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Thread: Zinc Wheelweights

  1. #221
    Boolit Buddy karlrudin's Avatar
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    Since I'm sitting with a pure bar of Zinc at my house, this topic interests me. I was lead, no pun intended, that when you melt Zinc it puts off poisonous fumes. Is this myth, fact? I don't trust Wiki totally. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_fume_fever

  2. #222
    Boolit Master

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    The galvination process or welding gives off fumes, there is no odor at all that I can detect melting the zinc, nothing at all like the noxious mess smelting down wheel weights.

  3. #223
    Boolit Mold
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    Ferric Wheel weights(iron/steel) can be sorted with a magnet. To seperate Zine from Lead alloy weights, simply file or grind a spot on the weight, and carefully apply a brush with Muriatic Acid (Hydro Cloric/ HCl) the zine will foam as a reaction, and the lead alloy wont. You can get the acid from pool supply fro about $10 per gallon. Be sure to use a face shield, gloves, and apron Might be safer if you keep a gallon of water with a box of soda dissolved into it if you spill on yourself. The reaction to zinc is instant and visible Zn + 2HCl = ZnCl2 + H2.

  4. #224
    Boolit Mold Gabby's Avatar
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    Keep in mind fellas that Zinc is what is in galvanizing and is poisonous and can put you in the hospital or the morgue if you breathe the fumes from it. I personally would sort or skim it to get rid of it.
    Be careful please.
    Gabby

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_fume_fever
    Last edited by Gabby; 02-28-2018 at 11:09 PM.

  5. #225
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Avoiding temps over 800 will suffice. For instance, applying a weed burner to the top of the wheel weights is in excess of 4000 degrees.
    When the same heat is applied to the bottom of the pot, the pot spreads the heat until absorbed by its contents. Since melting the contents is our aim we don't waste heat much above that. At smelting and casting temps most of the dangers are only from airborn oxide dust, which we can avoid or wear dust mask protection.
    Just being clean about it is mostly sufficient. Keeping the oxides out of our mouth and nose is usually enough although there is a possibility that rubbing your eyes can be bad.
    Metal contamination is almost totally avoided with common sense and good health habits. Handling freshly melted (shiny) lead ( boolits and ingots) is almost without danger, requiring only washing your hands. I've cast in excess of 50 years without a high (4 from weeks of scraping old paint) blood/lead level.
    Last edited by mold maker; 03-01-2018 at 11:13 AM.
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  6. #226
    Boolit Buddy


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    Thank you for this post. The part about squeezing them in a pair of pliers is really helpful. My cousin's hubby gives me all the wheel weights that he gets from when he removes tires. I gave him a lot of Zn weights and he gave me Pb and Fe. Glad to know that I can separate them using this method as well as looking for the content (Pb, Zn, Fe).

  7. #227
    Boolit Mold

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    Thanks to everyone for sharing their wisdom!

    I have about 300 pounds of WW stored away since 2010. Shortly after I obtained it I learned of the zinc issue. Then I got busy with family and work and my shooting fell way off. Now I can process it with confidence.

  8. #228
    Boolit Buddy
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    As has been said, easy to sort out the iron WWs.
    For the Zinc, most are actually marked Zn, but,
    an easy sorting is done with a razor type utility knife.
    Cutting/shaving a sliver out of a lead WW , will cut easily and important: Smoothly.
    Cutting a Zn WW, the cutting will be harder and will Obviously Chatter.
    It actually goes faster than you might imagine. YOu can take 20 min or half an hour at a time here and there
    on a bucket of WW.
    I spend time sorting the WW like this rather than have the chance of ruining
    a batch of bullet alloy due to Zn contamination.
    beltfed/arnie

  9. #229
    Just an update, I recently moved to the South Carolina Lowcountry. The good news is, I have 4 tire shops here that will give me WW for free. The bad news is, that out of an average bucket, about 50% are lead, 35% are steel and 15% are zinc by volume, I didn't bother trying to actually weigh them. I did try smelting the zinc ones separately with a propane blowtorch in a small stainless steel ramekin and here's what I found:

    The zinc takes a little longer to melt than lead, but they melt just the same. The zinc melt is more difficult to clean, probably because I don't have anything to flux it with. This was just an experiment, I'm not trying to get into zinc casting or ingot making. If you chop the floating slurry up real good, you can sort of "mechanically flux" the melt. Seems to increase the yield a little. A zinc ingot, poured into another ramekin, is really pretty, brighter than lead. They don't seem to darken as quickly as lead.

    As for the fume issue, as long as you don't burn zinc, the fume issue is not really a problem. Welding galvanized steel WILL burn the zinc. Burning zinc gives off a brilliant flame like burning magnesium.

  10. #230
    Boolit Buddy
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    Yeah, and take care not to get the Zinc to that burning temp. I got Zinc poisoning from welding Zinc galvanized steel, twice! (Before I knew better.) It's odd... you don't feel anything at the time, but that night, wow!! Both times I woke up feeling like someone was tightening an iron band around my chest, and every single muscle in my body ached so badly I couldn't hardly stand it.

    That was years ago... no long lasting effects that I know of; I was probably lucky.

    P.S. Thanks to all for the info in this thread. I had sorted about 40 lbs. of WW and was bummed to find 10 lbs. of what I thought might be Zinc. Instead of tossing them, I set them aside and studied this thread. Now, I think they actually ARE lead, and I know how to test for sure. THANKS!

