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Making silicon bronze...


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I thought I'd post this here since there are a variety of people who use this subforum that make their own alloys. I've been making tin based bronze lately for a sword casting experiment I have going. But I'd like a darker bronze for casting hilt components and I can't find a recipe anywhere in almighty google. Does anybody mind sharing a silicon bronze recipe.. or perhaps another nice casting and darker bronze alloy? What if I just reduced the tin content relative to copper in my current bronze mix???

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Scott, I think you need elemental silicon (amorphous silicon? crystalline?). Silica sand is an oxide, and I believe it's a pretty difficult process to reduce it, like with an arc furnace or heavy duty ionic reactions involving the scary alkali metals (potassium) and even scarier halogens (fluorine).

 

I don't really know where to find silicon, but maybe Globe specialty metals or a company like that? I don't think it's terribly expensive, if you buy enough.

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okay... Thanks. I had a feeling that might be the case with the sand. I think pottery suppliers might carry elemental silicon....

 

Well.. it IS one the most abundant (the most?) elements on Earth. So I'm certain to find it somewhere. :-)

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A search for "copper alloys" yielded a wikipedia article with recipes for many different types of bronze. Look at the last chart labeled "Chemical composition of copper alloys."

 

~Bruce~

“All work is empty save when there is love, for work is love made visible.” Kahlil Gibran

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." - Alfred Adler

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Scott, I can see making your own tin bronze because it's hard to find commercially but why the silicon bronze? I believe it's readily available. Of course, I would have to admit smelting your own steel is not exactly logical with all the superior commercially available steels out there. There is always doing something the hard way just for the sake of doing it.

 

Doug

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Bruce... I had already found a recipe.. I just needed to find the source of silicon.

 

Doug... It's just not readily available in a local sense (other than expensive brazing rods).. and sometimes I just get tired of paying all the shipping. Especially when I have scrap copper electrical wire out the wazoo. But.. making it yourself for casting is so easy it's ridiculous. If you are casting you typically have to do a melt anyway.. especially if your bronze is in smaller chunks than the piece you want to cast. But.. if I have to find a source of elemental silicon.. then it no longer becomes all that appealing. And.. there is also the idea of knowing exactly what you are working with. Believe me.. in this case it's nothing like smelting in the sense of doing for some kind of romantic reason. Just being practical... at least I hope.

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Silicon source for Silicon bronze is the "prealloy" FerroSilicon. Just throwing pure silicon source into the melt won't work so I am told. The Iron lowers the melt point of the silicon making it compatible with the copper melt. The iron is not a desirable element in the bronze, but you will see it in the compositions, its always there in tiny amount as a result of the FerroSilicon. I don't have a source for the FerroSilicon, but I know it is generally not a home made product.

hope that helps,

Patrick

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  • 2 years later...

Has anyone ever thought of using an SiO2 thermite reaction on a bed of copper in the crucible to reduce the SiO2 and kick off the Si melt? I've been pondering this for some time for making Si-Bronze. Not sure what the Aluminium slag will do to it. I assume fluxing and removing the slag will work after the melt. My understanding is the thermite reaction doesn't generate enough heat to sustain the melt of the copper but I figure I can add heat from the forge. I'm going to do a tin bronze melt and I figured doing this in a crucible on the forge (outside) might be possible and a fun experiment. Thoughts? It would solve the Ferro silicon sourceing problem since SiO2 is easy enough to come by.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I make a type of bronze from all the copper, nickel-silver, and brass scrap I generate. It comes out a sort of reddish/gold color. How dark are you looking for Scott?

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

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  • 1 month later...

I make a type of bronze from all the copper, nickel-silver, and brass scrap I generate. It comes out a sort of reddish/gold color. How dark are you looking for Scott?

Wow.. things have changed since then. I now have other alloys of copper that I prefer. Shibuicihi.. or even just adding a tad of lead. The color of leaded bronze is one of my favorites actually...

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Wow.. things have changed since then. I now have other alloys of copper that I prefer. Shibuicihi.. or even just adding a tad of lead. The color of leaded bronze is one of my favorites actually...

 

Yeah, I'm liking the Shibu too. My first venture into it was a billet of fine silver/copper Mokume that went south on me. Seems like most of my alloys are a result of Mokume billets gone wrong........Now I just collect all my scrap and melt it in differing quantities to see what I get. I come up with some interesting stuff.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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