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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am just getting started in casting my own and am looking for some advice. I have managed to gather up a five gallon bucket of lead from electrical wire from a friend that was used as insulation. I also managed to gather up about 2/3's of a bucket of WW's and need to know if i should clean them before i make ingots from them. If I should clean them what is the best process for doing so? thanks in advance for the help!
 

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First thing -- DO NOT wash them. You will never get all the moisture off of them and inevitably you will have a steam explosion from the melting pot as you add weights --and a splattering of liquid lead on any part of your body is excrutiating, and potentially disastrous.

As the weights melt, steel clips, dirt, and all manner of detritus will float to the top. Skim it off. Once you've skimmed all you see, add a bit of paraffin (candle wax) as a flux and stir. Notice -- this will produce copious amounts of smoke and is best done outside, or at the least in a spot where there is strong, direct ventilation! Now you'll see more dirt and scum on the surface. Skim it off. Repeat the process. Depending on how dirty your weights are, it may take 4 or 5 cycles of fluxing, stirring, skimming. Once you've gottten all you're going to get, it is ready to pour up in to ingots.
 

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Sheedy
Never clean your raw material(wheelweights) in the same pot that you use to cast bullets.I use a large cast iron pot and the heating element from a deep fryier unit.
I always do the cleaning process outside of the house.TThere is heavy black smoke.
Frank
 

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wheel weight cleaning

Sheedy I will make you a smelting pot to clean your wheel weihts in I will also make you a few ingot moulds to make ingots in and throw in a magnet to get the wheel weight clips out of the melted lead and will throw in a block of flux to flux you wheel weight lead with I make the pot out of a 20lb propane tank the ingot moulds are made out of bead frames the magnet comes from a old speaker and the flux well that is a trade secret but it works great I have used it in thousand of lbs of wheel weights then the only thing you would need to make ingots is a turkey fryer and a ladle all this just for what it cost me to send it to you Forest Punch
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thank you for your help, Forest Punch wow thanks for the offer of your time and material but I think i have already bought all the stuff. I have a lee pro 4 20 bottom pour pot, lee ingot mold, some parifin wax, ladles an old cast iron pot and a turkey fryer already.

Thank you every one for your help! if there is any other advice you can offer for a newbie it would be much appriciated! so far i have been following the instructions from my lee modern reloading second addition.
 

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Yes. When you add your flux and stir it in and it starts to smoke, be prepared for the smoke to catch fire, If you're not expecting this, it can scare you pretty bad. I always throw a match into the lead when it starts to smoke, igniting the smoke. That way it won't be choking you or the neighbors.
 

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Just a couple common sence saftey things you probably already know.

Always wear eye protection and keep water not away from the pot but also on a lower level, as it can't jump up :D

also wear some good heavy leather gloves and shoes, and if possible a pair of coverall's or an extra pair of jeans.

I've gotten stupid a couple times but not any longer. Lead explosions are devasting.
 

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. . . I have a . . . turkey fryer already.

Thank you every one for your help! if there is any other advice you can offer for a newbie it would be much appriciated! so far i have been following the instructions from my lee modern reloading second addition.
Ditto what the others have told you. If your turkey fryer comes with a large aluminum pot, do NOT use this for smelting. The heat necessary to melt ww will quickly destroy aluminum.
 

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Something I started recently is to keep a can of that burn spray medication on the bench. I haven't needed it luckily. But if the pot does spit a little on you, I'm told it will lessen the depth of the burn considerably.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
all very helpful information! thank you. I cast my first 50 in a .452 230gr TC for my 1911 and look forward to trying them. I can see that this is another part of the reloading hobby that i will really enjoy
 

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Personally, I would use a cast iron pot on a hot plate. Do this outside and when all the smoke has cleared, use a large metal spoon with a wood handle or wear welders gloves to drip out the impurities. After that, use parrifin or flux to further remove the impurities. Cleaning the weights with anything that is effective will just introduce extra and unneeded harmful fumes that you do not want.
 

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I'll turn 20 lbs of wheel weight into ingots. I'm thinking to clean them with gasoline or terebentin to remove the glue and then spend degreasing before melting. The intention is to reduce the black smoke. Anyone ever tried this?
 

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Honestly - why would you bother? You are either going to make a foul odor burning the crud off, or making a different foul odor cleaning them with some sort of solvent. The solvent may be worse in terms of health?

If they were really, really greasy - I would use a little propane torch or similar to burn off the fumes. Just my opinion.
 

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I haven't cast a single bullet yet, but I have been making WW lead ingots like mad. I built my own gas burner, and I use a dutch oven to melt the weights. I avoid a lot of smoke and nastiness by hand-sorting the weights beforehand. The freebies I have been getting are usually a plastic bucket full of WWs and a whole mess of other shop garbage like cigarette butts and even a chaw or two. I separate out the stick-on weights because they are soft lead. I don't worry about the tin weights because I heat slowly... actually quiet slowly because of the way I built my burner. I just skim the zinc weights and crap off as soon as the good lead weights are melted.

FWIW, I also believe that the slower you heat your load, the less-likely you are to have a spat from moisture, as it will turn to steam and be driven out of your weights long before you reach melting temperature.
 

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I sort them out as well. And I keep the temp low enough that the zinc comes out with the trash on top. If you leave some good lead in your pot after each session you can get that melted first and then just add a few at a time and skim immediately. You'll get a lot less smoke that way.
 

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I'm wondering if I am doing something wrong now, because I am not getting a whole lot of smoke. Some, sure, but not billowing clouds like you guys are saying. :confused:
 

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Well then they are probably clean enough. Count yourself lucky!
 

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Thank you all. Really, the wheel weights that I have found are too greasy, but they are cheap and this is very good!

After reading the posts I've made my decision. I will not spend time and money cleaning the weights before it melts.
 

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great advice

Great advice here. I especially like the idea of making a melting pot (a crucible?) out of a 20lb propane tank. Gotta try that.
Right now I use an old cast iron soup pot and a Coleman Heatmaster (think Coleman camping stove on steroids). The propane pot would be a good fit. For ingot molds, I use cupcake tins, steel of course.
About fluxing - paraffin/beeswax are the most common. Marvelux is a commercial lead fluxing powder. You can also use sawdust; it works as well.
Pete
 

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If your like me ,you want to waist no lead. I like to save the clips and crap that I get out of the WW . What I do is leave some melted lead in the pot(about a inch or so) then I take the clips-ect and melt them clean.If you have enough in the pot they will flot above the lead.You will find that there was a lot of lead left on the junk on the 1st clean..Have fun,be safe.
 
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