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View Full Version : Lead molds.....what???



Hemlon
08-31-2007, 15:54
I was just on the ST and LP sites looking for a new bag to carry my lead weights.

Both sites sell molds in various sizes so that people can make their own lead weights.

Are there really people out there who are making their own weights???

MEL-DC Diver
08-31-2007, 15:57
Believe it... Or not!

Personally, I can't see the need for it, but who am I.

CrzyJay456
08-31-2007, 16:04
yes, there are people out there that make their own weights.
dont you know you cant trust other peoples weights? make your own!

Hemlon
08-31-2007, 16:14
Where do they buy the lead? Do they melt the lead on their kitchen range?

BSea
08-31-2007, 16:16
The only time I've seen it done was when a guy used an outdoor fish cooker He put the led in an old iron pot. I don't know where he got the lead to melt.

ScubaToys Larry
08-31-2007, 16:19
Tire stores... they get tons from balance weights on old tires.

Am I going to deal with molten lead and lead fumes to save a few bucks... er... no. But some do! So we have the molds!

Hemlon
08-31-2007, 16:22
Wow..now THAT'S what I call being cheap!!

BSea
08-31-2007, 16:27
Wow..now THAT'S what I call being cheap!!

I agree! it's not like you'll need 100lbs every year, or that you can give them to your friends for Christmas (although I have seen a few worse presents). Unless you sold to some dive shops, I can't see the logic. In fact I can't see the logic even if you did sell to dive shops.

Centerius
08-31-2007, 17:15
I don't see the point in molding weights for belts. However, doing something like this would be useful: http://www.cisatlantic.com/trimix/vweight/pweight.htm

finflippers
08-31-2007, 17:21
I have never done it for scuba weights (I like soft weights) but I used to make my own fishing weights.

JahJahwarrior
08-31-2007, 17:40
My dad is an anestheliologist by trade, but a physics teacher by night at my high school (or old highshool, graduated from there and am now in college!). He got his hands on some samples of radioactive material for class, but the school doesn't have much storage space for physics class stuff because it's usually a very small class (like, 3-5 students) (it's a small private school), so it's all stored in our house. He wanted to make sure there'd be no problem from radiation, so he went to a local dive shop and bought 15 or so pounds of dive weights. Then he melted it in a paint can, by putting the can on the stove burner. (if you wanted to make weights, then I'd put the mold on the burner and add the lead pieces as they melted, so no pouring involved). He took a short section of steel pipe and capped one end, then held it in the molten lead with a piece of wood (which is now charred...) as it coold and solidified, to create a chamber surrounded by lead to store these small samples. The cap on the pipe is filled withlead, and he covers it (the can is only 3/4 full of lead, with the pipe sticking up somewhat) with fishing weights.

And it works too....I mean, the alpha and beta rays can't go very far even in air....but readings from outside the paintcan are almost the same as if you point the thing to the sky, or not much more than background radiation.

Debraw
08-31-2007, 18:33
Yep, my dad used to pick up the tire balance weights all over the streets of Manhatten in NYC when I was growing up. He would then take them upstairs ( to our Penthouse Apt! ) and melt them in an iron pot and make drails ( spelling?) in a mold or fishing weights as you might call them. We had a lot! We used to take them out when we went deep sea blue fishing on the night boats that left Montauk pier in the fall. He wore a face mask when melting them in the house, BUT I never did and I was in the area while he was melting sometimes. Probably not the best idea now that we look back on it.

jeraldjcook
08-31-2007, 18:41
He got his hands on some samples of radioactive material for class...

:smiley34: Quick, somebody call DHS! :smiley34:

:smilie39:

scubasamurai
08-31-2007, 18:47
dam i know i am cheap but to make your own weights mmmh use to do that in jersey!!! but it was with concrete haha. to me the lead shot is cheap and probably recycled one way or the other .

Hemlon
08-31-2007, 18:47
He got his hands on some samples of radioactive material for class...

:smiley34: Quick, somebody call DHS! :smiley34:

:smilie39:

But his dad was also an anesthesiologist moonlighting as a high school teacher.

Something tells me that we have nothing to report.

;)

Hollywood703
09-01-2007, 15:13
I make my own soft weight pouchs...becuase i could....I bought a 25 lb bag of #4 bird shot at gander mountain.....made some pouches.....filled to what sizes I needed....cost me just over a dollar a lb.

