White Metal - Tin\Lead - Where to get?

I'm looking for an easy to find cheap source of white-metal \ tin & lead.
It's for basic casting with the end intention of teaching myself the
craft of model making at home..
I can get solder in 500grm lots quite cheaply - considering this may have flux in it - would this be OK for at least small scale casting to practice with?
Other than that does anyone know of a cheap online seller in the UK or even better where or what I might look for locally?
Pete In South Brum
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I am not sure if they fit your description of cheap, but for solder I have found Carn Metals to be very helpful. They also supply white metal alloys.
See www.carnmetals.co.uk
James
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When I needeed whitemetal for bearings, Geof Treseder the proprietor of Carn Metals, and a former Geevor tin miner, made me a batch of material to approximate a tin rich BS alloy and very successful it was too. He won't handle toxics like arsenic and cadmium, but tin, antimony and copper are fine.
Although not cheap in absolute terms, it was significantly cheaper than proprietaty whitemetals, though these have traces of toxic which impart specialist characteristics.
Talk to Geoff - I found him very informative. and helpful.
Regards,
On Tue, 13 Jun 2006 20:43:52 +0100, "James"

http://www.skiprat.net
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PS......Alec Tiranti of Reading also supply metals for sculptural casting and they have a useful book on the use of silicone rubber moulds. Do a search on Tiranti and I'm sure you'll get a hit.
wrote:

http://www.skiprat.net
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Info on proportions of material in Babbitt Metal are on our site somewhere, probably in the 'Machinery Tables' section.
Found it:
http://www.oldengine.org/members/diesel/Tables/Babbitt1.htm
Peter -- Peter & Rita Forbes Email: snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk Web: http://www.oldengine.org/members/diesel
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If it si just for practising I have had pretty good results using old wheel balancing weights. If you go down to your local tyre shop they will usually let you have them for the price they get as scrap.
I'm not sure of the comosition but it is harder than lead and many years ago I had some pretty good success casting toy soldiers with it.
Regards
James
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I'd forgotten that one! I used it with success when casting streamline keel ballast for R/C model racing yachts.
--
Mike Hopkins
CSME <http://goto/cheltsme>
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writes

The fumes are pretty toxic aren't they?
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Antimony is almost as poisonous as arsenic (MAC 0.5 mg/m^3 versus arsenic's 0.2 mg/m^3 for continuous workplace exposure over a 40-hour week).
It is however used in small concentrations in such alloys, and is not particularly volatile, so provided you wash your hands after using it there should be no problem. In fact I would not worry about using alloys containing small amounts of arsenic provided I knew about it so I could take care. It is very useful in casting metals as it expands on solidification (like water, but unlike almost all other substances) and a small percentage makes the castings crisper. It was used in printing type metal for this reason.
David
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Sorry, a last minute cut and paste in the above post put things in the wrong context. It is antimony which expands on solidification and is useful in typemetal.
David
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David Littlewood

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If you wanted to use the solder with flux in you could melt it, and the flux will form a layer on the top of the moulten metal. This should be quite easy to skim off before using the solder -but it seems a long way round to me.
Regards Kevin
PS be careful with this stuff, it will kill you if exposed to it over time -definately not a good idea in confined spaces.

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Cheers folks. There's some useful info there. I need to go and have a look around.
Interesting thought about arsenic... I read that the majority of the worlds production of arsenic is used in wood production. I wonder how exposed we already are?
Pete
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Just one point to make, the OP was asking about models which, like it or not, may well end up being played with by kids so all this talk of lead and even more toxic elements is surely inapropriate. All that is needed is the most common type of lead free solder which is tin and copper, readily available from any electronics supplier such as Farnell and RS without flux cores, it does have a slightly higher melting point but nothing unmaneagable.
Greg
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On Wed, 14 Jun 2006 19:31:24 +0100, "Greg"

Cheers Greg,
I take your point on safety but I did specifically ask about lead \ tin in the subject.
My reasoning really is for ease and simplicity. The lead models won't be played with by children.
I asked about tin \ lead as I want something easy to practice with. If the bug bites me and I get to grip with the basic problems I can see myself moving to whatever metals I can work at home and are good at taking a cast and strong for fine detail.
For the moment though I suspect half a kilo of tin \ lead will give me all the metal I need to cast and recast various size practice pieces.
The only models I'll be keeping at the moment will be rough half figures of passengers to be painted and go inside model coaches away from touching hands.
There is a slight safety gain also for me as a novice as the melting point is a little lower and less special preparation will be needed.
I also already have a pair of goggles and some heavy gloves :)
My lead \ tin solder is on it's way to me now and i'm going to try a few open casts first in some baked off plaster of paris. I'm quite excited.
Pete
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Pete, you may need to research the painting of lead figures. Oxidation of the lead has a nasty habit of bleeding through the paint after a year or two, or even lifting it off in lumps. I used to paint soldiers in a mis-spent youth, mostly plastic (which gave no problem) but occasionally in white metal, and I speak from sad experience. ISTR that there are recommended steps to at least reduce the damage, which may for example involve using a base coat of polyurethane varnish. I can't be sure I remembered this correctly though, so I suggest you research in books for military modelling or wargaming.
Alternatively, do you really need to use metal? There are other casting materials, such as resin. I think a company called Alex Tiranti used to sell the equipment and materials for all manner of casting, including polyurethane mixes to make moulds for whitemetal casting, to professional users, don't know if they are still trading.
David
--
David Littlewood

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On Wed, 14 Jun 2006 20:34:27 +0100, David Littlewood
David

I hadn't considered that. I'll need to read up on this I think.
Maybe I'll leave the little guys for a while.
Wargaming resources sound a good place to start.
I've just won a whitemetal model making book on ebay so I can't wait to read that to.

Yes but what fun it was :)

I have other ideas for resins but like to keep things tidy and easy. I'm in my get to grips with melting metal phase at the mo :)

Yes they are trading. I took the hint from a post above and looked them up. They look quite established now and do a white metal begginers kit. (I'm going the cheap and cheerful direction for the moment :o))
http://www.tiranti.co.uk
Actually I am keeping notes on URLs and sources as I thought I'd add a footnote to this thread once I had all the basics ready with a list of resources I had come across.
Pete
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Yes; sorry, I missed noticing that reference. They used to have retail premises in central London, but I guess that must have closed down ages ago.
David
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David Littlewood

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wrote:

Its a while but they used to have a shop near Gt Portland Street tube on Warren Street. Probably 2yrs since I bought any "white metal" from them but they are spot for casting materials.
Steve
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wrote:

The web site lists two locations so it seems they are still around.
Mail Order & Showroom: 3 Pipers Court, Berkshire Drive, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG19 4ER, UK. Tel: 0845 123 2100 Fax: 0845 123 2101 e-mail: snipped-for-privacy@tiranti.co.uk
Shop also at: 27 Warren Street, London, W1T 5NB, UK. Tel: 020 7636 8565
Pete
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Some model shops sell 'white metal' for casting, my wife bought some a few months ago in Chester for making up a chess set kit.
Cheers Tim
Dutton Dry-Dock Traditional & Modern canal craft repairs Vintage diesel engine service
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