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Smelting my first gold


GeoJack

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Ordered a torch cup of graphite

ordered a 10g round ingot mold, graphite

Now, borax and sand and...

Any suggestions and / or help here? Gold is from lode not placer, most is in the 100 mesh range.

I figured the round 10g size would be nice to have instead of waiting until I have enough to pour a 1 oz.

Rick

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You will need a flux that will oxidize the impurities like Potassium Nitrate, the sand is OK if it is good silica sand or you can just crush up some clear glass, Borax and Boric acid... what will you use for a kiln? Plus you will need some sort of crucible to do it all in......

Pretty hard to explain it all in a few short sentences......

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Hey Rick ,

Listen to the guys here , they won;t steer you wrong. Stay away from that crap on youtube...those that i have seen are an accident waiting to happen...if it hasn't already. If you try and melt that stuff with an oxy-acetylene torch be very careful and not set something on fire or blow out all your fines onto the floor. Good luck and post a pic of your half ouncer when you are done...and have fun in the process.

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Guys, thanks for the input and advise. It's why I posted. I'll be doing this outside to protect the man cave.

Would rather do this with a "room full" of experts than on my own to find out the errors of my ways.

I was going to use a propane torch, and this mold. Heating it up in a GRAPHITE TORCH CRUCIBLE CUP.

Oredigger, my concern exactly and why I was questioning the flux and how to mix it with the gold. I have some larger nuggets to smelt as well but I do need to learn how to work the small stuff. Should I start with the nuggets first? I don't have much but aspire to more. Also, been a USN welder and fire fighter, volunteer fire fighter so I have a good understanding of the elements. Doesn't mean I won't catch stuff on fire, just means I have knowledge of how to put it out.

Au, how does graphite take heat? Does it hold it or dissipate fast? I've worked in hot glass and know it's insulation qualities, but not graphite.

Homefire, have not tested the gold for content, I was told 95% content by the color from the curator of the State Mineral Museum in Mariposa. I figured the flux would take care of any impurities. Should I test first?

El, darn, been drinking beer in cans lately. I'll kill the gin tomorrow. Clear glass. :thumbsupanim

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10 GRAM ROUND GRAPHITE INGOT MOLD MELTING CAST GOLD

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Never used Graphite but suspect if not heated slow it could POP on you due to moisture within.

MAPP gass works better but even that is a bit cool to work larger stuff.

Propane is just not hot enough.

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What's the sand for? Gold and Borax works.

What K is the gold?

Smelting and melting are two different processes. Smelting is the art of separating alloy elements such as copper or silver or both and extracting the gold out of the alloy. Nuggets are seldom pure. Rick, what is typical for the gold in your area? ~20% copper???

Anyways El D mentioned the crushed up (white) beer bottle.....good advice, but if it had beer in it and you drink it first, it tends to calm the nerves a bit prior to lighting up that torch...and if you are using a torch and not a kiln (bad idea IMHO) you are in for some real interesting learning experiences! From my little experience, it is absolutely worth buying a good kiln and don't waste the time on the torch. First time you screw up and blow your gold away or hit a air pocket and it pops gold all over the place, you will wish you had a kiln! Worth every penny. Don't ask me how I know this! :rolleyes: I've NEVER blown gold out of a crucible or had it pop on me!!! :tisk-tisk:

Of course the borax helps clean it up and also helps pour the mix of molten glass/gold/copper mix. You'll end up with gold that is about 95% pure after chipping off the glass/copper mix.

Good luck with this and let us know how it works out for you! Take pictures! I'd sure love to see any pictures of any home made kilns from the folks here. I'd like to build one that would do about 5 or 6 toz at a time!

Jim

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Got some local glass blowing artist around, may hit them up for using their kiln instead of the torch. See, I'm learning already. Anybody us a Torch Bowl before? Seems they would only make them if they worked. I guess if I do move forward with the torch it would be a good idea to have a cover over the operation, like a 5 gal bucket with a cut-out covered in plexi to look through. Should contain any "blow outs".

5 or 6 oz at a time Jim? Good on ya.

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I don't make jewelry or need to melt into bars, so making a kiln would just be a play thing for me....but would be nice to have a small one. Yeah, 5 or 6 toz is really not that much if you are melting or smelting. It takes a while to get that much but...

Most of the stuff I get is scrap and not nuggets. Nuggets can be real iffy on the purity and a buyer could really loose his arse not buying them right!

