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Thread: 500,000 BTU torch:)

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    500,000 BTU torch:)

    Rallying stuff to smelt some lead that I have acquired.

    I hope the 500,000 BTU weed burner I just picked up will melt the lead.

    My plan is to use a cut propane tank and some scrap sheet metal as a wind screen.

    I have one question.....are cinderblocks safe to use to hold the pot up off the ground? I just wondered if the heat would weaken them? I was thinking using a few of them in a single level to hold it off the ground and some bricks to hold up the burner.


    Better safe then sorry right. Seems like everybody uses some sort of steel stand. I've got cinderblocks but if that's a no go I'll look for a safer solution.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I would not use cinder blocks..........I'm not sure how much heat they can handle and remain safe. But I can tell you what happens when you drop hot slag/cut near concrete, and it's not pretty or fun. You get blasted by rock and molten metal, not good So fire brick would probably be a safer option.

    Having said that, I would advise that you bite the bullet so to speak, and have a proper stand made with sturdy steel legs.

    The weed burner is going to get HOT!!!!!!!!!. You are going to have the ability to smelt a large and heavy batch of lead. This is no place to cut corners. One accident could cost you more than you will ever save by smelting in the first place, not to mention the pain and all the physical aspects.

    Done right, such a set up will last many years and the cost will be nothing compared against what a quality tool can bring you.

    Just my thoughts, in my view it's worth spending a little more for a safer and more user friendly system.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I have been using a 500,000 btu weed burner for years to smelt and cast on. I have a pot cut from a propane cylinder now also. One other recomendation is to cut a ring 2 1/2" to 3" wide as a support ring for under the pot also, it gives a much more stable base than the ring on the bottom. You want a heavy stand to support the wieght the pot can hold, remeber heat weakens most things so overkill is a good thing here. Cinder blocks may not be the best choiceas they hold moisture this can cause cracking and other issues when the moisture expands. A steel turkey frier stand or similar works good. There are several modifications you can make to the weed burner making it easier to use and control.

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    I'll check with my uncle who is a scrapper and see what I can find. I wasn't trying to cut corners and cheap out. Just wondering if it would be safe.

    To much heat and molten lead to risk spending a few bucks.

    Thanks guys!

  5. #5
    Boolit Man
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    I started out using 250,000 btu torch and it did work well, only thing i noticed was for my pot size (approx 100lb) it could very easily overheat the lead, so i went to a smaller 100,000btu orfice, and even that isnt running full blast.

  6. #6
    On Heaven's Range

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    I've used a Harbor Freight weedburner for 'smelting' for many years. I have no idea what its BTU rating may be.

    However.... I DO know that a 20-pound propane bottle lasts for many melting sessions.

    The burner is adjustable anywhere between "minimal" and flat-out maximum, after all. We don't drive our cars with the throttles wide open all the time, either. What the weedburner has is excess capability, which we can use as needed.

    Even when starting with a cold pot and contents, my weedburner operates at a SMALL FRACTION of its capability..... but a 50 - 60-pound load is melted in about fifteen minutes or less.
    Regards from BruceB in Nevada

    "The .30'06 is never a mistake." - Colonel Townsend Whelen

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Just so you'll know, cinder blocks are not structurally sound and are likely to collapse under the weight. Heat will definitely weaken them. Might I comment that you guys don't need that much heat, a burner from an old water heater is quite sufficient. You just want enough heat for a nice slow melt so the zinc and stuff will float up to be skimmed. You will note that I did NOT say "hot water heater." GW
    "If you can walk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings, nor lose the common touch,
    Yours is the earth and everything that's in it,
    And, which is more, you'll be a man my son!" R. Kipling

    "Brother to a Prince, and fellow to a pauper, if found worthy." Kipling

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    I bought one so large like Bruce said it doesn't have to be used full blast. I figured I buy one and be done. It would suck to buy a small burner and then have to buy a second time. One and done.

    I am going to look for something steel to hold it up or have a welder make something for it.

    I didn't think I would need to run it wide open.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    lwknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goatwhiskers View Post
    You will note that I did NOT say "hot water heater." GW
    I never could find where to buy a hot water heater so I ended up just buying a water heater instead.
    Sent from my PC with a keyboard and camera on it with internet too.
    Melting Stuff is FUN!
    Shooting stuff is even funner

    L W Knight

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    TheDoctor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwknight View Post
    I never could find where to buy a hot water heater so I ended up just buying a water heater instead.
    I fell into that last week. Was telling the guys on my pool team how my day was unenjoyable, starting the morning replacing my hot water heater. They gave me grief all night long!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Thread resurrection:

    I have a very sturdy Bayou SP-40 burner, but it kills my back leaning over my 10 quart pot to ladle pour my ingots. I'd like to get everything to a height better for me and worse for my chiropractor.

