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Trouble with zinc plated wheel weights.??

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by 1oldshooter, Jan 11, 2010.

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  1. 1oldshooter

    1oldshooter Member

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    Maybe someone out there knows how to handle the new zinc plated wheel weights that we get now from the tire stores for making shot. A good friend who makes shot for me, and several other people, has got a problem with the lead plated with zinc. The zinc floats as the lead melts, and he is able to skim some off; but a great deal of the zinc is still mixed in the lead. When he tries to drip shot, his drippers stop up, and he has to keep cleaning all the time to stay ahead. He doesn’t have a computer, so I told him I would ask the most knowledgeable bunch of trap shooters around, and maybe they would have a solution. Please answer here, or email me. Thanks, Jerry—1oldshooter
     
  2. Ajax

    Ajax Well-Known Member

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    I've never found a way to use the zinc. Even with a vibrator on the ladle or a change in the heat range, if it comes through the drippers it usually popcorns or the shot is so deformed it's no good. The best way is to go through the wheel-weights and pick them out.

    Ajax
     
  3. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    The way we deal with zinc in smelter operations is to drive it off as an oxide. I doubt you can get a conventional lead melter hot enough to do that and even if you could the oxides need to be collected either in a baghouse or a scrubber as there are serious health/environmental risks.

    The most practical approach would be to better sort the wheel weights before melting, it is possible the zinc problem is from the new 'lead free' weights which don't add any value to the melt.
     
  4. capvan

    capvan Active Member

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    I've been told that lead weights will disappear completely in a few more years. There will only be zinc. Too many kids eating the lead weights they find along the road :)
     
  5. dcb_wvu

    dcb_wvu Member

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    Zinc melts at 420 C, Lead at 327.5 C. In a perfect world, you would hold your temp of the smelter to below 420 and only lead would melt. Of course, whatever either are mixed with will affect this but it would seem that it would be worth a try. Also Zinc boils at 900 and Lead at 1500 so you could drive it off by boiling but 900 is REALLY hot. Nevermind the health or environment issues, I am talking just the physical chemistry involved.

    This difference in melting points is also what clogs up the works. The zinc is going back to a solid almost 100 degrees C before the lead even thinks about it.
     
  6. mt92

    mt92 Member

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    How does one identify the zinc weights by just looking at them?
     
  7. plinker611

    plinker611 Member

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    if the weight has zn on it pitch it,also most zink weights have a small hump at the clip,the best way i found is to sort as well as possible,and keep your melting pot under 650 degrees,skim off the floaters asap. if your pot is hot enough to melt zink your lead is letting off some bad gases,be careful,mark
     
  8. TOOLMAKER 251

    TOOLMAKER 251 Active Member

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    Cavan, It was not so much a problem kids eating them, as it was democrats ingesting them.
     
  9. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    I have a separate pot for the zinc/lead alloy weights (pure zinc does melt at a higher temp, but these are alloyed with the lead and will melt at lower temps - typically called 'truck weights').

    The pure zinc ones will float on top of the lead if the temp is kept under control.

    I sort the weights saving the lead for shot while skimming the pure zinc as they float. The zinc alloy gets melted for sinkers (large, ocean type - not little ones). Why waste them??
     
  10. JTEA

    JTEA Member

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    I've been working with molten metal for over 30 years, bronze, which includes a little zinc. My offhand suggestion would be to get a decent pyrometer. There are some good digital models which should run under $300 new. There are also some good optical units which would make things easier. Check on Ebay etc. Make sure it operates in the correct temp. range.

    I would approach this as doing a pre-melt to separate the two, making ingots of the "clean" lead. You will have go through a trial and error period to find the correct temperature for separation. Use the zinc mix for fishing weights as suggested. Do you have ventilation? Perhaps a fan blowing over area is cooling the drop prematurely. I imagine the big companies have a heated drop system. Have you considered connecting the drop plate to a larger heated steel (or aluminum would be better) plate to keep it hot?

    Some innovation may be needed to operate a low cost system.

    Good luck, JT
     
  11. 1oldshooter

    1oldshooter Member

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    Thanks for the help. Looks like we just need to sort and put the zinc coated back. We had 5- 5 gal buckets and only got 2 1/2 buckets of good all lead ones. I will pass this on to my friend. Thanks Again, Jerry 1oldshooter
     
  12. Ajax

    Ajax Well-Known Member

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    Jt I'm not clear on your sentence about connecting a heated drop plate to a larger plate to keep it hot. Can you describe what you mean?

    Ajax
     
  13. blkcloud

    blkcloud Active Member

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    So far i havent had much trouble with my drippers clogging, I'm using weights that I have bought lately, if any of the drippers do clog up just blast it with a propane torch and it will clear up in a few seconds..never noticed and funny looking shot from the zinc mix..
     
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