very detrimental to the health of the builder.
NOTE: The metal caps are very difficult to drill holes in, it is much easier
to drill a hole into the middle of the pipe (before it is filled!) and
thread the fuse through this opening.
Many people have had great success with this design. According to an
old german by the name of Lionel. After detonating one of these inside a
cookie tin, found the lid about 1/2 block away, the sides of the tin blown
out, and an impression of the pipe, (which was later found blown flat)
threads and all on the bottom of the tin... it seems that the welded seam
gives out on most modern rolled pipes, however a cast pipe (no seam) would
produce more shrapnel (which may or may not be desirable).
This is one possible design. If, however, one does not have access to
threaded pipe with end caps, you could always use a piece of copper or
aluminum pipe, since it is easily bent into a suitable configuration. A
major problem with copper piping, however, is bending and folding it without
tearing it; if too much force is used when folding and bending copper pipe,
it will split along the fold. The safest method for making a pipe bomb out
of copper or aluminum pipe is similar to the method with pipe and end caps.
Pipe Bombs From Soft Metal Pipes
First, one flattens one end of a copper or aluminum pipe carefully,
making sure not to tear or rip the piping. Then, the flat end of the pipe
should be folded over at least once, carefully so as not to rip the pipe.
A fuse hole should be drilled in the pipe near the now closed end, and the
fuse should be inserted.
Next, the bomb-builder would partially fill the casing with a low
order explosive, and pack the remaining space with a large wad of tissue
paper. He would then flatten and fold the other end of the pipe with a pair
of pliers. If he was not too dumb, he would do this slowly, since the
process of folding and bending metal gives off heat, which could set off the
Carbon Dioxide "Pellet Gun" or Seltzer cartridges.
A CO2 cartridge from a B.B gun is another excellent container for a
low- order explosive. It has one minor disadvantage: it is time consuming
to fill. But this can be rectified by widening the opening of the cartridge
with a pointed tool. Then, all that would have to be done is to fill the
CO2 cartridge with any low-order explosive, or any of the fast burning fuel-
oxidizer mixtures, and insert a fuse. These devices are commonly called
A cartridge is easiest to fill if you take a piece of paper and tape
it around the opening to form a sort of funnel. A new,full cartridge must
be emptied before it can be used. Once the gas is released, some
condensation may form on the inside. Use a punch or sharp phillips (+)
screwdriver to enlarge the pin-hole opening on a used cartridge. You can
place the empty cartridge in a warm oven to drive out any moisture.It may
not be necessary to seal the hole, but if you must do so, epoxy and
electrical tape should work quite well.
These cartridges also work well as a container for a thermite
incendiary device, but they must be modified. The opening in the end must
be widened, so that the ignition mixture, such as powdered magnesium, does
not explode. The fuse will ignite the powdered magnesium, which, in turn,
would ignite the thermite. The burning thermite will melt the container and
release liquid iron.
Primed Explosive Casings
The previously mentioned designs for explosive devices are fine for
low order explosives, but are unsuitable for high order explosives, since
the latter requires a shockwave to be detonated. A design employing a
smaller low order explosive device inside a larger device containing a high
order explosive would probably be used.
If the large high explosive container is relatively small, such as a
CO2 cartridge, then a segment of a hollow radio antenna can be made into a
detonator and fitted with a fuse. THis tiny detonator can be inserted into
Glass containers can be suitable for low order explosives, but there
are problems with them. First, a glass container can be broken relatively
easily compared to metal or plastic containers. Secondly, in the not too
unlikely event of an "accident", the person making the device would probably
be seriously injured, even if the device was small. A bomb made out of a
sample perfume bottle-sized container exploded in the hands of one boy, and
he still has pieces of glass in his hand. He is also missing the final
segment of his ring finger, which was cut off by a sharp piece of flying
Nonetheless, glass containers such as perfume bottles can be used by
a demented individual, since such a device would not be detected by metal
detectors in an airport or other public place. All that need be done is
fill the container, and drill a hole in the plastic cap that the fuse fits
tightly in, and screw the cap-fuse assembly on.
Large explosive devices made from glass containers are not practical,
since glass is not an exceptionally strong container. Much of the explosive
that is used to fill the container is wasted if the container is much larger
than a 16 oz. soda bottle. Also, glass containers are usually unsuitable
for high explosive devices, since a glass container would probably not
withstand the explosion of the initiator; it would shatter before the high
explosive was able to detonate.
Plastic containers are perhaps the best containers for explosives,
since they can be any size or shape, and are not fragile like glass.
Plastic piping can be bought at hardware or plumbing stores, and a device
much like the ones used for metal containers can be made. The high-order
version works well with plastic piping. If the entire device is made out of
plastic, it is not detectable by metal detectors. Plastic containers can
usually be shaped by heating the container, and bending it at the
appropriate place. They can be glued closed with epoxy or other cement for
plastics. Epoxy alone can be used as an end cap, if a wad of tissue paper
is placed in the piping. Epoxy with a drying agent works best in this type
One end must be made first, and be allowed to dry completely before
the device can be filled with powder and fused. Then, with another piece
of tissue paper, pack the powder tightly, and cover it with plenty of epoxy.
PVC pipe works well for this type of device, but it cannot be used if the
pipe had an inside diameter greater than 3/4 of an inch. Other plastic
putties can be used in this type of device, but epoxy with a drying agent
In my experience, epoxy plugs work well, but epoxy is somewhat
expensive. One alternative is auto body filler, a grey paste which, when
mixed with hardener, forms into a rock-like mass which is stronger than most
epoxy. The only drawback is the body filler generates quite a bit of heat
as it hardens, which might be enough to set of a overly sensitive explosive.
One benefit of body filler is that it will hold it's shape quite well, and
is ideal for forming rocket nozzles and entire bomb casings.
For a relatively low shrapnel explosion, you could try pouring it into an
empty 35mm film canister. Poke a hole in the plastic lid for a fuse. These
goodies make an explosion that is easily audible a mile away, but creates
almost no shrapnel. One a day with no wind, adding extra fuel (like
fine charcoal) can produce the classic mushroom cloud.
There are several important safety rules to follow, in addition to the
usual rules for working with flash powder.
1) Make a hole and insert the fuse before putting any powder into the cani
2) Don't get any powder on the lip of the canister.
3) Only use a very small quantity to start with, and work your way up to t
4) Do not pack the powder, it works best loose and firction can cause igni
5) Use a long fuse, these are very dangerous close up.
One approach to disguising a bomb is to build what is called a book
bomb; an explosive device that is entirely contained inside of a book.
