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Old February 5, 2013, 09:53 AM   #1
nistech95
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Wheel weights for casting

I have access to alot of wheel weights and wasted to know if the coated wheel weights are ok to use...They have a powder coating in them to help them blend with the color of an aluminum wheel.Well this come to the top when i smelt them? Thanks in advance
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Old February 5, 2013, 09:55 AM   #2
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Melt them
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Old February 5, 2013, 09:57 AM   #3
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yep.. melt em and skim off the paint on top.
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:05 AM   #4
nistech95
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How about the stick on weights...same thing?
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:07 AM   #5
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they are a lil softer.. but yeah you can mix em in together.
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:11 AM   #6
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I think the stick-on weights are much more pure lead. I separate those out.
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:12 AM   #7
nistech95
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Thanks for the help...i guess being a mechanic and wanting to start casting is gonna be a good thing
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:12 AM   #8
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Here's a nice video doing just this. Parts 2 and 3 are interesting as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn-l0Ahzgoc
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:13 AM   #9
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yeah.. except for the fact that they are reducing in attempt to stop...all production of lead wheel weights...they are going to other metals/alloys.
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:15 AM   #10
hdbiker
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wheelweights

I melt my wheelweights in an stainless steel pet dish on a old Coleman stove.I skim off all the crap on top of the melt and then flux and pour into a ingot mold for later use in my Lee Production pot.
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:21 AM   #11
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Several years ago we found some stick-on weights that were mainly a zinc alloy. When melting your weights, go slowly and try to keep the heat down. Lead melts at about 621F degrees, zinc melts at about 787F. Metallurgists will tell you that various alloys have different melting points, but keeping the temps just under 700F should keep the zinc out of the alloy.
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:27 AM   #12
nistech95
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What does the fluxing process involve?
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Old February 5, 2013, 10:42 AM   #13
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Fluxing returns metal, particularly tin, to the pot by reducing the oxide back to metal. A pea-sized bit of wax added to the pot and stirred will usually work, as the oxygen prefers it to the metal. Some use sawdust as the oxygen prefers the carbon in it to the metal. There are less smoky commercial fluxes out there, too.

Zinc should float to the surface, but some fluxes can cause an metal to combine with another below its melting point. So melt before you flux. Zinc should float to the surface. You want to keep it out of the melt because it adversely affects the surface tension of the molten alloy, interfering with case fill.
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Old February 5, 2013, 12:06 PM   #14
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Give each one a nip with a pair of side cutters. The lead/alloy ones will readily cut, the zinc-steel-aluminum ones won't. You will immediately notice the difference.

Melt, flux with a piece of wax, candle or dab of motor oil...watch for the flames and stand downwind when doing it.

Scoop the clips out and pour into your ingot mold.

Use a separate pot to do this, not your casting pot. This will avoid gunking up your casting pot with dirt and crud.
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:07 PM   #15
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Steel wheel weights have rivots. They are easy to see. If you see them do not bother with even trying to melt them. I sort my weights roughly before melting them. If it has ZN on it then it is zinc. If you can avoid them in your pot it highly suggest you do so. If the zinc melts, even a very tiny potrion it will contaminate everhing.


Here is my sorting method.

1 Stick on. Put to the side in a seperate pile. (I use them for black powder balls, and some .45-70 Govt I will be loading with black powder for an old trap door Springfield.)

2 Steel. Most have rivots. Others do not they will have Fe on them most times. (Fe is the scientific abreviation for iron which makes steel.) If they work into the pot no big deal they will float without melting.

3 Zinc They will have ZN on them. They go straight to the scrap metal can. (I use them for the tire shops that say they can not get rid of the weights for one reason or another. If I offer to swap the zinc ones for the unsorted they will trade me. The ones they send to the rcyclers no one will miss.) Note I put the steel ones in with them as well.

4 Lead clamp on Most will have Pb on them (Pb is lead.) I melt them. The clips float to the top, I skim them off with a metal slotted spoon.

I wait till the pot is full, and the clips are skimmed off before I flux. I use media that I use in the tumbler. I light a match and drop it on the top, and it will catch fire, and it cuts down on the smoke.


