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Smelting Metals

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    ecogeek started this thread.
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    Smelting Metals

    Good Morning All! My coworker suggested smelting my copper and brass. I was wondering what you guys thought of this idea? I can think of many issues yards could have problems with this. Like, I'm sure there are people who are dishonest enough to put lead in with their blocks (I'm not up on the terminology of smelting).



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    If you do that...you can refine the metal to some point and sell it to metal craft and some "blacksmiths" so look to see if you have people in your town who does that. If you go about making a forge and all...maybe you should look into getting into that hobbie. Its something I have played around with and it was fun, sold the forge that I built and started to build a better one but...kinda put that on the old back burner with other projects that I have to get done.

    hmmmm I want to get back into doing it...there is nothing like making something with you own hands.
    My company name was Easy Recycle but has since been closed
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    KIWI's Avatar
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    hi ecogeek i to have considerd this idea i live on a remote tsland and the cost off shipping is very pricey please any one out there that can share their exsperence good and bad would be greatlyl appreciated good luck and thanks for raising yhat question.

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    wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by easyrecycle View Post
    put that on the old back burner
    You put the forge on the back burner
    I know lying is wrong, but if the elephant man came in now in a blouse with some make up on, and said, "How do I look?" Would you say, bearing in mind he's depressed and has respiratory problems, would you say, "Go and take that blusher off you mis-shapened elephant tranny?" No. You'd say, "You look nice... John""

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    ecogeek started this thread.
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    lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecogeek View Post
    Good Morning All! My coworker suggested smelting my copper and brass. I was wondering what you guys thought of this idea? I can think of many issues yards could have problems with this. Like, I'm sure there are people who are dishonest enough to put lead in with their blocks (I'm not up on the terminology of smelting).
    Not A good idea really.We will not buy ingots or sows from the general public.I think most yards are the same way.Even if the yard has a niton or some other testing device it can only see the surface of the material.

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    I have never tried brass or copper but I do make lead ingots from scrap. My plan was to make some dive weights but that hasn't happen yet. Currently I have about 200 pound in lead ingots. I have tried to melt Aluminum nails with no luck, I can't get the Aluminum to flow from the cast iron pot to the mold. I guess I can't get the metal hot enough.

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    gustavus is offline Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckatabon View Post
    I have never tried brass or copper but I do make lead ingots from scrap. My plan was to make some dive weights but that hasn't happen yet. Currently I have about 200 pound in lead ingots. I have tried to melt Aluminum nails with no luck, I can't get the Aluminum to flow from the cast iron pot to the mold. I guess I can't get the metal hot enough.
    I cast these SCUBA weight molds for making 2,3,4 and 5 lbs lead weights, my furnace uses an 800,000 btu propane burner which gets hot enough to melt aluminum, brass, copper and the bronzes.

    Last edited by gustavus; 06-17-2012 at 12:06 AM.

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    i bilt me a forced air bucket furnace with a 40 gallon trashcan and two huge nested clay fower pots with black cast air pipe in through the side of the can and up through the bottom of the pots and made my own refractory cement concrete to fill in all air holes. she weighs like 300 lbs. i use a hairdryer or shop vac to blow air in the bottom and burn coal in it. i roast ground cat con guts in it to drive off hydrocarbons and sulfer compounds. i got 'er so dang hot once that i melted my 8 quart cast iron crucible - she's a beast! my rule is go BIG - who wants a tiny anything?...

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    gustavus is offline Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    Quote Originally Posted by alchemy View Post
    i bilt me a forced air bucket furnace with a 40 gallon trashcan and two huge nested clay fower pots with black cast air pipe in through the side of the can and up through the bottom of the pots and made my own refractory cement concrete to fill in all air holes. she weighs like 300 lbs. i use a hairdryer or shop vac to blow air in the bottom and burn coal in it. i roast ground cat con guts in it to drive off hydrocarbons and sulfer compounds. i got 'er so dang hot once that i melted my 8 quart cast iron crucible - she's a beast! my rule is go BIG - who wants a tiny anything?...
    Next time try a silicon carbide crucible, they don't melt so easy.

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    lol Kiwi

    ROFL at Kiwi. How hard would it be to check the ? ; what is it volume? ; Put the gold bar in some water measure how much it rises in the pale/tank Then weigh it and compare to what readings from the volume test and what weight of the metal is.? Right? Am i missing a step from my science class 20 yrs ago? I will look this up on wikipedia later.

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    Funny thing i just thought of most scrap yards will not buy anything in ingot form but you can melt down gold and sell it to anybody. My point being that yards wont take smelted copper or zinc because it might be destroyed currency.But you could steal a 100 grand in gold jewelry and melt it into bars and no one would even question where it came from theres something strange about that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fordsix View Post
    Funny thing i just thought of most scrap yards will not buy anything in ingot form but you can melt down gold and sell it to anybody. My point being that yards wont take smelted copper or zinc because it might be destroyed currency.But you could steal a 100 grand in gold jewelry and melt it into bars and no one would even question where it came from theres something strange about that.
    Actually most of the scrap yards I have contacted, that do not accept ingots of metal, don't accept the ingots not because they are not sure where it came from, but rather because they do not have any definitive way of being able to tell the alloy composition or even if it is alloyed. More and more scrap yards however are using XRF guns, like the Niton or Skyray, to test metal composition. I believe all you really need to do is locate a scrap yard that does XRF analysis, and you probably will be able to sell your ingots to them.

