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questions on melting lead

Old 01-18-2002, 10:34 PM
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Default questions on melting lead

Hey all,

Looking for some ideas. I was trying to melt lead shot to make nice weights for my planes. The last time I just poured it on a flat cookie sheet (being a smart husband I laid down aluminum foil first) and it worked well. I had to shave the sides so that it would fit where I wanted but the thickness was good. This time I made 1.25 inch by 10 inch aluminum molds. The width is fine at 1.25 inches but the thickness is too much (close to 1/4 inch) it didn't spead to the ends the way I though it would. They only ended up about 7 inches long instead of the 10 planned for. Anybody have ideas on how to accomplish this better? I don't have a "masters" workshop, just a kitchen, tongs and aluminum cans for the melting.

Secondly, I'd like to make 1/4 inch diameter lead rods to cut into plugs (easier to add weight just to the CG is my thought). 1) Is this the best way to add weight to a plane. 2) Any ideas on how to acomplish this and still get the lead out of the mold. I thought of using aluminum arrow shafts (not sure how to pour it in there), but then how do I get the lead plugs out?

I'm just trying to clean up the lead weight I'll be using instead of leaving it in lead shot form in tape baggies. You're help is appreciated.

Hank
Old 01-19-2002, 12:26 AM
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Default Lead

I use a 2x4 that I dremmel out the size and shape I want. Line it with alum. foil and pour it in ,when cool, pop it out.
Old 01-19-2002, 12:36 AM
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Default questions on melting lead

I hope the 2 of you are using some really good ventalation systems. When melting lead the fumes that come off it are pisionous (sp).
Old 01-19-2002, 04:29 PM
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Default Melting lead

rhino. It is as Miniair states. Lead fumes are nothing to fool with. You should not be melting it in the kitchen. I use the burner from my turkey cooker and melt it just outside the garage during decent weather. You could use any type burner such as the side burner on your propane char broiler.
Go to a gun shop which sells reloading supplies and look at a Lyman ingot mold. It has four cavities which form an ingot about 3/4"X 1" x 3". I am only guessing at the sizes as I don't have the mold close at hand at the moment. The finished ingots weigh about one pound and are the greatest thing I have ever found for building weights. I use them for everything.

When cool they can be sliced into small pieces with a hacksaw for adding balance weights to your model. I have supplied them to builders of short nosed WW1 models who have had to bolt the entire one pound ingot in the nose to get the proper balance.

I go to a local tire shop where I buy my tires and they will give me a bunch of used wheel weights occasionally which I melt down and make a supply of the ingots. If you need a smaller weight just pour less lead into the mold such as 1/4 full. Etc. to have a variety of different weights on hand for any use that might arise.
Old 01-19-2002, 07:31 PM
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Default lead weights

A much easier and neater way of putting the weights in your plane is to just use plain lead shot. Make the required size cavity in the desired spot, pour in lead shot until the desired balance it obtained. Now take the shot back out, mix it with 30 minute epoxy untill all shot is coated then pour it back into the model and let it set up. Now the weight won't shift or come loose when you least expect it to. Rod
Old 01-20-2002, 05:32 AM
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Default re

After youre done using that cookie sheet throw it away right then! Lead poison is no joke. When youre melting your lead dont drop water or if you are sweating dont lean over it and drop sweat into it. Believe it or not it will explode. Not a kaboom explode but a splater explode. And dont ferget to wash yer hands!!!!!
Old 01-20-2002, 08:05 AM
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Default Thanks!

For those worried about fumes and lead poisoning, I am taking precautions, although I will probably take more now with the fumes. Really, I don't see any negative effects (twich - twich) hards are always washed and everything I use is lined with aluminum foil to prevent lead contamination of my household materials. But I wll start melting outside and not just with the door open and a fan blowing (My wife always says I'm a little brain dead)

I have lots of lead shot, and I have tried the epoxy method, it just isn't my favorite. More poisons to deal with :/ And for the cavity I can get a lot more lead (when needed) into a position if I melt it down first.

I have forwarded on the discussion to a mailing list I'm on as well, think theres some great ideas!

Hank
Old 01-21-2002, 03:59 PM
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Default Lead Poisoning

It is always good to be cautious when dealing with the unknown and everyone has heard of lead poisoning. But you really don't have to worry about breathing "lead fumes" when melting lead. It is very difficult to vaporize lead and breathe it in. Several years ago, I had several employees who manufactured lead products by using a torch to melt the lead and rejoin the pieces together. We tested the air they were breathing using scientific air filtering equipment and found that even after breathing this air 8 hours a day, 250 days a year, the amount of lead they were getting was so minute, we didn't need to do anything! No exhast systems, breathing filters, nothing. This decision was approved by OSHA and our insurance company.

When you melt lead, there may be impurities on the lead, such as oil, dirt, etc. This is the source of the smoke that might come off the lead and this smoke may not be good for you, depending on what is causing the smoke. In this case, good ventilation is recommended. But you really don't have to worry about the lead itself.
Old 01-29-2002, 07:25 PM
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Default mold

Rhino,
"This time I made 1.25 inch by 10 inch aluminum molds. The width is fine at 1.25 inches but the thickness is too much (close to 1/4 inch) it didn't spead to the ends the way I though it would. They only ended up about 7 inches long instead of the 10 planned for. Anybody have ideas on how to accomplish this better?"
Just wondering if you had considered heating the mold so that the heat isnt disipated from the lead so quickly?
Old 01-30-2002, 04:29 AM
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Default ballast weight

If you need to melt something, instead of using lead, why not try "Cerrobend"? It's density/weight is similar to lead, and melts at 168 degrees F. You can melt it in boiling water, and pour it into any mold you happen to have. As you pour it, it lifts the water to the top, and solidifies as the water cools. It even looks like lead.
No chance for lead poisoning!

The epoxy/lead shot is a time honored method, and is probably the best!

Harley Condra
BVM REP
RAM REP
Buy American!!!!!!
Old 01-30-2002, 12:58 PM
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Default Melting Lead

Why would anybody be melting lead in the Kitchen?

Lead weights can be purchased as shot in gunshops.

Various sizes and shapes can be purchased in fishing tackle shops

Various sizes (Wheel balancing weights) can be purchased in Automotive tyre shops. They may even give you the old ones.

Ed S
Old 01-30-2002, 01:16 PM
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Default Lead Weights

I have made many different size and shape weights. I make a mold out of scrap lite ply to the shape and size I want. I place bits of lead to the area where it is needed till I get the ballance needed. I then melt down the correct amount and pour it into my pre fabed mold. These molds will char, but you can use them more than once if needed
ps. I have been molding lead weights for many applications most of my life ( 70 yrs ) I have a cast iron ladle I heat on my kitchen stove.
Old 01-30-2002, 05:38 PM
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Default questions on melting lead

Did I read that right, you are pouring molten lead into a lite ply box in your kitchen????

I guess there is no point in adding to this thread!

Ed S
Old 01-30-2002, 09:11 PM
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Default questions on melting lead

You read right Mr. Ed Smith. Made a few ballast weights today for my sailplane. The lite ply form box is still OK to use again. The kitchen is still OK to use again. I am still OK to use again. Weather or not anyone adds to this thread makes no difference, the fact remains a fact.

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