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Transform scraps or casting grain into your own alloys

Make sheet and wire ingots or casting grain — save money while saving the planet

Making your own alloys may sound intimidating, but it’s easier than you think, and there are some very good reasons to do it. Reclaiming your bench scraps is a decidedly eco-friendly studio practice, and refining those scraps yourself means you’re acting locally, saving the money and gas of the shipping process. 

At-home alloying also gives you greater control over your mixtures; having the freedom to experiment and determine just what percentage of copper to silver you prefer allows you to put your personal mark on your work in a whole new way. 

For raw alloying material, use bench scraps or casting grain; once you’ve select-ed (or designed) your alloy and made it to measure, you can produce ingots of sheet or wire, or casting grain.


  • Scrap metal or casting grain

Tools & Supplies

  • Pouring crucible
  • Torch with sufficient heat (choose from):
  1. Large-head casting torch
  2. Oxygen/propane torch
  3. Oxygen/acetylene torch
  4. MAPP gas torch
  • Kiln (optional)
  • Borax or powdered casting flux
  • Magnet: strong
  • Ingot mold: wire or sheet, carved; or charcoal block
  • Liquid lubricant or beeswax
  • Scale: jeweler’s
  • Casting safety glasses: #5 green tint
  • Heat-resistant surface (soldering pad, firebrick, or charcoal block)
  • Carbon stirring rod
  • Copper spoon: small (optional)
  • Pickle pot with pickle
  • Bench block
  • Flat hammer: chasing or planishing
  • Rolling mill
  • Drawplate (optional)
  • Bench vise
  • Drawing tongs or vise-grip pliers
Always make sure that casting grain or scraps are completely dry before you melt them. Even small amounts of trapped moisture can heat into steam and explode, possibly spraying hot metal out of the crucible.
Reclaiming Scrap
Clean metal. Separate metals (silver, copper, etc.), and place scraps of one type of metal in a crucible. If your crucible is fresh out of the box, see “Brand New Crucible?”. Gently heat the metals with your torch — not enough to melt them, just enough to burn off lint, paper, and saw blade or bur lubricant. Allow the scraps to cool.
Remove impurities. Transfer the scraps to a nonmetal container. Use a strong magnet to remove stray tool metals, like broken drills or saw blades, that may be in your scrap.
Make your metal reusable. Place the scraps back in the crucible. Follow the below for “How to Make an Alloy and Pour an Ingot,” to melt the metal and make it into an ingot of sheet or wire or into casting grain; you can now use the metal as-is, or use it to create alloys with other metals. 
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