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Old 12-07-2010, 09:38 AM
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Default Make your own instant hand warmers. DIY



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I had pondered, for quite a while, as to how those hand warmers worked. You the type that you tear off the plastic and they heat up. I hunted for recipes, but had a hard time finding them. Here's 2 that I have tracked down.


Hand Warmer: Exothermic Reaction: Instant heat
Materials:
2 Tsp salt
2 Tbsp Vermiculite (Can be purchased from
Hardware store or plant nursery)
2 Tbsp iron powder
(Can be purchased from science catalogue)
2 Tbsp fine activated charcoal
(The kind used in aquarium filters)
3 Tbsp pencil sharpener shavings
2 Tbsp water
1 small disposable container
1 disposable spoon
Procedure:
1. Combine the dry ingredients in the small disposable
container
2. Add water and mix
3. The oxygen in the air will combine with the
ingredients to produce heat.


Homemade Hand Warmer Recipe
25g iron powder (filings or grindings)
1 gram sodium chloride (table salt)
Combine in plastic bag & shake to mix.
Add to bag,

1 tbsp vermiculite (or charcoal or sawdust)
Shake to mix.
Store in an air tight jar until ready to use.
To activate, add 1 tsp (5ml) water, seal the bag tightly then squeeze & shake.


Note:
I went to a machine shop to see if I could get some metal filings. Not all of it was iron based. I put the stuff I got into a bowl. Then using a magnet inside a plastic bag, combed the pile and collected the stuff that was magnetic.

Since then I realized and easier way to get iron filings, is to cut up some fine steel wool. You basically need something that rusts quickly. Ever checked out a pad of steel wool after leaving it wet over night? Gets very rusty.

Haven't made another batch using the steel wool yet. But that's my plan. Right now I still have enough store bought ones, but having the recipe is always a good thing to have in one's files.

Have Fun!
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:44 AM
BadgeBunny BadgeBunny is offline
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This has got to be one of the most ingenious posts I have ever read. Either you are a genius or you are a 12 year old bored out of your mind!

Very very nice ... I am gonna have to give this a whirl!!

Thanks for sharing!!!

I do have one question though ... how long do your home-made warmers stay warm??
Old 12-07-2010, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by BadgeBunny View Post
This has got to be one of the most ingenious posts I have ever read. Either you are a genius or you are a 12 year old bored out of your mind!

Very very nice ... I am gonna have to give this a whirl!!

Thanks for sharing!!!

I do have one question though ... how long do your home-made warmers stay warm??
lol
No am not 12, but a wee bit older than that.

The warmers that I made would have worked better if I had proper iron filings. The stuff I had was mixed with other stuff and didn't rust fast enough, but they still got warm. It has been a while since I played with these recipes, so I can't remember how long exactly they kept warm. So I stewed in it for while and my "inexpensive" solution is to use fine steel wool. You can buy iron filings from science/chemistry sites. Then things would work fine. Being on a limited budget, I was trying to find and inexpensive alternative.

Have fun experimenting!
Old 12-07-2010, 02:15 PM
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When I was a kid, I made one for the deer woods. When it's 15 degrees it's hard to keep the trigger finger working.

I put one or two carbide chunks in a small metal pepper can. Filled a nasal spray squeeze bottle with water. When I wanted to activate the heater, I would drop a couple of drops onto the carbide and instant heat. Just don't breathe the vapors. They are flammable.
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by en-ki View Post
When I was a kid, I made one for the deer woods. When it's 15 degrees it's hard to keep the trigger finger working.

I put one or two carbide chunks in a small metal pepper can. Filled a nasal spray squeeze bottle with water. When I wanted to activate the heater, I would drop a couple of drops onto the carbide and instant heat. Just don't breathe the vapors. They are flammable.
That's pretty cool! Where would you buy carbide chunks?
Old 12-07-2010, 05:20 PM
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I've read something similar elsewhere, thanks for spelling it out again. I will put it in archive for future use if alright with you.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:09 PM
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I looked into this last year. For these warmers to work properly, you need to buy iron powder online, which is quite expensive. It's cheaper simply to buy the warmers at the store.

This is essentially, an accelerate rust reaction. The iron and salt is ground so fine, that water vapor from the air produces the rust reaction, which is exothermic.

