Where do I get bulk lead? - RC Groups
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Oct 05, 2002, 04:02 AM
Tu ne cede malis
MtnGoat's Avatar

Where do I get bulk lead?

Since I've discovered how easy it is to make ballast tubes, custom nose weights, etc, I'm pretty much making all kinds of stuff and buying weights to melt is getting expensive. Where do people get their bulk lead? Gun stores?
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Oct 05, 2002, 05:43 AM
Registered User
Try tire shops they usually have lots of used wheel weights laying around. You can also buy 25# bags of lead shot at gun shops.
Ed Mc
Oct 06, 2002, 07:48 PM
Registered User
peter_jensen's Avatar
I've used several sources:

* Tire shops have the tire balancing weights; those work well.
* Lead shot for shotguns. It depends on where you are located; some places mandate non-lead shot for environmental reasons.

The best for me so far has been a local junk metal yard that's got barrels of those stick on 0.25 oz weights that are supposedly used in truck tire balancing. I have no idea what he charges, but I bought enough the other day for a lifetime of model ballasting for less than $5. I'd ship it, but I think the costs would be a little too high.

Oct 06, 2002, 09:59 PM
No fuse too fat
slopeiron's Avatar
Yes, tire shops are a good source. I once went to one and asked the guy what they did with the old tire weights. He said that they throw them away. He had a big box full of them and told me to take as many as I wanted. This is a good option if you want to melt the lead down.

For nose weight I like to use lead shot because the little bb's conform readily to any shape and I can get more weight into a smaller area. Mix them with a little resin and they'll stay put.

Oct 07, 2002, 12:12 AM
Registered User
Daemon's Avatar
The shot may fill the contours nicely and stay put, but I've found that it really takes up a lot more space than solid lead. Not a problem for a PSS perhaps, but I discovered it was a big problem in my 60" Nemesis which has a notoriously small fuselage. I had everything sorted out.. radio, battery, servos.. and then discovered that I needed 3oz of nose weight. I used the shot, and it ended up pushing the battery back far enough to mess up everything, and I had to buy a smaller receiver, and even that is a tight fit.

I bought a 25lb bag of shot, cheap, which should last forever. I fill cups with it to use as weights when building and so forth. For the last nose weight chunk, I wrapped a couple layers of aluminum foil around the outside of the nose of the glider to make a rough mold, then put it in a stand and filled it with melted lead. I then took that blob and simply beat on it with a hammer until it was smooth and fit perfectly inside the nose of my glider. Worked a lot better than I expected it would and was quite easy.

Oh. Another source for bulk lead is a hardware store. Check out the section with torches and stuff. They have like 10lb chunks and I noticed the other day a bag of something they called Lead Wool. Presumably much like steel wool. Imagine how easily that stuff must melt.

Oct 08, 2002, 04:49 PM
RCGroups Author
SoarNeck's Avatar
Try a roofing supply place. They apparently use sheet lead for some purpose. I bought a 4x4 foot sheet of 1/8" lead sheet for about $45 Cdn, and that represents about 50-60 lbs of lead.
Oct 08, 2002, 08:13 PM
Registered User
I got 3 lbs from a friend of mine that came in a small woven dive bag (think scuba diving weights). I think they use the bags for ballast??

Oct 17, 2002, 08:21 PM
Registered User
Take a look at duck decoy wieghts. They come in flat bars
that are easy to cut and drill to use for ballasting because
you can stack them to add or subtract weight.

They also melt easy enough for molding. You can do "lost
wax" by molding your work piece in wax and casting it in
a milk carton with palster of paris. (Don't forget to use straws
for drainage and air holes)

Put the mold in the oven and melt out the wax and pour in
the lead. Get a hammer and crack the plaster mold to free
your shape.
Oct 17, 2002, 11:44 PM
Registered User
beefa's Avatar
Just another tip for installing shot in your plane. I used little waterbomb balloons. Fill em as needed and they are like little bean bags that easy mould to the required shape. If you are the type that likes to change ballast loads depending on the day your flying you can make several of these up with different weights and swap them in as needed. (just write on them with a perm. marker)

Just a thought.
Oct 18, 2002, 03:04 PM
Being as you live in the Seattle area, you might call: Non-Ferrous Metals, Inc.. Phone 206 624 8414 located on Harbor Island: 2905 - 13th Ave SW Seattle, Washington 98134.

I think the minimum order is 100 lbs, but you can buy pure lead, linotype, tin, whatever.

This is old info (1985), but at that time I paid 40 cents a pound for pure lead 5 lb bars.

Jul 27, 2011, 11:52 AM
Spreckels Lake, GGP, SF, CA
craig_c's Avatar
As this is a perpetual need/question...

Reclaimed mixed #7.5/#8 lead shot in 25# bags.
Save a couple of bucks a bag and get the non-graphited shot.

Originally Posted by El Pe
but at that time I paid 40 cents a pound for pure lead 5 lb bars.
Whimper / sigh - the good 'ol days
Latest blog entry: Ah, To be young again...
Sep 12, 2011, 11:25 PM
Spreckels Lake, GGP, SF, CA
craig_c's Avatar
grr ... blasted web-editor!
Last edited by craig_c; Sep 12, 2011 at 11:36 PM.
Sep 13, 2011, 10:18 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by craig_c
As this is a perpetual need/question...

Reclaimed mixed #7.5/#8 lead shot in 25# bags.
Save a couple of bucks a bag and get the non-graphited shot.

Whimper / sigh - the good 'ol days
A buddy of mine bought some on Ebay to build counterweights for his catamaran. Funny part was the USPS flat-rate box ... little box weighed like 50 pounds ... lol.