Usually, a relatively large book is required, and the book must be of the
hardback variety to hide any protrusions of a bomb. Dictionaries, law
books, large textbooks, and other such books work well. When an individual
makes a book into a bomb, he/she must choose a type of book that is
appropriate for the place where the book bomb will be placed. The actual
construction of a book bomb can be done by anyone who possesses an electric
drill and a coping saw. First, all of the pages of the book must be glued
together. By pouring an entire container of water-soluble glue into a large
bucket, and filling the bucket with boiling water, a glue-water solution can
be made that will hold all of the book's pages together tightly. After the
glue-water solution has cooled to a bearable temperature, and the solution
has been stirred well, the pages of the book must be immersed in the glue-
water solution, and each page must be thoroughly soaked.
It is extremely important that the covers of the book do not get stuck
to the pages of the book while the pages are drying. Suspending the book
by both covers and clamping the pages together in a vise works best. When
the pages dry, after about three days to a week, a hole must be drilled into
the now rigid pages, and they should drill out much like wood. Then, by
inserting the coping saw blade through the pages and sawing out a rectangle
from the middle of the book, the individual will be left with a shell of the
The rectangle must be securely glued to the back cover of the book.
After building his/her bomb, which usually is of the timer or radio
controlled variety, the bomber places it inside the book. The bomb itself,
and whatever timer or detonator is used, should be packed in foam to prevent
it from rolling or shifting about. Finally, after the timer is set, or the
radio control has been turned on, the front cover is glued closed, and the
bomb is taken to its destination.
:ADVANCED USES FOR EXPLOSIVES
The techniques presented here are those that could be used by a person
who had some degree of knowledge of the use of explosives. Advanced uses for
explosives usually involved shaped charges, or utilize a minimum amount of
explosive to do a maximum amount of damage. They almost always involve
high- order explosives.
A shaped charge is an explosive device that, upon detonation, directs
the explosive force of detonation at a small target area. This process can
be used to breach the strongest armor, since forces of literally millions
of pounds of pressure per square inch can be generated. Shaped charges
employ high-order explosives, and usually electric ignition systems. Keep
in mind that all explosives are dangerous, and should never be made or
used!! all the procedures described in this book are for informational
If a device such as this is screwed to a safe, for example, it would
direct most of the explosive force at a point about 1 inch away from the
opening of the pipe. The basis for shaped charges is a cone-shaped opening
in the explosive material. This cone should be formed with a 45 angle. A
device such as this one could also be attached to a metal surface with a
A variation on shaped charges, tube explosives can be used in ways
that shaped charges cannot. If a piece of inch diameter plastic tubing was
filled with a sensitive high explosive like R.D.X., and prepared as the
plastic explosive container on page 53, a different sort of shaped charge
could be produced; a charge that directs explosive force in a circular
manner. This type of explosive could be wrapped around a column, or a
doorknob, or a telephone pole. The explosion would be directed in and out,
and most likely destroy whatever it was wrapped around.
When the user wishes to use a tube bomb, it must first be wrapped
around the object to be demolished, after which the ends are connected
together. The user can connect wires to the squib wires, and detonate the
bomb with any method of electric detonation.
Atomized Particle Explosions
If a highly flammable substance is atomized, or, divided into very
small particles, and large amounts of it is burned in a confined area, an
explosion similar to that occurring in the cylinder of an automobile is
produced. The vaporized gasoline/air mixture burns explosively, and the hot
gasses expand rapidly, pushing the cylinder up. Similarly, if a gallon of
gasoline was atomized and ignited in a building, it is very possible that
the expanding gassed could push the walls of the building down. This
phenomenon is called an atomized particle explosion if a solid is used, or
a fuel/air explosive if the material is a gas or liquid.
If a person can effectively atomize a large amount of a highly
flammable substance and ignite it, he could bring down a large building,
bridge, or other structure. Atomizing a large amount of gasoline, for
example, can be extremely difficult, unless one has the aid of a high
explosive. If a gallon jug of gasoline was placed directly over a high
explosive charge, and the charge was detonated, the gasoline would instantly
be atomized and ignited.
If this occurred in a building, for example, an atomized particle
explosion would surely occur. Only a small amount of high explosive would
be necessary to accomplish this, 7 ounces of T.N.T. or 3 ounces of R.D.X
should be sufficient to atomize the contents of a gallon container. Also,
instead of gasoline, powdered aluminum, coal dust or even flour could be
used for a similar effect.
It is necessary that a high explosive be used to atomize a flammable
material, since a low-order explosion does not occur quickly enough to
atomize and will simply ignite the flammable material.
:SPECIAL AMMUNITION FOR PROJECTILE WEAPONS
Explosive and/or poisoned ammunition is an important part of a social
deviant's arsenal. Such ammunition gives the user a distinct advantage over
individual who use normal ammunition, since a grazing hit can cause extreme
damage. Special ammunition can be made for many types of weapons, from
crossbows to shotguns.
Special Ammunition For Primitive Weapons
For the purposes of this publication, we will call any weapon
primitive that does not employ burning gunpowder to propel a projectile
forward. This means blowguns, bows and crossbows, and slingshots. Primitive
weapons can be made from commonly available materials, and a well made
weapon will last for years.
Bow and Crossbow Ammunition
Bows and crossbows both fire arrows or bolts as ammunition. It is
extremely simple to poison an arrow or bolt, but it is a more difficult
matter to produce explosive arrows or bolts. If, however, one can acquire
aluminum piping that is the same diameter of an arrow or crossbow bolt, the
entire segment of piping can be converted into an explosive device that
detonates upon impact, or with a fuse.
All that need be done is find an aluminum tube of the right length and
diameter, and plug the back end with tissue paper and epoxy. Fill the tube
with any type of low-order explosive or sensitive high-order explosive up
to about inch from the top.
Cut a slot in the piece of tubing, and carefully squeeze the top of
the tube into a round point, making sure to leave a small hole. Place a no.
11 percussion cap over the hole, and secure it with super glue or epoxy.
Finally, wrap the end of the device with electrical or duct tape, and
make fins out of tape. Or, fins can be bought at a sporting goods store,
and glued to the shaft.
When the arrow or bolt strikes a hard surface, the percussion cap
explodes, igniting or detonating the explosive.
Special Ammunition for Blowguns
The blowgun is an interesting weapon which has several advantages.
A blowgun can be extremely accurate, concealable, and deliver an explosive
or poisoned projectile. The manufacture of an explosive dart or projectile
is not difficult.
