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Old July 6, 2012, 01:02 AM   #1
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How to separate lead ingots from molds

Hey all

Had my first and second smelting sessions today! Woohoo! Done in a used turkey fryer I picked up, since the 1100 watt hot plate didn't work well at all.

I ended up with 15 ingots from the bakery steel muffin tins using wheel weights after separating out the steel and zinc ones by hand. I did the WW separately, and monitored the temp at 700 or less the whole time, just in case a zinc one got through. I missed one steel one - but no zinc showed up.

The tape-on weights I smelted separately, and am only half done with those. I ran into a problem I didn't have a solution for, and had to stop smelting.

The problem was getting my ingots out of the molds. Out of the first 15, only ten came out of the molds, leaving 5 between the two six-muffin sheets. Apparently I am being too cautious or perhaps too slow to fill a single tin, and waited too long to extricate the lead from the mold. Now of course they're stuck.

I placed one sheet back over the melting pot (which is stainless steel, btw) to warm it back up, and hopefully loosen it up. Didn't work. I hadn't "sooted" the tins - and now regret that error. So, I poured into the molds that weren't occupied by lead, thinking the molten lead in several molds might be enough to heat up the rest of them. No dice.

I also didn't pre-heat the molds, and I think that is why some of my good 10 ingots that did come out of the molds have bubble like holes in them.

As for the stuck filled molds, I literally tore apart the tins trying to get them out. I don't mind - they were $1 each at Dollar Tree. Here's where my questions come in...

1) I was told that freezing the lead inside their bakery steel cups (after they cooled down for hours) and then dropping them in scalding water would pop them out of their welded-on molds. I am freezing them overnight, and then will try the water in the morning. If that doesn't work - what are my options? I will make sure to dry the ingots for days in the hot sun before I melt them again.

2) What do I buy and do to avoid this in the future? I got bakery steel tins - they were not aluminum, but they were very thin steel. And do I pre-heat them to avoid bubbling?

Overall, the operation went nearly 100% as planned. Fryer worked great. Would be nice to find a dirt cheap cast iron pot - but quality comes at a price.
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Old July 6, 2012, 03:48 AM   #2
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I use the ingot molds made by Lyman made from cast iron. I have no problem with the mold releasing the ingot.
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Old July 6, 2012, 06:09 AM   #3
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I would try sut from a candle. I works with ball molds.
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Old July 6, 2012, 08:12 AM   #4
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The lead adhered to the steel.
Wrong choice of materials for your moulds.
Use cast iron. Start over.
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Old July 6, 2012, 08:27 AM   #5
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I do not use tin? pans, I use case iron molds, I do not use food type muffin or corn bread molds, I have never has an ingot stick. 700 Degree, you are not melting 100% lead, for the most part you are melting lead and tin with antimony.

Lead melts at about 650 degree, add something to the lead, reduce the amount of heat to melt.

http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chap...Casting101.htm

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I placed the β€˜?’ after tin, tin is expensive, most cookie/sheet, mold type pans used for making muffins are referred to as tin are not tin, but if they were all we would have to do is melt the β€˜tin’ pan into the mix to reduce the amount of heat required to melt the mix and get harder bullets.

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Old July 6, 2012, 08:30 AM   #6
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The steel muffin tins had to have some kind of preservative (oil?) on them. Clean steel will not adhere to lead. I have seen that when using used (for baking), tins. Put your tins in a 400+ degree oven and bake them for about two hours. The foreign substance will burn off. If they produce smoke, you know for sure they were dirty. The baking residue, or preservative on new ones, acts as a flux. Again, clean steel will not stick to molten lead.
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Old July 6, 2012, 08:40 AM   #7
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Look for some cast iron cookware in shapes like a muffin cup that will work for your application. those will be more reliable in releasing the lead from the mold.
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Old July 6, 2012, 08:47 AM   #8
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Sounds like you used the normal tin muffin pans. As you found out they don't work. You need to use cast iron or steel. If you know how to weld and can get some scrap steel you can make some real cheap.



These ingots come out around 8 pounds.

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Old July 6, 2012, 09:04 AM   #9
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Those "steel" muffin tins are TIN plated steel.