Hemlon
09-01-2007, 15:14
I make my own soft weight pouchs...becuase i could....I bought a 25 lb bag of #4 bird shot at gander mountain.....made some pouches.....filled to what sizes I needed....cost me just over a dollar a lb.

Good thinking!

JahJahwarrior
09-02-2007, 00:57
The samples aren't that dangerous really, but one of them is polonium, the material that russian guy was fed. Very dangerous when close to your organs, but the radiation is stopped very effectively by lead. The samples are small, embedded in plastic discs and marked as samples, they were purchased from a physics supply store kind of place. Infact, two of the samples were not. Coleman lantern mantles are radioactive to a small degree, and so is salt :). (I should say that not all salt is, because really there are tons of salts, if I remember right is ust requites a positive ion and something else....chem was a long time ago!)

This year, he's teaching calc and chemistry at the high school. He tells me he took a mason jar and filled it with water, alcohol, olive oil, motor oil....all sorts of things. Then asked the class how to seperate it all. Somehow he even worked in lighting a blowtorch....the students loved it. Not just any teacher that'll light a blowtorch in class...... aother day he brought in some metals, hands them to the students and asks them how they can identify them and walks out to let them think. :) My old man is pretty funny.

And don't worry, when he melted the lead I think he used part of his painting get up, which includes a welding mask (he welds, oxy-acetylene mainly) taped to a suit he made with clear plastic dropcloth and ducttape, which is supply with air from an old vacuum cleaner set outside.

Hemlon
09-02-2007, 06:53
The samples aren't that dangerous really, but one of them is polonium, the material that russian guy was fed. Very dangerous when close to your organs, but the radiation is stopped very effectively by lead. The samples are small, embedded in plastic discs and marked as samples, they were purchased from a physics supply store kind of place. Infact, two of the samples were not. Coleman lantern mantles are radioactive to a small degree, and so is salt :). (I should say that not all salt is, because really there are tons of salts, if I remember right is ust requites a positive ion and something else....chem was a long time ago!)

This year, he's teaching calc and chemistry at the high school. He tells me he took a mason jar and filled it with water, alcohol, olive oil, motor oil....all sorts of things. Then asked the class how to seperate it all. Somehow he even worked in lighting a blowtorch....the students loved it. Not just any teacher that'll light a blowtorch in class...... aother day he brought in some metals, hands them to the students and asks them how they can identify them and walks out to let them think. :) My old man is pretty funny.

And don't worry, when he melted the lead I think he used part of his painting get up, which includes a welding mask (he welds, oxy-acetylene mainly) taped to a suit he made with clear plastic dropcloth and ducttape, which is supply with air from an old vacuum cleaner set outside.


And he's an anesthesiologist too, you said? Really???

awap
09-02-2007, 09:29
Where do you think the lead weights are made that your LDS sells?
Some say "Sea Pearls" but most are just generic weights that may be locally made to reduce shipping costs. Lead is readilly available from many metal recyclers. The same guy who is producing much of the no-name fishing lead head jigs can get a few molds and pour scuba weights for the local market.

Hemlon
09-02-2007, 09:32
Where do you think the lead weights are made that your LDS sells?
Some say "Sea Pearls" but most are just generic weights that may be locally made to reduce shipping costs. Lead is readilly available from many metal recyclers. The same guy who is producing much of the no-name fishing lead head jigs can get a few molds and pour scuba weights for the local market.


True, but is it worth it?

Hmmm....

cummings66
09-02-2007, 10:37
I was just on the ST and LP sites looking for a new bag to carry my lead weights.


I had order some right before you posted this, it should be here Tuesday. I have some 4 lb molds already.

It's convience, and cheaper to boot. Nothing wrong with making your own weights, for those of us who use weight belts that is.

Hemlon
09-02-2007, 10:38
I was just on the ST and LP sites looking for a new bag to carry my lead weights.


I had order some right before you posted this, it should be here Tuesday. I have some 4 lb molds already.

It's convience, and cheaper to boot. Nothing wrong with making your own weights, for those of us who use weight belts that is.

Good luck with your effort.

cummings66
09-02-2007, 10:40
Wow..now THAT'S what I call being cheap!!

Not really, I cast my own bullets for target shooting with my SAA's and I normally have hundreds of lbs of lead around. I have a reloading shop outside where I have a furnace to melt it with and basically use what I already have.

Tell me, why should I pay somebody else to do something for me when I already have the gear, knowledge and skill to do it for myself? It's not cheap, it's because I can and I enjoy it.

