Casting lead ingots.

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I to be a long way from needing mine ballast, yet if girlfriend are structure a submarine or a sailboat, working with the command is a great way to to fill time while friend wait for the cash circulation to buy the hull materials.


The perform of what no to do is more than likely the most important thing to review once working with lead. Both command dust and the vapors indigenous melted lead room poisonous, particularly to children and pregnant women. Lead poisoning in kids will cause brain developmental problems and also in adult it will ruin the kidneys. Over there is no treatment, and also no means to eliminate the lead once your body is contaminated. Severe burns are an ext immediate together lead melts at about 630 levels F and also at the temperature the will easily burn through clothing and also skin. Also moisture and hot lead do not mix. Water instantaneously increases to 30 times its liquid volume once vaporized through molten lead and will cause an explosion. So right here are some precautions you might want to follow:

Wear as lot protective equipment as you very own or have the right to stand, consisting of a confront shield, animal leather apron, boots, gloves, respirator, etc.Work exterior or in a really well ventilated area. Perform not smoke together the dust will be vaporized through the burn tobacco.Clean up all spills.Keep your work cloths separate from the family members laundry.Wash your hands or shower when you complete a session. Carry out not eat, till you and your cloths are clean.Work pre-heat any kind of lead the might have water trapped inside.Once the command is melted, rotate down the warmth in stimulate to mitigate the fumes and also potential for serious burns.

Sources because that Lead

Our second load. 2,327 Pounds of bullets; simply 8 months worth.
Separating lead bullets indigenous dirtand rock. Just an idea, no tested

I over there are3 timeless sources for lead: scrap yards, and also tire shop that could sell you their used tire balancing weights, gun ranges. Automobile batteries execute not do the list due to the fact that processing the acid is past the ability of a backyard operation to execute safely. The advertising battery recyclers have devices to reclaim the acid and plastic in battery so over there is an ext value in the battery that just the lead.


In 2003 we picked up 1700 pounds from a gun range, however not any type of gun variety will do. The one I collection from is in the Hobbs Wildlife management Area in Arkansas. I happen to stumble onto it while traveling a earlier road returning from a diving trip, and also these are few of the nicest people you"ll ever meet. This variety actually has an automated system that collects the scrap into a bucket after the bullets struggle the steel deflector wall. I only paid 8 cents a lb for the scrap which is 3 cents more that what castle were gaining from the scrap yard. The problem is that a about fifty percent of the weight is trash material consisting the the copper and brass jackets the surround the command bullets and some bullets are solid copper. Add to that a good share that dirt and also rocks that obtain blown and washed right into the trap.

Wheel Weights

When we started collecting lead for the sailboat in late 2007, we hit every tire save in town. Every one of the tiny and lower end stores re-use command weights however they might have a pair of buckets of damaged weights come sell. It"s in reality illegal indigenous the stores to reuse the weights since they are more likely to autumn off in the road means where they will certainly be ground come dust through the traffic. The will cause some of them to come up through a lie. If your not certain what they are putting on her car, view if her weights have actually a new coat of silver- paint and also see if they mount the weight on the within of the rim where it is harder for you to view it. The big national wide outlets choose WalMart, Sams, Hibdon Tire, and also Firestone will have actually their very own collection programs. The local chain shop and much better quality tires stores room your best bet since they will certainly not put used weights on your customers cars. However they will frequently have contract encounters their wheel weight or battery service providers that preclude them from marketing their offered weights. Don"t forget the tractor trailer company centers. Semi van wheel weights are huge compared to vehicle weights. The end of practically 100 stores in the Tulsa area we obtained one chain of 9 stores and 2 or 3 others that us picked increase from once a month. There are a dozen more that we prevent at every 2 come 3 months. In less than a year us collected about 10,100 pounds of wheel weights the yielded around 9000 pounds of lead. There is around 20% loss of weight in wheel weights due to the steel clips and trash in the buckets. We additionally lost about 8 stores from the course in the time due to the fact that they switched to a contract through their supplier. More and an ext wheel weights are also no much longer made native lead. We pay 2 cents much more than the local scrap yards and our price in less than a year has gone native 10 cents to 17 cent a pound in 2008.

