who was it that mentioned smelting brass/copper/steel? at the cast bullets workshop?

DukeInFlorida

NES Member
Rating - 100%
53   0   0
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
4,188
Likes
237
Location
South of you
I recall someone mentioning that they had a smelter for doing higher temp metals. Brass/copper, that sort of thing.

It was a busy day, an I don't specifically recall who it was. Could you kindly let me know who you are? I have need of smelting knowledge for brass and copper. The copper need is more urgent.

Willing to travel for the knowledge.
 

mac1911

NES Member
Rating - 100%
67   0   0
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
28,763
Likes
6,081
what are you useing to smelt copper boris, I have a bunch of jackets and what I believe to be copper powder from indoor range scrap after smelting the lead out?
 

EC1

NES Member
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Sep 19, 2007
Messages
7,067
Likes
1,446
Location
Somewhere
I recall someone mentioning that they had a smelter for doing higher temp metals. Brass/copper, that sort of thing.

It was a busy day, an I don't specifically recall who it was. Could you kindly let me know who you are? I have need of smelting knowledge for brass and copper. The copper need is more urgent.

Willing to travel for the knowledge.
For copper and brass you would need the ability to reach temperatures in the 1200C range. Either a torch or burner of some kind or a line frequency induction furnace are typically used, but the set up depends on what you are trying to do.
 

Boris

Son of Kalashnikov
NES Member
Rating - 100%
21   0   0
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
19,076
Likes
14,358
Location
Back from Motherland
I've being doing metal casting for a long time, building my own furnaces, burners ... I do mostly aluminum, as it is most often what I need in my projects. Sometimes I do bronze or cast iron, but not too often. I also live in somewhat residential area so I am very conscious about noise and burners can be as loud as small jet engines (injecting fuel under pressure into a small space)

The question about smelting copper and range brass comes from time to time on the metal casting forums. Basically, unless you are developing your own technique, it's not worth it. The smaller are the scraps of metal (i.e. casings) the more is the oxidation. There are ways to minimize it, but you still end-up with lots of dross (oxide waste). It's similar to smelting aluminum cans, there's just very little money to be made. Also, keep in mind that bronze temps require a crucible that you most likely need to buy. You can make them and some guys do, but you got to factor in the risk of it breaking and tens of pounds of molten copper flying everywhere. [shocked] Most common flux for copper alloys is Borax and it loves to eat away your expensive cruicibles.

For burners, my guess would be a waste oil fired burner. That's a common way to go and they are fantastic in terms of BTU's. There are a lot of designs, it all depends on what kind of waste oil you are getting, what furnace you have. If you live in the sticks, there may be other options too.

So there are a lot variables. Better knowing the situation, I can give you appropriate advice or point you in the right direction. If you want to go into uncharted territory with some crazy setup, I'd love to participate. In any case, metal casting setup can be a profitable operation since most foundries deal with bigger jobs.
 
Rating - 100%
6   0   0
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Messages
5,168
Likes
1,229
Location
New Bedford, MA
I was engaged to a jeweler for a while, she had a lot of silver scrap and sending that off to be recycled was a pain.... I looked into being able to cast ingots and usable stock from the scraps, but we split before anything serious happened with that....

So i should probably forget about doing anything with all that .22 brass i have eh?

(actually, i started making chainmaille a while ago and thought about using .22 brass in maille bracelets)

From my HTC EVO via Tapatalk
 

Boris

Son of Kalashnikov
NES Member
Rating - 100%
21   0   0
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
19,076
Likes
14,358
Location
Back from Motherland
I was engaged to a jeweler for a while, she had a lot of silver scrap and sending that off to be recycled was a pain.... I looked into being able to cast ingots and usable stock from the scraps, but we split before anything serious happened with that....

So i should probably forget about doing anything with all that .22 brass i have eh?

(actually, i started making chainmaille a while ago and thought about using .22 brass in maille bracelets)

From my HTC EVO via Tapatalk
it all boils down to money. Recyclers don't pay a lot which factors in their cost and the cost all the way down the road. Most often, people just want a compact way to deal with scraps. So perhaps a multistage compactor is a good bet. Bronze ingots go for insane amount of money (part of the reason I don't use it in jigs) but the content is certified to contain everything in the right proportion. Brass is not typically cast because Zn tends to evaporate from the alloy. In any case, brass "doesn't ask for food" so if you got free storage, just wait as prices for metals keep rising.
 

DukeInFlorida

NES Member
Rating - 100%
53   0   0
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
4,188
Likes
237
Location
South of you
Like mac1911, I have a BUNCH of copper jackets skimmed from a serious bunch of range lead smelting. None of the local scrappers anywhere will take the stuff. Even though it's chemical composition (mostly copper with some lead) is no different than scrap from plumbers (copper pipe with soldered fittings), they just don't want it. Other areas of the US, guys are getting upwards to $3 a pound for the skimmings. But not here, for some reason.

My thought was to smelt the damn stuff down into copper ingots, which they would then buy. My option would be to GIVE the stuff to my town in their "non-ferrous" recycle center bin. I hate the thought of giving that much copper away.

Similarly, the local scrappers won't take my primed aluminum pistol cases. Buckets and buckets full of them. A fairly high percentage of them are berdan primed, so primer removal is impossible on a practical basis. So, again.... My thought was to smelt them down into ingots, and sell them that way.

