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Smelting Kovar

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    Smelting Kovar

    Kovar is an alloy found in IC chips, CRT monitors among a thousand other uses.

    This alloy contains the following metals 29% Nickel, 17% Cobalt with the remainder Iron. If you smelt Kovar scrap with plenty of silica sand the iron will report to slag leaving you a nice high grade Nickel / Coblat to sell.



    Now after smelting you have an alloy high in Nickel, you could cast this scrap into anodes to further refine the Nickel electrically in a cell, your Cobalt would report as cell slimes. To satisfy everyone's curiosity, no I am not going to smelt any kovar or set up a nickel parting cell.

    You may find a buyer willing to pay for both metals, scrap yards traditionally pay on an alloy on the metal with the highest content. Which is not half bad with Nickel's current value at $5.70 U,S,D per pound.

    A gas fired furnace would be best suited to the task.
    Last edited by alloy2; 04-22-2015 at 06:19 PM.


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    I built my own burner recently and just picked up two junk propane tanks to convert to my forge. So far so good, a lot of ducks to get in a row to cast! Thought it would be a cheap hobby... well its cheaper than my wife's sewing hobby. Here is my (crappy) flame, needs some tuning for sure.


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    Alloy,

    Keep your comments and explanations coming! They are fascinating.

    Dumb questions...why aren't you going to smelt Kovar? Does it take a LOT of heat to get Nickel to melt?
    Is the parting cell a particularly bad actor with the necessary chemicals?

    It seems to me that, for scrappers at least, we all seem to be avoiding melting stuff down because the yards figure anyone that is melting stuff will embed a big old rock in the melt and rip them off... Kinda like the gold boys in New York who got fooled by someone putting tungsten blocks into the gold bars. How do you deal with this..do you sell to people who do the refining or are you taking the precious metals to .999 yourself?

    What about selling the plain old copper? Same problems with getting rid of the cast blocks?


    Jon....kinda worried after asking a shztload of dumb questions that would get him tarred and feathered on the gold refining forum!!

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    alloy2 is offline Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiffy117 View Post
    I built my own burner recently and just picked up two junk propane tanks to convert to my forge. So far so good, a lot of ducks to get in a row to cast! Thought it would be a cheap hobby... well its cheaper than my wife's sewing hobby. Here is my (crappy) flame, needs some tuning for sure.
    Nothing wrong with that flame, looks plenty hot enough to do some serious melting for your new hobby.

    When I used to cast aluminium I preferred to use automotive aluminium from engine heads and blocks. I no longer do any casting but have not totally quit.

    I have some items that I want to cast from cast iron, I'm going to prepare the flask foundry ready, using the no bake method to bind the sand together.

    There are much better binders made from urethane but you need a Muller to work the binder into the sand,, I'll be using sodium silicate and Co2 to cure the mixture once it has been packed around the pattern.

    My casting once the sprue has been removed will weigh 38 lbs.

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    alloy2 is offline Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    Quote Originally Posted by sawmilleng View Post
    Alloy,

    Keep your comments and explanations coming! They are fascinating.

    Dumb questions...why aren't you going to smelt Kovar? Does it take a LOT of heat to get Nickel to melt?
    Is the parting cell a particularly bad actor with the necessary chemicals?

    It seems to me that, for scrappers at least, we all seem to be avoiding melting stuff down because the yards figure anyone that is melting stuff will embed a big old rock in the melt and rip them off... Kinda like the gold boys in New York who got fooled by someone putting tungsten blocks into the gold bars. How do you deal with this..do you sell to people who do the refining or are you taking the precious metals to .999 yourself?

    What about selling the plain old copper? Same problems with getting rid of the cast blocks?


    Jon....kinda worried after asking a shztload of dumb questions that would get him tarred and feathered on the gold refining forum!!
    As of last October I have officially become a dependant of the Canadian Government, turned 65 and have a monthly pension direct deposit and my back is totally buggered. So I'm looking to do something less strenuous, I don;t have enough money to lay on the beach but have plan "B" ready to put into action.

    Plan "B" is to head north with my Garrett Infinium and find some nuggets or even some small flakes would put a smile on my face. Also want to buy some gold from the miners willing to sell for cash.

    Take the Induction furnace along as you never know someone might want their gold melted into bars, how much better can you get than that the furnace coming to your works where you can keep an eye on the melt from start to finish.

    We'll see how the summer unfolds.

    To smelt the Kovar would require a larger furnace and I'm downsizing or disposing a lot of stuff I own and no longer need.

    Also I'm just passing through the forum, I was a member long ago and some may have already have their suspicions of who I am. Admin and Mods you have nothing to fear when I'm ready to leave of my own violation my posts and pictures will remain.

    I have started taking pain medication for my back injury which has helped with the mood swings.

