How to Melt Brass

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Salvage brass pipes and fittings from an old house or building for your next project.
Salvage brass pipes and fittings from an old house or building for your next project. (Image: Ilya Stcherbakov/iStock/Getty Images)

1,688 degrees Fahrenheit is an extremely hot temperature; however, in metallurgy it is considered a low melting point. Compared to iron's melting point -- 2,786 degrees Fahrenheit -- the average melting point of brass at 1,688 makes it a low-melting alloy. If you have experience in melting tin and aluminum in your metal furnace, try melting brass. Extreme caution must be used, but the procedure is similar to melting other metals, and you can melt down brass scrap to turn into new treasures.

Things You'll Need

  • Brass scrap or ingots
  • Carbon fiber/Kevlar gloves
  • Rubber apron
  • Tinted protective eyewear
  • Welding apron
  • Leather workbooks
  • Metal furnace
  • Charcoal (optional)
  • Clay/graphite crucible
  • Long metal tongs
  • Pouring shank
  • Metal mold

Eliminate all non-brass parts from your brass items. Remove all rubber gaskets, washers and other fittings if using brass pipes.

Put on your protective gear. Use gloves made of carbon fiber and Kevlar materials to protect your hands from the heat. Select safety glasses with a tint that will protect your eyes from the fire and molten metal's infrared and ultraviolet radiation. Wear a welding apron to protect your clothing and a pair of leather work boots to shield your feet from any accidental drips of molten metal.

Take all of your materials outside. Start your metal furnace by igniting the charcoal or pilot light of the gas line. Let the furnace heat until it is glowing red. Keep a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher nearby as you may need it in case of emergency flare-ups after the furnace fire starts to heat up.

Load the crucible with the brass that you would like to melt down. Use a crucible that is made from a clay-graphite mix, as metal crucibles may melt during the process. Lower the crucible into the furnace with a pair of tongs. Use long-handled tongs made for metal casting. Place the lid on the furnace.

Let the furnace heat the brass. Remove the lid with the tongs to check on the brass periodically. Stoke the fire with charcoal if needed. Remove the crucible with a pouring shank after the brass has started to smoke and is glowing bright red.

Pour the brass into your mold. Fill the mold quickly so the brass will not cool before it is inside the mold. Use caution when pouring that you do not spill any molten metal outside of the mold. If you do spill metal, pour water from your bucket onto it to cool it immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • The brass will be very hot and will put out radiant heat as you pour it. Step back and always use a pouring shank.
  • Only use all-brass scraps. Do not use mixed metals that include brass.
  • Always wear an apron, gloves and eye gear when working around hot metal.
  • Keep a bucket of water on hand as well as a fire extinguisher in case of any accidents.
  • Always work outdoors when working with a furnace and molten metals. The open flame, high temperatures and the fumes emitted during the process do not allow it to be an indoor activity.

References

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