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Thread: Heat sink for cooling ingots

  1. #1
    Vendor Sponsor Bantou's Avatar
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    Heat sink for cooling ingots

    Has anybody tried using some form of heat sink under their ingot molds to cool them faster? I saw a video of a guy using a big chunk of I-beam but I couldnít tell if it really did much for him. I have been considering buying a chunk of I-beam but getting one big enough to put my molds on would be kind of pricey.

    Thanks,
    B


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  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Aluminum will do what you want. Large chunks like to suck up heat. But you need some way to cool it off. Or its benifits will deminish.

    I cast ingots on sunny days around with a high of 40 or colder. Gives me a reason to stay near the fire. Ingots solidify faster too.

    Probably cheaper to buy more ingot molds and give them time to cool.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    As said, Alum. will suck away heat fast, so will Stainless Steel.

    I wouldn't bother, I'd a second ingot mold, use cup cake tins, etc.
    Ingots solidify pretty fast.
    Unless you're doing some mass production, you shouldn't need much in that reguard.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I pour ingots (5-8 lbs) from a bottom pour melter that I made. Since the ingot has to cool before I can pour the next one, a heat sink is very important for efficiency. I use a folded towel that is dampened and placed under the ingot molds.

    Now.. before yall go off about water and molten lead, The ingot molds are preheated to drive off moisture. No water is introduced into the molds, and even if it were. the molds are well above 212, so any moisture cannot be below the molten lead. Ingots cool in a matter if seconds instead of taking a couple of minutes. The transfer of water to steam is very efficient in transfering heat.

    Without the heat sink of the damp towel, it would take me a long time to pour ingots and would no longer be practical.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master rondog's Avatar
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    I just use a folded wet towel or a cold concrete garage floor.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    +1 on the concrete.

    Winelover

  7. #7
    Boolit Master BNE's Avatar
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    I use paper towels that have to be re-wetted after each pour. A cloth towel would be better.

    Like a lot of parts of this hobby, carelessness or neglect will get you into trouble.

    BNE.
    I'm a Happy Clinger.

  8. #8
    Vendor Sponsor Bantou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    As said, Alum. will suck away heat fast, so will Stainless Steel.

    I wouldn't bother, I'd a second ingot mold, use cup cake tins, etc.
    Ingots solidify pretty fast.
    Unless you're doing some mass production, you shouldn't need much in that reguard.
    Iím actually trying to ramp up to make it a side gig. Money is tight right now and if I want to fund my shooting habits I need a second source of cash flow. I have 4 molds inbound from Lackehouse2012 but at 10lbs per mold Iím worried about the cool down time in the Texas heat. Iím currently using a cast aluminum muffin tin for a mold and after the first fill my cool down times get pretty long.


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  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy gunarea's Avatar
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    too many pictures?

    This concern has been addressed before and I can give some advice. For my rendering situation, which generally involves several hundred pounds, getting everything up to counter top level is first. My back, just like yours, doesn't need repetitive bending with weight. You are correct in having many moulds to receive the molten alloy. I use a four foot livestock gate, leveled up on cinder blocks. It is of lightweight tube construction. Not sure how much they are these days but were fairly inexpensive some forty years ago. A partial sheet of Diamond plate aluminum with the diamonds down hold a lot of weight and cool the ingots quickly. Check out this post for pictures.

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    First Time Melting - Observations and a Question. Post was made 5-13-2018 Hope this works and helps.
    Roy
    Last edited by gunarea; 04-01-2020 at 07:18 AM. Reason: link didn't work
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  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I smelt using 8 different Lyman type molds made from cast iron. My heat sinc is a piece of 1/2 in by 6 in flat steel bar stock, about 6 ft long. It does help cool the molds. It eventually gets hot but by then its time to refill the pot. My 8 molds would be 32 pounds per cycle and between 10 and 12 cycles will empty my pot. Depending on outside temps, I only have to wait for a few seconds on the last 2 or 3 cycles. A piece of I-beam would work and channel probably would. I use what I do because it was free.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Wet concrete is the ticket.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I'm not into big production, but I use the concrete floor of the shop. Suck heat away reasonably fast. I usually do 20 to 60 Lyman ingot molds at a time.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Concrete works great but my ole back appreciates things being saw horse high! It didn't used to bother me but now I'm a lot more conscious.
    Last edited by lightman; 04-23-2020 at 09:17 AM.

