The Foundry / Metals and where to find them

Metals and where to find them

So you've got all your equipment together and you're raring to start melting... until you realize you don't have anything to melt. This page covers some sources of meltable scrap, including freebies and a couple of exotic metals, along with subjective ratings based on ease of acquisition and suitability for making ingots.


A great place to start. Easy to find and easy to melt. Non-toxic and inert.


My favorite metal to pour. High melting point, more dangerous to melt, but incredibly satisfying to pour and cast into ingots. Can be a little splattery.


Similar to copper, but when melted, the zinc boils/burns with a dazzling white flame and releases toxic zinc fumes. May contain lead.


Melts at about 420°C (nice), pretty easy to handle. Less common. Don't let it get red hot, or it'll release fumes like brass does.


Very low melting point and easy to cast, but highly toxic. Not recommended unless you have a healthy fear of lead poisoning.


Like lead, but non-toxic. Forms very cool (but difficult to isolate) crystals as it freezes. Good luck finding this stuff locally. It's hardly used in anything except antacids and cosmetics, which are very poor sources of metallic bismuth. Fun fact: bismuth is very slightly radioactive. "Bismuth is lead for people who fear death." -Ex&F


Very interesting metal, and the softest metal that you can safely take a bite out of! (It's still quite hard, so be careful not to chip a tooth.) Melts at just 156.6°C and pours nicely. Totally worth buying a few grams just to mess with.