Have you ever done any soldering? What is solder? It's tin and lead, or at least it was, now it's mostly tin. What you did is solder the ingots to the steel. The ONLY way to remove them is to get them hot enough to melt. Place them on the turkey fryer, melt them out of the cups.

NOW, you have to provide some sort of mold release before you pour any more lead into those muffin tins. Soot from a carbon based flame will do nicely. A candle, oil lamp, even a butane lighter will produce soot. You have to coat all surfaces of the tins, and re-coat often as you pour more ingots.
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Old July 6, 2012, 10:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Those "steel" muffin tins are TIN plated steel.

Have you ever done any soldering? What is solder? It's tin and lead, or at least it was, now it's mostly tin. What you did is solder the ingots to the steel.
It is extreamly unlikely that the OP found any new muffin tins that were Tin plated. The process of plating with Tin has been obsolete for years, just as plated "Tin cans", no longer contain any tin.
Galvanizing (Zinc plating) is no longer used either.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muffin_tin
Tin is too expensive to use in applying a non-rust surface to steel...there are much cheaper, and better althernatives.
"Tin cans" in the old days, used to be coated on the inside with Tin to prevent acids in food from attacking the steel of the can. With the advent of better/cheaper coatings, the only Tin used in the cans was solder in the seam. Now "Tin cans", are either drawn without a seam or the seam is a weldament...look at a can for the heat affected zone (colors like those of color case hardening), surrounding the seam on a welded can.
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Old July 6, 2012, 10:38 AM   #11
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I bought a muffin pan from the dollar store a couple of years ago and tried to use it for an ingot mold. The cups did have a shiny plating on the surfaces; don't know if it was tin or zinc or chrome. The lead stuck tight to the plating and I had to beat the pan apart with a hammer and pliers to get the ingots out.

Stainless steel condiment cups, 2.5 ounce from Walmart or the more expensive 3 ounce ones from Sam's Club, make wonderful ingot molds. Just don't tip them over, or sit them on a surface that can't take high heat (don't ask me how I know this) I have cast close to a thousand ingots using them.

You can also cut the tops off of beer or soda cans and use them as single-use ingot molds. Filled to the top they'll weigh 8.5 pounds. You have to peel the can off, but that's not hard to do.
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Old July 6, 2012, 10:51 AM   #12
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Thanks for the quick replies

Hey all

Thank you for all the info. So I soldered the lead to the muffin pans. Great. Well, I will try the method I mentioned for popping them out on one of the ingots, but it sounds like I will not be enjoying this endeavor.

What bothers me about it is that I have seen so many videos about using the cheapo dollar store muffin tins - those videos are everywhere re: casting instructions. I watched them all - and out of all the videos I only saw one mold that had gotten stuck.

Ah well, live and learn. For $1, I will try another round of muffin molds, but I will soot them well before using, and I will pre-heat them too. I'll report back once I've tried that out.

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Old July 6, 2012, 10:52 AM   #13
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Or, just spend around 10 bucks and get a gen-yoo-wine ingot mold from Midway or Midsouth.

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Old July 6, 2012, 11:11 AM   #14
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Ah well, live and learn. For $1, I will try another round of muffin molds, but I will soot them well before using, and I will pre-heat them too. I'll report back once I've tried that out.
Soot is not likely to be enough. Try using stove paint.
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Old July 6, 2012, 11:21 AM   #15
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Then there is the odd duck in the crowd. I use aluminum muffin pans and never had a sticking mold. Been using the same pans since 1976 so it works for me.
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Old July 6, 2012, 11:37 AM   #16
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CrustyFN - That is a great idea. I have some channel steel and flat steel that I could weld and make ingots.

Thanks for the idea.

My father and I used to melt the lead into a small steel baking pan, but I have no idea where the stuff we used to use has gone to.
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Old July 6, 2012, 12:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
CrustyFN - That is a great idea. I have some channel steel and flat steel that I could weld and make ingots.

Thanks for the idea.

