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Where to find magnesium for making magnalium


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#1 Mitchell

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 08:58 AM

Hey there all. So after doing some research i decided to try my hand at making small batches of mg/al. Aluminum is not a problem to find but where in the world can i find useable magnesium?

I know vw engine blocks are mag, and I've called every junkyard within 100 miles and there aren't and old beetles or busted mag rims. Where else should i look?

#2 MadMat

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 11:00 AM

Water heater anodes come in two types; aluminum and magnesium. I believe one type has a dimple on the threaded fitting at the top of the anode to identify which it is, but I can't remember which one. Replacement anodes are available from places that sell either plumbing supplies or maybe appliance parts.

I feel I should caution you in your attempts; it can be dangerous to melt magnesium. From what I have seen, most people melt the aluminum and add solid Mg in very small pieces to the puddle of Al. Good luck and stay safe!



#3 Carbon796

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 11:53 AM

1999 and up GM NV261/263 transfer cases are magnesium. They have a tendency for the pump to wear a hole in the case. Should be plenty of them in the core pile, at a salvage yard. Or just Google magnesium ingot . . .

#4 Arthur

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 12:25 PM

Old beetle parts are probably worth a lot more for spares now. The car is cult the parts are still needed.

 

Mag alloy rims should be easily available -even at tyre bays, they crack the tyres don't leak but the rims do, eventually people buy new rims.

 

Ingots are available from Ebay to specialist metal brokers. Anti corrosion anodes for boats can be magnesium read the literature in your town/county/state. 

 

 

If you want to melt ali or Mag then you NEED to sort out fire protection very very well. Once it lights it burns completely, and you can't hide the light from burning metal.



#5 Bourbon

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 12:38 PM

If your looking for just a small bit to get started before you find a supply... Check for emergency fire starting bars in the camping section of any store or, amazon/ebay for things like it. https://www.amazon.c...ef=nb_sb_noss_1



#6 Arthur

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 01:01 PM

Knowing of two people who set fire to big drums of magnalium accidently don't mess without good PPE and well thought out  safety measures. Find a stockist who will deliver is by FAR the most safe way.



#7 Mitchell

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 07:50 PM

I do know that melting mag is very dangerous. I am lucky enough to live in the middle of BFE so neighbors and an obnoxious amount of light or fire or noise isn't an issue.

Carbon thanks for the tip on the transfer cases. I didn't find that anywhere on Google.

Madmat the anodes are another thing I've been looking into. Does purity of the mag in something like matter?

I've also got a couple of buddies who work at a tire shop and i will ask them about the mag rims.

I plan on starting with the aluminum that I've got and a melting it into little "muffins" just so i can get a feel for it and start with very small batches of mag/al with the proper ppe of course. This hobby isn't worth body parts!

 

Thanks for the ideas


Edited by Mitchell, 04 September 2020 - 07:52 PM.


#8 Arthur

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Posted 05 September 2020 - 01:15 AM

The usual amateur practise is to melt the aluminium in a large crucible then slowly load in the magnesium which more dissolves in the liquid aluminium. After a little while (minutes at heat just pour the melt into cold water (lots of it!), the tiny pieces of magnalium are readily suited to ball milling to whatever size powder you can use. And that's the second fire risk -dust in the mill can spontaneously ignite, the flash of bright light accompanied by ball mill shrapnel and vast radiant heat can be lethal. A friend of mine had burn bandages on for two months after a magnalium flash fire involving a mill.



#9 MadMat

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Posted 05 September 2020 - 09:47 AM

Mitchell,  the magnesium in water heater anodes is actually fairly pure. More so than what you would get from wheels or machine parts. One of the major impurities in Mg and Al is silicon. This is a benefit for machine parts as it adds hardness to the metal; conversely, it is undesirable in a water heater as it leaves pipe clogging residue behind as the anode dissolves. The anode in a water heater is sacrificial; it dissolves as it protects the iron in the walls of the tank. I hope i didn't sound condescending in any way by saying all this, I simply don't know whether or not you know about the electrochemistry involved in sacrificial anodes. 


Edited by MadMat, 05 September 2020 - 09:50 AM.


#10 Mitchell

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Posted 05 September 2020 - 09:48 AM

Milling the mag/al after will need to be done safely and i will cross that bridge when i come to it. Is there any risk to pouring the magnalium directly into water from its molten state? I thought i hear somewhere it could explode?