Perhaps the most simple design for such involves the use of a pill
capsule, such as the kind that are taken for headaches or allergies. Empty
gelatin pill capsules can be purchased from most health-food stores. Next,
the capsule would be filled with an impact-sensitive explosive, such as
mercury fulminate. An additional high explosive charge could be placed
behind the impact sensitive explosive, if one of the larger capsules were
Finally, the explosive capsule would be reglued back together, and a
tassel or cotton would be glued to the end containing the high explosive,
to insure that the impact-detonating explosive struck the target first.
Care must be taken- if a powerful dart went off in the blowgun, you
could easily blow the back of your head off.
Special Ammunition for Slingshots
A modern slingshot is a formidable weapon. It can throw a shooter
marble about 500 ft. with reasonable accuracy. Inside of 200 ft., it could
well be lethal to a man or animal, if it struck in a vital area. Because
of the relatively large sized projectile that can be used in a slingshot,
the sling can be adapted to throw relatively powerful explosive projectiles.
A small segment of aluminum pipe could be made into an impact-
detonating device by filling it with an impact sensitive explosive material.
Also, such a pipe could be filled with a low order explosive, and
fitted with a fuse, which would be lit before the device was shot. One
would have to make sure that the fuse was of sufficient length to insure
that the device did not explode before it reached its intended target.
Finally, .22 caliber caps, such as the kind that are used in .22
caliber blank guns, make excellent exploding ammunition for slingshots, but
they must be used at a relatively close range, because of their light
One company, Beeman, makes an extremely powerful slingshot which can
fire short arrows, as well as the usual array of ball ammo. These
slingshots can be used with the modified crossbow ammunition.
[ ILLUSTRATIONS ARE AVAILABLE WITH THE COMMERICIAL PRINTED RELEASE ]
Special Ammunition For Firearms
Firearms were first invented by the ancient chinese. They soon
realized that these weapons, even in a primitive form, were one of the most
potent to overthrow a government. The authorities encouraged the
metalworkers to apply their skills to less socially threatening weapons,
upon pain of death.
When special ammunition is used in combination with the power and
rapidity of modern firearms, it becomes very easy to take on a small army
with a single weapon. It is possible to buy explosive ammunition, but that
can be difficult to do. Such ammunition can also be manufactured in the
home. There is, however, a risk involved with modifying any ammunition.
If the ammunition is modified incorrectly, in such a way that it makes the
bullet even the slightest bit wider, an explosion in the barrel of the
weapon will occur. For this reason, nobody should ever attempt to
manufacture such ammunition.
Pipe Guns (zip guns)
Commonly known as "zip" guns, guns made from pipe have been used for
years by juvenile punks. Today's militants make them just for the hell of
it or to shoot once in an assassination or riot and throw away if there is
any danger of apprehension.
They can often be used many times before exploding in the user's face.
With some designs, a length of dowel is needed to force out the spent shell.
There are many variations but the illustration shows the basic design.
First, a wooden stock is made and a groove is cut for the barrel to
rest in. The barrel is then taped securely to the stock with a good, strong
The trigger is made from galvanized tin. A slot is punched in the
trigger flap to hold a roofing nail, which is wired or soldered onto the
flap. The trigger is bent and nailed to the stock on both sides.
The pipe is a short length of one-quarter inch steel gas or water pipe
with a bore that fits in a cartridge, yet keeps the cartridge rim from
passing through the pipe.
The cartridge is put in the pipe and the cap, with a hole bored
through it, is screwed on. Then the trigger is slowly released to let the
nail pass through the hole and rest on the primer.
To fire, the trigger is pulled back with the left hand and held back
with the thumb of the right hand. The gun is then aimed and the thumb
releases the trigger and the thing actually fires.
Pipes of different lengths and diameters are found in any hardware
store. All caliber bullets, from the .22 to the .45 are used in such guns.
Some zip guns are made from two or three pipes nested within each
other. For instance, a .22 shell will fit snugly into a length of a car's
copper gas line. Unfortunately, the copper is too weak to withstand the
pressure of the firing. So the length of gas line is spread with glue and
pushed into a wider length of pipe. This is spread with glue and pushed
into a length of steel pipe with threads and a cap.
Using this method, you can accommodate any cartridge, even a rifle
shell. The first (innermost) size of pipe for a rifle shell accommodates the
bullet. The second or outermost layer accommodates its wider powder chamber.
A simple and very dangerous (to the user and to the target) 12-gauge
shotgun can be made from a 3/4 inch steel pipe. If you want to reduce the
number of gun law violations, the barrel should be at least eighteen inches
The shotgun's firing mechanism is the same as that for the pistol.
It naturally has a longer stock and its handle is lengthened into a rifle
butt. Also, a small nail is driven half way into each side of the stock
about four inches in the front of the trigger. The rubber band is put over
one nail and brought around the trigger and snagged over the other nail.
In case a person actually made a zip gun, he would test it before
firing it by hand. This is done by securely mounting gun to a tree or post,
pointed to where it will do no damage. Then a long string is tied to the
trigger and the maniac holds it from several yards away. The string is then
pulled back and let go. If the barrel does not blow up, the gun might be
safe to fire by hand. Repeat firings may weaken the barrel, so NO zip gun
can be considered "safe" to use.
Special Ammunition for Handguns
If an individual wished to produce explosive ammunition for his/her
handgun, he/she could do it, provided that the person had an impact-
sensitive explosive and a few simple tools. One would first purchase all
lead bullets, and then make or acquire an impact-detonating explosive. By
drilling a hole in a lead bullet with a drill, a space could be created for
the placement of an explosive. After filling the hole with an explosive,
it would be sealed in the bullet with a drop of hot wax from a candle.
This hollow space design also works for putting poison in bullets.
In many spy thrillers, an assassin is depicted as manufacturing "exploding
bullets" by placing a drop of mercury in the nose of a bullet. Through
experimentation it has been found that this will not work. Mercury reacts
with lead to form a inert silvery compound, which may be poisonous, but will
not affect the terminal ballistics of the bullet.
Special Ammunition for Shotguns
Because of their large bore and high power, it is possible to create
some extremely powerful special ammunition for use in shotguns. If a
shotgun shell is opened at the top, and the shot removed, the shell can be
re-closed. Special grenade-launching blanks can also be purchased. Then, if
one can find a very smooth, lightweight wooden dowel that is close to the
bore width of the shotgun, a person can make several types of shotgun-
With the modified shell in the firing chamber, lightly insert the
dowel into the barrel of the shotgun. Mark the dowel about six inches above
the muzzle, and remove it from the barrel. The dowel should be cut at this
point, and the length recorded. Several rods can be cut from a single length
of dowel rod.