Boris, as in the case of the Cast Bullets Workshop, the best way to learn sometimes is to actually DO it, and have someone coach you in person. I wasn't able to call you yesterday. Let me know if you might be available at some time to set up, and show me how to do this. I'd be happy to drive down from Maine to learn.
 

mac1911

NES Member
Rating - 100%
67   0   0
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
28,763
Likes
6,081
Duke same problems in my area, heck I couldnt even get scap metal price for the jackets ??? which is about .15 lb
around here a bit more if more than a ton.
The powder stuff ? I just will toss it in the scap bucket at work I quess
 
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Joined
Nov 18, 2009
Messages
3,252
Likes
320
Location
INVISIBLE
I've been thinking about this for awile.
We make alot of brazed seals at work. I'm pretty sure the the brazing rods are A25 which consist of 25% Silver, 52.50% Copper & 22.50 Zink.
The seals are mostly Inconel, a high temp, high nickle/chromium steel alloy.
After the seals are brazed the chared exteriors are sanded on what I'm assuming is a alluminum oxide belt before machining.

The fine natural golden silver deposit on the floor has been swept aside for years now. Enough to fill a 15 Gallon drum.
I know the Alumminum oxide is some serious heat resistant stuff.

Anything possible here?
I assume the percentages of each material would make a difference. After reading Boris's posts it sounds to difficult & way too much trouble. for the reward.
 
Last edited:

Bob J

NES Member
Rating - 100%
31   0   0
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
4,588
Likes
417
Location
Quincy MA
I have the same problem with selling/trading jacket scrap.... Thought I could get copper prices but after some research found that the scrap was bronze alloy or gilding metal alloy with some steel fragments as well.... Feedback I got was that it was too expensive to process.....[thinking]

link
 

DukeInFlorida

NES Member
Rating - 100%
53   0   0
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
4,188
Likes
237
Location
South of you
Boris, the aluminum cases are another matter. I'd still like to learn how to melt those down into ingots.

Will the brass spend primers sink or float?

Hoping that they will sort (skim) out.

Can I run those in a cast iron pot? Put some damn hot torch on them?

Seems to me it was easy to melt brass into a puddle when I put that bread pan full of 9mm's into my wood stove to anneal them. How difficult can aluminum be?

I want to build one of the propane burners:
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Rating - 100%
13   0   0
Joined
Mar 23, 2010
Messages
665
Likes
43
Location
Bristol County
Duke there is a scrap yard here in Taunton Ma that will buy your bullet jackets. I sold a pail of them today for 1.85 lb. They tested a few of them with thier fancy alloy testing gun and settled on paying me brass price for them because the alloy was had more brass than copper. Save up a pickup truck load worth of them and make the trip down.
 

DukeInFlorida

NES Member
Rating - 100%
53   0   0
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
4,188
Likes
237
Location
South of you
Let's see.....

Maine to Taunton in my Durango.............

That is about $250 in gas round trip.

Cheaper for me to mail it to them. I bet I could get 50 pounds + in a large flat rate box.
 

Boris

Son of Kalashnikov
NES Member
Rating - 100%
21   0   0
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
19,076
Likes
14,358
Location
Back from Motherland
Duke, you may use cast iron pot, but steel "crucibles" are usually better. You can melt Al in an empty soup can, but it would burn through fast. I'll post some pics once I get home. You want something that's tall though and have it in a furnace type environment, because melting in open air won't work. You need to get the entire pot glowing cherry red. It could be done in blacksmith forge, running on coal. Propane is expensive. Waste oil burner is the way to go, but charcoal or coal are excellent choices for aluminum too. If you are in Me, I figure that propane will be more expensive than coal or firewood. For Al temps, you can use all kinds of refractories like perlite+furnace cement or find some fireclay, heck you may even have some good clay on your property. There are many recipies for that, usually some cement + foam beads or wood shavings.

You will get plenty of dross, Al oxide from casings. Molten Al will dissolve copper [shocked] so you'll never find those primers. If you are planning to sell the ingots, dross will look like a spongy mass, Al color so may even sell that to scrapper, they will never know. You can use the same ingot molds you use for Pb, I use rusted muffin pans etc.
 

EddieCoyle

Consigliere
Moderator
NES Member
Rating - 100%
134   0   0
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
20,874
Likes
6,778
Location
Northern, MA
Google "Charcoal Foundry".

If you have some metal buckets, cement, some charcoal briquettes, and a leaf blower, you can easily melt aluminum.
 
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Joined
Nov 18, 2009
Messages
3,252
Likes
320
Location
INVISIBLE
Anything possible here?
I know it has nothing to do with reloading but I saw the thread title & thought someone might shed a little light on my thoughts for this byproduct I have here.

Like I said, It's probably too much trouble but I walk by this growing pile of golden dust & wish I could extract the silver & copper.
Just seems like a shame that someday someone will get sick of looking at it & toss it in the dumpster. O-well.

Here's a few picks of the dust. About a tablespoon. You can see the high Silvaloy content percentage.



 

Boris

Son of Kalashnikov
NES Member
Rating - 100%
21   0   0
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
19,076
Likes
14,358
Location
Back from Motherland
I know it has nothing to do with reloading but I saw the thread title & thought someone might shed a little light on my thoughts for this byproduct I have here.

Like I said, It's probably too much trouble but I walk by this growing pile of golden dust & wish I could extract the silver & copper.
Just seems like a shame that someday someone will get sick of looking at it & toss it in the dumpster. O-well.

Here's a few picks of the dust. About a tablespoon. You can see the high Silvaloy content percentage.




if that thing indeed contains silver there are many possible ways to get it out, depending in which state it's on. Is the silver in metallic form or it's oxidized? If you are sure there is silver and it's free, you should get the whole lot before it gets tossed. I got some silver out of another byproduct (photography solutions) by just heating it up. So there may be many options. Chemical option is usually preferred.
 
Top Bottom