A smoke grenade may help in different situations. First developed in 1848 by inventor Robert Yale, nowadays smoke grenades have many more uses than their original purpose (fireworks). Smoke grenades are also used by the Military for creation of smoke screens in case of a retreat or flanking maneuvers in order to provide a wall of visual distraction that reduces the accuracy of enemy fire. More so the Army uses smoke grenades to signal their position for air supported attacks.
Non-military uses of smoke grenades vary from signaling your position in case you are lost to fireworks, paintball games, self-defense, protests, spectators, airsoft enthusiasts. However, the smoke grenade class is restricted to signaling and concealment under the laws of war, and thus they are not considered weapons; since the vast majority is non-explosive, the smoke grenade remain legal for civilian use and ownership in most countries. You should be aware that you are fully responsible of these smoke grenades and you should always light them up in a place where things cannot catch fire.
How to Make a Real Smoking Grenade – the one hour method
One of the best methods to create a smoke grenade is basically a mixture of potassium nitrate and sugar. The former ingredient is also known as saltpeter and usualy it’s not available for purchase. But you may use Spectracide Stump Remover which consists mostly of saltpeter. It workes just fine!
What do you need?
- 60g of Saltpeter (sometimes found in Garden Shops) or Spectracide Stump Remover (availabe on Amazon)
- 40g of Sugar
- One spoon of Baking Soda
- 3 large spoons Organic Powdered Dye (found at Hobby Shops) – for color smoke bomb
- Card Tube (or toilet paper tube, soda can)
- Firework fuse or make your own fuse
- Duct Tape
The mix will be placed in a soda can that you have to cut in half. In order to create a good mix for this smoke grenade, add two parts of sugar to three parts of saltpeter. Cook these two ingredients and mix them constantly until they create a golden paste that is rather gooey. Stop the fire now as if you keep the mix on fire any longer, you risk igniting it and you don’t want a smoke grenade in your kitchen. While the mix is still warm and malleable, pour it into the soda can that you cut earlier. You will have half of a soda can filled with a gooey substance that will soon solidify.
This is the moment when you need to put a fuse into the mix. Place a thick string about an inch inside the mix and leave at least two inches outside. Then, you can either refrigerate or freeze the soda can or wait for it to cool down and harden naturally. It will take about 20 minutes for the mixture to be solid and then, you will be able to light it on fire. However, be advised: this is a much more powerful smoke grenade than the next one and you should ignite it only in open environments. Also, try to avoid lighting it near your neighbor’s house as he or she might not be eager to be surrounded by a thick layer of smoke. This smoke grenade is unlikely to put something on fire, because it is contained in a soda can, but you should not leave it unattended, either.
How to upgrade your smoking grenade?
1. Add a pull ring fuse:
2. Add more colours: if you want to upgrade your smoking grenade you can also add more colours to it. This is not something that can be done with the secont type of smoke bomb, as you cannot add coloring into that solid mix of elements. Instead, you can add coloring to the second formula and create an interesting effect. In order to do this, you can simply use organic food coloring. As the coloring of the mix will change, you will have to pay more attention when you create the mix so you don’t set it on fire.
3. Use other recipes: some chemicals may not be readily available unless you have access to a chemistry lab, but it’s worth knowing how it’s done. The ingredients are sifted together and ignited to produce the smoke.
Sulfur Smoke Grenade Recipe
Potassium nitrate – 4 parts
Charcoal – 5 parts
Sulfur – 10 parts
Wood dust – 3 parts
Para-nitroaniline Smoke Grenade Recipe
Potassium chlorate – 15%
para-nitroaniline red – 65%
Lactose – 20%
Green Smoke Grenade Recipe
Synthetic indigo – 26%
Auramine (yellow) – 15%
Potassium chlorate – 35%
Lactose – 26%
How to Make a Smoking grenade – the 10 minutes method (to entertain your kids)
This type of smoke grenades, also known as smoke bombs, are probably something that you did as a child too. If not, at least you had a friend who did them every once in a while and you all had fun while the small grenade spread thick fumes into the air. Even if many play with such smoke grenades, not everyone is aware of the creation process.
Depending on the size of the smoke bomb, you might want to add any amount of ping pong balls you want. However, a medium sized smoke grenade is perfect with about 5 balls. The first thing that you have to do when creating this kind of smoke bomb is to cut all the ping pong balls. You will need scissors in order to do this and even this will take you about 10 minutes. Each piece of the ball should have about 1 cm in diameter in order to be packed with ease into the tinfoil later. Large shards will not burn properly and they might also puncture the tinfoil too much. You have the alternative of smashing the balls and then ripping them apart by hand, but this is much more tedious and you could also get a cut, as plastic can also be quite sharp. This is why a small pair of scissors is more than welcome.
After you have prepared all of the ping pong balls by cutting them evenly, you have two options. You can either place them in another ping pong ball that was previously pierced in order for the shards to be placed inside, or you can directly wrap all of the small bits into tinfoil. You should to this tightly in order for the bits to stay close and burn evenly. If you want a single exit point for the smoke, use a pencil as you wrap the shards. Place it in the tinfoil and wrap the foil around it. Then, take the pencil out and you will have a miniature chimney from which the smoke will come out. The final step that you need to perform during this process is to light up the smoke grenade. Light the part with the ping pong ball shards until you see smoke coming out of the “chimney” and then step back. It will take several minutes until the fire will put itself out and you should constantly take a look at it.
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