In order to find out how best to implement his assassination plan, Elser travelled to Munich by train on 8 November 1938, the day of Hitler's annual speech on the anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch. Elser was not able to enter the Bürgerbräukeller until 10:30 pm, when the crowd had dispersed. He stayed until midnight before going back to his lodging. The next morning, he returned to Königsbronn. On the following day, 10 November, the anti-Jewish violence of the Kristallnacht took place in Munich.
In the following weeks I slowly concocted in my mind that it was best to pack explosives in the pillar directly behind the speaker's podium,' Elser told his interrogators a year later. He continued to work in the Waldenmaier armament factory in Heidenheim and systematically stole explosives, hiding packets of powder in his bedroom. Realising he needed the exact dimensions of the column to build his bomb he returned to Munich, staying from 4–12 April 1939. He took a camera with him, a Christmas gift from Maria Schmauder. He had just become unemployed due to an argument with a factory supervisor.
In April–May 1939, Elser found a labouring job at the Vollmer quarry in Königsbronn. While there, he collected an arsenal of 105 blasting cartridges and 125 detonators, causing him to admit to his interrogators, "I knew two or three detonators were sufficient for my purposes. But I thought the surplus will increase the explosive effect.' Living with the Schmauder family in Schnaitheim he made many sketches, telling his hosts he was working on an 'invention."
In July, in a secluded orchard owned by his parents, Elser tested several prototypes of his bomb. Clock movements given to him in lieu of wages when leaving Rothmund in Meersburg in 1932 and a car indicator 'winker' were incorporated into the 'infernal machine'. In August, after a bout of sickness, he left for Munich. Powder, explosives, a battery and detonators filled the false bottom of his wooden suitcase. Other boxes contained his clothes, clock movements and the tools of his trade.
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