Gettin the Lead Out

Discussion in 'General foundry chat' started by Al2O3, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    I had a good day and favorable wind so melted down some wheel weights for a future project. Here's the set up.

    1 Set Up.JPG

    Here's my lead pot. The other end of my A10 Crucible shank does doubles duty.

    2 Shank.JPG

    Here's the bounty.

    3 Lead Ingot.JPG

    ....and here's all the trash.

    4 Trash.JPG
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2018
    Red97 and Jason like this.
  2. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    Nice haul.
  3. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    It's a nasty job. Wheel weights can be anything these days. I'm sure there was some zinc other stuff in there least for a while before it flashed off. Now that they're reduced to clean ingot there a little more enjoyable to work with.

  4. It's be interesting to see a spectrometer reading from those handheld guns some scrap metal buyers have, I'd bet there's antimony, tin and lead.
  5. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    It is very nasty work. The buckets of weights I got from the tire shop had everything from cigarette butts to a busted crack pipe in it. There will come a day when the value of lead goes WAYYY up thanks to the friendly folks at the EPA. Lead is currently around 70cents a pound. Looks like you have beer money for a couple of months sitting there. :p
  6. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    I had my scale out today and curiosity got the best of me. I started out with two 5-gallon buckets a little more than half full of wheel weights. Together they were 160lbs. 38lbs never went into the pot because it obviously wasn’t lead. I got 96lbs of (mostly?) lead ingot and 26lbs of cooked trash. So the yield was 60% by weight. I've got about 250lbs now which should do.

  7. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    60%... You did better than I did. I got mine from a rent-a-wheel place and they were mostly peel and stick steel weights. At least they were free, as much I could haul off. I gave the manager a $20 and said buy some pizza for the guys.

    250lbs should keep you in Crown Royal for a few months!
    Red97 likes this.
  8. Al2O3

    Al2O3 Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    I'm sure you're right about there being a little bit of everything in there. Looks like the more recent alternatives to lead are powdered metal parts. They are marked Tn-Zn and Fe-Zn. Tn is the discontinued (at least in the US) symbol for Tungsten, W. The iron parts are easy to spot with a magnet. It was a fair amount to process with a 6" diameter steel crucible. I was trying to weed out the obvious trash because it just took up too much space in the crucible and was adding to the time to reduce it all to ingot. I was getting the lead to melt in 5-10 minutes and the I'd just pour through the floating trash in the crucible, dump the trash, re-load, and commence to sorting during the next melt cycle. Here's the close up of the trash. The big wheel weights that survived are the powdered metal parts. I just didn't let them cook long enough to melt the Zinc binder. Most of the rest is steel mounting hardware. There were a few battery terminals. You can see one survived that wasn't lead. For me it's just good dense machine ballast.

    Close up.jpg

    Yah, but not for wheel weights or lead acid batteries. They're the lowest form of scrap and like all other scrap, there are grades. The guys at the tire shop told me the recyclers won't pay anything for it if they have to come get it. They give it away and their biggest concern about giving it to me was not being able to verify that it was properly disposed of if they were visited by the environmental police.

    Red97 likes this.
  9. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    My local guy pays 25cents a pound for wheel weights... He doesn't have the scanner, but I've never brought him ingots either. I wasn't going to hand him buckets of weights with the money plucked out of them so I just fed them to the trash man. Looking back, I should have added them to his zorba pile. Whoops.
    Red97 likes this.
  10. moya034

    moya034 Lead

    This thread brought back memories when I used to make lots of lead shot. I've melted about well over 2 tons of lead in my day. Used to use a Magma Engineering Cast Master pot. I remember we had bought ours for $300. At that price now I would consider making my own.

    We used to get about 70% of the weight recovered then sell the steel clips back to the scrap yard we bought the weights from. Sadly the days of getting tons of cheap lead wheel weights is coming to an end. I expect the difference in weight recovered vs what I used to get has more to do with an increase in non-lead materials being used for weights instead of melting technique.
  11. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    Best way to get large amounts of lead these days is batteries.
  12. garyhlucas

    garyhlucas Copper

    I stripped out some large high voltage cable once using a 3 wheel splitter and pulling it through with a forktruck. 4000 lbs of clean lead jacket, 2000 lbs of clean copper, and 800 lbs of rubber, done in a day. We got a good price for that.
    _Jason likes this.
  13. _Jason

    _Jason Copper

    Do you even melt lead, bruh?

  14. Jason

    Jason Silver Banner Member

    I saw that video over at AA. That's a big pour. Looked like some nasty stuff. I'm guessing that thing will be the keel to a sailboat. Wonder how they attach that to the boat? I saw sv seeker pour lead in his two keels. His looked like a smart system.
  15. crazybillybob

    crazybillybob Silver Banner Member

    For Wood Boats you bolt the Keel on to the keel timber with Bronze bolts. Steel you can pour all the lead into the bottom of the hull (SV Seeker style) but not so much with Wood.
    I've been following this boat build for awhile on YouTube. For two guys that this is their first boat build, They are doing ok. I'm sure there are "better" ways to do this, but for a one off low buck solution It could have been worse. Unless they really got that lead hot and stood in the smoke cloud, the safety risk for a one time exposure is low. They have more risk cleaning the lead block up to mount to the Keel Timber than in the melt (fine lead dust from the saws, router, sander, etc).

    but that's my $0.02

    (I do stupid human tricks.... all the time. You only live once, enjoy every minute of it!.... and hey, I want super powers!... Don't they all start with an experiment gone wrong :) )

Share This Page