How to Make Lead SCUBA Weights

How to Make Lead SCUBA Weights
Weights are an indispensable part of your diving gear. Unfortunately, they often get lost and damaged. Replacing them quickly becomes an expensive proposition. Even though lead is an inexpensive and readily available metal, it suddenly becomes more valuable when it's cast into shape and shipped to a dive shop. If you want to save some money and you have the time and inclination, you can make SCUBA weights yourself. With a small amount of equipment, you can cast your own weights.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Propane or natural gas burner Cast iron pot Lead Steel ladle Heat-resistant gloves Safety glasses Weight mold
  • Propane or natural gas burner
  • Cast iron pot
  • Lead
  • Steel ladle
  • Heat-resistant gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Weight mold
Step 1
Light the burner.
Step 2
Place the lead in the cast iron pot. Place the pot on the burner and allow the lead to melt.
Step 3
Put on your heat-resistant gloves and safety glasses. Skim any slag or impurities from the top of the lead with a steel ladle.
Step 4
Remove the pot from the burner and carefully pour molten lead into the mold.
Step 5
Allow the mold and lead to cool to room temperature.
Step 6
Turn the mold upside-down and gently tap the bottom of the mold to loosen and remove the weight.

Tips & Warnings

 
You can get lead wheel balancing weights from most tire stores. Be sure to clean any oil or grease off of them before putting them into your melting pot. Excess oil and grease can create excessive smoke while the lead melts. Fishing weights and broken diving weights can also be used. Warming the mold prior to use will produce a smoother surface finish. Molds for diving weights are available in several styles and weight ratings.
 
You can get lead wheel balancing weights from most tire stores. Be sure to clean any oil or grease off of them before putting them into your melting pot. Excess oil and grease can create excessive smoke while the lead melts.
 
Fishing weights and broken diving weights can also be used.
 
Warming the mold prior to use will produce a smoother surface finish.
 
Molds for diving weights are available in several styles and weight ratings.
 
Lead fumes are toxic. Never melt lead inside your house or in a poorly ventilated area. An outdoor burner is the best and safest option. Always wear protective clothing. Safety glasses, heat -esistant gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and work boots are imperative. Lead melts at about 700 degrees F. Splashes from the melting pot will cause severe burns. If you need to add any lead to the pot once the melting process has started, make sure any additional lead is clean and dry before putting it in the pot. Oil, grease or water can cause a small explosion in the molten lead. Never attempt to speed the cooling process by dipping the mold in water. This can cause explosive boiling. Allow the mold to air cool. Do not use any melting or casting utensils for food preparation. There is no practical way to remove all traces of lead from the pot or ladle after they have been used for casting. Once used for casting, they should be reserved for this purpose only.
 
Lead fumes are toxic. Never melt lead inside your house or in a poorly ventilated area. An outdoor burner is the best and safest option.
 
Always wear protective clothing. Safety glasses, heat -esistant gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and work boots are imperative. Lead melts at about 700 degrees F. Splashes from the melting pot will cause severe burns.
 
If you need to add any lead to the pot once the melting process has started, make sure any additional lead is clean and dry before putting it in the pot. Oil, grease or water can cause a small explosion in the molten lead.
 
Never attempt to speed the cooling process by dipping the mold in water. This can cause explosive boiling. Allow the mold to air cool.
 
Do not use any melting or casting utensils for food preparation. There is no practical way to remove all traces of lead from the pot or ladle after they have been used for casting. Once used for casting, they should be reserved for this purpose only.

Article Written By Finn McCuhil

Finn McCuhil is a freelance writer based in Northern Michigan. He worked as a reporter and columnist in South Florida before becoming fascinated with computers. After studying programming at University of South Florida, he spent more than 20 years heading up IT departments at three tier-one automotive suppliers. He now builds wooden boats in the north woods.

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