Get The Lead Out

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Get The Lead Out

Post by Tim:H11 on 1/24/2018, 7:37 pm

Boy oh boy have I got my work cut out for me! I have a ton of this stuff I have to sort through to get the steel, Zinc and plastic out and find just the lead. But it's worth it. I'm finding harder lead as well as some very soft lead. The soft stuff I'm setting aside for my muzzleloaders. The rest will eventually become 45's and 38's. 

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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by JKR on 1/24/2018, 7:46 pm

Nice!! I'm jealous!

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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by Chris Miceli on 1/24/2018, 8:11 pm

I don’t cast lead, can you just melt it all and skim the junk off the top ?
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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by Tim:H11 on 1/24/2018, 8:32 pm

Chris Miceli wrote:I don’t cast lead, can you just melt it all and skim the junk off the top ?

If I had a REALLY big pot.... maybe... problem is there is are some weights that are plastic or plastic coated and I don't wanna get into melting those. Messy. Plus there are a LOT of Zinc or steel so it's just easier to sort them. Using a pair of cutters it's easy to tell whats what. Once the lead melts the steel clips float. Those I can get out easy enough.
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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by Ghillieman on 1/25/2018, 3:00 am

Chris Miceli wrote:I don’t cast lead, can you just melt it all and skim the junk off the top ?
Yes. When everything is melted toss in some old candle wax and stir. Repeat several times. It will make the lead alloy bead off jackets or clips or whatever else is floating around that needs to be skimmed off.
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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by Tim:H11 on 1/25/2018, 7:03 am

Ghillieman wrote:
Chris Miceli wrote:I don’t cast lead, can you just melt it all and skim the junk off the top ?
Yes. When everything is melted toss in some old candle wax and stir. Repeat several times. It will make the lead alloy bead off jackets or clips or whatever else is floating around that needs to be skimmed off.

I did some research and asked some questions before getting in to this and my main source of information has been from a caster/hand loader that's been doing this for years. He's probably learned more than I ever will on the subject. 

I always use wax in the melting pot when casting bullets to flux with. When smelting however it's best to use wood chips or saw dust. The wax can cause your harder properties like tin and such to separate and surface making the lead softer. Using saw dust or wood chips generates carbon as it burns pushing the harder properties back down into the lead leaving truly only trash on the surface (metal clips and any impurities outside of the lead and tin and such). 

So I plan on doing that. Because I plan on melting the wheel weights in a pot over a propane burner, and I really don't plan on using a lead thermometer at this stage of the process I want to make sure I get the wheel weights sorted so I'm only melting lead. Zinc melts at a hotter temp than lead but only around 80 to 100 hotter or somewhere in that neighborhood. Too close in my opinion to risk melting Zinc in with the lead if I'm not using a thermometer.
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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by zanemoseley on 1/25/2018, 8:13 am

Jason, when you finish up head to my house, I've got (2) 5 gallon buckets for you to process lol.

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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by Tim:H11 on 1/25/2018, 8:32 am

zanemoseley wrote:Jason, when you finish up head to my house, I've got (2) 5 gallon buckets for you to process lol.

HA! It’s gonna be a while! I’m only going a little at a time mostly because of available time to work on it. Gonna try melting what little I’ve sorted out just to see how it goes tonight.
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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by Al on 1/25/2018, 11:52 am

I have to go with Tim.
When I smelt, i generally toss sawdust in with the raw scrap & then stir it several times with a rough cut pine lath. Does double duty with stirring the pot & burns up generating carbon. End result is good.

Last marathon smelting session, I went through 2 wood laths from them burning down while stirring.
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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by james r chapman on 1/25/2018, 1:43 pm

Always told to avoid zinc in the lead like the plague
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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by jglenn21 on 1/25/2018, 5:02 pm

Zinc will flat drive you crazy..  get a good thermometer and you can avoid it..lead will melt and the zinc will stay on top to scrap out of the mix.

lot's of info out on the web on identifying zinc/steel wheel weights.. Check out the Cast bullet web site

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forum.php
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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by james r chapman on 1/25/2018, 5:23 pm

But it's close so be very accurate with the thermometer
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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by USSR on 1/26/2018, 5:58 am

What I do to test for zinc clip-on wheel weights is squeeze them with a pair of side-cut pliers.   If they're lead, the pliers will dent them, if they're zinc they won't.