Scrap Yards

The scrap yard will certainly be happy to offer you command at the going rate.Most yards have actually "clean lead" which is pipe, sheet and other scrap that need to not have any kind of other steels attached. That will regularly come v dirt and grease and also water however 95% of that is lead. They will certainly often additionally have un-clean lead in the form of wheel weights. You can buy command wheel weights native the scrap garden for about 25% much less than clean lead. After girlfriend remove about 20% of that weight that accounts because that the steel clips and occasional lug seed you end up with a 5% savings. If you are going to need to melt that down into ingots anyway, climate the added 5% savings might be precious the ache of managing the stole clips.

The command Market

If the Chinese and Indians keep buying cars that need batteries and are just now starting to recycle them. The us is making much more bullets for Afghanistan and Iraq than we have due to the fact that Vietnam. Lead mainly originates from mines that are primarily about producing zinc and so the need for zinc is a contributor come the access of lead. Lead smelters bow up, miners walk on strike. New battery technologies will not usage lead. So there is a mix of things that regulate the price. Locally that price in 2006 was 32 cents, in 2007 it to be 53 cents a pound and in 2008 the is now $1 a pound. Even during the recession the 2008 the price of lead just dropped come 80 cents a pound.

Propane Fired lead Smelter

I found a damaged turkey fryer and also a pair of 5 gallon propane tanks for $50. This is no a bad means to go if you are processing much less than 1000 pounds. If you space going to process thousands of pound then I"d suggest you look at a my lumber Fired Smelter ~ above below.

You must have actually a steel or actors iron melt pot. Since aluminum melts atat 1220F i figured I could melt my lead in the bent pot the came through the fryer. However when ns tried a tiny test batch, the bottom nearly fell out of the pot as soon as the lead began to melt.

(1) Propane smelter
(2) Screen and ladle
(3) Gun range bullets heating upand stirred every 10 minutes.
(4) Wash bathtub lid because that the pot, andmolds heater up.
(5) removed brass and othertrash from the surface.

(6) Dumping out the hot trash.
(6) picking up more trash and permitting lead to pour back.
(8) Screening the staying trash indigenous the molten lead.
(9) pouring lead into forms.
(10) Finished lead ingot.
(11) command pipe often has a fairamount that antimony mixed into the lead. The antimony will certainly needmore warm to melt and also it will cool form a ring in ~ the optimal of thepot.
(1) A pilgrimage to the scrap metal yard turn up steel compressed waiting tank about 16 customs in diameter. I had the garden torch off around 18 inches of one finish and likewise cut under the collar. A stole plug as soon as in the outlet and it sits collar fits nicely over the burner. After seeing how warm the burner foot got throughout the an initial test batch ns went back and obtained some edge iron and also gave the pot that is own set of legs. Now I have the right to load the pot up v 200+ pounds and also not worry.

(2) The tool are a display on a steel pipe come fish the trash turn off the optimal of the molten lead, a steel bucket riveted to a steel take care of for scooping out the trash and ladling the end the molten lead, and also a stole bar come stir and also move the trash right into the ladle.

(3) If her lead has scrap in it choose my gun rage bullets, climate you will have a lot an ext work, yet here are some tricks. Very first off, perform not to wash the lead reasoning you deserve to wash turn off the dirt, as the lead also disintegrates right into a fine dust and also it will certainly wash far too. I produced a little version the Tar Creek in my ago yard and also ended up scraping off a fifty percent inch of floor in stimulate to eliminate the lead. Second, execute not fill her pot for this reason deep that you can"t operation an steel bar to the bottom. Friend will have to routinely press the bullets down right into the bottom of the pot as they begin to melt. Ns didn"t carry out this on my fist full load and also after to run the burner for 6 hoursI the lead still had not melted. The trouble is that warmth does not take trip well with the wait spaces between the piece of lead and the trash. Starting with a puddle of lead in the bottom native the previous batch additionally helps. However do not add scrap after over there is melted lead in the pot, uneven your are sure that is dry. You can start off through wet scrap because it will have time warmth up and also dry prior to there is any type of melted lead.

(4) The ideal thing i did to speed up the melting procedure is to put a lid on the pot. Mine lid is an old metal wash tub.This will trap heat and aid start raising the temperature in the lead the is over the molten pool. Once using a lid and also poking the pile under every 10 minutes or so I deserve to melt 120 pounds of lead in around 2 hours and burn about 2 gallons of propane. If you save poking the scrap down right into the pool of melted command in the bottom and also eventually every one of the brass, copper and dirt will be floating ~ above top.

