Things You'll Need
- Propane torch
- Propane gas tank
- Copper wire
- Tin snips
- Crucible stand
- Thick oven gloves
- Welder's face shield
- Crucible tongs
- Flat iron pan
- Metal casting mold
Copper is the third most utilized metal in the U.S. behind iron and aluminum thanks to its malleability, ductility, conductivity and resistance to erosion. This semi-precious element boasts hundreds of applications, from electronics to transportation to health care products, and is often combined with other metals to form alloys. Those who wish to refashion copper wire for some other use often start by melting it down, although such a dangerous procedure should only be undertaken by knowledgeable individuals.
Connect the propane tank to the propane torch. Turn on the propane tank and test the torch to ensure it is working properly.
Cut the copper wire with tin snips and place them inside the crucible.
Place the crucible into the crucible stand and position the propane torch directly underneath the crucible.
Put on the oven gloves and face shield.
Adjust the propane torch to a low heat setting and turn it on. Preheat the copper at about 212 degrees Fahrenheit to remove moisture.
Melting and Pouring
Turn up the propane torch to its highest setting. Copper melts at approximately 1,981 degrees Fahrenheit and will emit green flames as the melting process begins. Maintain this temperature until all the copper has melted.
Place your metal casting mold on a flat iron pan to catch any spilled metal from running onto your workbench.
Lift the crucible out of the crucible stand with a pair of crucible tongs and gently pour the molten metal into your metal casting mold.
Tie back any loose hair or clothing before starting. Make sure the copper is dry before melting it to avoid splatter. Pour the copper into the metal casting mold quickly, so the copper does not solidify in the crucible. Treat burns by immediately immersing the injured body part in cold water for several minutes and then seek professional medical help.
Working with high temperatures is extremely dangerous and should be undertaken with extreme caution. Always wear safety gloves and face protection when melting metal.
Mark Heidelberger has been writing for more than 22 years, from articles and short stories to novels and screenplays. He is a consummate foodie, loves to travel and has run several businesses, all of which influence his work. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from UCLA.