fun with solder scrap
Wednesday, December 9 2015
Gretchen was gone for most of the day to PCRM event down in Manhattan, leaving me here with my thoughts and the steady stream of news related to Donald Trump's latest outrage. On my firewood foray, I went to the place along the Stick Trail I've been salvaging in recent days, cutting up a smallish (8 inch thick at most) downed Chestnut Oak along the trail that I'd never noticed before. The load I packed felt heavy on the walk home, though it came to a hefty-though-not-brutal 123.05 pounds.
I've been gradually organizing little parts of the laboratory, occasionally addressing issues that have been festering for more than ten years. Take, for example, my pile of scrap solder. Every time I solder something, there are surplus droplets and nodules, many of which I sweep up and put into an ancient Tofutti cream cheese container (marked "Best by Mar 23 08"; evidently it's an expansion from a smaller container). But that container has been overflowing for years, and I really needed to do something about it. So today I put all those solder scraps into an can that had once held Del Monte green beans and melted it all down inside the woodstove, producing a glowing molten puck weighing 593 grams. It was only 2 cm tall and 7 cm wide, meaning a volume of 77 cubic centimeters and a density of 7.7 grams/cm3. That's a little more than the density of tin, but a lot less than the density of lead and even less than the density of copper. In fact, it's about the density of iron.
Since solder melts at a much more easily-attained temperature than aluminum (which I've done this same thing with in the past), perhaps I can eventually use this puck (or "ingot") to cast something, perhaps using a sand mold.
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