    It has been said no pain no gain, ha this is BS you guys that scrap for a few dollars look after yourselves now or pay the price when your older.

    No I am no longer refining, I have been getting the metals down to concentrates then shipping these to the refinery.

    Most scrap yards have an XRF for the following reason they may buy an exotic alloy which will look like stainless steel when in fact it is monel which is difficult to distinguish from the former. An XRF will identify the more valuable alloys which may now be removed from the stainless steel bin.

    You will not see an employee walking around the yard with a $30,000.00 hand held XRF nor find one laying about where it could be easily stolen. These units are entrusted to one person.

    So you may have to ask to have the XRF brought out to settle a dispute.

    The XRF units owned by the yards usually do not have the precious metals package installed.
    Last edited by alloy2; 04-22-2015 at 09:34 PM.

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    I see you have been a busy bee Alloy2 and its nice to see you back. Glad to hear you are doing well and hopefully the back holds up for you. I had learned much from you in the past here and on the other forum. I will continue to enjoy your posts for as long as you may stay around. Be well my friend and I wish you all the best in your endevours.

    Kinda had a feeling it was you when I saw the copper anodes as I remember a very large copper anode that you produced on the other forum. I believe is was a post dealing with treatment of waste waters from refining.
    I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them. John Wayne-- The Shootist

    NEWBS READ THIS THREAD ABOUT REFINING!!!!
    http://www.scrapmetalforum.com/off-t...ning-read.html

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    alloy2 is offline Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRASSCATCHER View Post
    I see you have been a busy bee Alloy2 and its nice to see you back. Glad to hear you are doing well and hopefully the back holds up for you. I had learned much from you in the past here and on the other forum. I will continue to enjoy your posts for as long as you may stay around. Be well my friend and I wish you all the best in your endevours.

    Kinda had a feeling it was you when I saw the copper anodes as I remember a very large copper anode that you produced on the other forum. I believe is was a post dealing with treatment of waste waters from refining.
    Thanks Brsscatcher, be here a few more days off and on while taking one of my many coffee breaks from cleaning out the shop and getting some things loaded onto the trailer for a BC yard sale.

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    Wish I was closer, I am sure you have some equipment I could use. Good luck with the sale and I will look foward to more of your postings.

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    Alloy, I have watched a few videos of casting with sand and sodium silicate and cured with CO2. Usually they make cores this way as they are much stronger than green sand. I don't believe it is re-usable after casting though, is it? I have heard auto aluminum is much better as its a higher grade. I have a set of aluminum rims, only trick is to get it into workable pieces. Glad my flame is usable, was my first burn after some modifications. Thinking of building a second burner using forced air (blow dryer..). Maybe I'm just a pyro and wont even get to the casting part! ha Anyways, I'll be sure to follow you, and I know who to bug if I run into issues

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    Not worth it for ic chips, can get $6/lb for those, but very interesting, where in tvs is this found?

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    alloy2 is offline Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiffy117 View Post
    Alloy, I have watched a few videos of casting with sand and sodium silicate and cured with CO2. Usually they make cores this way as they are much stronger than green sand. I don't believe it is re-usable after casting though, is it? I have heard auto aluminum is much better as its a higher grade. I have a set of aluminum rims, only trick is to get it into workable pieces. Glad my flame is usable, was my first burn after some modifications. Thinking of building a second burner using forced air (blow dryer..). Maybe I'm just a pyro and wont even get to the casting part! ha Anyways, I'll be sure to follow you, and I know who to bug if I run into issues
    Silica sand blended with sodium silicate cured with Co2 is most commonly used to make cores but may also be used for general casting. For the backyard foundry the sand used would be written off as a consumable.

    Here is an article on how the larger foundry's reclaim chemically bonded sand for reuse, Considerations for Reclaiming Chemically Bonded Sand | Feature content from Foundrymag

    Auto aluminium was my preference,

    Aluminium used in the manufacture of outboard engines contains copper to hinder corrosion.

    Deltalloy is used to manufacture items that require resistance to abrasion, for example automotive transmissions, AC and power steering pumps and misc hydraulic and water pumps.

    If you were going to cast a lapping plate to make your own vibratory flat lap your best choice would be to use Deltalloy.

    It makes me ill when I hear of someone using extruded aluminium or beer and pop cans for castings, if and when you get serious about your hobby be sure to invest in proper crucibles as those homemade iron jobs will contaminate.the metal being melted.

    If you were refining gold and silver you would not use a crucible previously used to melt silver to do the final melt of your gold and expect to get a .995 button.



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    alloy2 is offline Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    Edelbrock a well known name in racing circles and street performance enthusiasts started with a home foundry working out of his garage in California.

