It's legal to make your own e-matches, igniters, and BP (personal use only,
no sales). Still have to store them properly, but it's legal. Pyrodex
requires no permit at all, and can be used effectively in ejection canisters
that are either (a) fairly sturdy and tightly sealed to contain the flame
front until most of the powder has ignited or (b) initiates reaction from
the "front" of the charge. There are issues with crossing state lines with
completed devices, but not with component parts.
Aerocon sells pre-made 38 & 50gauge e-match chips and 22g shooters wire. $25
and an evening's time and you can make enough low -current e-matches to last
you a lifetime. You do need to be comfortable working with some rather
sensitive chemical combinations, but if you are careful and follow safety
precautions it's simple. All the chemicals are legal to own and can be
ordered from organizations like Firefox, or the numerous independent vendors
on eBay. eBay vendors are cheaper, by and large.
I make meal BP mostly for coating igniters and a secondary coating on
ematches. I've also granulated it, sifted for size, and used it for ejection
charges. Works great. Far better than Pyrodex. And destroying the leftover
(too big) granules makes for a nifty but short light show. FWIW, even the
*ungranulated* (meal) powder works for ejection charges, but you need to
measure it by weight rather than volume -- the "1ml=~1g" conversion is NOT
accurate at all for meal BP.
Also, my preliminary experimentation shows that if you "sweeten" Pyrodex
with about 10% meal BP.... the combo acts much like standard BP. This is
very preliminary, and is a pretty low priority experiment for me... but it
does work. More than 20% BP seems to have no added benefit. Less than 5% BP
does not seem to be sufficient for the desired effect (i.e. ejection without
special canisters.). I've only mixed this combo in small amounts for ground
testing, and have not evaluated its flight performance or long-term storage
safety. NB: precentages are by weight
Wow-- I sound like Ted the Canuck--- "Make it all yourself-- it's fun!!"
With that said, however-- READ the Orange Book before you start anything.
Know the laws. Be sure you're on the up-and-up with your local fire marshal
and police authorities, especially since testing often draws attention.
Remember-- for every law, there is an equal and opposite (and legal)
circumvention <g> Not really, but there are certainly ways to accomplish
basic rocketry tasks and still be within the law, even without a LEUP.
As an experiment I once took some pyrodex and mixed it with alginate
and water. It made a paste that I filled a 1/4 A motor casing with and
sealed with plaster of paris. After about a month or two drying time I
put it in an old rocket and sent it off. It had about half the
performance of a regular 1/4 A. It didn't explode or sputter.
I wonder what other uses there are for pyrodex that we haven't heard
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