Next, a device should be chosen. Moderately impact-sensitive igniters
are ideal, or a long fuse can be used. This device can be a chemical fire
bottle (see page 31), a pipe bomb (page 52), or a thermite bomb (page 30).
After the device is made, it must be securely attached to the dowel. When
this is done, place the dowel back in the shotgun when ready to fire.
After checking that the device has a long enough fuse, or that the
impact igniter is armed, light the fuse (if necessary), and fire the
shotgun at an angle of 45 degrees or greater. If the projectile is not too
heavy, ranges of up to 300 ft are possible if special "grenade-launcher
blanks" are used- use of regular blank ammunition may cause the device to
land perilously close to the user.
Special Ammunition for Compressed Air/Gas Weapons
This section deals with the manufacture of special ammunition for
compressed air or compressed gas weapons, such as pump B.B guns, gas powered
B.B guns, and .22 cal pellet guns. These weapons, although usually thought
of as kids toys, can be made into rather dangerous weapons.
Special Ammunition for BB Guns
A BB gun, for this manuscript, will be considered any type of rifle
or pistol that uses compressed air or gas to fire a projectile with a
caliber of .177, either B.B, or lead pellet. Such guns can have almost as
high a muzzle velocity as a modern firearm rifle. Because of the speed at
which a .177 caliber projectile flies, an impact detonating projectile can
easily be made that has a caliber of .177.
Most ammunition for guns of greater than .22 caliber use primers to
ignite the powder in the bullet. These primers can be bought at gun stores,
since many people like to reload their own bullets. Such primers detonate
when struck by the firing pin of a gun. They will also detonate if they
impact any a hard surface at high speed.
Usually, they will also fit in the barrel of a .177 caliber gun. If
they are inserted flat end first, they will detonate when the gun is fired
at a hard surface. If such a primer is attached to a piece of thin metal
tubing, such as that used in an antenna, the tube can be filled with an
explosive, be sealed, and fired from a B.B gun. A diagram of such a
projectile appears below:
[ ILLUSTRATIONS AVAILABLE ONLY IN COMMERICIAl PRINTED RELEASE ]
The front primer is attached to the tubing with a drop of super glue.
The tubing is then filled with an explosive, and the rear primer is glued
on. Finally, a tassel, or a small piece of cotton is glued to the rear
primer, to insure that the projectile strikes on the front primer. The
entire projectile should be about 3/4 of an inch long.
Special Ammunition for .22 Caliber Pellet Guns
A .22 caliber pellet gun usually is equivalent to a .22 cal rifle, at
close ranges. Because of this, relatively large explosive projectiles can
be adapted for use with .22 caliber air rifles.
A design based on glycerine medicne capsules is suitable, since some
capsules are about .22 caliber or smaller. Or, a design similar to that in
section 5.31 could be used, only one would have to purchase black powder
percussion caps, instead of ammunition primers, since there are percussion
caps that are about .22 caliber. A #11 cap is too small, but anything
larger will do nicely.
ROCKETS AND CANNONS
Rockets and cannon are generally thought of as heavy artillery.
Private citizens do not usually employ such devices, because they are
difficult or impossible to acquire. They are not, however, impossible to
make. Any individual who can make or buy black powder or pyrodex can produce
and fire long range cannons and rockets.
Rockets were first developed by the Chinese several hundred years
before the myth of christ began. They were used for entertainment, in the
form of fireworks. They were not usually used for military purposes because
they were inaccurate, expensive, and unpredictable. In modern times,
however, rockets are used constantly by the military, since they are cheap,
reliable, and have no recoil. Perpetrators of violence, fortunately, cannot
obtain military rockets, but they can make or buy rocket engines. Model
rocketry is a popular hobby of the space age, and to launch a rocket, an
engine is required.
Estes, a subsidiary of Damon, is the leading manufacturer of model
rockets and rocket engines. Their most powerful engine, the "D" engine, can
develop almost 12 lbs. of thrust; enough to send a relatively large
explosive charge a significant distance. Other companies, such as Centuri,
produce even larger rocket engines, which develop up to 30 ft lbs. of
thrust. These model rocket engines are quite reliable, and are designed to
be fired electrically. Most model rocket engines have three basic sections.
[ ILLUSTRATIONS AVAILABLE ONLY IN COMMERICIAl PRINTED RELEASE ]
The clay nozzle at the bottom is where the igniter is inserted. When
the area labelled "thrust" is ignited, the "thrust" material, usually a large
single grain of a propellant such as black powder or pyrodex, burns, forcing
large volumes of hot, rapidly expanding gasses out the narrow nozzle,
pushing the rocket forward.
After the material has been consumed, the smoke section of the engine
is ignited. It is usually a slow burning material, similar to black powder
that has had various compounds added to it to produce visible smoke, usually
black, white, or yellow in color. This section exists so that the rocket
will be seen when it reaches its maximum altitude, or apogee.
When it is burned up, it ignites the ejection charge. The ejection
charge consists of finely powdered black powder. It burns very rapidly, and
produce a large volume of hot gases. The explosion of the ejection charge
pushes out the parachute of the model rocket. It could also be used to
ignite a second stage, or to start a fuse.
Rocket engines have their own peculiar labeling system. Typical engine
labels are: şA-2T, A-3T, A8-3, B6-4, C6-7, and D12-5. The letter is an
indicator of the power of an engine. "B" engines are twice as powerful as
"A" engines, and "C" engines are twice as powerful as "B" engines, and so
on. The number following the letter is the approximate thrust of the engine,
in pounds. the final number and letter is the time delay, from the time that
the thrust period of engine burn ends until the ejection charge fires; "3T"
indicates a 3 second delay.
NOTE: an extremely effective rocket propellant can be made by mixing
aluminum dust with ammonium perchlorate and a very small amount of iron
oxide. The mixture is usually bound together by an epoxy.
Basic Rocket Bomb
A rocket bomb is simply what the name implies: a bomb that is
delivered to its target by means of a rocket. Most people who would make
such a device would use a model rocket engine to power the device. By
cutting fins from balsa wood and gluing them to a large rocket engine, such
as the Estes "C" engine, a basic rocket could be constructed. Then, a small
explosive device would be added. To insure that the fuse of the device is
ignited, the clay over the ejection charge of the engine should be scraped
off with a plastic tool.