    The molds can go onto plywood over 2x4's on saw horses. I was thinking of putting the burner onto concrete blocks. As the pot and the burner will be above this, with the heat also directed upwards, do the concerns mentioned here about the concrete not taking the heat well still apply? I estimate total weight of the burner, pot and full load of lead to be 250 #. I can put plywood under the burner legs/over the concrete, and put down sheet metal as well.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Cinder/concrete blocks hold water and will explode when hit with molten lead unless totally dry. And yes will weaken with heat. I cut the legs off a turkey fryer and hold it up on 3 fire bricks.
    If I get a very large lump of lead I use the weed burner to melt it into "pigs" dug into the ground.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Personally I would skip the blocks and bricks and have some angle iron legs welded onto your pot. You could incorporate the braces to hold your weed burner. It would be an additional expense, but a one time one, and then you would have a safe and strong smelting set up. Be sure to post some pictures of what you end up with.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
    lwknight's Avatar
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    I have thought about bending a 90 on the weed burner to use under a rounded bottom pot like a cut in half propane tank. The flame is loose enough that it should theoretically spread evenly over the entire bottom and up the sides. It certainly will not need to be ran at full power. That is entirely too much heat.
    Sent from my PC with a keyboard and camera on it with internet too.
    Melting Stuff is FUN!
    Shooting stuff is even funner

    L W Knight

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    lwknight since the weed burner is made with inexpensive gas pipe (usually) you could just make a bent pipe and retain the ability to swap it back to the straight pipe if needed?

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    My Harbor Frieght weed burner was 1/8 NPT I simply unscrewed the burner head coated with pipe dope a 90* elbow and 7" pipe nipple doped and screwed in with the burner on the end. I also drilled a hole in a piece of flat stoc to pass over the original pipe with a set screw on it. 3/8" x 1 1/2" x 8". This made a foot so it stood up straight easily.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Sheesh View Post
    lwknight since the weed burner is made with inexpensive gas pipe (usually) you could just make a bent pipe and retain the ability to swap it back to the straight pipe if needed?
    The one I have has a welded plug in the end of the pipe so I would actually have to bend the tube. They are dirt simple things to replicate so it could be easily done regular 1/4" pipe. All I really need is time to mess with it. I doubt that I will see any slack time till warm weather.
    Like you say, the valve can be unscrewed from the tube to connect to whatever or I could just start from scratch I guess. It is always gratifying to salvage and repurpose things but sometimes spending a few $$ is the more logical solution.
    Sent from my PC with a keyboard and camera on it with internet too.
    Melting Stuff is FUN!
    Shooting stuff is even funner

    L W Knight

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I like the idea, good heat source for the initial melt just getting it done is good I like electric more once I am at the casting stage, and with PID it'll be even nicer.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    I have a 100+ lb I cast from ( usually 1-2 friends around it with me) Its a ladle pot and we cast together shoot the breeze and make bullets. Makes an enjoyable 4-5 hour session. I can have the pot up to temp and ready in 15 mins or so. I don't recommend cast iron with these big burners running them like this It will crack as the heat they put out causes uneven expansion of the pots when ran hard. But with a thermometer and large pot its not hard to regulate temp. when you start seeing molten around edge turn down a little and as the molten increases keep lowering the burner. I have a index mark on my valve nob to orient it. When the lead is molten I drop the thermometer in and adjust to the temp. One plus to the big pot is the mass of 100-130 lbs of lead really lowers temp swings.
    I have installed 2 valves on mine a lever valve for on and off followed by a ball valve for adjusting temps. This makes maintaining temps easier for me. With the marked nob on the ball valve adjustments can be seen and controlled. After a few uses it is easy to watch the thermometer and adjust burner up or down to maintain temps.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    I would just get a turkey fryer from AGRI-SUPLY. A Carolina cooker , 100,000 btu with hose and high pressure regulator. It will melt 250# of lead in 15 minutes.
    Its a lot safer than a weed burner. I cut the top off a old 50# freon can and I have been smelting for many years with it.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check