DevilDiver
09-02-2007, 10:46
I make my own soft weight pouchs...becuase i could....I bought a 25 lb bag of #4 bird shot at gander mountain.....made some pouches.....filled to what sizes I needed....cost me just over a dollar a lb.

Would bird shot rust? It's not lead it low grade stainless.......

awap
09-02-2007, 10:53
Where do you think the lead weights are made that your LDS sells?
Some say "Sea Pearls" but most are just generic weights that may be locally made to reduce shipping costs. Lead is readilly available from many metal recyclers. The same guy who is producing much of the no-name fishing lead head jigs can get a few molds and pour scuba weights for the local market.


True, but is it worth it?

Hmmm....

Well, if the LDS is selling weights for $1.00 per pound, they are probably paying $.50 from their supplier. I would guess you can still buy junk lead for $.10 to $.15 per pound. If the market is there and you already have the facilities, I'm sure someone could carve enough profit out of that to make it worth their while.

Years ago, a friend of mine was making and wholesaling some fishing gear. I develop[ed a bass lure based on one of his jigs heads that we did quite well with in some local tournaments. I initially we started to sell some to friends and then some local shops wanted to stock them. We probably produced a couple thousand of them at $.50 each (wholesale). Obviously, we were not in it to get rich but it did pay for a number of pretty good fishing trips for us. In his case, because he was a tax paying small business, he also got to write of the expenses of "fishing" as a tax deduction. How would you like your scuba diving to be tax deductable? You probably would have to get one of those magnetic signs for the side of your PU/SUV. Something catchy like "Git' down with Hemlon weights".

JahJahwarrior
09-02-2007, 10:56
Yeah, he works a wierd schedule at the hospital, and is "on call" alot, so if something happened really bad he'd hav eto get over there to operate onthe car wreck person and stuff, or if someone dies and suddenly they have the organ they need for another person, in he goes! So some days he'snot there for class due to unforeseen circumstances. Also, the school meets three days a week and theother two it's homeschool. Pretty cool if you ask me.

greyzen
09-02-2007, 11:31
Well, I know a cheap way to get ahold of lead if you want to make weights :)

My grandfather used to make his bullets out of Wheel Weight.
The wheel weights are used to balance/etc. car wheels. They are a thin strip of lead, with a tin/aluminum clip that is folded over the rim of the wheel to hold the lead in place.

You can clip or melt the lead off the clip REALLY easy, lead's boiling temp is way low so it's not very hard. Most junk yards and small-time mechanics shops really don't care or know about the stuff sitting around so you can quickly and cheaply go out and collect them. Bring a flat head screw driver, and some places might not even charge you (or charge you a flat-rate 10 bucks) which is way cheaper.

Hemlon
09-02-2007, 11:35
Wouldn't you be worried about the fumes from melting the lead, greyzen?

frenchy07
09-02-2007, 12:21
Wheel weights are cheap if you can deal with them but not in the house! You see its called "fumes" and it can and will make you sick!

One of the ways we support our racing operation is to make lead ballast in 25lb blocks. Using a turkey burner we converted to higher heat we melt up to 300 lbs at a time. We then pour our block using old bread molding pans (the right size is perfect 25lb blocks). We have also made molds for 50 lb blocks but you have to be really persuasive to get us to cast them, they are heavy and more importantly really hard to handle.

I short filled our 25 lb pans to 1 in thickness and then cut them to size with a circular trim saw, carbide blade (watch your fingers and use lots of lubricant, wd40). I weighed each one and trimmed the corners to get the weight I wanted. No, they won't thread on a weight belt but I use weight pouches anyway so they were a perfect fit for me. I then painted each weight with a different color (white = 1lb, up to purple = 6 lb). The 1 lb weights were the biggest pain as they are 1 in squares (trimmed from bigger blocks so my fingers were safe). I like my fingers attached!

I created 4 sets and took 2 sets to Florida and left them with my kids (they both dive) so I wouldn't have to drag weight back and forth (1300 miles). I should never have to make anymore. My weight bags include - 2@6lbs, 4@5lbs, 4@4lbs, 4@3lbs, 4@2lbs and 4@1lbs. Lots of weight but lots of options. 1 bag will make a trip for my divebuddy (my wife) and myself. When it gets cold we take both bags.