Duct tape is the best way to attach an explosive charge to the rocket
engine. Note in the diagram the absence of the clay over the ejection charge
Many different types of explosive payloads can be attached to the rocket,
such as a high explosive, an incendiary device, or a chemical fire bottle.
Either four or three fins must be glued to the rocket engine to insure
that the rocket flies straight. The fins should be symmetrically spaced.The
leading edge and trailing edge should be sanded with sandpaper so that they
are rounded. This will help make the rocket fly straight. A two inch long
section of a plastic straw can be attached to the rocket to launch it from.
A clothes hanger can be cut and made into a launch rod. The segment of a
plastic straw should be glued to the rocket engine adjacent to one of the
fins of the rocket.
By cutting a coat hanger and straightening it, a launch rod can be
made. After a fuse is inserted in the engine, the rocket is simply slid
down the launch rod, which is put through the segment of plastic straw. The
rocket should slide easily along a coat hanger.
Long Range Rocket Bomb
Long range rockets can be made by using multi stage rockets. Model
rocket engines with an "0" for a time delay are designed for use in multi-
stage rockets. An engine such as the D12-0 is an excellent example of such
an engine. Immediately after the thrust period is over, the ejection charge
explodes. If another engine is placed directly against the back of an "0"
engine, the explosion of the ejection charge will send hot gasses and
burning particles into the nozzle of the engine above it, and ignite the
thrust section. This will push the used "0" engine off of the rocket,
causing an overall loss of weight.
The main advantage of a multi-stage rocket is that it loses weight as
travels, and it gains velocity. A multi-stage rocket must be designed
somewhat differently than a single stage rocket, since, in order for a
rocket to fly straight, its center of gravity must be ahead of its center
of drag. This is accomplished by adding weight to the front of the rocket,
or by moving the center of drag back by putting fins on the rocket that are
well behind the rocket. The fuse is put in the bottom engine.
Two, three, or even four stages can be added to a rocket bomb to give
it a longer range. It is important, however, that for each additional
stage, the fin area gets larger.
The cannon is a piece of artillery that has been in use since the 11th
century. It is not unlike a musket, in that it is filled with powder,
loaded, and fired. Cannons of this sort must also be cleaned after each
shot, otherwise, the projectile may jam in the barrel when it is fired,
causing the barrel to explode.
Basic Pipe Cannon
Almost anyone can make a simple cannon can be made from a thick pipe.
The only difficult part is finding a pipe that is extremely smooth on its
interior. This is absolutely necessary; otherwise, the projectile may jam.
Copper or aluminum piping is usually smooth enough, but it must also be
extremely thick to withstand the pressure developed by the expanding hot
gasses in a cannon.
If one uses a projectile, such as a modified M-100 or similar device,
a pipe that is about 1.5 - 2 feet long is ideal. Such a pipe must have
walls that are at least inch thick, and be very smooth on the interior.
If possible, screw an end plug into the pipe. Otherwise, the pipe must be
crimped and folded closed, without cracking or tearing the pipe. A small
hole is drilled in the back of the pipe near the crimp or end plug. Then,
all that need be done is fill the pipe with about two teaspoons of grade
blackpowder or pyrodex, insert a fuse, pack it lightly by ramming a wad of
tissue paper down the barrel, and drop in a CO2 cartridge. Brace the cannon
securely against a strong structure, light the fuse, and run. If the person
is lucky, he will not have overcharged the cannon, and he will not be hit
by pieces of exploding barrel.
An exploding projectile can be made for this type of cannon with a CO2
cartridge. It is relatively simple to do. Just make a crater maker, and
construct it such that the fuse projects about an inch from the end of the
cartridge. Then, wrap the fuse with duct tape, covering it entirely, except
for a small amount at the end. Put this in the pipe cannon without using a
tissue paper packing wad.
When the cannon is fired, it will ignite the end of the fuse, and
launch the cartridge. The explosive-filled cartridge will explode in about
three seconds, if all goes well.
Rocket Firing Cannon
A rocket firing cannon can be made exactly like a normal cannon; the
only difference is the ammunition. A rocket fired from a cannon will fly
further than a rocket launched alone, since the action of shooting it
overcomes the initial inertia. A rocket that is launched when it is moving
will go further than one that is launched when it is stationary. Such a
rocket would resemble a normal rocket bomb, except it would have no fins.
The fuse on such a device would, obviously, be short, but it would not
be ignited until the rocket's ejection charge exploded. Thus, the delay
before the ejection charge, in effect, becomes the delay before the bomb
explodes. Note that no fuse need be put in the rocket; the burning powder
in the cannon will ignite it, and simultaneously push the rocket out of the
cannon at a high velocity.
Reinforced Pipe Cannon
In high school, a friend of mine built cannons and launched CO2
cartridges, etc. However, the design of the cannon is of interest here.
It was made from two sections of plain steel water pipe reinforced
with steel wire, and lead. The first section had in inside diamter of one
inch, and an outside diameter of an inch less than the inside diamter of the
second length of pipe. The smaller pipe was wrapped with steel wire and
placed inside the larger section.
They dug into the side of a sand pile and built a chimney out of
firebrick. Then they stood the assembled pipe and wire on end in the
chimney, sitting on some bricks. By using a blowtorch to heat up the
chimney, the pipe was heated until it was red hot. Then molten lead was
poured into the space between the pipes.
If the caps aren't screwed on tight, some of the lead will leak out.
If that happens, turn off the blowtorch and the pipe will cool enough and
the lead will stiffen and stop the leak.
They used both homemade and commercial black powder, and slow
smokeless shotgun powder in the cannon. Fast smokeless powder is not
reccomended, as it can generate pressures which will transform your cannon
into a large bomb.
After hundreds of shots they cut the cannon into several sections, and
cut two of these the long way and seperated the components. There was no
visible evidence of cracking or swelling of the inner pipe.
There are many other types of pyrotechnics that can be used. Smoke
bombs can be purchased in magic stores, and large military smoke bombs can
be bought through advertisements in gun and military magazines. Even the
"harmless" pull-string fireworks, which consists of a sort of firecracker
that explodes when the strings running through it are pulled, could be
placed inside a large charge of a sensitive explosive.
One type of pyrotechnic device that might be deployed in many way
would be a smoke bomb. Such a device could conceal the getaway route, or
cause a diversion, or simply provide cover. Such a device, were it to
produce enough smoke that smelled bad enough, could force the evacuation of
a building, for example. Smoke bombs are not difficult to make. Although
the military smoke bombs employ powdered white phosphorus or titanium
compounds, these raw materials are difficult to obtain. Instead, these
devices can often be purchased through surplus stores, or one might make the
smoke bomb from scratch.