    Here is a youtube video of someone using an XRF scanner to detect metal alloy composition:



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    gustavus is offline Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecogeek View Post
    I'm not up on the terminology of smelting).
    Right you are, smelting is a refining process which comes under the heading of pyrometallurgy.

    What you want to do is melt your metals and the scrap yards fear you may contaminate those metals, which I think is a good posibility not purposely but because you don't have a clue of what your doing otherwise you would not have asked the question in the first place. You would have corrected your co-worker.

    Your probably thinking you could smelt er rather melt all this metal in a steel crucible, metals in their melted state become solvents. That would have been your first mistake, real foundry crucibles are expensive, if you use one for brass you never use it for another metal.

    If you had tried to add lead to your molten copper you would have breathed in a lot of lead fumes, ever see a copper lead alloy - No - if not, why are there none. Do you know the melting temperatures of copper and lead, didn’t think so, did you know after melting temp has been reached go beyond that the metals vaporize just like steam coming from a kettle boiling water for your afternoon tea.

    openlibrary.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustavus View Post
    Right you are, smelting is a refining process which comes under the heading of pyrometallurgy.

    What you want to do is melt your metals and the scrap yards fear you may contaminate those metals, which I think is a good posibility not purposely but because you don't have a clue of what your doing otherwise you would not have asked the question in the first place. You would have corrected your co-worker.

    Your probably thinking you could smelt er rather melt all this metal in a steel crucible, metals in their melted state become solvents. That would have been your first mistake, real foundry crucibles are expensive, if you use one for brass you never use it for another metal.

    If you had tried to add lead to your molten copper you would have breathed in a lot of lead fumes, ever see a copper lead alloy - No - if not, why are there none. Do you know the melting temperatures of copper and lead, didn’t think so, did you know after melting temp has been reached go beyond that the metals vaporize just like steam coming from a kettle boiling water for your afternoon tea.

    openlibrary.org
    Actually there is a lead-copper alloy, its called Molybdochalkos

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    Molybdochalkos, It did exist, but was an alchemy experiment in the 10th century. It has no use in our contemporary world.
    Greek alchemists were really good at poisoning themselves in their attempts to make gold, I am fairly sure its why this alloy never got past the Latin name.
    If it wasn't for the laws of physics, I would be unstoppable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapperhead View Post
    Molybdochalkos, It did exist, but was an alchemy experiment in the 10th century. It has no use in our contemporary world.
    Greek alchemists were really good at poisoning themselves in their attempts to make gold, I am fairly sure its why this alloy never got past the Latin name.
    I've been reading a lot about different metals lately, but lately is only the last couple of months so take what I'm saying with a grain of salt. There might not be much use for copper-lead alloy in the modern world, but there is some use for Lead-Copper-Zinc alloy. Here is a web page that gives some information on different alloys of brass. Some of them have lead in them. Although, since some people seem determined to eliminate the use of lead all together who know how common such alloy are anymore.

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    Yes a small amount of lead has been alloyed into the majority of brass castings for over 80 years now, it makes machining the brass easier, giving smoother cuts and better tool life. This is the reason you can not use brass in alcohol stills, the ether vapours eat away at it, and the lead ends up in the alcohol. It has been deemed safe for use in water supplies and plumbing fixtures, but can leach in highly corrosive atmospheres and in contact with strong hot solvents.

    It is fairly common practice to add a little extra zinc to molten brass, as it vapours away when molten, same goes for lead if you are intending to machine the final cast parts

    It is used in tiny amounts (a few % at most) and added just before the pour so it doesn't all vapour off from the crucible. Using it as the main alloying element with copper is the one that creates problems

    A little lead in brass also makes threaded components screw together smoothly, and reduces the likely-hood of binding causing part failure, it acts like a lubricant in tiny quantities.

    Because most foundries use recycled brass as their feedstock for components, lead is in pretty much all brass now. You would have to buy certified alloys to ensure it was lead free.
    Same goes for bronzes (copper/ tin) used in industry that are intended for machining.
    Antimony has been used as a replacement for lead in pewter for many years, because of it leaching out when in contact with acidic foods and drinks. (no good for alcohol stills either as its highly toxic and dissolves in ether)

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    If one is to start a business melting scrap metal into purified metals, how would one go about selling the ingots? I know you need to check the purity and can do so with a XRF gun, but I've heard about assay certificates and have no idea what that is. Also, how would one go about finding foundries to buy your ingots? Cold calling?


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