(5) 90% of the scrap deserve to be removed with a ladle and also a stole bar. Mine ladle is actually a 2 quart metal bucket that is riveted ~ above a piece of level steel bar. If you develop one of these then examine the rivets for wear and damage. You carry out not desire to autumn a bucket of molten lead! one more steel bar is offered to rake the scrap right into the bucket. (6) You"ll have to dump the trash right into a metal bucket, therefore I got to usage my bending turkey fryer pot after all. Execute not shot using anything yet metal, as the trash will still be over 600 degrees. (7) when you job-related your method down to the command you have the right to dip up lead along with the trash floating on the surface and also cautiously permit the cause drain ago into the pot.

(8) The last of the trash, i m sorry will mostly be dirt can be gotten rid of with a wire mesh strainer like the one discovered in your kitchen. I actually tried a metal kitchen strainer after ns welded on a 2 foot handle, but it only lasted v 2 batches. I made a far better strainer from a half inch steel pipe with a loop bent right into one end and then ns wired couple of layers of 1/4 customs hardware fabric wired top top the loop, and finally a couple of great of aluminum home window screen is stitched come the hardware cloth. Be prepared to change the window screen a pair of times as it will certainly not last an ext than a couple of batches if you let it get too hot. I tried adding beeswax which is regularly used together a flux, because that removing impurities like copper and also oxides indigenous lead. Ns did appreciated the superior plume that white acting that preceded the flames the shot up out of the pot yet I didn"t an alert any benefit when it pertained to the finish product. Fluxing sounds crucial if friend are casting figurines or bullets, yet it is not crucial when we room talking around ballast.

(9) my molds room made from 3 inch channel. I have actually two molds, each v 3, 19 customs lengths of channel welded side by side v ends do from much more channel. The stole is over 1/4 inch and they heat up nicely as soon as leaned up against the burner while the command is melting. You should have two to adjust of molds, so the one can be cooling while friend are putting the second. (10) the will only take 8 to 10 minutes for the command to collection and then you deserve to dump out the first mold and start over. Each ingot from my molds weights 19 come 20 pounds.

If you desire to make life less complicated on you yourself then acquire lead with tiny or no trash in it. I picked up a 240 pounds native the scrap yard that was chopped up piece of command pipe for 25 cent a pound. Ns figured this was a pretty an excellent price because my bullets from the gun selection were fifty percent trash material making the actual cost for the extracted lead around 16 cent a pound. ~ I include in my drive time, trailer rental, fuel and also not having actually to remove thousands of pounds the trash, the extra 9 cents didn"t seem as well bad. The trash from the gun selection material v the dirt and also rocks included has no salvage value, but the scrap garden did take it off my hands without change which is something because that the sanitation employees to be grateful about. But I found that mine 240 pounds of command pipe has actually its own problems.

(11) Lead used to make pipe specifically the old lead pipe discovered in scrap yards and also the command that comes from chemical plants and radiation shielding used to line the wall surfaces of X-ray rooms includes from 1 to 12% antimony. Antimony is added to make the command harder and far better suited because that construction. If your structure an fin keel for a sail watercraft then you"ll need between 3 and 5% antimony, yet for interior ballast the is no needed. Antimony weighs about the exact same as steel so that is in reality lighter 보다 lead however not by much. That is number 51 on the regular table and has an atomic load of 121.76 contrasted to command at number 83 with an atomic weight of 207.2. The real difficulty is the it melts at 630C or 1166F contrasted to lead the melts at 327C or 621F. My pot would get it to melt, but it would float come the optimal where it cooled and also hardened right into the ultimate bath tube ring. It also cools quickly and clogs increase the screen strainer and hardens approximately the edge of the ladle. The end an outcome is the my 240 pounds of command pipe yielded just 180 pounds that ingots. The remainder was 20 years of grease and also corrosion that came trapped within the tube andantimony the was thrown out through the trash. My final expense for extracted lead from the command pipes was 33 cents a pound, convincing me that the gun selection lead in ~ 16 cent a lb was precious the journey to Arkansas and also we could constantly do a tiny diving in Beaver Lake on the way.

Wood Burning lead Smelter

We currently have the lead we need for the submarine, however we are starting on a sailboat when the below is completed so we room backin the lead collecting business.

We require 30,000 pounds this time for this reason an update to the smelter remained in order. Our source of bullets dried up so us have grew a list of tire stores that market us their offered wheel weights. About 20% of what we collect is scrap in the form of the steel clips, and also assorted lug nuts, studs, and valve stems.

