Stick-on Wheel Weights

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Tic-Tac posted this 14 January 2008

I just received a 5 gallon bucket of wheel weights and a substantial percentage of the weights are the stick-on type.  Do I have to remove all or a majority of the sticky foam, or will it burn off in the molten lead without contaminating my mix?

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Ed Harris posted this 14 January 2008

It will burn off OK, but I would be careful to stay well below the 810 degree melting point of zinc die casting alloy in case some of them are...

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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JeffinNZ posted this 14 January 2008

Just remember that the stick on lead weights are almost pure lead and do not contain the usual goodies we casters like eg: Sb, Sn.

A real worry is Zn is becoming a great part of my wheel weight scrounging lately.  On Saturday I picked up about 40lb and bu volume they would have been 50% clip on lead, 25% stick on lead, 25% Zn. 

Takes a bit of sorting but well worth the effort.

Cheers from New Zealand

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Tic-Tac posted this 14 January 2008

Thanks, will watch the temps.  I did notice that some of the material floating in the molten lead along with the clips were wheel weights that did not melt.  I now presume those are the zinc weights to which you refer.  I skimmed them off with the clips, and now inspect my weights more closely to ensure they are lead before throwing them in the pot.

And....given the input that the stick-ons don't contain the “goodies” we casters like, I will test the hardness of those ingots before casting and add to it if the reading is too soft.  The only thing I have to add at the moment however is linotype and tin.

73

Steve

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Ed Harris posted this 15 January 2008

Save your tin and blend the linotype. Try only about 1 pound of linotype to 5 pounds of soft unknown scrap as a start.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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giorgio de galleani posted this 23 January 2008

Dear Ed,I have a bucket of wheel weights contaminated by zinc.

The surface of the molten alloy is covered by an indigo blue layer and the alloy is slowly flowing from the bottom pour spout,not filling the moulds precisely.Shall I lower the temperature and skim the surface of the melt to get rid of the zinc?

The next time I'll sort the WW before melting them.

I have a source of range backstop lead,most jacketed pistol bullets and hard cast commercial bullets, that should not contain contaminations.

Is range scrap susceptible to heat treating or shall I use carefully sorted WW?

I am sending to you some pictures of my boar hunting season by cartaceous mail.

Regards,Giorgio.

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Ed Harris posted this 23 January 2008

Giorgio,

You may try lowering the temperature and skimming off the zinc, but this probably will not remove it all.  If it doesn't cast better after skimming and fluxing it would probably be better to discard the contaminated alloy.  Then clean your pot very well, by sandblasting if possible, and start over with uncontaminated alloy.

Indoor range scrap here contains about 3% Sb and traces of As in the melt which heat treats well, similar to wheelweights. The indoor range I use durting the day is also used by police and military, so most scrap is from lead core 9mm NATO and .40 S&W handgun ammunition.  Police fire 12-ga. riot shotguns with slug, birdshot and buckshot ammunition. Birdshot used for training and gun functioning tests contains a traces (about 0.01%) arsenic in the alloy which increases surface tension of the lead so that it forms properly in the shot making machine. It takes very little to enhance the properties of the lead heat treatment.

Be sure to save the copper and gilding metal jacket material skimmed off the melt from recovering the lead range scrap. I save this, agitate it across a 1/4-inch wire mesh to remove much of the dirt, and then remove the clad-steel jackets with a magnet. The remainder I sell to a scrap dealer or trade for soft sheet lead or linotype metal.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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giorgio de galleani posted this 25 January 2008

Dear Ed,I was wondering why ,in your stories you passed from WW to range scrap .

That's why,while old WW were OK, newer acquisition are contaminated by zamac.

 I have followed your advice and have cast good bullets yesterday.

Regards,

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Ed Harris posted this 28 January 2008

Giorgio,

I am delighted to see that your diagnostic skills and logic have not diminished in your retirement 8-)

I'm glad that my advise was helpful and that newly cast bullets are better.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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chiefs50 posted this 31 January 2008

The pure lead stick on weights are prized like gold by those who cast round ball for muzzle loaders.  Most would willingly trade clip on type lead for the stick on type.

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devin1955 posted this 12 February 2008

chiefs50 wrote: The pure lead stick on weights are prized like gold by those who cast round ball for muzzle loaders.  Most would willingly trade clip on type lead for the stick on type. I've accumulated most of a 5 gallon paint pail full of stick on wheel weights. Was going to melt them down into ingots, tagged as such, but your comment made me wonder. Eventually I'd want to sell or trade this stuff. Would it be better for me to leave it as is so whoever gets it is assured that it is indeed pure lead? -Don

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chiefs50 posted this 12 February 2008

Don;

I guess I would just leave them as is.  That way when you go to trade/sell them you don't have to make any warranties - just market them for what they are, stick ons.   Roundball shooters/casters are always on the lookout for these.