Word of caution. Only melt outside when you have a breeze. High wind will suck all the heat out of your pot. Stay upwind of the fumes and wear a mask with the proper filters (the little paint masks won't do the job). Don't smoke while casting! You will inhale the fumes. Fumes can cause all kinds of sickness so be careful. Lead is toxic so seal your castings. Paint works well but if you can dip it in tool handle plastic and let harden (still not easy on the toes when you drop it but your brain thinks it is softer plus it is easier to handle).

Where to get your lead: Tire stores are the best source and many will give you their discarded wheel weights just to get rid of them. We buy them in 5 gallon buckets at $20 bucks each. A full bucket without trash weighs approx 160 lbs so lift careful (we dolly to the truck and use a lift gate to load onto truck). Not all weight is free and the price is going up. China has shut down their lead mines and lead will get to a premium price quick. Salvage yards buy scrap lead at $.05 to $.15 a lb and sell back to you at $.40 to $1.00 a lb. Plumbers lead melts easier than tire weights and has less trash to skim off but is softer and more prone to denting. Tire weights require that you have to dispose of the "clips". NO, don't toss them in the trash. The clips are steel and still contain trace amounts of lead that can poison the ground. take them back to the recycler and dispose of them proper.

If you only need 30 to 40 lbs buy it. It's easier and safer and cheaper. We cast around 20,000 lbs a year for race cars so we have the equipment and it was a no brainer for me. I would of bought all my ballast if we didn't already have the equipment (around $500 worth of burners, molds and respirators).

If you choose to melt ~ be safe and be responsible. I wouldn't recommend it to just anyone but it is easily done if you do it right (uh, correctly)

Frenchy07

greyzen
09-02-2007, 13:14
Wouldn't you be worried about the fumes from melting the lead, greyzen?

Yessum, he used the equipment outside in the garage and had a mask and ventilation :)

Hollywood703
09-02-2007, 15:28
yes make sure well venitlated and have some safety equipment....heavy gloves mask etc, molten lead is nasty when it comes to burns......it bonds with the skin.......had a bad experience as a kid with it on my left hand...

cummings66
09-02-2007, 17:47
Wouldn't you be worried about the fumes from melting the lead, greyzen?

I don't worry about it because it's done outside and I don't breathe the fumes. Wheel weights are dirty and as another person does I use a Turkey Fryer converted to melt lead, that gets the first melting and cleaning of the lead, then after that I flux it and clean it again and pour it into ingots.

What's dirtier than wheel weights is lead pipes from houses, that stuff reeks. But you clean it up the same way.

I get my lead from the tire shops, I pay $5 for a full 5 gallon bucket.

For bullets you must be careful because a lot of tire weights have Zinc in them and that will contaminate the lead and make poor bullets, but Zinc melts at a different point and you can insure with a thermometer that you don't get too hot, then pluck them out.

Lead handling is dangerous, especially when its liquid. Get a drop of water in it and it's a bomb, there are very nasty things that come with lead and it can cause damage to a person rather easily if you inhale, the lesson is don't melt lead if you are not aware of the dangers and how to mitigate them.

cummings66
09-02-2007, 17:55
it bonds with the skin.......had a bad experience as a kid with it on my left hand...

Lead doesn't bond with skin, it burns into it. You've got to figure the average temperature of melted lead is at least 621 degrees F because that's it's melting point. Zinc's melting point is 787 degree's F. I try to hit about 700 degree's for my temperature so that the zinc stays solid and the lead is hot enough to cast good bullets with. That means that in my operation you'd have 700 degree metal burning into your skin. It'll cook it right fast and might seem to bond, but it's really like food you burn in the skillet and it sticks, but it's just burned and not bonded. Either way it hurts like the dickens and could cause severe damage, even kill a person if it hits the right area or covers a large enough area of skin.

Like anything we do, treat it properly and it's not so dangerous, but ignore it and all heck will break loose. Kind of reminds you of diving doesn't it?

cummings66
09-02-2007, 17:58
[quote=Hollywood703;42002]
Would bird shot rust? It's not lead it low grade stainless.......

You can still buy lead bird shot. Don't ask me why but you can. It's odd because ranges don't allow lead shot, but they do lead bullets. You can't buy premade lead birdshot shells, but you can make them and use them in the wild. The wild is from my understanding the big reason they got rid of it in the first place. I'm not sure if it's legal to sell, but I did see it in a store yesterday.

Manny-R
09-02-2007, 20:37
I don't see the point in molding weights for belts. However, doing something like this would be useful: http://www.cisatlantic.com/trimix/vweight/pweight.htm

thats pretty nifty.
not for me, but for someone who uses a backplate.
i like the initiative taken there.