    I could only wish to achieve the knowledge and craftsmanship of this Australian dude who reverse engineered an Austin Healey engine block to make patterns and cores to reproduce the original iron block in aluminium. http://healeyfactory.com.au/dmd/deve...attern-making/

    Palmer another back yard foundry-man started out casting fishing weigh molds who eventually grew the company into a foundry equipment manufacture.

    With the the recent arrival of 3D printing arriving to the playing field there will be no limitations placed on man or woman ( newattitude ) of what the future holds for the human race.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DevinThaScrapper View Post
    Not worth it for ic chips, can get $6/lb for those, but very interesting, where in tvs is this found?
    Shadow Mask.
    Chips from ram are a lot smaller than IC's, I just finished up ball milling 276 lbs of ram 1/3rd of the total weight is magnetic - Kovar also if milled for a prolonged time will turn to powder liberating any gold that may have been attached.

    As a matter of interest I put the whole ram stick fingers and all into the ball mill, from the sample below you will note that the chips and small surface mount capacitors were removed in the mill and that the soft gold has been abraded from the boards into a very fine powder suitable for cn leach to recover of the gold and silver then eventually incineration in preparation for an acid digestion to recover palladium.

    If you look closely where the gold was plated onto the fingers you will see the gold wore off leaving the nickel plate untouched.

    An interesting fact brought to my attention from a fellow refiner. He incinerates his chips whole and he tells me it take hours in the propane furnace and even then when he removes the chips may find some with an incomplete burn and have to sorted out and returned to the furnace.

    My chips are incinerated after ball milling, what my friend discovered from our conversation is that his loosely packed chips requires a continuous supply of fuel.to oxidise anything that will then burn up any organic material which maybe present.

    While my milled often wet chip powder goes into the frying pan roughly two inches deep goes into the oven at 550 degrees for 1 hour then onto the stove top. The whole thing at this point looks rather benign with the surface looking like ash.

    Now if you turn over the lot you'll discover the inside is aglow like burning coal, I'll gently turn the mass exposing the glowing coals to oxygen then leave of for an hour then do the same once more this time abandoning it to burn out on its own time.



    Last edited by alloy2; 04-24-2015 at 01:01 AM.

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    What ball mill do you use? Have a pic of it? At the end of the day is it profitable to do, or just a fun self sustaining hobby?

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    @Jiffy- i am pretty sure alloy2 built his own ballmill.

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    alloy2 is offline Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiffy117 View Post
    What ball mill do you use? Have a pic of it? At the end of the day is it profitable to do, or just a fun self sustaining hobby?
    I'll give you the short version, first motorcycle age 8, first car age 12 then by the age of 15 I have about 30 cars.with only a 51 chevy still running that I'm tooling around the yard with, one day a friend of my fathers showed up with a pick up truck he encouraged me to load some of my engines and parts onto his truck.

    Then he took me to the scrap yard to cash in, after getting paid I was forever after hooked, scrap was paying a cent a pound but gasoline was only two bits a gallon so $20.00 was a huge pay day.

    I have made more money with scrap metal than any other job or hobby. I wrote a thread a very long time ago where I'm supposed to be retired and got bored and bought an old RV trailer from someone on the Reservation then gutted it out, extending the axles then making a car hauler.

    Within the first week made enough money to install an electric winch, by the end of the year made enough money to purchase a crane truck then started double decking the cars to maximize my profits. Using the crane truck the following year made enough money to purchase a Sony A900 digital camera, Cambo 4 x 5 and a Cambo 8 x 10 large format camera, HP Z3200PS large format photo printer along with a high end scanner.

    Working with precious metals a lot of money going out with very little return after buying equipment and chemicals. Fortunately I'm very handy with a torch, welder and metal lathe and have built some of ,my own equipment the ball mill being one.

    Here is my take on e-waste, I'll use the ram sticks that I'm working with as an example.

    1. Ball mill the whole memory stick gold will abrade off the chips will be ground into powder.
    2. Memory sticks minus gold and chips have to be washed free of residule dust which contains precious metals
    3. Pass the milled powder over eddy current separator to remove magnetics - kovar.
    4. Rum the barren memory sticks through a hammer mill to liberate the copper
    5. Run the hammer milled memory over a shaker table to recover the copper.
    6. From the first HCL leach used to remove base metals, recover tin then convert the black residue back to metal.
    7. Recover the nickel and copper from the base metal leach.
    8. Incinerate the balled milled product in preparation for cyanide leaching.
    9. After cyanide leaching, more incineration to prepare the powder for acid leaching to recover palladium.
    10 Find a refinery to sell your metals to that wont screw you, both buyers I spoke with on the telephone have the coke sniffles..

    Like most everyone that comes into contact with gold I got the fever, the best advice I can give you and your family sell your boards and whatever else you may aquire from this nasty waste stream. Turn it into cash and forget about refining.

