View Full Version : Zinc WWs...
08-30-2005, 08:52 AM
I thought the zinc wws were riveted on, but this site shows me otherwise.
I hope catch these before I melt them.
08-30-2005, 01:07 PM
They are still silver after many thousand miles , if you see a silver weight in a batch of the standard gray weights it may be zink .
If you don't catch it , they float in the pot.
I think I have found 6 or 8 and they all came from 1 car dealer .
They deal in high end used cars
08-30-2005, 04:41 PM
Lee, Since I started looking for zinc wheelweights, I have ingotized 800 LBS. +/- of WW. First I smelted the for sure common lead majority of the 800 lbs. This left approx. one lb. of oddballs. There were about a dozen riveted clip, steel weights, confirmed by magnet test. Next were some odd-shaped, metric marked, weights that upon melting separately, one at a time, proved to be lead weights with an unusually thick plastic coating. In this group was one weight that was ALL plastc and gave off a strong solvent smell when melted. Finally, there was a weight that looked like the steel, riveted clip type, but did not react to the magnet. It floated on a pot of melted lead and did not melt. Could this have been the dreaded zinc? I guess there is zinc out there, and more coming. Right now it is such a tiny minority that we can afford to just throw away anything that looks questionable.
08-30-2005, 04:48 PM
P.S. to my previous post. All common American tape-on weights were separated out for barrel measuring slugs and passing on to muzzle loader friends, so don't count in the 800 lbs. mentioned above.
08-30-2005, 08:07 PM
since one of my "suppliers" found the recycler im down to one and he said the only zinc he sees comes from way out of town. ive found some real shiny new looking ones with tarnished clips and he said that was paint to keep from staining alloy wheels. i melted a big handfull and they stunk and smoked real bad! they melted and cast just like the real deal tho. i melted 2 mini- muffin ??? with 3 mini-muffin real ones and they looked and acted like WWs. i still dont know what zinc is! with luck maybe ill never know.
08-30-2005, 11:38 PM
As posted above, I haven't been worried about zinc cntamination. I just loooked up the melting point of zinc and found it is 787 degrees F. If the infamous zinc wheelweights are pure zinc, then all we need do to be safe is keep smelting temperature well under 787 and skim off any floating weights.
08-31-2005, 02:04 PM
To be sure, use the acid test, muriatic that is.
Dip a suspect WW in a small container of muriatic acid.
If it is coated with something, first break through the coating with cutting pliers.
If it is zinc, it will fizz like an alka seltzer. Turns the acid blackish.
If lead or steel, no zinc, nothing happens.
Be careful; it is acid. Commom cleaner usually found with the paints.
08-31-2005, 11:43 PM
.............MN91311 very cool thank you! Never heard of doing that and it sounds so simple.
09-02-2005, 02:52 AM
Zinc suckers are here to stay for sure, lead is not allowed in wheel weights since 1st of August this year (EU). Maybe I'll need to experience making bullets out of it some day. My Father-in-law dropped bucket full of weights to my porch while passing by (how about that 8), eh?), so I made quick check up what I have there. So far so good; there's zinc weights alright, but so far they've been recognizable. First pic shows two zinc weights on the left and two very similar looking lead weights on the right. Picture shows how one can make sure which one is which, knife cuts lead easily making nice curved chips, but only scratches zinc, chips break easily leaving very short separate pieces, clear metal shine in cut is obvious in both:
Second picture shows difference between 20 gram zinc weight and 25 gram lead weight. Not much difference except markings! These two modern weights with circulation markings (Zn and Pb) are very very similar by looks and easily mixed without being extra careful. I simply cannot say just by feel which one is which, but this type of zinc weight seems to be carrying Zn marking. Marking could be by law here; there's circulation marks in every plastic piece today, so why not in these. Of course knife tells the story easily:
Three different zinc weights with Zn marking:
These are all non-lead weights, six on the bottom doesn't carry Zn marking and they attract magnet... mild steel. They are also clearly different make compared to any of my lead weights:
Here's close up of the new steel types with riveting technique shown from the backside:
My simple instructions are that if I don't see Zn marking and I'm suspicious, I just cut it with a knife and compare to lead weight. By keeping temperature low enough, it's probably possible to pick up weight which doesn't melt immediately, but that I know better after processing this batch when I have time.
09-02-2005, 04:09 AM
Very informative post Finn45. Thanks!
09-02-2005, 08:02 AM
Finn, thanks for the information on avoiding the zinc monster. It's only a matter of time until our good lead weights disappear here, too.
09-04-2005, 06:01 PM
I found some zinc weights in my melt today here in SE PA. They were tape on type weights and did not carry the Zn markings that the ones in Finn45's pictures show. I'll try and get a picture up later.
09-08-2005, 04:21 PM
I was surprised to find them in the last batch I got at a remote tire store/garage in N Michigan. The clip is riveted on, and they look a little shineier then the regular WW. You really dont have to do any fancy testing, they just float to the top and dont melt.
10-23-2005, 04:47 PM
Finally took that picture:
02-04-2006, 07:05 PM
I just found my first 2 in the last 3 gal. batch, clip is rivited on, the cross section is nearly square and the ends are nearly square.
The only marking was the weight in grams on the right hand end.
02-06-2006, 02:58 PM
I copied that link to the WW Co. onto a floppy for future ref..So I wont have to rely on finding it again here.
Just a hunch, but check your wts w/rivits ,They're probably steel. It wouldn't make sence to rivit a zink ww as it is easily castable. Yes, with all its negative aspects to bullet casting ,it is still used in ww mfg. because it IS castable.
This is a very informative thread. I didn't know that they made steel ww till I read it here. Go figure.
02-06-2006, 05:05 PM
From the pictures I'm seeing here I'm afraid I may have a few zinkers in my ingots. I'm a newbie just getting started. I'm smelting on a coleman propane camp stove in a 8 qt. stock pot. I did one melt yesterday and netted 13 pop can ingots, 7-7.5 lbs each. When I'm smelting I have the burner cranked up on high. Will this setup generate enough heat to get past 787 degrees? I did have one WW that was floating on top and didn't seem to readily melt, so I tossed it.
02-06-2006, 09:18 PM
Your situation is a perfect reason to get a proper lead thermometer. I had one from Lyman and it was not particularly accurate. I ordered one from Bill Ferguson and am very happy with it:
With a good lead thermometer, you can easily keep your smelter below 650 degrees or so. Any wheel weights that float at that temperature is something to remove from the melt, NOW!
02-11-2006, 05:16 PM
Thanks for the advice. I got an RCBS thermometer and used it yesterday. I found that I had already skimmed the clips at just a bit over 600 degrees, and really couldn't get it much hotter with my set up even if I tried. Makes me feel pretty confident that I have no zinc in my already made ingots.
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