  14. #14
    Vendor Sponsor Bantou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightman View Post
    Concrete works great but my ole back appreciates things being saw horse high! I didn't used to bother me but now I'm a lot more conscious.
    Iím in the same boat. My back hasnít been the same since I got hurt at work a few years ago.


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  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use left over bricks from when the back yard wall was put up.

  16. #16
    Vendor Sponsor Bantou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcslotcar View Post
    I use left over bricks from when the back yard wall was put up.
    I tried left over tiles from redoing the shower but I think they do more harm than good


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  17. #17
    Vendor Sponsor Bantou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rondog View Post
    I just use a folded wet towel or a cold concrete garage floor.
    Does the towel not warp the mold? Iíve used a damp rag to cool my boolit molds when they get too hot but that is a lot thicker aluminum than my ingot molds.


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  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Bantou - You wrote, "........I’m actually trying to ramp up to make it a side gig. Money is tight right now .....". So if I understand you correctly, your goal is to increase your production rate but still turn a profit for your labor.
    Any capital outlay will eliminate profit until you can pay off that investment in equipment. So spending a lot of money on equipment (more ingot molds, some type of heat sink, etc.) may speed up your production rate but it will reduce your profit until that capital outlay is paid for.
    Some method to cool the molds quicker will only make economic sense if the method is inexpensive AND significantly decreases the amount of time needed to cool the ingot.
    Assuming the cost of the ingot molds is relatively low, acquiring more molds will probably result in the greatest increase in production with the lowest capital outlay.

    A heat sink may help cool ingot molds quicker but to be useful it needs to cool the mold fast enough that it outweighs the advantage of simply having another mold.

    There are efficiencies to be found in many places. Can you do something profitable while the lead is melting? Can you do something useful while the ingots are cooling? Can you match the number of ingots to the amount of molten lead in one batch? How much does your fuel cost? How much does your lead cost?

  19. #19
    Vendor Sponsor Bantou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petrol & Powder View Post
    Bantou - You wrote, "........Iím actually trying to ramp up to make it a side gig. Money is tight right now .....". So if I understand you correctly, your goal is to increase your production rate but still turn a profit for your labor.
    Any capital outlay will eliminate profit until you can pay off that investment in equipment. So spending a lot of money on equipment (more ingot molds, some type of heat sink, etc.) may speed up your production rate but it will reduce your profit until that capital outlay is paid for.
    Some method to cool the molds quicker will only make economic sense if the method is inexpensive AND significantly decreases the amount of time needed to cool the ingot.
    Assuming the cost of the ingot molds is relatively low, acquiring more molds will probably result in the greatest increase in production with the lowest capital outlay.

    A heat sink may help cool ingot molds quicker but to be useful it needs to cool the mold fast enough that it outweighs the advantage of simply having another mold.

    There are efficiencies to be found in many places. Can you do something profitable while the lead is melting? Can you do something useful while the ingots are cooling? Can you match the number of ingots to the amount of molten lead in one batch? How much does your fuel cost? How much does your lead cost?
    Most of my set up I got for free or dirt cheap. My biggest expense so far has been the molds that I just ordered from Lakehouse2012 but those were paid for with previous profits. Lead runs me about $.25/lb for the final product. Fuel cost isnít much because I get a discount on propane. My biggest inefficiencies are weight sorting and ingot cooling time. I could quit sorting the weights and just let the fire do the work but I donít trust that method for a product I am trying to sell. Right now I only have one muffin tin for ingots and after my third pour my cooling time runs 5+ minutes for the center ingots to fully harden. More molds and fewer ingots per mold will help significantly. I just wanted to explore other options to expedite the process.

    Thank you for your reply. It made me stop and double check my numbers which is always a good thing in business.

    Regards,
    B


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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    I hear you about Texas heat. I smelt on the back patio on a stainless steel table. Table gets hot under Texas sun so not really a heat sink.

    Cooling fan might help. Attach copper pipes to stainless steel table and flow water through? Or maybe junk yard radiators...

    Good luck! When you are off and running, hit me up and I will buy some lead.

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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