    I shipped a drum of milled catalytic converts which at the time by an independent assay from American Analytical showed my lot was worth $35.00 LB. I paid $20.00 a cat then after shipping and the refinery pay out I'm down $2,000.00.

    One of the things I learned about cats,the ones I was buying came from rural were we have a lot of gravel roads and there is a certain amount of fine dust passing through the air cleaner into the exhaust system when it passes through the converter it abrades some of the precious metals wash coat off the comb spewing this precious metals as dust back onto the road.

    To confirm this a fellow from the city showed me his assay and the value per pound was almost double of mine, so your city run vehicles running on asphalt are worth more per pound and the scrap yards and core buyers pay by model and type with out a clue on what is actually left inside for precious metals value.

    A guy like me bringing in a truck load of rural cats to the core buyer, does it make sense that he would pay the same price on model rather than precious metals content remaining inside - no it does not and my point is sell your stuff to the guy with the fever.

    You will never go hungry owning a tuck or trailer to haul scrap metal.

    This is why I will not be smelting any Kovar any time soon.

    The purchase of the induction furnace was not to melt copper into slugs, I bought it because I would like to eventually buy placer gold, scrap jewellery and sterling.
    Last edited by alloy2; 04-24-2015 at 11:28 AM.

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    Quite the back story for sure.

    What type of Ball Mill do you use? This would be for bentonite powdering rather than refining

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    alloy2 is offline Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiffy117 View Post
    Quite the back story for sure.

    What type of Ball Mill do you use? This would be for bentonite powdering rather than refining
    As brasscatcher mentioned I built the mill from scraps.

    The drum is about 20 inches in diameter by perhaps 30 inches long heavy wall pipe from the oil field. After weldig an end plate to the rear of the drum on dead centre welded an end for the universal drive to which I have made a drive shaft attached to a gear reducer 50:1.

    On the gear reducer input shaft a v-belt pulley aproximatley 8 inch in diameter with a 4 inch on the motor / 1725 rpm. For ball I used 3 inch round steel shafting cut into lengths of 3 inches. The drum is cradled onto solid rubber wheels.

    On the discharge end after capping cut a rectangular hole, to close the hole cut plate having a slightly larger size then welded three bolts to the plate, then made a rubber gasket the same size as the plate cutting holes for the welded bolts.

    You have to angle the plate to get it inside the drum, position it then place your strong backs onto the bolts previously welded to the door plate, once in the door is in its proper position you tighten up the nuts to secure the strong backs which are now pulling the larger inside plate against the inside of the plate welded to the drum.

    Because of the large diameter of the drum I was able to compact the mill by mounting the motor under the drive shaft coming off the gear reducer, direction of rotation makes no difference..

    I have put this mill for five years now, wore out one gear drive and recently replaced the electric motor, the original motor was a 1/3 hp I now have a 1 hp motor on the mill.

    Also built a centrifuge that produces 500 G's but will not recover the fine powdered gold coming out of the ball mill, if you need to know how to economically recover the fine gold google "4 Au + 8 NaCN" otherwise this is a non topic.

    Last year I purchased the filter plates and cloths from Watermark to build a press, my press will look similar to the one below.














    Last edited by alloy2; 04-24-2015 at 01:17 PM.

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    On the rear of the drum I have placed a bead to indicate when the drum is in top dead centre, which now tells me the unloading hole is at bottom dead centre.

    The unloading hole is just the threaded portion of a barrel bung cut from an old heavy duty barrel then welded into place, to close the hole any bung will do. The mill frame is on wheels making it easy to move around.

    Hope this information helps to build a similar mill, the round shaft used for grinding media is five or more years old and shows very little wear.

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    Smelting anything is a serious deal. If you are going to get your return on investment, then great. However, at what cost? Are you environmentally keeping the air clean, are you disposing of any excess materials properly, are you exposing yourself and family to any toxic fumes? Those are my concerns. As long as you're safe, your surroundings and environment are respected, smelt away. I wouldn't do it.

    QUOTE=alloy2;243584]Kovar is an alloy found in IC chips, CRT monitors among a thousand other uses.

    This alloy contains the following metals 29% Nickel, 17% Cobalt with the remainder Iron. If you smelt Kovar scrap with plenty of silica sand the iron will report to slag leaving you a nice high grade Nickel / Coblat to sell.

    Now after smelting you have an alloy high in Nickel, you could cast this scrap into anodes to further refine the Nickel electrically in a cell, your Cobalt would report as cell slimes. To satisfy everyone's curiosity, no I am not going to smelt any kovar or set up a nickel parting cell.

    You may find a buyer willing to pay for both metals, scrap yards traditionally pay on an alloy on the metal with the highest content. Which is not half bad with Nickel's current value at $5.70 U,S,D per pound.

    A gas fired furnace would be best suited to the task.[/QUOTE]
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