Mike

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Retro Fit posted this 11 June 2009

What I've been doing to clean my clip-on wheel weights before I melt them is soak them in Castroil Super clean de-greaser over night. Simple green with a little lye mixed in works well to. I've noticed that the Super clean will also take the stick-on stuff off the stick-on weights as well, just rinse them real good and make sure their bone dry before you melt them.

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apbluebass posted this 13 June 2013

When I am looking at a wheel weight, how can I tell if it is zinc? I just got a load of blue goo in my pot last weekend and I am not looking forward to doing that again.

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Carbine Dave posted this 15 June 2013

Zinc w.w. will be marked(sometimes), “zn". But the best test is to wack them lightly,I use a steel work bench,3/8” thick, or wack them with a 4” screwdriver, they will ring, while lead alloy will not, also they are a lot harder than lead alloy, and will not scratch as deeply or as easy as lead. And as a final observation, they are larger than lead for a given weight, hope this helps out.

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tturner53 posted this 15 June 2013

Are you smelting wheel weights in your casting pot? If possible try doing the smelting in a cast iron pot on a Coleman stove. Keep the heat down to just barely melting, the zincs will be obvious and float. Skim 'em off and make ingots. If you haven't seen it already the smelting can be very smoky maybe be a little discreet about when and where you smelt.

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Goatwhiskers posted this 15 June 2013

The way I sort is a PITA but quite effective. I bite every one of them with electrician's side cutters, lead is soft, zinc is hard, you can hardly put a cut mark on them. Takes a little time but when you're retired it doesn't matter much. Goatwhiskers

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Eddie2002 posted this 16 June 2013

I'm with Goat on this one, I test all my wheel weights with a pair of dyke wire cutters. Soft lead cuts real easy, WW lead leaves a good gash but is harder to cut while zink weights won't cut at all, it leaves just a little nick in the surface. With steel weights all that happens is that you chip the paint. I've even come across some plastic coated steel and zink weights which is the last thing you would want to try to melt down in a pot. Can't just dump them all in the smelter and hope for the best, need to sort them before smelting them down.

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jhalcott posted this 17 June 2013

I heard(some years ago!) that bullet JACKETS contained Zinc and should NOT be smelted with COWW because the Zinc might bleed off and contaminate the alloy. No one has been able to verify thisfor me. I have a LOT of range scrap bullets on hand that have never given me a problem in several calibers. I am just wondering IF this could be true. At the time, I was smelting the range scrap with an Oxy acetylene torch at work.I used to “pay” the kids to recover the range scraps on the berms after a rain. Each coffee can of old bullets got an Ice cream cone. MY son figured BIG bullets filled the can quickly, so he got many ice cream treats.

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Carbine Dave posted this 18 June 2013

Another marking common to zinc wheel weights is “Fe", having installed a bijillion w.w., in the course of my ocupation as a fleet mechanic, I can usually pick out the lead alloy by sight, anything I question, I “ring” it or scratch it with a pocket screwdriver( a million and two uses)anyway, if you can round up lead w.w., do it now, auto makers are not using them anymore and I see a not to distant future where “Them People” won't like us using them in the aftermarket.

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JeffinNZ posted this 18 June 2013

Drop test is good. Dropped on concrete lead tends to go 'clunk', Zn more a 'chink'.

I used stick on WW as the base of my 40-1 and 20-1 alloy sweetened with some lead babbit I have. The 40-1 is 7.8 BHN generally and will oven heat treat to 12 BHN which is real handy.

Cheers from New Zealand

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apbluebass posted this 18 June 2013

Take your bucket of wheel weights and give it to someone else! I just spent 2 days trying to cast with them... zinc will find its way in the mix and will ruin everything! Zinc will make you sick for a week, all of your bullets will be wrinkled and you will spend more time scraping junk off the top of your mix than it is worth.

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onondaga posted this 19 June 2013

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=7581>apbluebass

Zinc doesn't cause wrinkles, insufficiently warmed molds from casting slow or way too low of a pot temperature or flow rate into a relatively cold mold causes wrinkles.