My father and I used to melt the lead into a small steel baking pan, but I have no idea where the stuff we used to use has gone to.
I used 3" channel. Make sure to cut the ends at 5 to 10 degrees to make the ingots easier to fall out. The ends are 2" angle and the channel is 6" long. If I fill the mold half full the ingots will fit in the Lee 10 pound bottom pour pot and the full ingots will fit in the Lee 20 pound bottom pour pot.
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Old July 6, 2012, 02:27 PM   #18
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Go to Walmart or Walmart.com http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-...-Cups/14964954 and get some of these. I paid 1.00 for 4 of them. They weigh around 2 lbs with clip on WW and fit right into my LEE 20 lb pot. They drop right out, just turn them upside down.
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Old July 6, 2012, 02:29 PM   #19
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I used 3" channel. Make sure to cut the ends at 5 to 10 degrees to make the ingots easier to fall out. The ends are 2" angle and the channel is 6" long. If I fill the mold half full the ingots will fit in the Lee 10 pound bottom pour pot and the full ingots will fit in the Lee 20 pound bottom pour pot.
The channel will come with some "draft" to allow the ingots to drop out. I made mine out off angle iron with angle iron ends welded on...I end up with ingots with a triangle cross section...much draft to allow easy drop out.
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Old July 6, 2012, 02:44 PM   #20
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with angle The channel will come with some "draft" to allow the ingots to drop out. I made mine out off angle iron iron ends welded on...I end up with ingots with a triangle cross section...much draft to allow easy drop out
I have some of those also. I still have around 700 pounds in ingots so I haven't needed to smelt since I made them.

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Old July 6, 2012, 09:02 PM   #21
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It is extreamly unlikely that the OP found any new muffin tins that were Tin plated. The process of plating with Tin has been obsolete for years, just as plated "Tin cans", no longer contain any tin.
Galvanizing (Zinc plating) is no longer used either.
With older muffin pans, it is quite possible to come across tinned pans (I have several). But... I believe you are correct, in this instance. Since the pans came from Dollar Tree, they probably weren't more than a year or two old.

If the pans had any kind of non-stick coating, that could be the problem. If you have any more (that weren't destroyed while removing ingots), be sure to burn the coating(s) off, before pouring any lead. It takes some time and quite a bit of heat, though. By the time you get it all burnt off, the pans will be badly warped.
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Old July 7, 2012, 08:04 AM   #22
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I think some make it harder than it needs to be here. I use muffin pans also and never had a stuck ingot. I don't bake them, soot them or season them. I just pour lead in them and wait a minute then tip them out.

You waited too long to flip the pan is all you did. Lead is very dense and cools quickly. Be warned about leaving boolits in moulds too long or you will experience the same thing.
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Old July 7, 2012, 12:13 PM   #23
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Set your steel muffin pans outside and let 'em rust. Iron oxide makes a pretty good "non-stick" coating for lead. Also, if the cups are soldered in the pan, then the ingots will stick, if the cups/pan are one piece, stamped, usually the lead won't stick, my experience. I have two muffin tins I use for ingots; one id stamped steel and rusted, the other is stamped and had some sort of non-stick coating (not teflon or a teflon clone). Neither stick.

For your "stuck" pans, invert the pans over your smelting pot and heat the bottom with a propane tourch. Ingots will start to melt and drop out...
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Old July 7, 2012, 02:56 PM   #24
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Here's my muffin tins;



It's hard to see the two 6 bangers to the bottom of the above pic.



They're filled on the bot of this pic.



The 12 hole one is pressed heavy steel. They have never stuck in those.

The 6 hole pans are aluminum coated with teflon. Those never stuck either. Some say you can't use the teflon ones, the teflon puts off a toxic gas when they get that hot. Nobody died from using them, the wind must have carried it off.
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Old July 7, 2012, 09:56 PM   #25
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Ok, got the ingots out

Hey all

Thought I'd check back in.

The whole ingot freeze then dump into scalding water treatment to extricate it from the steel muffin cup utterly failed. Metal snips to the rescue, and all the ingots have been removed. Of course, the muffin cups are thoroughly destroyed. hahahhahah

So, now I am scoping out replacement molds.

I looked for the stainless steel condiment cups (via the link provided) at WalMart, but couldn't find them in the store. I will ask a manager for them next time I am there.

I am definitely going to soot whatever I get, and pre-heat them too. I have the remaining half of the tape-on lead wheel weights left in my stainless steel pot to re-smelt over the weekend.

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