1 Secure items to melt. You need to find some items to melt down. Luckily, although silver is considered a rare metal, it is fairly common in our day-to-day activities. Some of the most common uses for silver are jewelry, although we can still find a substantial amount of silver coins, as well as silver in industrial applications.
- Traditional uses for silver include creating coins, jewelry, decorative items and cutlery. These items are most commonly used when melting silver.
- Industrial uses of silver include batteries, ball bearings, soldering or brazing other metal items, as an industrial catalyst to create chemicals, and in electronics such as circuit boards, membrane switches, and television screens. Be careful when melting anything that might contain hazardous materials.
- Emerging technologies which utilize silver include medical, solar energy, and water purification. Silver minimizes bacterial growth by interrupting the ability of the bacteria to form chemical bonds and is used to prevent the spread of bacteria and to promote healing.
2 Get a foundry crucible. A foundry crucible is a container that is used for metal production. Crucibles are made of clay, aluminum, graphite, and silicon carbide. They are extremely heat resistant and will not melt under the same circumstances as the metal you are trying to melt down.
- Make sure you get a crucible that is an appropriate size for your project and is in good shape. Avoid old crucibles with cracks or excessive wear.
- You will use your crucible to store your silver as it melts and turns into its molten form.
- You will then poor the molten silver out of the crucible into a cast or mold.
- You can purchase a foundry crucible at a local casting supply store or at many online retailers.
3 Find some good heavy-duty crucible tongs. Crucible tongs will be used to move your crucible if you need to. These are an important element, because your crucible will be way too hot for you to touch it with your hands or even with gloves. Make sure:
- Your tongs are rated to be used with a crucible.
- Your tongs are in good working order.
- Your tongs are large enough to move your crucible.
- Purchase your crucible tongs at local hardware or metal casting stores or online.
4 Buy a graphite stir rod. You should get yourself a good graphite stir rod. You’ll use the stir rod to stir your molten silver and to make sure that it is completely melted before you cast it in a mold.
- Make sure you get one that is rated properly.
- Make sure you buy one that is long enough for whatever level of melting you’ll be doing.
- Purchase your graphite stir rod at a local casting supply shop or online.
5 Secure a furnace or a blow torch. The furnace or torch is what you’ll be using to heat your silver to its melting point. As such, the furnace or blow torch are critical items in melting silver. Depending on the amount of melting you’ll be doing, you can choose between a furnace or torch. Consider:
- A furnace might be prohibitively expensive if you are only doing small-scale melting like several ounces every couple of weeks. However, if you’re doing projects every weekend or more often, you should consider a furnace.
- A blow torch might be inefficient if you are melting substantial amounts of silver.
- If you are starting out, you might want to start with a blow torch and then move up to a furnace once you are committed to melting silver.
- These items may be purchased from a metal casting supplier, specialty hardware stores, or online.
6 Make or create a mold or cast. Molds and casts will be the way you shape your molten silver to create a final product. As a result, they are critical for your silver melting operation. Consider:
- Molds and casts can be made from wood, certain alloys, ceramic, or clay.
- Molds and casts may be one of the most inexpensive of your supplies.
- You can make your own molds or casts or buy them from specialty casting stores in your community or from online retailers.
- To make your mold: pick a material and like wood or clay. Carve or shape your material to the size and using the detail desire. If you’re using ceramic or clay, you’ll need to fire them at temps over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit or 537 degrees Celsius.