Rendering Lead

Discussion on Bullets and Bullet Lubes, Casting, Swaging, Paper Patching, and Lube Cookies.
TexasMac
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Rendering Lead

Post by TexasMac » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:44 pm

Hey guys,

Just thought I’d post some photos of the 360 lbs of pure lead I just finished melting down from six 60 lb ingots into much more manageable 1 lb ingots. I got a 1-time deal on the lead & could not pass it up. You can see the stack of large ingots in the top left hand corner of the photo along with about 1000 lbs of wheel weight lead which is also in 1 lb ingots.

As noted in the photos I used an outdoor cooker for the heat source but what made it relatively easy was the very large 16 qt. cast iron pot I picked up from Academy Outdoor Sports for $39.95, a heck of a deal since everyone else wanted close to twice or 3X as much, and shipping was free. It’s actually a 14” (top inside diameter) by 6.5” deep, pre-seasoned Dutch oven & came with the lid, which was of no use for this project. The negative when using a large pot is it radiates a lot of heat, requiring longer time to come up to lead melting temp. But when handling 60 lb or larger ingots a large heavy pot is much more stable (read safer). It fit the cooker perfectly. I had 180 lbs of molten lead in it at one time.

If you’re wondering where the ingot mould came from? It’s a standard RCBS mould with a coil spring ventilated handle welded on that I cut off from a cheap Harbor Freight welding hammer. Works great, speeds up the process and is very stable. Anyway, I’m now in great shape with plenty of pure lead and a bunch of tin. It was hell trying to cut a few lbs off the 60 lb ingots.

The whole process went very smooth, no hiccups, no splattering or split lead. The folded red towel in the photo was soaked with water and used to quickly cool down the ingot mould until the lead hardened sufficiently to dump on the garage floor. The mould was supported by the edge of the pot while filling it with the 2 lb dipper. Gloves, boots, blue jeans, long sleeve heavy cotton shirt, safety goggles were the norm.

BTW, this also resulted in a short experiment to determine how effective a solution of hydrogen peroxide & vinegar was at removing lead. Many of you have likely head of this technique to remove lead from firearm bores. I’ll start a new thread with the results tomorrow when the experiment is complete.

Wayne

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montana_charlie
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Re: Rendering Lead

Post by montana_charlie » Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:14 am

TexasMac wroteCOLONIt’s actually a 14” (top inside diameter) by 6.5” deep, pre-seasoned Dutch oven & came with the lid, which was of no use for this project. The negative when using a large pot is it radiates a lot of heat, requiring longer time to come up to lead melting temp.
It doesn't radiate as much, and it comes up to temperature more quickly if you CAN use the lid.
No way to cut those big ones in half?

If you turned all 360 pounds into ingots while using a single 4-banger ingot mould ... you have more patience than I.

CM
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TexasMac
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Re: Rendering Lead

Post by TexasMac » Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:27 pm

montana_charlie wroteCOLON
TexasMac wroteCOLONIt’s actually a 14” (top inside diameter) by 6.5” deep, pre-seasoned Dutch oven & came with the lid, which was of no use for this project. The negative when using a large pot is it radiates a lot of heat, requiring longer time to come up to lead melting temp.
It doesn't radiate as much, and it comes up to temperature more quickly if you CAN use the lid.
No way to cut those big ones in half?

If you turned all 360 pounds into ingots while using a single 4-banger ingot mould ... you have more patience than I.
CM
Charlie,

The whole process from start to finish was about 5 hrs. And yes, it got a bit tedious about half way through but I was determined to finish once everything was hot and running smooth. Resting the filled mould on a towel soaked in water definitely speed up the process. Lots of steam but It only required a few seconds for the ingots to harden sufficiently to dump out on the floor. BTW, I could not use the lid for most of the process as the 60 lb ingots were too long.

Wayne
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Plainbase
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Re: Rendering Lead

Post by Plainbase » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:35 pm

You talked me into it, Mac. I ordered a 14 inch Bayou burner from Lowes and the 14 inch dutch oven from Academy. They do rate the oven (14 x 6 inches) at 8 quarts rather than 16 but that is a lot of lead. Apparently the free shipping is off on the oven because of the size or something and it was $12. The shipping was free on the Bayou and it came to $52 with tax. The Bayou was rated for a 102 quart pot = 200 pounds and I (= 200 pounds) stood on it and jumped up and down a little so it is very sturdy and stable. Academy may be a little slow in shipping as I have not yet received the shipped notice. I have two of the Lyman ingot moulds, one with handle and one without, but I usually use these only for my alloyed lead and use corn bread and muffin moulds for pure lead. I used to take a bolt head and stamp over the "A" in Lyman to mark the alloy ones but just having the plain lead in different form is easier. I weigh the "muffins" and write the weight on them with a magic marker to make mixing alloy easy as I also have the tin bits pre weighed. I currently have one large lead ingot to process and a couple of lead sheet strips of about 80 pounds each. Yes, it used to be a pain to take an axe to the strips to cut them to a suitable size for my 25 pound pot. I also have a couple of 5 gallon buckets of skimmed dross from a linotype print place to render. They were very sloppy in skimming and took a lot of lino with the dross. Usually I can get about 10-12 pounds of lino from a bucket. Looking forward to the big melt down when the oven arrives.
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Re: Rendering Lead

Post by TexasMac » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:40 pm

Plainbase,

The following was a response to my post on another forum. It's an excellent technique which I will use the next time I melt a bunch of lead.