Tableleg
09-04-2007, 14:43
I make my own soft weight pouchs...becuase i could....I bought a 25 lb bag of #4 bird shot at gander mountain.....made some pouches.....filled to what sizes I needed....cost me just over a dollar a lb.
What type of material did you use for the pouches? Did you do anything special in sealing them closed?

danielh03
09-06-2007, 23:20
I tend to shy away from hard weights since i dropped a three pounder on my foot one day in training... I switched to soft weights after that lol. I guess for tech diving they would be needed more. If nothing else you save your toes.. or your dive buddies toes lol

Doghouse
09-07-2007, 08:46
I made all my own pouches. I use the shot for balancing the gunstock.

To make the pouches, I use a hot knife (soldering gun with flat tip) to cut rip stop nylon. Then double stitch the sides, and most of the top. Inside out the bag so all the stitching is on the inside. The fill with the proper amount of weight you want. Hand stitch the bag closed with a straight and overlock with a whip stitch. These have been in use since my first dive and no problems what so ever.

Remember you do not have to use lead, Zinc is just as good. The reason lead is used it that it has higher mass. So you get more weight per volume. But if you look at how much space is still available in your weight pouches, you can easily use a non ferious metal with a lower mass value.

Hollywood703
09-07-2007, 09:11
I make my own soft weight pouchs...becuase i could....I bought a 25 lb bag of #4 bird shot at gander mountain.....made some pouches.....filled to what sizes I needed....cost me just over a dollar a lb.

Would bird shot rust? It's not lead it low grade stainless.......

Ok #4 lead shot to be more precise...it is as much lead as lead blocks are...it wont rust.

I use a flag type material, made little pouches, turned inside out...then hand stitched.....it was a rouch stitch and I have no idea what it was called...I had never stitched any material before....lots of people....just no material...lol

Scuba-Bill
09-07-2007, 09:48
Do the molds come in different shapes? Seasonal -- christmas trees, pumpkins, easter bunnies, etc.?

Flatliner
09-09-2007, 19:06
Wow..now THAT'S what I call being cheap!!

Tell me, why should I pay somebody else to do something for me when I already have the gear, knowledge and skill to do it for myself? It's not cheap, it's because I can and I enjoy it.

Most of those who do DIY of any kind do it because they want to. I don't ever plan on saving money with my DIY projects. Even on those occasions that I already have all of the tools and supplies, the value of my time is worth far more than I save. I do it because I find pleasure in it, I learn from it, and I am better because of it. If it isn't your thing, more power to you, I however really enjoy it.

finflippers
09-09-2007, 19:12
Do the molds come in different shapes? Seasonal -- christmas trees, pumpkins, easter bunnies, etc.?

That would be neat. I would probably have to get some if they made them.

Hemlon
09-09-2007, 19:16
Do the molds come in different shapes? Seasonal -- christmas trees, pumpkins, easter bunnies, etc.?

That would be neat. I would probably have to get some if they made them.

Hehe...:smiley20:

Damselfish
09-10-2007, 00:07
Sure, I wouldn't mess with it myself but I bought my weights from a guy I found in the classifieds, he lived in a shack and molded them from scrap lead. (It was clear he had breathed WAY to many lead fumes, or something.)

mulefeathers
09-10-2007, 09:10
Well things like this do come in handy. If you like to be the DIY type ( I am on somethings ) I use mostly all soft weights but on my first salt water dive I had to ave more weight. Not much I could do about that trip. My LDS charges 3.75 per pound. With out knowing how much to add I created a mold out of aluminum foil. Picked up tire weights and poured a small mold very thin so it would fir on my shoulder pockets. Was able to trim and form until a reduced it enough to provide the needed weight and balance. With the exception of the propane free as well.

Besides I find it refreshing to build things from time to time.

Charlotte Smith
09-10-2007, 09:33
We made our own soft weights because my husband has a reloader also and we had the lead sitting on the shelf....didn't cost anything so why not. We have precision scales and the weights are dead on.

DennisW
09-10-2007, 13:43
Some divers pick up a lot of lead sinkers while diving. Some of those divers will make their own weights. My brother makes .5 lb weights and he only keeps the ones that are almost exactly .5 lb. He re-melts the ones that are off. If you ever weigh your store bought weights, you will find that they are short of the stated weight by quite a bit. Each to his own. I've thought about it myself.