Most homemade smoke bombs usually employ some type of base powder,
such as black powder or pyrodex, to support combustion. The base material
will burn well, and provide heat to cause the other materials in the device
to burn, but not completely or cleanly. Table sugar, mixed with sulfur and
a base material, produces large amounts of smoke. Sawdust, especially if
it has a small amount of oil in it, and a base powder works well also. Other
excellent smoke ingredients are small pieces of rubber, finely ground
plastics, and many chemical mixtures. The material in road flares can be
mixed with sugar and sulfur and a base powder produces much smoke. Most of
the fuel-oxidizer mixtures, if the ratio is not correct, produce much smoke
when added to a base powder. The list of possibilities goes on and on. The
trick to a successful smoke bomb also lies in the container used. A plastic
cylinder works well, and contributes to the smoke produced. The hole in the
smoke bomb where the fuse enters must be large enough to allow the material
to burn without causing an explosion. This is another plus for plastic
containers, since they will melt and burn when the smoke material ignites,
producing an opening large enough to prevent an explosion.
There are many ways to produce moderate quantities of dense smoke from
simple materials. Motor oil works well, but is not good for the environment.
You can also mix six parts powdered zinc with one part powdered sulfur. This
mixture can be ignited by safety fuse or a red hot wire.this formula is very
similar to the zinc and sulfur rocket propellants used in some amateur
rocketry, and will produce pressure and much less smoke if confined.
Colored flames can often be used as a signaling device. by putting a
ball of colored flame material in a rocket; the rocket, when the ejection
charge fires, will send out a burning colored ball. The materials that
produce the different colors of flames appear below.
COLOR MATERIAL USED IN
red strontium nitrate road flares
green barium nitrate green sparklers
yellow Sodium nitrate salt
blue copper (+ PVC) old pennies
white magnesium (use alone!) fire starters, tubing
purple potassium permanganate treating sewage
While fireworks are becoming much more difficult to obtain, it isn't
very difficult to produce quality hand-made pieces. The most important
factor in achieving a reliable firework is practice. While your first few
attempts are likely to be spectacular failures, you can learn from your
mistakes. There is no fast way to become proficient at hand production-
patient practice is the key to consistent, reliable displays.
A simple firecracker can be made from cardboard tubing and epoxy. The
common spiral wound tubes are not very effective for firecrackers made from
slower burning powders, though they will work with flash powder. The tubing
used should be reasonably thick-walled, and can be produced by winding kraft
paper on a steel core. after winding two layers on the core the paper should
be coated with a thin layer of glue (any light glue will work) for the
remaining layers. The core should be removed after winding, as the tube will
shrink slightly as it dries.
1) Cut a small piece of cardboard tubing from the tube you are using.
"Small" means anything less than 4 times the diameter of the tube.
2) Set the section of tubing down on a piece of wax paper, and fill
it with epoxy and the drying agent to a height of 3/4 the diameter of the
tubing. Allow the epoxy to dry to maximum hardness, as specified on the
3) When it is dry, put a small hole in the middle of the tube, and
insert a desired length of fuse.
4) Fill the tube with any type of flame sensitive explosive. Flash
powder, pyrodex, black powder, nitrocellulose, or any of the fast burning
fuel-oxidizer mixtures will do nicely. Fill the tube almost to the top.
5) Fill the remainder of the tube with the epoxy and hardener, and
allow it to dry.
6) For those who wish to make spectacular firecrackers, use flash
powder, mixed with a small amount of other material for colors. By adding
powdered iron, orange sparks will be produced. White sparks can be produced
from magnesium shavings, or from small, LIGHTLY crumpled balls of aluminum
Impressive skyrockets can be easily produced from model rocket
engines, with a few minor modifications. While rocket engines for rockets
can be made from scratch, it is difficult to produce a reliable product.
Model Rocket engine (see below) Paper tubing flash powder
Bamboo stick glue plastic scraper
Commercially produced model rocket engines are available from most hobby
stores. They are discussed in detail on page 65. If bamboo rods are not
available, any thin dowel rod can be used. The rod serves as a stabilizer
to help maintain the skyrocket's path. If the rod is too heavy it will cause
the rocket to spiral, or even to double back.
Either buy a section of body tube for model rockets that exactly fits
the engine, or make a tube from several thicknesses of paper and glue.
Scrape out the clay backing on the back of the engine, so that the
powder is exposed. Glue the tube to the engine, so that the tube covers at
least half the engine. Pour a small charge of flash powder in the tube,
about an inch.
By adding materials as detailed in the section on firecrackers,
various types of effects can be produced. By putting Jumping Jacks or bottle
rockets with the stick removed in the tube, spectacular displays with moving
fireballs can be produced. Finally, by mounting many home made firecrackers
on the tube with the fuses in the tube, multiple colored bursts can be made.
Roman candles are impressive to watch. They are relatively difficult
to make, compared to the other types of home-made fireworks, but they are
well worth the trouble.
1) Buy a inch thick model rocket body tube, and reinforce it with
several layers of paper and/or masking tape. This must be done to prevent
the tube from exploding. Cut the tube into about 10 inch lengths.
2) Put the tube on a sheet of wax paper, and seal one end with epoxy
and the drying agent. Half an inch is sufficient.
3) Put a hole in the tube just above the bottom layer of epoxy, and
insert a desired length of water proof fuse. Make sure that the fuse fits
4) Pour an inch of pyrodex or gunpowder down the open end of the tube.
5) Make a ball by powdering about two 6 inch sparklers of the desired
color. Mix this powder with a small amount of flash powder and a small
amount of pyrodex, to have a final ratio (by volume) of:
60% sparkler material
20% flash powder
After mixing the powders well, add water, one drop at a time, and
mixing continuously, until a damp paste is formed.
This paste should be moldable by hand, and should retain its shape
when left alone. Make a ball out of the paste that just fits into the tube.
Allow the ball to dry.
6) When it is dry, drop the ball down the tube. It should slide down
fairly easily. Put a small wad of tissue paper in the tube, and pack it
gently against the ball with a pencil.
7) Repeat steps 4 through 6 for each "shot" the candle will have.
8) When ready to use, put the candle in a hole in the ground, pointed
in a safe direction, light the fuse, and run. If the device works, a colored
fireball should shoot out of the tube. The height can be increased by
adding a slightly larger powder charge in step 4, or by using a slightly
If the ball does not ignite, add slightly more pyrodex to thepaste
made in step 5.