Just note make sure you melt them down in a well vetilated area. It will smell like burning tires.(Burning glue with the stick ons.) It releases a lot of carbon monoxide. Doing it inside also will make the house smell like burned tires for a very long time.
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Old February 5, 2013, 06:18 PM   #16
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What is the hardness rating of wheel weights?
Another post answered my question.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:08 AM   #17
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I see no mention of boric acid powder use? (That's surprising.)_
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:23 AM   #18
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My tire guy is an avid shooter/reloader. He saves wheel weights from his shop. He says there are so many different kinds of weights these days you don't know what they are until you melt, or try melting them.
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Old February 6, 2013, 11:10 AM   #19
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Quote:
I see no mention of boric acid powder use? (That's surprising.)_
For use as a flux? It has no carbon, so it would not flux at all. In order to flux lead alloys, you MUST introduce carbon into the metal. That does NOT just mean you put something on top of the lead, leave it there, then remove it. It DOES mean it should be stirred into the alloy. Get it under the surface of the melt. What to stir with, wood sticks! Get some paint stirring sticks the next time you're at the hardware store. Make sure you scrape the sides and bottom of the pot. Dirt can be trapped between the molten lead and the sides/bottom of the pot.

Sawdust is the best flux. It does not have to be the remains of cuts made from a board. It could be chain saw shavings, or a good way to get it is the wood shavings made for pet bedding. A bag of that from a pet shop or wally world, would last a very long time. Just put about a tablespoon full on top of the hot alloy,(lead should be at least 700 degrees), when it starts smoking lite it with a match/lighter. let it char to black, then stir it into, under the surface of the melted metal.

Remove whats left as dross. It will be dirt that you do not want in your boolits. Then put some more sawdust on the top, let it char, and leave it there! It acts as an air barrier. It's the air around you, or more specifically the oxygen, that causes the scum to appear. The scum is oxidized metal, mostly the tin. Tin reacts more quickly to oxygen, so it's mostly tin in the floating layer on the lead.

Since tin is most important in boolit fill-out, and for maintaining hardness, it's most important to keep it fluxed into the metal. Also, the higher the temperature of the lead alloy, the faster the tin will oxidize out. Seldom is it necessary to go over 700 degrees lead temp. for good boolits.
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Old February 6, 2013, 01:30 PM   #20
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Boric Acid. Its not for fluxing. Its for holding the dross surface tension. Old school way of doing something to help out the caster.
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Old April 20, 2013, 08:36 PM   #21
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The larger tire stores use steel weights now, "going green"
Mom and pops use lead or reuse whatever they can find.
If you come across an interstate battery truck ask the driver, they pick up the old weights from auto shops that they sell their batteries to, they melt em down for their batteries. May be able to buy a bucket off of them.
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Old April 20, 2013, 08:43 PM   #22
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Quote:
Boric Acid. Its not for fluxing. Its for holding the dross surface tension. Old school way of doing something to help out the caster.
You don't want to add borax or boric acid because you don't really want to sequester the oxides. You want to reduce them back to metal -- that's what carbon-containing flux (like wax or sawdust) does. The oxides contain a lot of the tin and antimony, and you want to keep those.
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Old May 29, 2013, 06:52 PM   #23
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I was about to start a thread asking how to sort out lead wheelweights from other, but it looks like it's been answered here. Thank you.

The test I was thinking of applying was the "bash it with a hammer" test. If it flattened, I was going to call it lead. If all it did was score, probably not.
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Old May 29, 2013, 06:59 PM   #24
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You want to toss out the weights that are *obviously* not lead. With some of the painted ones, it's not obvious one way or the other.

The real test is whether they melt or not if you keep the pot below about 750 degrees.
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Old May 30, 2013, 12:25 PM   #25
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Being a mechanic is a huge advantage for learning to cast bullets and reloading in general. With good mechanical inclination and good knowledge of hand tool use, you have a good start (you can prolly tell zinc from lead wheel weights just by holding them in your hand). So much of casting and reloading is just common sense (and most mechanics have a bunch of it). I've been paid to fix everything from chain saws to 125 ton hydro-cranes for over 35 years so, casting and reloading ain't no challenge, just follow safe, common sense practices...

BTW; I tried Boric Acid a few years ago, I read about it somewhere. Huge mess. Gummy, gooy, sludge on top of the melt and it took a lot of wire brush scrubbing to remove it from the pot.
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