Lead Wheel weights?

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Lead Wheel weights?

Postby wrz » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:47 pm

A friend has a big pile of organ pipes. Has anybody made custom wheel weights or blocks. The one problem would be making a big pour.

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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby Barnyard » Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:23 pm

Here are some custom weights I saw at Cubarama.

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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby Eugene » Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:26 pm

Are the organ pipes lead? Probably not.

Just guessing, if the pipes are lead, sell the pipes and purchase cast iron plates for a Cub.
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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby wrz » Sat Apr 09, 2016 9:32 pm

The pipes are made of lead and my friend has hundreds of pounds.

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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby Smokeycub » Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:49 pm

What's interesting/sad about that is that a new pipe organ for a church/recital hall costs over a million dollars or several millions of dollars if big/complex enough. In my experience those pipes are lead soldered or leaded, kinda like a tin can from back in the day, not made of lead. Some of the "pipes" for the lower bass and mid tone notes were wooden, depending on the sound one was trying to achieve. The stops (pneumatic valves) were used to control which set(s) of pipes were utilized to manipulate the sounds the organ made. I can't imagine what sort of tone a lead pipe would make.

That said, I suppose anything is possible. It's just sad that those magnificent instruments become relegated to scrap.
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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby Puffie40 » Sun Apr 10, 2016 1:58 pm

I very highly doubt they are lead. After all, lead's malleability would mean any kind of handling would drastically affect the tuning of the pipes. They are likely brass.

Besides, lead is not a nice material to handle because of its toxicity. Melting lead in that kind of quantity will mean you will inhale a bunch of the fumes, and poison yourself in the process.

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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby Criswell » Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:20 pm

The longer (pretty much anything over about 4 to 5 feet) and larger the pipe, the higher the content of zinc and tin. this allows for it being able to carry it's own weight. Shorter pipes are a 50/50 mix of lead and tin, what is called spotted metal. Had to replace more than one or two pipes on an organ before.
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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby Puffie40 » Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:47 pm

I'm going to go into some math here to see how much weight you get. Being an engineering student and having some interest in metal casting means this was a fun mental exercise.

First off, I went and found the densities of metals: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/metal ... -d_50.html

The cub's rear wheel weights are 150lbs of cast iron. By using the inverse of the density, I can get the total volume, and explore weights in other alloys

So after some math, I get the following with the same volume as a iron oem weight.

Iron:150lb
Brass:160lb
Copper:170lb
Lead:216lb
Aluminum:51lb
Concrete:53lb
Zinc:135lb

In terms of melting points:
Iron: 2300f
Copper:1981f
Brass:1725f
Aluminum:1218f
Zinc:786f
Lead:621f

So to conclude, zinc is probably a decent compromise if you were to pour your own weights. Main problem is its almost indistinguishable from lead at times. The biggest challenge is to create a foundry big enough and hot enough to melt a batch of metal to fill a mold.

Perhaps one method would be instead of casting a full 'doughnut', you instead split the weight in half or even quarters. If someone had a cupola furnace (https://books.google.ca/books?id=WKBcQB ... ce&f=false) then pouring cast iron is no problem.

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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby bob in CT » Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:48 pm

I found an interesting article on organ pipe metallurgy. http://www.hevanet.com/dibblee/pipe_metallurgy.pdf

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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby Jim Becker » Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:44 pm

Where is Hengy? Shouldn't he be weighing in on this?

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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby danovercash » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:22 pm

He is on FB.
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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby Hengy » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:50 pm

Hi guys. Dan Overcash let me know on FB that this thread was here. I haven't been active on the forum for a while. Hope all is we with you guys.

The pipes in an organ are not all lead, but an allow which is lead and tin called, guess what, "Organ Metal"... They could be melted down and formed. But working with lead, even in an alloy...is it worth the health risk?

As for old pipes being melted down...there are many many organs falling on hard times in many churches around the country. I'm fact there is a website called organ clearinghouse.com that is all about selling "used organs". The thing is that of a church wants a new organ, they would like to get all of the newest equipment to fill the sanctuary...sadly the old organs just go away...

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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby Puffie40 » Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:18 am

Just to temper the concerns about lead:

When melting, elemental lead starts to vaporise around 900f. As long as you don't overheat your lead and wear the proper PPE when pouring, you should not have a problem.

http://www.oem.msu.edu/userfiles/file/A ... -10-09.pdf

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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby Trent M » Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:26 am

I just never know what I'm going to learn when I log in here. Good stuff everyone!!
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Re: Lead Wheel weights?

Postby gitractorman » Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:14 pm

Having wrestled around a lot of Cub rear weights, I'm not sure I would even want one that was made of lead. The 135 pounds of cast iron is bad enough. Can't imagine 216 pounds, and I'm a pretty big guy. I guess if I had a whole pile of it just sitting around, I would maybe try to cast some weights, but I'd make them thinner and keep them to around 100-pounds, and just make them stackable. Maybe if you took a Cub weight and made it only 1/2 as thick, then poured more of them. They sure would be easier to handle.

I've worked in a few factories where they use molten metals and let me tell you, it's one scary process!!! American Brass here in Buffalo, makes all kinds of different rolled brass and copper products including 50mm cartridges for the military. A few years back I did an air permit for a new process called the Hot Tinning Line, where they took continuous sheets (rolled product) copper and passed it through a bath of molten tin. The copper was later used for electrical connectors. Anyway, we went up to Kenosha WI to see a plant where the process was already in use, and I couldn't believe how close you were allowed to get to this 20-foot long, 4-foot wide "bath" of molten tin. No guard rails, covers, etc., you could walk right up to it, with the top of the bath being about waist high. Not sure if you've ever seen molten tin, but it basically looks like water, only shiny silver, and it kind of calls out to you to touch it. NO, I didn't, but standing there it just looks perfectly harmless, and you cannot even tell that it's around 800-900-degrees!!!!

Anyway, I guess my point is, melting and pouring your own weights sounds like an interesting project, just be careful!!!
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