The balls made for roman candles also function very well in rockets,
producing an effect of colored falling fireballs.
:LISTS OF SUPPLIERS AND MORE INFORMATION
Most, if not all, of the information in this publication can be
obtained through a public or university library. There are also many
publications that are put out by people who want to make money by telling
other people how to make explosives at home.
Advertisements for such appear frequently in paramilitary magazines
and newspapers. This list is presented to show the large number of places
that information and materials can be purchased from. This listing also
includes fireworks companies. The fact that a company is listed here does
not imply any endorsement or relationship with them.
COMPANY NAME AND ADDRESS WHAT COMPANY SELLS
Full Auto Co. Inc. Explosive Formulas
P.O. Box 1881 paper tubing,plugs
MURFREESBORO, TN 37133
MJ Distributing Fireworks Formulas
P.O. Box 10585
American Fireworks News Fireworks News Magazine.
SR Box 30 sources and techniques
DINGMAN'S FERRY, accurate source of info
Barnett Int'l Inc. Bows, Crossbows, archery
125 Runnels St. equipment, some air rifles
P.O. Box 226 quality varies by price
Crossman Air Guns Large assortment of air
P.O. Box 22927 guns, quality varies.
NEW YORK 14692
R. Allen Professional Construction
P.O. BOX 146 books and formulas
WILLOW GROVE, PA 19090
Executive Protection gas grenades, cutlery
Products and protection devices
316 California Ave.
RENO, NEVADA 89509
Box 1378-SN Cannon Fuse
HERMISTON, OREGON 97838
Badger Fireworks Co. Class "B" and "C" Fireworks
Box 1451 Janesville,
New England Fireworks Class "C" Fireworks
P.O. Box 3504
STANFORD, CONNECTICUT 06095
Rainbow Trail Class "C" Fireworks
EDGEMONT, PENNSYLVANIA 19028
Stonington Fireworks Inc. Class "C" and "B" Fireworks
4010 New Wilsey Bay U.25 Road
RAPID RIVER, MICHIGAN 49878
Windy City Fireworks Class "C" and "B" Fireworks
P.O. BOX 11
ROCHESTER, INDIANA 46975
Loompanics Books on Explosives,
P.O. Box 1197 Survival, etc
Port Townsend, WA 98368.
Sierra Supply Army Surplus,
PO Box 1390 Technical Manuals
Durrango, CO 81302
Paladin Press The most well known
P.O. Box 1307 dealer of books on
Boulder, CO 80306 explosives, etc
Delta Press Ltd Books
P.O. Box 1625 Dept. 893
El Dorado, AR 71731
Phoenix Systems Cannon Fuse, Mil surplus
P.O. Box 3339 and many books
Evergreen CO 80439 Wide selection
U.S. Cavalry Military and adventure
2855 Centennial Ave. equipment
Radcliff, KY 40160-9000
The Anarchist's Cookbook (highly inaccurate)
Blaster's Handbook [Dynamite user's manual] Dupont (explosives manufacturer)
This manual is reasonably priced at around $20, and has a lot of
material on rock removal and other common blasting operations. Includes
information on propagation blasting and charge calculation.
Manual Of Rock Blasting [Dynamite user's manual]
This manual from Atlas is a bit expensive at $60, but it covers
everything found in the Blaster's Handbook, as well as demolition and other
The Anarchist Arsenal: Incendiary and Explosive Techniques [Erroneous]
112p. 1990, ISBN 0-585-38217-6, Paladin Press
Ragnar's Guide to Home and Recreational Use of High Explosives
Benson, Ragnar. 120p. 1988, ISBN 0-87364-478-6, Paladin Press
Part of a series of very inaccurate books, anything with Benson
Ragner's name on it should be taken with a grain of salt.
Deadly Brew: Advanced Improvised Explosives [highly unsafe]
Lecker, Seymour. 64p. 1987, ISBN 0-87364-418-2, Paladin Press
Explosive Dust: Advanced Improvised Explosives [death trap]
Lecker, Seymour. 60p. 1991 ISBN 0-87364-587-1, Paladin Press
Improvised Explosives: How to Make Your Own [almost correct]
Lecker, Seymour. 80p. 1985 ISBN 0-87364-320-8, Paladin Press
The Poor Man's James Bond: Homemade Poisons, Explosives, Improvised Firearms,
Pyrotechnics... [Criminology series]
Saxon, K. 1986 ISBN 0-8490-3675-5 Atlan Formularies
The New Improved Poor Mans's James Bond, No. 1 (6th ed.) [lab manual]
Saxon, Kurt 477p. 1988 ISBN 0-318-41070-2 Atlan
This volume includes material from Weingarts Pyrotechnics as well as
some original material. This is one of the most well known books in the field.
The Poor Man's James Bond, Vol 2 [lab manual, reprints from asstd. sources]
Saxon, K. 484p. 1987 ISBN 0-318-41071-0 Atlan
Explosives and Demolitions
U.S. Army Staff. 188p. 1967 ISBN 0-87364-077-2 Paladin Press.
This manual is US Army, and is very complete and accurate, although
it is somewhat outdated. Prices range from $5.00 to $15.00 .
Improvised Munitions Handbook
U.S. Army Staff, Technical Manual 31-210
The procedures given are feasible, but they written are with the
presumption that the maker is willing to accept a high degree of risk.
George W. Weingart.
Gives ingredients, proper handling techniques, and several formulas
for the production of a numbeer of professional pyrotechnic devices.
Arthur Marshall - Chemical Inspector, Ordnance Dept. England
Published by P. Blakiston's Son & Co. in 2 volumes
Volume one covers production and volume two covers properties and
tests. Both are illustrated, very comprehensive and well written.
Hazardous Chemical Desk Reference
N. Irving Sax and R.J. Lewis, SR. Reinhold Press 1096pp
A quick reference guide to 4,700 of the most commonly used hazardous
chemicals and compounds, includes incompatibilities and hazards.
The Merck Index [11th Edition]
S. Budavari et al Eds: Merck, Rahway, Nj 2368pp
Covers more than 10,000 chemicals with information on properties,
production, uses, and other essential facts. The ultimate desk reference for al
chemists, this volume is available for $44 from a number of sources.
CRC Handbook of Laboratory Safety [2nd Edition]
Ed. N.U. Steere, CRC Press 864pp
The CRC Handbook is a valuable resource, and includes standard
laboratory safety measures as well as procedures for using and disposing of man
commonly encountered materials. Well worth the $90 list price.