#11 MadMat

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Posted 05 September 2020 - 10:10 AM

I wouldn't pour molten metal directly into water for any metal! Even if the Mg doesn't react, the water will and it could be almost explosive in its own right. Steam can cause some hellacious burns. Additionally, you could turn your freshly made magnalium into foamy scrap and make a terrible mess. Lastly, and if I'm wrong, anyone out there is welcome to correct me, but I think it might be possible to separate an alloy if you cool it too fast. molten Mg in water would be a BAD thing


Edited by MadMat, 05 September 2020 - 10:15 AM.


#12 Carbon796

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Posted 05 September 2020 - 12:11 PM

Milling the mag/al after will need to be done safely and i will cross that bridge when i come to it. Is there any risk to pouring the magnalium directly into water from its molten state? I thought i hear somewhere it could explode?


Im pretty sure that is the correct ( preferred ) way to process it. You will want to use an overabundance of water versus Mg/Al. Iirc its also helpful/necessary to let the Freshly processed Mg/Al. Soak/off gas submerged, for a period of time afterwards also. There have been a few threads on here and FW'ing that discuss the subject. You'll definitely want to search them out. And, unstand the process fully, before starting. Oldguy's threads on here I believe, and August's threads on FW'ing.

Edited by Carbon796, 05 September 2020 - 12:26 PM.


#13 justvisiting

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Posted 05 September 2020 - 01:09 PM

The decks of some old Lawnboy push mowers are made of magnesium alloy. The word 'magnesium' is stamped right into the metal. I've never made the magnalium yet, but I totally disagree with the idea of using water to pour the magnalium melt into. It has a tendency to make magnalium that is dull in appearance, rather than shiny. The dull stuff doesn't work as well as the shiny stuff. I could be all wet here, but I'd make mine as a solid ingot and break it up. The solid chunk of magnalium I bought is shiny all the way through. That's what I want my magnalium to be like.



#14 Arthur

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Posted 05 September 2020 - 02:39 PM

pouring molten silver into water is benign 

 

 

If you pour molten magnalium into water without the flame from a crucible it's usually perfectly fine.



#15 willowchar

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Posted 06 September 2020 - 04:52 PM

Hey guys.

A great source for a couple of pounds of well priced magnesium is Home Depot.

Grab a magnesium cement trowel in the concrete isle. The handle is wood, but the rest is pure magnesium:)



#16 willowchar

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Posted 06 September 2020 - 04:55 PM

Another related question about Magnallium.

I'm hearing discussions about using August's new magnallium in ap strobe comp.

What makes it different than regular home made 50/50 mgal?

 



#17 SharkWhisperer

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Posted 07 September 2020 - 04:52 PM

Hey guys.

A great source for a couple of pounds of well priced magnesium is Home Depot.

Grab a magnesium cement trowel in the concrete isle. The handle is wood, but the rest is pure magnesium:)

Make sure you know what you're buying--a lot of cement trowels & grout floats are made of steel.

 

From today's visit to HD, I'd be skeptical of HD trowels as a first-choice Mg source--I didn't take notes but an average mag trowel (around 16" x 3") had seemingly about a pound of metal and cost more than $20...



#18 Mumbles

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Posted 07 September 2020 - 10:52 PM

August's MgAl was just very high quality.  I'm not sure his exact process, as he was a little hush hush about giving away secrets to his commercial venture.  I have a little, and it tends to be both graded better and looks shiner than some industrial MgAl.  It might be a freshness thing.  It might just be processed a little differently. August is a craftsman and takes great pride and care in his work.


Just so you guys quit asking, here is the link to the old forum. http://www.xsorbit2....forum/index.cgi

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#19 Carbon796

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 12:39 PM

Another related question about Magnallium.
I'm hearing discussions about using August's new magnallium in ap strobe comp.
What makes it different than regular home made 50/50 mgal?


If you dont already have some, it's sort of a non-issue. Since I don't believe he's made or sold any, in nearly a year. It was essentially homemade/gourmet Mg/AL. But, he had more mesh sizes/accurate cuts available, than are available commercially.

#20 Arthur

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 02:43 PM

If you can't find magnesium in the USA you haven't used ebay! several vendors.

 

Now if you need it cheap you will have to find scrap wheels for nothing or less!






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