    Vettepilot
    Last edited by Vettepilot; 12-19-2019 at 05:23 PM.
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
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  11. #231
    the last three 5 gallon buckets of free wheel weights i got had about 30 % zinc/streel weights in them. not to bad. i have goten some that more than 50%. but free is free and hard to beat. i take a pair of dikes and cut into all weights. don't take long to learn what is what.

  12. #232
    Boolit Buddy
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    Well, the batch that I was sorting I had bought off ebay and was supposed to be all sorted and guaranteed as all lead, but I of course was checking them anyway. The 10 lbs. that were in question are newer looking than the others, and noticeably harder to dent. But I compared them to known Zinc weights, and there's still a big difference; the real Zinc is much, much harder. Maybe the newer WW just have a bit more Antimony in them?

    My brother bought some new tires recently, and I sent a bucket along with him to beg for wheel weights. They gave him a zip lock baggie of weights.... every one of them Zinc!!!

    Vettepilot
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  13. #233
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vettepilot View Post
    Yeah, and take care not to get the Zinc to that burning temp. I got Zinc poisoning from welding Zinc galvanized steel, twice! (Before I knew better.) It's odd... you don't feel anything at the time, but that night, wow!! Both times I woke up feeling like someone was tightening an iron band around my chest, and every single muscle in my body ached so badly I couldn't hardly stand it.

    That was years ago... no long lasting effects that I know of; I was probably lucky.

    P.S. Thanks to all for the info in this thread. I had sorted about 40 lbs. of WW and was bummed to find 10 lbs. of what I thought might be Zinc. Instead of tossing them, I set them aside and studied this thread. Now, I think they actually ARE lead, and I know how to test for sure. THANKS!

    Vettepilot
    MAN! I get "galv mouth" way before I can even smell the Zinc when welding. When I melt WW's, I just keep the temp at 700F and skim off the Zinc WW's. They float so it's easy to find them.

  14. #234
    MC, T, AL & AL-MC are all codes describing the type of clip, and which style of wheel it will work on. Has to do with the shape/size of the clip

  15. #235
    Boolit Buddy
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    I scored about 35 lbs. of WW, and was sorting them just yesterday. I am visiting my brother, and was searching for some side cutters to check the questionable weights when I spotted a hack saw. I decided to give it a try. As it turns out, it works GREAT to check/sort weights!!

    The lead ones make no sound, and the hack saw blade digs right in. When you make a quick pass of the blade on a zinc weight, the blade makes a raucous, raspy sound, and the blade doesn't start a cut.

    I am getting occasional arthritis flare ups in my hands, and found my new "hacksaw method" easier and faster to check questionable WW than using dykes. Next time, I am going to use just the blade itself, with tape or a rag wrapped around one end to protect my hand. (Less unwieldy than using the whole hacksaw.)

    Vettepilot
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  16. #236
    Boolit Master


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    Was just given COWW's for the 1st time in Years. Only about 10lbs.
    So I'm gonna have to go through this process. It'll be a learning experience.
    But as always, I find the answers here.
    I HATE auto-correct


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  17. #237
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Vettepilot View Post

    I am getting occasional arthritis flare ups in my hands, and found my new "hacksaw method" easier and faster to check questionable WW than using dykes. Next time, I am going to use just the blade itself, with tape or a rag wrapped around one end to protect my hand. (Less unwieldy than using the whole hacksaw.)

    Vettepilot

    Try bracing the hacksaw upside down and then drag the WW along the blade. It should get the same results, but you only have to handle the WWs instead of both.

    I usually sort sitting on a low stool on the patio. I test the questionable WWs by dragging the end of a WW against the concrete. You quickly learn the sound each kind makes.


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  18. #238
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vettepilot View Post
    I scored about 35 lbs. of WW, and was sorting them just yesterday. I am visiting my brother, and was searching for some side cutters to check the questionable weights when I spotted a hack saw. I decided to give it a try. As it turns out, it works GREAT to check/sort weights!!

    The lead ones make no sound, and the hack saw blade digs right in. When you make a quick pass of the blade on a zinc weight, the blade makes a raucous, raspy sound, and the blade doesn't start a cut.

    I am getting occasional arthritis flare ups in my hands, and found my new "hacksaw method" easier and faster to check questionable WW than using dykes. Next time, I am going to use just the blade itself, with tape or a rag wrapped around one end to protect my hand. (Less unwieldy than using the whole hacksaw.)

    Vettepilot
    They make a handle that looks kind of like a knife handle that will hold the saw blade and they are pretty cheap. Maybe a few dollars.

  19. #239
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dapaki View Post
    MAN! I get "galv mouth" way before I can even smell the Zinc when welding. When I melt WW's, I just keep the temp at 700F and skim off the Zinc WW's. They float so it's easy to find them.
    Sorting vs not sorting has been argued about a lot. I sort mine because I smelt in a pretty large pot and my burner will easily melt any zinc weight that may be trapped on the bottom. A smaller or shallower pot would probably float the zinc weights where my 400# pot will melt some of them.

    But it mostly boils down to what works for you.

  20. #240
    Boolit Grand Master

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    There may be some good news in all of this. I'm gradually seeing more steel and fewer zinc weights in my scores.

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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
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GC Gas Check