R. Meyer. 3rd Edition UCH Publisher, Weinheim, FRG 1987 452pp
Covers the entire field, with nearly 500 entries including formulas
and descriptions for 120 explosive chemicals as well as 60 fuels and oxidizing
agents. This softcover manual is available from Aldrich Chemical for $128
:LIST OF USEFUL HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS
Anyone can get many chemicals from hardware stores, supermarkets, and
drug stores to get the materials needed to produce explosives or other
dangerous compounds. Household sources often contain impurities which can
have an adverse effect when used in pyrotechnic reactions. The presence of
impurities will often change the sensitivity of an explosive. Whenever
possible, it is best to use pure technical grade supplies.
Chemical Used In Available at
acetone nail polish rmvr,paint thnr Hardware,Drug
alcohol, ethyl alcoholic drinks, solvents liquor,hardware
aluminum (foil) packaging, baking grocery
aluminum (pwdr/dust) bronzing powder paint store
ammonium hydroxide CLEAR household ammonia supermarkets
ammonium nitrate cold packs,fertilizer drug stores
butane Cig. lighter refills drug store
calcium chloride sidewalk de-icer hardware
carbon carbon batter hardware
ethanol denatured alcohol drug store
ethyl ether auto quick start fluid auto supply
fuel oil diesel vehicles gas stations
glycerine drug stores
hexamine Hexamine camp stoves camping, surplus
hydrochloric acid muriatic acid (cleaning) hardware
hydrogen peroxide hair bleaching solution salon
iodine disinfectant(soln in alcohol)drug store
magnesium fire starters, heater anodes camping,plumbing
methenamine hexamine camp stoves camping,surplus
nitrous oxide whipped cream cans,poppers Gas suppliers, head shops
potassium permanganate water purification purification supplier
propane bottled stove gas camping,hardware
sulfuric acid Car battery (refills) automotive
sulfuric acid Root destroyer (with solids) hardware,garden
sulfur gardening (many impurities) hardware
sodium hydroxide Lye, oven cleaners hardware,grocery
sodium nitrate fertilizer "nitre" gardening
sodium perchlorate solidox (torch pellets) hardware
toluene lacquer thinner paint supply
CHECKLIST OF USEFUL CHEMICALS
The serious explosives researcher soon realizes that if he wishes to make
a truly useful explosive, he will have to obtain the chemicals through any of a
number of channels. Many chemicals can be ordered through chemical supply
companies. To avoid embarassment, place an order for large quantities of a few
unrelated chemicals at each of several companies, and if possible, use seperate
addresses for each order. A list of useful chemicals in order of priority woul
probably resemble the following:
Nitric Acid Potassium Perchlorate
Sulfuric Acid Potassium Chlorate
95% Ethanol Picric Acid (powder)
Toluene Ammonium Nitrate
Perchloric Acid Powdered Magnesium
Hydrochloric Acid Powdered Aluminum
GASES Sulfur (flowers of)
Hydrogen Potassium Hydroxide
Chlorine Sodium Azide
Carbon Dioxide Lead Acetate
Nitrogen Barium Nitrate
There are nearly an infinite number of fuel-oxidizer mixtures that can be
produced in the home. Some are very effective and dangerous, while others are
safer and (usually) less effective. A list of working fuel- oxidizer mixtures
is presented, but the exact measurements of each compound are not set in stone.
A rough estimate is given of the percentages of each fuel and oxidizer.
NOTE: Mixtures that uses substitutions of sodium perchlorate for potassium
perchlorate become moisture-absorbent and less stable. In general, sodium
compounds are much more hygroscopic than their potassium equivalents.
Magnesium can usually be substituted for aluminum. Using magnesium makes
the mixture more powerful, but it also increases instability and makes it more
shock sensitive. There are some chemicals with which magnesium will react
spontaneously, and it decomposes in the presence of any moisture.
Perchlorates can usually be substituted for chlorates. The perchlorate is
much more stable, and has a lower safety risk than chlorates. If chlorates must
be used they should never be mixed with sulfur or gunpowder. It is a good idea
to add a small amount of calcium carbonate to any mixture containing chlorates.
The higher the speed number, the faster the fuel-oxidizer mixture burns
after ignition. Also, as a rule, the finer the powder, the faster the burn rat
Extremely fine aluminum powder is detrimental because the layer of aluminum oxi
becomes a significant fraction of the weight when particle size is very small.
As one can easily see, there is a wide variety of fuel-oxidizer mixtures
that can be made at home. By altering the amounts of fuel and oxidizer(s),
different burn rates can be achieved, but this also can change the sensitivity
of the mixture.
In theory, it is possible to make many chemicals from just a few basic
ones. A list of useful chemical reactions is presented. It assumes knowledge
of general chemistry; any individual who does not understand the following
reactions would merely have to read the first few chapters of a high school
potassium perchlorate from perchloric acid and potassium hydroxide
K(OH) + HClO4 KClO4+ H2O
potassium nitrate from nitric acid and potassium hydroxide
K(OH) + HNO3 KNO3+ H2O
ammonium perchlorate from perchloric acid and ammonium hydroxide
NH3OH + HClO4 NH3ClO4+ H2O
ammonium nitrate from nitric acid and ammonium hydroxide
NH3OH + HNO3 NH3NO3 + H2O
powdered aluminum from acids, aluminum foil, and magnesium
aluminum foil + 6HCl3 2AlCl + 3H2;
2AlCl3(aq) + 3Mg 3MgCl2 (aq) + 2Al
The Al will be a very fine silvery powder at the bottom of the container w
hich must be filtered and dried. This same method
works with nitric and sulfuric acids, but these acids are too valuable in the p
roduction of high explosives to use for such a purpose,
unless they are available in great excess.
Reactions of assorted fuel-oxidizer mixtures
Balanced equations of some oxidizer/metal reactions. Only major products
are considered. Excess metal powders are generally used. This excess burns wi
2KNO3 + 5Mg K2O + N2 + 5MgO + energy
KClO3 + 2Al KCl + Al2O3 + energy
3KClO4 + 8Al 3KCl + 4Al2O3 + energy
6KMnO4 + 14Al 3K2O + 7Al2O3 + 6Mn + energy
- END OF THE BOOK. THIS IS APPROXIMATELY LINE NUMBER 3,670 OF THE TOTAL -
Collected by Brad Cox in connection with paradoxical goals of the Middle of Nowhere pro
The Outlaws page o
f the Middle of Nowhere web explains why
such material is maintained here.