Sunday, January 2, 2011

Making ingots

When I hear the word, "ingot", I immediately think of a pile of gold like this:

sitting next to someone like this guy:

But like almost everything I learned about in cartoons, it isn't quite an accurate picture of what an ingot is. Or at least not the kind I can make at my workbench. 

When the price of sterling hit $30 an ounce (an ounce!!  I used to buy sterling for about $12 an ounce...and that was only a few years ago), I decided to look more seriously into reusing my silver scrap.  I read up on what I would need to do and bought an ingot mold and rolling mill so I could start recycling my scrap into wire and sheet.  They sat for a while with all of the December traveling and festivities, but today I got out the ingot mold and the acetylene torch and braved the frigid garage to see what I could do with them.

I picked out my scrap and coated the pieces with flux, then dropped them in my crucible.

I prepped the ingot mold to make wire (if I want to make sheet instead, I can turn the mold around, but that is for another day.) I read somewhere that I needed to heat the mold to make sure there was no condensation hanging around in it, so I did that before heating the scrap.

Once it was molten, I just poured it in the mold.  Then I opened the clamp and used tongs to move the pieces to a dish of water to quench them.  Much faster and easier than I thought!

If I had used more scrap, it would have given me more pieces of wire in the end...something to remember for next time.  But not bad for a first run!

I suppose I could stack them in a cartoonish pyramid if I made enough, but the ingot mold I have creates round edges on the wire, so I'm pretty sure they would just roll all over the place.


  1. Love me some Inspector Gadget. LOVE.

  2. Me too!! My 15 year old said that wasn't a true screen shot because it was animated....that poor child knows only of the Matthew Broderick version!!!!