Casting lead.

Discussion in 'General foundry chat' started by Jason, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    So I'm on the hunt for lead sheet locally, of course nothing nearby.
    Now I'm obviously not setup for sand casting, but do any of you have a good suggestion to do this same process on a much smaller scale? I'd be happy if I could pour pieces that were 6" X 6".......
    I've got plenty of ingot and time to pour out a dozen pieces to fit the need.

    Penny for your thoughts.

    I have to admit, I had no idea this was how they made the stuff.

     
  2. DavidF

    DavidF Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    Caswell plating supply. The general anodes are lead.
    Or if you dont mind getting your hands dirty, cut a car battery open...
     
  3. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    Caswell is too thin. I need 3/32". Batteries are a pain. I dont know what's in them for plates.
     
  4. DavidF

    DavidF Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    Rotometals is on amazon and has 3/32 x12 x12
     
  5. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    Mark that would be 5 lifetimes worth for what I'm doing.:D No one sells those rolls in my town. HD and Blowes must be on the green train.:rolleyes:

    I routed out a pine 2x4 and poured into that. No smoke. I'm still a little thick, but getting close. I only ran a 6inch long piece about 1/2" wide. Solidifies really fast before I can scrape it. Might try something bigger. My thinking was if I could cast my shape close, I wont have to slice up a sq ft of the stuff in 1/2' wide strips.:rolleyes:
     
  6. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    I was able to cast lead tonight down to 3/32" in wood, but something is not quite right. I melted wheel weights and even that thin, the stuff is super stiff. Not at all soft like lead sheet.
    Rotometals to the rescue.

    20190911_003940.jpg
     
  7. The zinc and solder bars I've been casting have been stiff and fragile, I put it down to slow cooling and larger crystals. maybe if you could pour it onto an aluminium mould it would flash cool and be more malleable. Don't wheel weights contain some antimony to harden them up?.
     
    DavidF likes this.
  8. crazybillybob

    crazybillybob Silver Banner Member

    wheel weight have a good bit of antimony in them to make them hard. Great for sinker and projectiles not so good if you want it flexible.
     
  9. HT1

    HT1 Silver

    soft lead very much means Pure Lead, most additives make it harder , and since newer Wheel weights are Lead free. you are getting Mostly Zinc.

    V/r HT1
     
  10. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    All good points guys. I'm just going to buy sheet. Live and learn. I knew there had to be something that was making my lead stiff as a wedding day......... never mind.
    I remember when I melted it down, I was real careful to not let any of the zinc ones make it in the pot. I'll just hang onto the lead, maybe I'll learn to reload 223 some day.:D
     
  11. _Jason

    _Jason Silver

    Jason likes this.
  12. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    Good looking out.;) Unfortunately it says 2.5lb weight. I'll be sure to walk by it next time I'm at blowes.
    I believe I need 6# to get the thickness I'm after.


    20190910_021750.jpg
     
  13. Jammer

    Jammer Moderator Staff Member Banner Member

    What thickness do you need and what size sheet. I have some lead in most alloys and pure lead.

    OK i see 3/32 and 6 x 6, just one sheet?
     
  14. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    yup.. blowes lead is too thin.
    20190912_134247.jpg

    3/32" would be awesome jammer. sure you can spare a small a piece?
     
  15. Jammer

    Jammer Moderator Staff Member Banner Member

    What size do you need, looks like 4" x 5" is about the easiest I could try? Might be able to do larger if needed.
     
  16. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    That would be a perfect trial size. I need to cut it into a strips about 3/8" wide and wrap it around something about the diameter of a half dollar. Do you think it could pull that off?
     
  17. Jammer

    Jammer Moderator Staff Member Banner Member

  18. Jammer

    Jammer Moderator Staff Member Banner Member

    I poured a couple small sheets. A little less than 3" by 5 3/4" by 0.016" A little thinner than I expected, may have shrunk a little. It seems pliable. IMG_0001 (3).JPG
     
  19. Stick on lead wheelweights (watch out for zinc and steel stick ons, which are worthless) are almost pure lead, and are sometimes available from tire shops. Stay away from zinc, while it can be cast, it's not very malleable and if you mix it with lead your casting quality can go all the way down to totally abysmal. X-ray booths used to be lined with sheet lead as well, but that is going away. Sheet lead has also been used in plumbing, usually as shower pan underliners, and as an underlayment in roofs. If you try to cast sheets, life will be easier if your form is preheated almost to the temp of the molten lead itself, this can allow it to self level to a degree by slowing its freeze time. BTW, pure lead runs around 5 bhn and won't get any harder. Antimony, which is present in lead wheelweights, the various type metals and babbits will show an increase in hardness if quenched. If you want to form something manually, try to stick to as pure of lead as is available. FWIW, extruded lead like water pipe, generally contains at least some antimony because it allows the lead to extrude more uniformly.

    Your best bet locally may be to contact a local plumber who does renovations, they may have some pieces of lead sheeting from bathroom upgrades. It may be thicker than than you need, but plumbers are usually glad to get rid of used lead sheeting because of the EPA issues.
     

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