melting lead in large pot

  • Last Post 28 August 2010
Carney posted this 05 June 2010

Melting pure lead in an 8” dia. pot.  Takes forever to melt to pour into ingots. About 1.5 hours to melt 20 lbs.  I have alot to melt and need to speed up the process.

Using propane and cannot get rid of the yellow flame.  I am at 7300' altitude.  What about changing orifice size.  I have blocked of the air intake and done all types of adjustments for air.



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Adk Mike posted this 05 June 2010

You may try taking the burner apart and cleaning the orfice. I took mine apart the other day and it had melted lead in the burner, and was just plan dirty. I'd clean things out first. Mine has an adjustable regulator. They are normally red with a tee handle.

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c3d4b2 posted this 05 June 2010

I have bugs build nests in my propane burner that has to be cleaned out each spring. Once they covered the orifice that I had to take the unit apart to clean. Usually I have to run a wire down the tube between the orifice and the burner.

If I am remembering correctly.... Usually you need more air in the mix if the flame is yellow. But it has been a while and I could not be remembering correctly.

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chuck29 posted this 06 June 2010

c3d4b2 is correct. you need more air. Sometimes you need to raise the pot off the burner just a little bit. Maybe a couple of steel rod spacers. Also a flat bottomed pan such as an old cast iron frying pan seems to work better for me than a round bottomed pot.

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Dollar Bill posted this 07 June 2010

chuck29 wrote: c3d4b2 is correct. you need more air. Sometimes you need to raise the pot off the burner just a little bit. Maybe a couple of steel rod spacers. Also a flat bottomed pan such as an old cast iron frying pan seems to work better for me than a round bottomed pot. Correct on all counts. Higher altitude means less dense air so your fuel/air mixture is rich (too much fuel / not enough oxygen). I get good results from a Lowes fish fryer set-up. It has a flat bottom cast irom pot that, when 3/4 full, hold 100# of lead. Full melt in about 30 minutes, at most.

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frank l jr posted this 08 June 2010

as the others say, not enough air(oxygen) mixture is rich if it is yellow. clean orfice, also you might need to enlarge air holes. should melt 30 lbs. in less than 20 min.if in a flat skillet,dutch oven or what ever you have.                  



                             see ya

,                         Frank l jr.  :D




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Bongo Boy posted this 14 June 2010

On a natural gas unit I got from Dad (at 550 ft), he had the air valve/vane nearly all the way closed. I opened it as far as it would go and there was my sweet white/blue flame coming out of each burner hole. Then, I drilled the orifice out to about 0.015” or something god-awful enormous, and ooooh babeee. My big surprise was that I could actually run a larger orifice with propane that he was using with natural gas--I thought things generally went the other way around.

I concur, 30 lbs in less than 20 minutes is doable and you don't need a cajun cooker style burner. Many times those burners are hugely inefficient and just waste propane.

If you can get some closeup photos that might help. You may simply not be able to do much with it depending on the design.

WARNING: Your well-tuned burner may turn much of your pot support structure red hot before you know it. So, be aware that 20-30 lbs of molten lead in a pot jacked up on white-hot steel tubes or rods, etc., might just collapse. That can seldom have a happy outcome.

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Fairshake posted this 06 July 2010

There are two types of burners for propane bottles and also two types of regulators. Most people who don't cook outside like we do in Louisiana have no idea and just buy a burner. The correct unit to have is the High output meant for boiling shrimp, crabs, and frying Turkeys. The LP is like whaT IS IN YOUR KITCHEN STOVE or RV. That one is meant for frying chicken or fish and will take forever to mealt lead. Later David

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Carney posted this 23 August 2010

Finally got the lead pot to work. Brazed shut the orfice and re-drilled it smaller. Got a adjustable regulator. Works great. 180 lbs of lead cast into small ingots in about 4 hours.

Thanks for all the advise


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Duane Trusty posted this 23 August 2010


Glad to see you made it work. I worked as a Mechanical Engineer here in Laramie Wy (7200 ft) and you were correct as all sea level boiler we set had to have the gas cut back about 30 per cent, same as rejetting a carb on older cars before fuel injection and turbochargers.

The rule was 4 per cent per 1000 feet.

Duane Trusty

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Dale53 posted this 23 August 2010

I, some time ago, bought a Bass Pro fish cooker/turkey fryer on sale. It is a high output unit and I have smelted 650 lbs in an afternoon (had one helper - my long suffering brother). I use a Harbor Freight Dutch oven that holds 120 lbs of molten metal (6 quart). It works well for me. I have smelted over a 1000 lbs and am still on the original tank of propane. It may be about to quit, but it hasn't yet.

In the past, I, on occasion, had gas problems, I went to the local propane dealer and asked about orifice sizes, etc. They were a BIG help. I have peened the originals shut, then re-drilled, etc. Basically, done what is necessary to get the results needed. The dealers (most of them) can be a fountain of information.


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gunarea posted this 24 August 2010

Hey Carney

   Don't be satisfied with much better. A very helpful tip is to make sure you are utilizing the flame properly after you have optimized its burn characteristics. The tip of the flame is the very hottest area. If the flame tip is not visible, you are wasting a large percentage of your fuel. Check out some of the threads on smelting. There are some very efficient smelters here who have shared their techniques. Keep on meltin.


Shoot often, Shoot well

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CB posted this 28 August 2010

Roy is very correct. I use a turkery fryer with a large dutch oven and can do about 200 pounds of ingots in an afternoon. I live at about 1,300 feet. If I need much more O2, I would get an oxy/propane torch with a rosebud torch head.

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