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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by Tim:H11 on 1/26/2018, 9:42 am

USSR wrote:What I do to test for zinc clip-on wheel weights is squeeze them with a pair of side-cut pliers.   If they're lead, the pliers will dent them, if they're zinc they won't.

Don

That’s what I’ve been doing last couple of nights. I have enough sorted I’m gonna run my first batch soon. Maybe tomorrow or Sunday night. Maybe Monday or Tuesday night. I don’t know yet. But I’ll post pictures. I’ve casted Bullets from wheel weights before but they were already ingots. I’ve never made ingots my self before so I’m excited.
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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by USSR on 1/26/2018, 11:07 am

One thing about wheel weights, they are cruddy.   A lot of junk (along with the metal clips) comes to the surface.  

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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by SmokinNJokin on 1/27/2018, 7:35 am

Tim, have you ever tried marvelux casting flux? I have been using it a long time for small batches was curious what your opinion is on it.

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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by james r chapman on 1/27/2018, 7:46 am

Ahhh, Marvelux the magical powder.

I've even used russet potatoes...
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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by JKR on 1/27/2018, 8:08 am

james r chapman wrote:Ahhh, Marvelux the magical powder.

I've even used russet potatoes...
James that's an interesting way to do potatoes! Mind sharing your recipe?

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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by james r chapman on 1/27/2018, 9:28 am

Lol, a small piece held inside the upside down scoop/dripper agitates the hell out of the mess.

I usually just use a pearl size ball of beeswax now

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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by fc60 on 1/27/2018, 11:53 am

Greetings,

I now use Marvelux. I used to use Beeswax or Boelube solid. Too much smoke with the latter compounds.

Marvelux works well; but, it does crud up the pot. On the plus side, no smoke.

If I ladle cast, I like to clean my ladle with Beeswax or Boelube occasionally to clean it and prevent "wetting".

Cheers,

Dave
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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by KenO on 1/27/2018, 8:04 pm


I haven't used WWs in a while. The zink WWs stand out, they are a more silver color against the dark grey. If you keep your smelt temp low, they will float out if you miss them when charging your pot. 

I don't think it matters what you use for flux, sawdust, lube drippings, or whatever. I use a bottom pour smelter made out of a turkey fryer. 

When casting in the pot, I keep a layer of cat litter (clay) on top, seems to keep the tin from separating.

I use range lead from a Bullseye only range. I'm lucky to have the source, last time I salvaged 720 lbs, and ended up with a little over 500 lbs of ingots, this is a pic of last years smelt in process. The ingots on the left, and the dross on the right, in the tractors front end loader.

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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by Multiracer on 1/27/2018, 9:09 pm




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Re: Get The Lead Out

Post by Tim:H11 on 1/30/2018, 9:44 pm

So I finally had some time tonight to get some of these wheel weights melted down and make them into ingots. I did not have a lot sorted. Just a small batch to see how it would go. I wanted to get a feel for where the burner needed to be at and where I should set the burner temp, how much smoke and fumes would be generated, etc. The first picture is the burner and the pot. Just barely fired up. Not melted yet. I started right about sun set so I had to bring out a lamp, and it was cold so I started a fire in an old brake drum near by while I waited for the lead to melt.







Once I got it melted down I added some wood shavings to the pot and mixed it in. It ignited and burned and I continued to stir it in. Once the fire went out I was left with a lot of dirt and garbage and steel clips floating on the top. I scooped all that out. I was expecting the pot to be more full than it was. I new the level would be low because of the removal of the clips and the space those took up in the pot prior to melting but I didn't think it would be that low. I had another small bucket of weights ready to go so I added those and let them melt down. Then added wood shavings again, let em catch fire, stirred, cleaned out the trash and I was ready to make ingots!






So here are a couple of more pictures of the ingots once I got started pouring them and what I made in total. 24 bricks! Each brick is supposed to be approximately one pound. So now I have some ingots and I need to get going on making some 45's! I did notice that the first four bricks I made came out shiny. The rest were frosty. Something I see when I my bullet mold over heats when making bullets. Since I only had one ingot mold I just kept filling it up and going so the mold didn't have a chance to cool down. The other possibility is the lead was too hot. Not a big concern here for me though. It's just ingots. More important for me would be bullet making. I think it went well being my first time "smelting" or making ingots. I've done my own bullet casting for a couple of years now but never processed my own lead. The lead I got was ready for the pot. A new aspect to casting! I like it! The camp fire in the driveway was fun too. 




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