Wayne
========================

It will help if you take the time to build a sheet metal skirt around the rim of your pots as wide as the pot is deep or a bit more. It will direct and hold the heat from your burners around the pot eliminating much of the radiant heat loss and focusing the BTU's making your burner much more efficient. Also for the initial melt a lid of some sort will hold the heat down on the melt even if the ingots don't allow it to close at first. Actually it's better if it never fully closes so the fluxing gas can escape and not combust from being sealed up.

I got the idea from camping cook wear used in sheep hunting up high. The skirts really make a huge difference in stove performance at high altitude. They are easy to make and save fuel consumption like 60! It would be an easy fix for any iron pot used to melt lead and would probably nearly double the effectiveness of most burners.
They can easily be made from galvanized stove pipe from the local hardware. Once the perimeter of the pot is made into the stove pipe a segmented cut top edge can be bent at 90 degrees inward and a perfect fit drop over skirt is ready to be used. These simply made skirts will flat amaze you at how much more efficient they will make your burners.
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Re: Rendering Lead

Post by TexasMac » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:27 am

Just thought I'd present another option.
Wayne

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Plainbase
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Re: Rendering Lead

Post by Plainbase » Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:36 pm

Just received my dutch oven. What a monster! And I have notified Academy that their 8 quart capacity listed on the website is incorrect and it is 16 quarts as you said. Unfortunately it arrived with a fine crack down the side next to the non handle tab. I think it will be OK for lead but might be iffy for soup.
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montana_charlie
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Re: Rendering Lead

Post by montana_charlie » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:24 pm

Plainbase wroteCOLONUnfortunately it arrived with a fine crack down the side next to the non handle tab. I think it will be OK for lead but might be iffy for soup.
Cast iron is an unforgiving substance. It's either sound ... or it's not.
If you think it is cracked, DO NOT TRUST IT with anything ... expecially molten lead.

CM
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Re: Rendering Lead

Post by Brent » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:27 pm

+1000 on that. Molten lead is way way more dangerous than molten soup. Not even close. One of my shooting partners managed to dump a substantial amount on his boot- the result was about 12 months of rehab.
I'm not from here, I just live here.

Plainbase
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Re: Rendering Lead

Post by Plainbase » Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:41 am

The single fine vertical (barely visible) crack was not a problem and all the lead is now rendered into corn muffins. I put the crack on the far side from me as insurance. It took a lot of heat to get the lead melted as it was starting with an empty pot and the rolled up lead sheet had to go in vertically so was acting as a radiator and the wind was blowing hard. Once I had it melted, i cut way back on the burner and it only took 35 minutes to get it all into ingots using a Wagner alloy large corn muffin tin (6,1.5 to 2 pound muffins), a cast iron small corn muffin tin (7, .75 to 1 pound muffins), and an aluminum round corn muffin tin (6, 1 pound muffins). By the time I had the third tin full I could dump the first one with my gloved hands. I have two ladles for casting ingots. One, of cast iron, is a real pain as it builds up a crust inside and lead forms a ring on the handle. It has been moved to a position of last resort only. The other is a steel ladle and is sweet to use. I left a quarter inch of lead in the bottom to get things going for the next time (not in the near future!) and added a skirt to the burner to speed things up.
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montana_charlie
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Re: Rendering Lead

Post by montana_charlie » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:57 am

Now that you have used that new pot you cannot return it for one which is not cracked.

That hairline crack on the outside will eventually become visible on the inside.
But, when that happens, you may have too much hot lead in your lap to notice the appearance.
Retired...twice. Now, just raisin' cows and livin' on borrowed time.

bobw
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Re: Rendering Lead

Post by bobw » Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:33 am

The cast iron for big melts I use is a hog water pan I bought at a garage sale for 50 cents it works but needs a big burner for any real production. Over the last 3 evenings I was at the casting bench with 2 RCBS pro melts going. The left one had pistol bullet alloy in it(#2) and I rendered water pipe out of the right one same time into 1 # ingots. I usually dip bullets from this pot and it will need a cleaning when done but I've done a little over 400 #'s in 3 evenings. With 2 pots going at the same time,you are busy. I stamp al my pure lead ingots with a" P" alloys get stamped with their content already learned that magic marker fades way to fast. bobw

Plainbase
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Re: Rendering Lead

Post by Plainbase » Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:59 am

Montana-Charlie, I hope you're not saying that you would ever cast with your lead pot higher than your lap! That would give new meaning to putting lead in your pencil. They offered me a return or a discount and I took the discount over the hassle of the return as I was not worried about lead seeping through the straight hairline crack. The pot in use was on the ground and I was standing no closer than an arm and ladle length to it and, as I said, on the side away from the crack. I've been casting with care for 55 years and no scars.
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