Here is another idea for you, Rick. Many refiners will smelt your gold into bars and give it back to you...for a fee. You end up with fine gold. Something to maybe check into and then there would be little doubt on purity if you decided to sell it down the road. Using a torch increases accident potential far greater than a kiln. Tooling up to do this, and then the time to learn how to do it for just a small amount may not be worth it if you are just looking to make bars which still would not be real trustworthy in regards to purity and all the hassle that goes along with that. Just saying....

Jim

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If your cashing in Scrap that is marked it's best to leave it alone and marked as is.

If you Melt it down they have to Test it twice and charge you.

Dug gold around here is in the upper 90% and only shows trace amounts of Silver, Lead and Copper.

Every time you process it, us loose some.

Just leave it alone.

I just do the Melt for my self. It will be tested later.

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If your cashing in Scrap that is marked it's best to leave it alone and marked as is.

If you Melt it down they have to Test it twice and charge you.

Dug gold around here is in the upper 90% and only shows trace amounts of Silver, Lead and Copper.

Every time you process it, us loose some.

Just leave it alone.

I just do the Melt for my self. It will be tested later.

The markings on the gold mean nothing to a refiner and they do not test at that point. All the gold just gets thrown in the batch and smelted. I test all the gold and silver I buy myself and I am buying all that I can find!!! I agree that for the amateur doing this smelting some will be lost...maybe a lot! Very little is lost at a good refiner. In my last batch my number was within a gram of the refiner.....not too shabby! I've melted more silver than gold with a torch and I sure have learned you gotta be really careful as that stuff can go flying without notice. Words like "Oh Shxx" come to mind!

Let's see...what I have done. I've cracked a crucible, I've dropped a cruible off the brick I had it on, I've popped the mix, I've ran out of gas in the middle of a melt, I think I've made every mistake one can make, including forgetting where I put the striker for the torch!

My latest toy is a reverse electroplater as they are called. That thing will suck the gold off a puckered up hermit miner in a hurry!! Had to place the chemical container in an ice bucket to keep the temp down! Still, just a toy and fun to watch work! Just 1,999.9 lbs of plated and gold fill to go to get an ounce of gold out of it!!! What a fun waste of time!

Jim

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Jim, surely they use torches for this as they sell the GRAPHITE TORCH CRUCIBLE CUP MELTING FOR CASTING GOLD SILVER right?

Homefire, this is gold from lode, not jewelery. Straight from the ground, about 25 grams of fines (100 mesh and 50 mesh) and about 25 grams of nuggets from quartz rocks I sent through my rock crusher.

El Dorado, do you use a torch at all or just a kiln? I can't remember from your man cave what you had.

Rick

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I only use my Kiln for smelting, I use the torch for melting. If you want to just come by (and bring the beer) I will smelt your batch for you. How about waiting till a bit cooler weather because a 2000 degree kiln can sure get the cave hot!

Also an acetylene/oxygen torch is what we call a dirty torch, most people within the industry either use propane or hydrogen for a fuel along with the oxygen.

I do believe you are getting melting and smelting mixed up... melting your gold to pour an ingot is easy. One thing wrong in the video... he should have taken more flux and sprinkled it on his gold during or just before melt, that will help protect the gold from oxygen. You can also see that mapp gas torch is almost not hot enough for the amount of gold he is trying to deal with.

Another thing is if you really have fine (like dust), a torch will blow the dust all over the place.

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It is fine, my thoughts were that mixed with the flux and slowly heated it would be contained.

I think I'll take you up on the first process just to see what is involved and learn from the Ob Wan.

Almost forgot, what do you prefer for liquid replenishment?

Thanks,

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Jim, surely they use torches for this as they sell the GRAPHITE TORCH CRUCIBLE CUP MELTING FOR CASTING GOLD SILVER right?

snip

Rick

Yes, I have a few...been there done that...thus the reason I recommend a kiln!

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It is fine, my thoughts were that mixed with the flux and slowly heated it would be contained.

I think I'll take you up on the first process just to see what is involved and learn from the Ob Wan.

Almost forgot, what do you prefer for liquid replenishment?

Thanks,

There ya go Rick! See, almost everything good ends with beer! El D's work is awesome. I am sure watching him do his thing, all of us would learn a great deal. Take pictures!!!

Jim

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  • 2 weeks later...

LOL……

Way back when, I had a whole bunch of -100 to 300 mesh gold dust.

Decided for fun to melt it & make 1 ounce bars out of it.

Used a charcoal briquette chimney starter for a furnace.

Used a stainless steel cocktail shaker as a crucible & fire place tongs to handle it with..

Worked like a champ.

6f2gsj.jpg

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