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Thread: Ideas as to what this might be.

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold DaleT's Avatar
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    Ideas as to what this might be.

    Hello folks, New member to the forum and to casting bullets.
    I recently acquired a box of Vaculoy solder bars from my father in law and need help identifying one of the "bars".
    The box contained bars of 50/50 ,60/40, another group stamped ind.-1 , and then at the bottom of the attached picture ( if it loads correctly)
    is a small pile of bar material that is very brittle and crumbles when handled, There are some chunks that are big enough that I can see they are from Alpha Vaculoy. I expect the first two are 50/50 and 60/40 tin/lead.
    Thanks Dale
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I knew an old time paint and body guy and there would be chunks like that laying on the floor , it could just be the same material..
    bars like the ones you have were melted onto wrinkled metal using a torch to heat the metal, and smoothed out with wood paddles.
    I miss that old man, but he's been gone for probably 30 years now, makes me wonder what happened to all the acres of antique and unique cars and trucks that were at his shop.
    a unique old soul who's bed was in the bed of a restored dump truck probably from the 30's or 40's

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
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    Melt the scraps into an ingot and see if there is someone close to you that can do a hardness test. Compare to the hardness of the bar solder and go from there.

    Or, when having a fill out problem while casting, drop a couple of chunks in the pot to help with fill out. I would check the pages here for acid testing for zinc first to make sure you don't contaminate your lead.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Not going to say about the pieces or unmarked bars as there is no "layman's" way to tell, but those with 50-50 and 60-40 indicate Lead to Tin ratio in that bar and I would alloy - by weight - with those bars. See "48-52" on the side bars, as written and told to me by the Seller (the rest are 95% Tin - as the pre-melted pewter said):


    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    It’s crumbly? Maybe pure tin that got cold and converted to the nonmetallic alpha form?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin

    If it’s tin, melting it will convert it back to the metallic beta form. If you cast tin into a thin bar, it should be easily bendable and give a crackling sound (“tin cry”).

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold DaleT's Avatar
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    So I got some answers from tests done by BNE, thank you VERY much.
    The bars labeled IND-1 came out to be 54% tin and 45% indium- no idea how or why he had these but I now suspect he bought this box of material at a yard sale / flea market situation.
    The crumbled batch tested out to be exactly as Kevin c stated - 100% tin.
    There was some other samples I sent him that provided very helpful information.

  7. #7
    Boolit Mold DaleT's Avatar
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    I will call them - tingots.
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    The last picture is a Maxwell coffee container of the original crumbled bars

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Might want to see if Indium is hazardous to work with...l don't know.

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold DaleT's Avatar
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    I don't have any intention of working with those bars since I found out what they are. I have seen no data anywhere that it is used for bullets. I believe my father in law purchased that box of various bars at a sale somewhere.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Indium is a soft, malleable metal with a brilliant lustre. The name indium originates from the indigo blue it shows in a spectroscope. Indium has a low melting point for metals and above its melting point it ignites burning with a violet flame. Bizarrely, the pure metal of indium is described as giving a high-pitched "cry" when bent.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy varmintpopper's Avatar
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    Finding the unknown..... Find a jewelry shop that buys Gold... ask them if they will Xray a sample of Your alloy.... most shops will do it for free... They can provide a printed list of the elements and percentage of each in Your sample.

    Good Shooting

    Lindy

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold DaleT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varmintpopper View Post
    Finding the unknown..... Find a jewelry shop that buys Gold... ask them if they will Xray a sample of Your alloy.... most shops will do it for free... They can provide a printed list of the elements and percentage of each in Your sample.

    Good Shooting

    Lindy
    Thanks BNE already did XRF tests on it, that how I knew it was tin/indium mix as well as the container of pure tin.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmbif View Post
    I knew an old time paint and body guy and there would be chunks like that laying on the floor , it could just be the same material..
    bars like the ones you have were melted onto wrinkled metal using a torch to heat the metal, and smoothed out with wood paddles.
    I delivered parts for a GM dealership in the early 70s. Remember the lead filler well. They had a spray pistol with a small Nat gas burner. Flame from burner impinged on a 2 x 2 x 2 well atop the pistol. The melted lead in well was air sprayed on the roughened, surface of shiny body metal and quickly cooled. Then the lead coating was ground, filed and sanded to match the metal surface around it.
    They used bondo too but on a properly prepped surface the lead never would crack, it lasted forever. Even back then lead body filling was on the way out.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Luber View Post
    Might want to see if Indium is hazardous to work with...l don't know.
    Google is your friend!

    What is indium used for?
    Image result for Indium
    Most indium is used to make indium tin oxide (ITO), which is an important part of touch screens, flatscreen TVs and solar panels. This is because it conducts electricity, bonds strongly to glass and is transparent. Indium nitride, phosphide and antimonide are semiconductors used in transistors and microchips.

    Is indium toxic to humans?
    Indium is relatively non-toxic and poses little immediate hazard to the health of emergency response personnel or the environment in an emergency situation. Potential Health Effects: Relatively non-toxic to humans by inhalation or ingestion.Jun 12, 2015

  15. #15
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    You may be able to find a buyer for the indium. Possibly through eBay. Given the uses listed it would seem more geared toward commercial manufacture than hobby use but a lot of folks are doing stuff with solar cells so who knows. See if you can find a price for the alloy online. Price yours at 2/3 or 1/2 of that and see if you can make a few bucks.

    I have some Bismouth/Tin alloy I need to do that with. Thought it was solder due to how easily it melted. Turned out to be Bi/Sn which is useful for non-toxic fishing weights or somewhat for non-toxic bullets but one really wants to have box of commercial to prove no lead if dealing with a ranger or game warden. One can mix a bit of lead in and the melt temp lowers to below boiling water, make a spoon that will "melt" in hot coffee freak people out. Would lead the barrel of a gun horribly if lead was added.

    Point is the odd alloy may have a market, find out the price, offer it for significant savings, may clear some funds to buy alloy you can use. Or a new mold, can't have too many molds right?
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    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow so we added an "S".
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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