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"Safest way to melt metal miniatures" Topic

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1,346 hits since 22 Feb 2015
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Mute Bystander Inactive Member22 Feb 2015 7:57 a.m. PST

Looking for the "best" (safest) way to take what I have determined are unsaleable miniatures and melt them down for casting own terrain items or commissioned sculpts at a later date.

This not a thread to discuss why or what I should do with them, (I have decided that – melting,) but a request for the safest way to turn them into raw material for use in casting my own items at a later date so please make your responses only for that subject please.

f u u f n f Inactive Member22 Feb 2015 8:06 a.m. PST

I cast Prince August minis in my garage. I use a ladle and a hot plate for melting metal bars and poor cast minis. I wear some rubber coated heat resistant gloves, but otherwise I find it no more dangerous then dealing with sharp knives and hot pots and pans when cooking in the kitchen.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2015 8:13 a.m. PST

I used an old variable temperature hot plate. I used the lowest setting that melted the metal or poured the metal as soon as it melted. I had a long handled ladle and used protective gloves.
Obviously no flammables nearby.

dBerczerk22 Feb 2015 8:45 a.m. PST

Ensure you have proper ventilation. Much "raw" lead gives off noxious fumes when melted -- probably not too good for the respiratory system.

Pewter is much safer

tberry7403 Inactive Member22 Feb 2015 9:32 a.m. PST

How "safe" is it to mix metals (lead and pewter}?

"Safe" as in how does it effect any figures poured from the mix.

Roderick Robertson Fezian22 Feb 2015 9:49 a.m. PST

Drop them into the fires of Mount Doom. It's the only way to be sure.

Norman D Landings Inactive Member22 Feb 2015 10:17 a.m. PST

I melt down miscasts and conversion leftovers using a Prince August melting pan and hotplate in a well-ventilated room.

It's a hot pan. Handle it like any other hot pan.

If I'm not using the metal right now, I'll skim off the crud with a coffee stirrer and set the pan aside to cool. Five minutes later I've got a conveniently pan-sized, pan-shaped 'ingot'.

Tberry, for home casting purposes the main difference resulting from mixed donor metals is how much the resulting alloy will contract when setting.
More contraction = loss of fine detail. I wouldn't use an alloy of random meltdowns for anything but basic rank-&-file figures.
There is probably some difference in melting temperature, but that's academic when you're judging by eye on a hotplate.

Kropotkin30322 Feb 2015 10:41 a.m. PST

Only things I'd add to the above is wear stout shoes/boots and keep a bowl/sink full of cold water handy in case of burns/spilt metal on your hands.

Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2015 10:46 a.m. PST

Warm, soapy water for any burns.

Klebert L Hall Inactive Member22 Feb 2015 10:55 a.m. PST

I'm going to go with "moderate heat in some sort of vessel".


snodipous Inactive Member22 Feb 2015 11:26 a.m. PST

Set up a blow torch on a table and just kind of hold the miniatures pinched between your fingers into the flame. I usually position myself so the blow torch flame is aimed directly at my face, maybe 6-8 inches away, so I can clearly see what's going on. I typically do this nude so as not to ruin my clothing.

Allen57 Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2015 11:30 a.m. PST

like you I have been looking into melting my scrap/useless miniatures. I was thinking about an iron melting pot. There are usually a few on ebay. There are also some small electric ones which don't provide much volume but then I am only casting a few small items one at a time. auction

Mark RedLinePS Inactive Member22 Feb 2015 12:55 p.m. PST

Go with the naked blow torch method, it's just common sense.

Zephyr122 Feb 2015 3:37 p.m. PST

I'd get the "Hot Pot 2", which has the heating element below the pot, instead of in it. What I've also done with mine (I have 2 of them) is replace the 2-prong plug with a grounded cord (with the ground wire attached to the bolt holding the handle to the pot.)

Sysiphus Inactive Member22 Feb 2015 4:18 p.m. PST

If doing this often I would find a black powder gun shop or sporting goods store. They sell melt pots with a heated resevoir and handle for release into a bullet mold. Makes casting very easy and safe.
Again remember ventilation, not for in the home.

Personal logo Steve Roper Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2015 7:59 a.m. PST

Safest is link

Lee melting pots – you may choose a $35 USD one where you use a ladle or a bottom mounted valve one for another $20. USD

However, that said, given the unknown composition of waste figures you are unlikely to find it economical when casting later.

platypus01au23 Feb 2015 10:22 p.m. PST



Go down to "Non-occupational Exposures in Adults" and bullet re-loading and casting "fishing weights" are high risk.


Master Caster Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member24 Feb 2015 5:52 a.m. PST

You can easily – and safely – melt tin soldier metal on your kitchen stove with a small cast iron skillet. Make sure it's cast iron. You might find a cast iron corn muffin pan with separate compartments to act as an ingot mold former. Use the ventilator over your stove to carry away any fumes. After using these to melt metal don't cook food in them.
If you can spend a little money go on line to the Conley Casting supply company in Warwick, RI. They sell ladles in different sizes and ingot molds.
Toby Barrett

warhawkwind Inactive Member21 Mar 2015 12:31 p.m. PST

I used to cast my own rounds for black powder shooting:

1…ALWAYS wear safty glasses
2…NEVER keep liquids near your work area.
3…USE heavy gloves, like those for welding or farm work.

I took a drink from my water glass one day and accidentally sloshed a drop of water into my melting pot. It exploded, and I mean EXPLODED all over me and everything else. Fortunately I had adhered to items 1 and 3.
A mLee melting pot and ladle worked well for me. if you want ingots, just fill the ladel and let it cool. The lead will fall out when tapped on the table. Good luck, and wear them glasses!

warhawkwind Inactive Member21 Mar 2015 12:37 p.m. PST

Oh, yeah, lots of good ventilation.

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