Warning, Warning, Warning Explosive mixture

HELLGAP

Dealer - Purveyor
I work on the railroad and often work near the thermite crew they use a mold and the magnesium flare /aluminum/steel powder and melt the rails together at about 3000 degrees . A crew in BC canada would toss some slag leftover over the side of a bridge that was 60 ft to the water. Needless to say the slag would explode on impact and one time to many sent the then hardened shrapnel back into one of the workers head killing him instantly. The guys told me if it starts raining when they have just lite a fuse they say run for cover cuzz its going to explode burning slag all over the place for hundreds of yards .Very dangerous stuff.
 

Logrus9

Well-Known Member
I feel a need to make some of this stuff but do something constructive with it at the same time. I was watching a video on using thermite on welding railroad track together. I don't have a rail road running through my yard so any ideas on what a constructive use for thermite might be -- other than the fun factor?
Pack it around your mailbox and wait for the idiot kids with their baseball bats to drive by one night.:what!: :biggrin:
 

James Terrio

Well-Known Member
As someone who is related to an attorney, I must strongly advise against blowing up youngsters! ;)

That did give me a chuckle, tho...
 
S

shakie

Guest
I also swear by the soapy water bucket plus three big old magnets between the wheel and the bucket. Grind a blade and the magnets are covered with filings.. I have two bandsaws one for metal and the other for aluminum and wood.
 

BruceM

Well-Known Member
Great info, I wasn't aware of danger myself, gonna change my ways. There is a great fire extinguishing product that will actually put out burning magnesium and the like. It's called Cold Fire, I have it in my shop, kitchen, truck, and carried it in my offroad race car too. Here's a link to their website www.firefreeze.com. I don't sell the stuff but have used it for about ten years now.
Be safe!
Bruce
 

Neotron

Member
I feel a need to make some of this stuff but do something constructive with it at the same time. I was watching a video on using thermite on welding railroad track together. I don't have a rail road running through my yard so any ideas on what a constructive use for thermite might be -- other than the fun factor?
Cutting large pieces of metal.
 

Neotron

Member
I have seen the processes of welding rails together. My dad worked for the rail roads and did this allot. (He was a Welder and Black Smith by Trade.) Never any accidents from what I remember. My dad showed me how to make it if the the rail roads company didn't buy it. Iron oxide and aluminum. Basically rust and a 350 mesh aluminum powder. This was ignited with magnesium and I never seen it ignited any other way. I then joined the ARMY and went with 13M M.L.R.S. then went in to 21B Combat Engineer I was trained in 89D E.O.D but never could get the physic evaluation completed for 89D so stayed 21B while I was O.J.T. with 89D. We made thermite but for cutting cables, flange beams, rebar, metal plat, inch or larger bolts, and any thing metal. My understanding about thermite is that it is a pyrotechnic composition of an aluminum powder and an Iron oxide, which produces an aluminothermic reaction known as a thermite reaction. Stuff that can fuel thermite are magnesium, calcium, titanium, zinc, silicon, boron and water is nasty too. Most varieties are not explosive, but can create short bursts of extremely high temperatures focused on a very small area for a short period of time. Now add the particulates of flour, wood dust, house hold dust, fibers of cloth, resin, or any float-able burnable material, you know have an explosion.

In the shops while I was in the military for the belt and wheeled grinder stations we had PVC pips grounded and T spots with magnets installed in caps to remove Iron fillings before it got to the bath we had. The bath was some kind of nonflammable liquid that would cool and put out hot amber's of steel. The Vac system I could not explain since it hooked up to about 12 grinders that led to a cage and set about 50 ft away and we where never to mess with it. ??????

We did grind metals on those grinders of all sorts from mild steel, aluminum, brass, high carbon steel, copper and pot metals but never anything other than metal. Four years worth of that and never any accidents?

I not saying that this can not happen but best to be careful and stupid. I do like the fact that someone brings things up like this it is good to know too and good to keep safe.

Thanks
C.E.Sampel
 

petie

Well-Known Member
I work in an aluminum plant and see thermite on a daily basis. It can be some really nasty stuff. Aluminum fines(dust made when grinding aluminum)are highly flammable. Keep in mind that rocket fuel is made from aluminum fines.
 
B

Black Dragon Forge

Guest
ummmm....are you saying i should not grind high carbon steel and TI on the same dust collection system?
 
B

Black Dragon Forge

Guest
What about the alumium oxide they use on sanding belts?
 

antleygd

Active Member
One side of me is saying be safe and clean up real nice with a vac if I have to work Al. The other side is thinking, where do I have some Al to grind. Knowledge can save you or cause you problems. This is causing termoil in my mind...lol
 

gaelic forge

Well-Known Member
Good safety thread. I will update this by reminding the rookies out there (and I am one of those) that grinding out the new mounting plate on the NWG should be done cautiously. Mine is 1/2 inch aluminum plate and I will cut and grind this outside of my shop and then wet down the metal filings. I learned several years ago about grinding aluminum inside a small shop, then following it with steel grinding. The resulting fire was thankfully small, but very intense and the fumes were nasty. As a blacksmith I have heard of several folks who have died of black lung as well as smithing galvanized metal, not to mention the aluminum and steel fiasco. There are a lot of makers that work in very small shops, often located in the garage attached to their home. Keep a fire extinguisher handy, please. And to the 'smith that posted this thread, thanks.
 

bubba-san

Well-Known Member
Excellent post , most folks are not aware of the Hazard. I, like the previous poster have had a personal experience . Nasty stuff
Another point I would like to speak of , I always wear a good face mask or just a good N-95 mask . There is nothing good about breathing any fumes from forging . Any heavy metals even copper and brass have hazards . In the old days they called it consumption . Wear a mask it may save your life.........
 

dienekis

Well-Known Member
OUps i was just grinding last weekend. :/ Pffff i guess i was really LUCKY!!Thank you for this post Sir
 

Bill Vining

Well-Known Member
My brother had a sheet metal shop and used large graining machines with 72" belts. In his old shop, he had one with a simple dust collector. One of the new employees started graining steel after a large batch of aluminum. That sheet metal shop is now non-existant. The entire place burned to the ground. Once this stuff ignites, you cannot put it out.
In his new shop, all the graining machines are now wet machines. No dust, just a slurry.
 

Geoffrey

Active Member
OK, pretty scary stuff!

I am making my NWG and I need to grind my aluminum platen arm before I can get the machine fully up and running.

Is there a way to do this safely?

Grind the aluminum then vacuum it all up before I change over to grinding steel?
 

BossDog

KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
OK, pretty scary stuff!
I am making my NWG and I need to grind my aluminum platen arm before I can get the machine fully up and running.
Is there a way to do this safely?
Grind the aluminum then vacuum it all up before I change over to grinding steel?
just sweep up in between and you will be fine. A dust collection system is mostly the issue here.
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
Thanks for bringing this thread up into the new posts.
I was aware of the mix that makes Thermite and have in the past started a small fire in my shop by grinding Steel after shaping a few handles of Ironwood.

The thing is that I have a batch of Aluminum on the way in for the first time of ever working it and hadn't yet 2 and 2 together about grinding these two different metals in my shop.

I have my safety thinking hat on front and center where it should always be for all of us that want to make knives and possibly blow things up for recreation once and awhile.

Laurence

www.rhinoknives.com
 
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