We choose up 1000+ pounds native 10 stores in 4 hours on one Saturday a month. It will take another four hrs to melt castle down right into ingots. With the stole clips gone us will end up v 800 pounds the lead. And also cost to united state is about 27 cent a pound. Clean lead at the neighborhood scrap garden is 80 cent a pound. We currently have 17000 pounds so we have actually saved just over $9000 dollars which comes out to about $40 per hour. And also we favor the Saturday journey together.

(1) Meting pot is suspended in a55 gallon drum and also a pipeline plumbed come the bottom have the right to be tilted to to water the command off.
(2) A blower gotten rid of from a clothes dryer fans the flames. Asecond barrel acts together a chimneyto draw the warm past the pot.
(3) adding a lid trap the heatand reduced down the require for morewood.
(4) putting lead off the bottomthe pot and also down a item ofsteel angle right into the molds.

(5) command oxide choke the pipeafter 40 uses.

(1) The brand-new smelter is a joy to work compared to the old one. It uses the exact same melting pot, yet the pot now has actually a stole pipe equipment to the bottom. A 90 level elbow directs the pipe the end to the side and then an additional 90 level elbow that is not completely tight allows for 2nd pipe was standing upright while the batch is melting and also then it deserve to be rotated down to pour the lead. A item of edge iron v a handle is used to straight the molten command from the pipe into the molds. The melting pot additionally was fitted through a stand that enables it to be pitched, so that when the scrap left behind has cooled the can easily be dumped right into the trash. The melt pot is then surrounded by two 55 gal stole barrels, one stacked on top of the other. The reduced drum has an opening for feeding the wood fire below and a hinged hatch in the back that permits it to it is in pulled far without removed the melt pot, so the the rubbish in the melting pot deserve to be dumped.

(2) To acquire the temperature way up; a blower from a old dryer pressures air through a 6 inch metal pipe right into the fire box and also the 2nd barrel acts as a chimney and also draw the flames increase the political parties of the melting pot. The pot deserve to be invited to the top and in around 60 minutes the blower deserve to be turned turn off the optimal barrel removed and an ext weights have the right to be added. Repeating this procedure twice permits for over 600 pounds usable cause be handle in much less that 4 hours.

(3) as soon as the fire is going an excellent I found that I have the right to cover the height barrel through a steel lid to act as a damper. This trap the heat and cuts down on the quantity of hardwood needed.

(4) A propane torch is used to heat the pouring pipe when the batch is ready. Then it is simply a matter of pulling the to water pipe to the side and also directing the lead into the molds with a item of edge iron. The 1/4" round bar handle welded onto the pour pipe and the angle iron store the heat and lead away from mine hands.

(5) After end 40 offers the to water pipe completely choked off through lead oxide. That was feasible to scrap that out but a many work, therefore I simply replaced the reduced pipe and fittings in stimulate to conserve time.

Pouring the Ballast Sled

This lead was lastly being poured into it"s last resting place which is the submarine"s ballast sled.

(1) Melting under lead ingots is sure a lot much more enjoyable the melting down the raw bullets. Simply drop the ingots in, skim turn off a little dross and dip the end the molten lead. Perform be careful adding cold ingots to hot melt. If the ingots to be poured slowly, enabling then to cool in layers, then they will have small gaps in between the layers to be rain water have the right to collect. A pair of the ingots popped soon after included then right into the warm melt. Castle should have actually been heated gradually rather than dropped directly into molten lead.

(1) Melting under lead ingots
(2) Plaster fillets added.
(3) pouring molten lead into thelower compartments that theballast sled.
(4) we trimmed the lead blockswith a skill saw making use of a carbideblade. Tarps were hung come catchthe chips.
(5) Carl trial and error the bocks for fit.

The command blocks will must be lifted out of the compartments in the sled otherwise it would be impossible for me to relocate it without a small crane. (2) before the to water we added fillets of plaster right into the corners and also edges of each compartment in stimulate to round them off , sheathe the welds, and also fill the cracks between the compartments. Be certain to allow a time because that the plaster to completely dry.

