BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

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jacob
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BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by jacob »

I'm looking for the cheapest weight/ballast material for the mechanical clock I'm building. The weight goes in the pendulum and into the ballast (the weighted cylinder that drives the clock). The general suggestions are either BBs or lead shot. This seems convenient since they pack well, are widely available, and it's easy to measure out an exact weight. One clock requires about 5ish pounds.

However, I have two questions...

1) Is this really the cheapest way to go? Cf. e.g. old nuts and bolts and other scrap metal. The weight is going to be sealed in and not visible, so it really doesn't matter. I'd rather not be paying extra for "precision" materials.

2) Are there any legal restrictions whatsoever in terms of ordering this off of the interwebs. I'm thinking whether it's technically a kind of ammo and would run afoul of any given uncommon laws/ordinances? (E.g. the local Walmart does not sell BBs.)

I found these ... are those realistic prices?
https://www.amazon.com/Washed-Re-Graphi ... 008AM2OAY/ (25lbs of reclaimed lead shot for $73 incl shipping)
https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Zinc-Plat ... 01E9JUGU6/ (10000 BBs or about 7.5lbs for $30 incl shipping)

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by Dream of Freedom »

Sand?

jacob
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by jacob »

Although it packs closer, it's not heavy enough. (The pendulum would need to be much bigger than it is.)
Water: 1g/cm3
Sand: 1.5g/cm3
Steel: 8g/cm3
Lead: 11g/cm3

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by Dream of Freedom »

Have you called the junkyard to see if they can hook you up?

Campitor
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by Campitor »

If you're up to melting the lead into the shape required, you can buy lead ingots on Amazon. Lead can be melted in a cast iron pan since the melting point is 327.5°C/621.5°F. A stove, gas grill, or a plumbing solder ladle + MAP gas torch can reach 622F. By melting the lead, you can eliminate all the empty space. Create a sacrificial receptacle close in size to what you want and pour the lead into it. Once the lead cools, file into the desire shape.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=lead+ingots+ ... _sb_noss_1
Last edited by Campitor on Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jennypenny
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by jennypenny »

I think steel scrap is cheaper. Bulk nuts might be cheaper than shot, not sure. Just don't order a pressure cooker or any kind of wiring when you order it. Better yet, have DW order it.

Do you know any mechanics who might have old/stripped stuff they'd part with? I assume you don't need enough for a bulk order.

ffj
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by ffj »

Go to a tire shop and ask for scrap lead weights. Melt them down and pour them into your cylinder.

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jennypenny
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by jennypenny »

ffj wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:46 pm
Go to a tire shop and ask for scrap lead weights.
Called three places and they all said no. One said 'who told you that?' :lol: I guess it depends where you live. Nothing is free in the megalopolis. They all said I should try a scrap yard.

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Jean
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by Jean »

That would be an original way to store gold

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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by sky »

I have used lead shot encased in epoxy on rudders and lee boards. I went to a gun shop and they had lead shot for reloading shotgun shells. I bought a bag, maybe 20 lbs? That was a long time ago, I don't remember the cost.

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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

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ffj
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by ffj »

@jp

Hmmm, maybe it’s a regional thing. I’ve got buddies that get them and recast bullets with them.

Some people also reclaim range lead at the shooting range by digging the backstops and sifting the dirt. Doesn’t take long to load up that way but you’ll have to get permission and other may already be doing it.

You could also recast lead fishing weights but not sure you would save any money that way.

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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by Toska2 »

https://up.craigslist.org/spo/d/marquet ... 69752.html

But thats not local to you.

I would use iron ore pellets that I would source from the railroad tracks. The problem using pellets and nuts is its less dense with gaps, theoretical vs actual density.

Other options are:
Very old school window weights. Im guessing they were all of 5 lbs of soild iron.
Dentist aprons for the lead. They have to be thrown out every so often iirc.
Cutoff stock at a local steel supply shop.

I dont think ammo ballistics & shells are regulated where you are. The powder and primers might be because of explosive or fire hazard.

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Ego
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by Ego »

I've got a bunch of these. They've been sitting on a ledge outside in the elements for years. Someone once told me they were lead sash weights from some of the original windows we replaced many years ago but I am dubious because they have no holes to attach the ropes. They weigh about 7 ounce each and are about the size of a small cigar. I could fit a bunch into a Priority Mail flat rate envelope if you can use them.

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plow_2
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by plow_2 »

if you go with lead shot or bb's there should be no legal restriction on them as they aren't loaded ammunition. I used to get wheel weights from tire shops but they would charge me like 50 cents a pound or something like that. Some states have banned the lead wheel weights and only use zinc weights now.

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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by plow_2 »


jacob
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by jacob »

@all - I've heard about the tire weights being reclaimed here and there. I think with all such things, it helps to "know someone" in order to source the material. In any case, DW wasn't too happy when I mentioned melting lead. Casting would require some computing since the operating parameter in the pendulum is the rotational inertia, so it depends on how the lead is distributed. Starting with lead shots or pieces, I could get to steel density by mixing with sand and/or epoxy---making a close packed steel ball substitute.

@Ego - Thanks for the offer! I would need 16 of them to meet the requirements for the ballast weight, i.e. 7 pounds for this clock. I think I can stack them in a 4x(2-2) or a 2x(2-3-2)+1 lbs of sand pattern within a cylinder (spray painted PVC pipe :) ) that has the roughly the same dimensions as the one called for in the construction plans.

Then I'd use my fishing weights for the pendulum and thus "avoid the economy".

The question is what that would cost to ship and also whether it's possible to contain that weight in an envelope w/o anything punching through the envelope as such objects tend to do. It wouldn't make sense if shipping is more than $2.92/lbs because that's what the reclaimed(*) lead in the OP link costs. Alternatively, I'll take all of them in a flat rate box, if you're just looking to get rid of them? I'll paypal shipping costs.

(*) Probably dug out of a shooting range and run through a sluice box of some sorts.

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Ego
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by Ego »

It was as if a Priority Mail Small Flat rate box was made for these. 24 fit perfectly. No need to reimburse. It is only a few dollars and I take pleasure in torturing my mail carrier. Please pm me your address as I no longer have it.

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jacob
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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by jacob »

Excellent! PM'ed.

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Re: BBs and lead shot for clock ballast

Post by Riggerjack »

Should this come up again, perhaps you could try tungsten carbide. 15+g/cm3

You can get it on eBay as scrap, around $4-6/lb. If you go with used carbide inserts, you can get close, then cast into epoxy, and trim to fine tune the weight.

Bonus, carbide can be reground by hand to shape into some very hard (read sharp but brittle) tools.

Youtube has tutorials.

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