For carbide, it's hard to find in the US, and expensive. You can only get it online. So not worth buying it really.
Old 12-07-2010, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Bwanabuckshot View Post
I've read something similar elsewhere, thanks for spelling it out again. I will put it in archive for future use if alright with you.
By all means, that's why I posted it. The regular hand warmers are so cheap, that it is almost not worth making them. However, in the future, might be a different story. If there comes a time when we either can't afford them or there is no money to use, having the know-how to make your own is always a good thing.

Welcome to the forums!
Old 12-07-2010, 06:52 PM
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I looked into this last year. For these warmers to work properly, you need to buy iron powder online, which is quite expensive. It's cheaper simply to buy the warmers at the store.

This is essentially, an accelerate rust reaction. The iron and salt is ground so fine, that water vapor from the air produces the rust reaction, which is exothermic.

For carbide, it's hard to find in the US, and expensive. You can only get it online. So not worth buying it really.
Thanks for getting back to me on the carbide. Sounds like neat stuff though.

I do agree with you that the ideal is the bought iron filings. The stuff I made did heat up though. Next time, I want to try out the steel wool. It seems to be fine enough and rusts well.

Unfortunately, I've moved from a small house to renting a room. This has limited my "experimentation" space.

So, If anyone else wants to try it out and report back, that'd be great.
Old 12-08-2010, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by survive View Post
That's pretty cool! Where would you buy carbide chunks?
My dad and uncles had done some mining and used it in their headlamps. It makes a flammable gas when exposed to water and the little lights had a nozzle that one lit for illumination. I don't know where it came from, but they always seemed to have it. I still have some carbide and one of the lamps.
Old 12-08-2010, 08:06 PM
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Good informative post, an idea I haven't tried yet! Good stuff.
Old 12-08-2010, 09:56 PM
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I know I would end up blowing myself up somehow, I'll stick to buying the little orange packets
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:08 AM
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You can also buy the iron powder in cheap magnet-oriented science learning kits at hobby stores or from online stores like http://www.scientificsonline.com/ or http://www.sciplus.com/index.cfm . These 2 sites are invaluable for almost any DIY or mad science project.
In fact I just found ~25 gram containers of iron filings on the latter for $1.75.
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:47 AM
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I know I would end up blowing myself up somehow, I'll stick to buying the little orange packets
There is nothing in there that is explosive, so it is impossible for you to blow yourself up!

You are basically causing the iron to rust. In the process of rusting, it gives off heat.

For rusting, salt and moisture and air makes sense, as these would definitely make the iron rust, but not sure why the pencil shavings, charcoal and vermiculite. These are all organic materials.

Does anyone know how/why the organic materials would help the iron to rust? Might they be to hold the water?
Old 12-09-2010, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zero_rollov View Post
You can also buy the iron powder in cheap magnet-oriented science learning kits at hobby stores or from online stores like http://www.scientificsonline.com/ or http://www.sciplus.com/index.cfm . These 2 sites are invaluable for almost any DIY or mad science project.
In fact I just found ~25 gram containers of iron filings on the latter for $1.75.
That not a bad price, but I can buy "ready to go" instant warmers for less that that. Thanks for the source though. I'll bookmark them for future reference!

Am still hunting for a source that makes this project a cost effective one. That's shy I tried the metal shop. Not sure why the metal shavings from there didn't work that well? Could have been that the metal didn't have enough iron content (Which is most likely the case).

EDIT
Just checked out that first site of yours and they have a 500g bottle of filing available for $8.95. 500g would be enough for 20 batches, so it is s feasible price!
http://www.scientificsonline.com/iron-filings.html

Unfortunately, this company only ships to the US, so I am out of luck.
Old 12-09-2010, 07:40 AM
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I just put my hands in her bra. Best hand warmers I've found thus far, and availabe in most places. (See owner for details, policies may vary.)
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:53 AM
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If you're getting ingredients for this, you may also want to get some aluminum powder and educate yourself on thermite.
Old 12-17-2010, 09:15 AM
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I just put my hands in her bra. Best hand warmers I've found thus far, and availabe in most places. (See owner for details, policies may vary.)
When I put my hands in your wife's bra, she slapped me. What gives?
Old 12-17-2010, 07:14 PM
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Buy yourself a carbide drill bit. Find yourself a piece of cast iron and start drilling. If you have a lathe you can turn a piece of cast iron. Both processes will give you the same result. . . Iron powder. Iron does not make shavings like steel while. F.G.
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:54 PM
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For cast iron filings try the local brake shop..
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