You can bring the temp up, flux  and cast wrinkle free with Zinc in your alloy,  but Zinc will cause poor fill-out at sharp edges, “cold short” filling of the mold with large sharp edged  voids and a pocked porous surface resembling a dull coarse bead blasted or sand blasted  surface. These symptoms will go from mild to severe depending on how much Zinc is in your alloy.  Remember this description of Zinc contaminated bullet alloy castings for a good diagnosis of the problem when you see it..

1/4 of 1% Zinc in a bullet alloy will begin the problems of poor fill out. Zinc contaminated alloy is best scrapped because adding clean lead to reduce the percentage of zinc below 1/4 of 1% is virtually futile if you have Zinc causing nasty looking bullets.

Gary, ( retired casting analyst )

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apbluebass posted this 19 June 2013

Thanks for the info Gary, so are you saying use the Zinc or trash it? I can shoot wrinkled bullets if it is just coming out of my gun but if I make them for someone else, they have to look good. I understand that casting hotter than I am at around 650 will frost bullets.. I never had any problems like this when I used pure lead, well... other than soft bullets..

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onondaga posted this 19 June 2013

Wrinkled bullets sometimes shoot fine if they don't jet gas or upset and do seal the bore. if you have to cast hotter then 590-620  for most alloys (pure casts well at ~ 750) to fill out and get good castings with clean metal you are casting too slow to keep your mold at operating temperature and bullet quality suffers.Raising pot temp is a mistake instead of casting faster and will frost bullets or worse. Actually,  3+ drops from the mold a minute is optimum for a 2 cavity mold.

Trash the Zinc contaminated alloy if you can't get good bullets, don't add good metal to it. It would likely take 50 pounds of good metal  to 10 pounds of zinc contaminated metal to fix it.....or more and it may never cast well!

Gary

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apbluebass posted this 19 June 2013

Thanks again! I just bought 30 lbs of linotype and I plan to 50 50 mix that with pure lead and give it a try.... I may even sand out my pot before I start!

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onondaga posted this 19 June 2013

Pot cleaning is definitely dangerous. use extreme ventilation and a really good filter mask. abrading lead puts tiny  particulates in the air for you to breath in. That is the worst possible kind of toxic exposure to lead and serious non-reversible brain damage is a real threat with high level exposure from breathing airborne lead.

I clean my pot by heating up to top temp, then with good heat protection from burns I pour out what will pour out and prop the hot pot upside down safely so I can wire brush the inside by hand while wearing my coal miners dust mask with a fresh filter and welders gloves.

After the pot cools wipe out with oil dampened rags to pick up metal/flux dust. don't blow it out with pressured air.  if you have crusty burned on petroleum flux residue still remaining, rotary wire brush with a hand drill and oil rag clean again.

If your pot is a bottom pour like the Lee 4-20 make sure the moving parts of the valve assembly move freely while the pot is hot and empty so after cleaning the pot, you can dissemble the valve parts to refresh their surfaces. re-lube the valve parts with automotive clear silicone dielectric grease  or hi temp synthetic grease.....no petroleum that will gunk it up again with heat. lightly silicone grease or pure synthetic 2 stroke oil  the whole pot inside and out.

When done with the job, thoroughly cleanse or discard your clothes and  wash your whole body as soon as possible, you have had serious lead exposure that should be washed off. Do not neglect this washing.

Gary

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Dirtybore posted this 20 January 2015

I've been going through my buckets of wheel weights and dropping each wt. on the concrete garage floor. If it rings, it no good (steel or zinc). If it hits with a thud, it's lead and a keeper.

This is a good test but its slow, tedious, and back breaking.

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onondaga posted this 21 January 2015

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=7944>Dirtybore The melting point of Zinc is 787.2 F.

Set your melting pot significantly below that and the Zinc will not melt and alloy into your mix. 725 F. is very safe and will melt any bullet alloy while the Zinc will just float in a melt at that 725 F. and you can safely pick it off. Use a good thermometer or PID when you do this temperature method. Don't guess or rely on a pot knob to set a precise temperature.

Gary

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shootzem222 posted this 22 January 2015

A few months ago before i found this site i smelted WWs not knowing about zincs problems. The first indication something was wrong was a glop of cottage cheese melt in the pot, i fluxed and skimmed til i got what i thought was clean melt and started casting with my 10lb. bottom pour Lee at approx. 700 degrees. the bullets were ok but the flow began to slow down till it stopped altogether. I disassembled and discovered the spout was hopelessly clogged, now i have to replace the pot. It is avail. from Lee. $8.