(3) prior to pouring every compartment, brief sections the 5/8 customs chain to be suspended right into the opened so the they will certainly be cast into the lead and become lifting points.Pouring gradually is essential so that the lead cools and also stiffens approximately the bottom connect of chain, otherwise the stole chain will certainly float in the molten lead. That is the strangest point to see. The aluminum do a an excellent mold and also the lead did no stick come the aluminum, however I make a mistake thinking that the lead would contract enough to allow me to quickly remove it. Instead it compelled a 5 foot 2x4 to pry every block out. We connected a chain from the block to one end of the 2x4 and used lumber blocking together a fulcrum. And once the end of the feet there to be no going back in until the block was trimmed down. In hind site I must have included 1/6 customs sheet steel shims come the inside wall surfaces of the compartments in stimulate to type a smaller block.

(4) cutting lead through a skill saw is something I perform not recommend, but it works! We first hung tarps indigenous the ceiling in order to prevent the chips of lead from flying everywhere the shop and earlier yard, and fly lock will. You execute not desire to be standing in former of the blade! Eye protection, and also gloves are a must, ns am additionally wearing a leather sleeve on my left arm. Lead chips and also electric electric motors make a negative combination, so usage a cheap saw.Where the blade can not reach across the block you can drag the sideways throughout the surface and also remove a slim layer together you go. Her High college shop teacher would certainly freak if he saw you doing this and also rightly so. Be certain you deserve to count come 10 without utilizing your fingers before you try it. (5) after an evening of trimming, trying and also trimming a little bit more, Carl and also I had every one of the blocks rough reduced to fit right into there compartments. Certain glad that was about to lift and also move 1200 pounds of lead number of times. No require for a expedition to the gym tonight.

Making command Plates

Flash forward! Its currently December 27, 2007. We room in a brand-new house and also shop, Carl is missing a kidney early to and also IED in Iraq, he and also Randi space married, and also Kay and also I room going come be grand parents in April. Wow! This week the submarine"s ballast sledge’s gained around 300 pounds from lead plates that were added to to fill the gaps under and also around the batteries.

(1) Aluminum mold sit onfire bricks and also clamped down tothe work-related table.

(2) Foundry provided to melt lead.
(3) pouring lead into the mold.
(4) melt the cause smooth the surface.
(5) Cooling is down once thelead is again solid.
(6) Trimming the plates with acarbide blade.

(7) lead plates added below and on two sides of the batteriesin each compartment in order to rise the load of thesubmarine"s ballast sled.

Making the key was relatively painless but additionally time consuming. If girlfriend are beginning here ~ above this page you might take into consideration going ago to the top and reading some of the bad things and also cautions around working with lead.

(1) I an initial built a rapid mold from part 3/16" aluminum. In the picture to the left the mold has a partition added to kind up the smaller plates. The side space 1/2 inch and also thinner plates are just poured shorter. The mold is setting on peak of fire brick and also clamped down to the work table.

(2) my foundry I usage for melting aluminum makes rapid work of melt lead. Ns have also made a alteration to the propane supply. If you look close friend will check out that the regulator is gone and I additionally drilled the end the orifice to something that would certainly be an ext appropriate for herbal gas. These changes make controlling the flame much more difficult, yet they additionally gave me a lot much more heat.

(3)When the command is poured right into the mold, the cool and also sets very quickly so obtaining a level surface is impossible. Sorry around the blurry photo. It"s not simple to pour 600 degree lead and also take a picture at the same time.

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(4) as soon as the command is in the mold the torch is supplied to melt the lead again and also smooth the surface. This next will never ever be pretty unless you to be to polish it yet it will level the bumps out.

(5) If you room impatient you deserve to just wait until the surface has actually solidified and then pour water top top the plate to cool it down. Be careful that the surface ar really is solid. You carry out not want to obtain water under the surface and into the molten lead.

On that point; pouring molten command onto a wet surface will acquire a steam explosion that propels molten lead towards your challenge so be certain to warmth the mold come remove any water before the next pour.

The plates that go in in ~ the batteries have loops of wire imbedded in castle to make it easy to lift them out.

(6) The edges can be trimmed through a box knife if you only want to remove a sharp edge. A rough document can be used to remove an ext material if necessary, however the finest tool for cutting command is a carbide blade.

Just remember the you are creating a significant hazardous rubbish site once you execute this and also you will want to obtain is all done an once and also then give your shop a severe cleaning. That consists of your cloths. And defiantly no children, expecting, or potential mothers room allowed. You at the same time may have actually some brain cells that deserve to be safely exterminated.