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onondaga posted this 22 January 2015

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=8712>shootzem222

    Temperature control would have saved you the grief if you were melting wheel weights. The common error is to set the dial on the pot at MAXIMUM and just melt wheel weights to clean and flux for making ingots . Most pots will go 800+ degrees and melt Zinc into alloy with wheel weights. There is no practical way to get Zinc out after it is alloyed with lead.  Only 1/2 of 1% Zinc in a bullet alloy is enough to ruin fill out characteristics of a bullet alloy.

    I have had to throw out Zinc contaminated ingots given to me by a friend that melted wheel weights at 800 F.  The alloy made bullets with a coarse porosity and poor fill-out no matter what temperature or cadence spreed I cast the metal, it was junk and I tossed most of 50 pounds of it.

    I did successfully cast some reasonable quality looking “O” buckshot for Coyote loads with some of the Zinc contaminated ingots he gave me, but good fitting bullets cast with a Zinc contaminated alloy is pretty hopeless if you are wanting bullets that shoot well..

   The “Cottage Cheese” on top of a melt does not always mean that the alloy is contaminated with Zinc. You can get the same appearance with a melt of common 2% Antimonial lead or clean Wheel Weight alloy with zero Zinc in it also. An insufficiently hot pot temp will cause slush on the top of a melt. Use a thermometer. 725 F. accurately measured  will be hot enough to melt away the “Cottage Cheese ” look when there is no Zinc in an alloy.    800+ F will melt the “Cottage Cheese” look from an alloy that is contaminated with Zinc and allow you to cast ugly poor quality bullets or marginally usable buckshot.

If you cast 100 lbs of bullets a year like I do or if you just want to be sure you have no Zinc in your bullets, get and use a good casting thermometer or outboard PID temperature controller for your pot. Know the melting temperature of Zinc and work around it so you can harmlessly pick off and toss away Zinc wheel weights before they melt into, alloy and ruin your bullet alloy... Bring your pot temperature up to 725 F. with control and don't just turn the dial all the way up to melt any scrap.

Gary

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Seven Pines posted this 6 days ago

How do I quickly tell if the stick on wheel weights are Zinc other than by melting temp? Asking this because other than round ball cast form 60+ year old sheet lead I’ve never dealt with wheel weights.

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Brodie posted this 6 days ago

seven pines,

Your thumb nail will readily and easily mark the lead stick on weights.  Zinc will not mark with your thumbnail.  The stick on weights are probably just pure lead so as to conform more readily and completely to the rim of the wheel.  I would melt these out of doors as the foam backing makes quite a stink.

Many of the clip on weights may be covered with a heavy coating of paint or vinyl.  Try a pair of diagonal cutters on all the clip on weights.  The lead alloy ones will mark much easier than zinc.

B.E.Brickey

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beltfed posted this 6 days ago

It is easy, though, of course, time consuming to separate Zinc COWW

from the Lead ones.

On EVERY COWW, try shaving off a small "slice" of material from

an edge of the ww with a razor Utility knife. The lead ones will easily

and with an almost buttery feel shave off a sliver.  The knife will Chatter

on a Zinc COWW.  One can avoid some of the shaving test by looking at

each WW . Many of the ZN are marked Zn.

The Steel COWW are usually recognized where the clip is riveted to the weight.

Also, they are usually marked "Fe" . And of course, you cannot shave off metal from

a Steel COWW....

I throw all of the Stick On WW into a separate can.  Mostly they are soft lead and

a strip of them will bend easily. There are also Steel SOWW, which are generally marked Fe

I melt down the sorted out  Lead SOWW separately and, of course observe how it melts.

Assuming no notable problems in the "rendering" melt, I use the SOWW ingots as soft lead.

Works for me. I just set up a bucket of WW and several cans and a low stool and I can do 20-30 min of sorting here and there where I have some time.  Don't have to do a 100+# bucket all at once.

beltfed/arnie

 

 

 

 

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beltfed posted this 6 days ago

Oh, forgot to mention re. the SOWW,  If it is not obvious that a given weight is

soft lead or is Steel (Fe) , then do the Utility knife shaving test on it.

beltfed/arnie

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Seven Pines posted this 4 days ago

Thanks. I haven’t cast anything but round ball in my life. Have wheel weights to sort out.

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max503 posted this 4 days ago

All the ones I've found are soft as stale butter.  I'm guessing that commercial vehicles are still allowed to use lead WW's because the zinc ones would be so darn big for the weight required to balance a big truck or bus wheel.

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