Casting lead

Discussion in 'General Slingshot Discussions' started by Wargasm, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Wargasm

    Wargasm New Member

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    Looking for some pointers. I've got my Lee .50 cal ball mold and some lead. Using a propane dual burner stove, one to melt the lead and one to heat the spoon and mold. I lubed the mold and the mold chamber with 1800C cooper based high temp lube, both to keep all the joints slippery and to keep the lead from sticking in the mold. The problem I'm having is that the lead solidifies on the sprue plate before before it gets into the mold, thus plugging the holes and preventing me from filling them. I suspect that I'm not getting it all hot enough, am i right? The two 1/2 balls I made seemed to be really good, just wish I could get a full ball made. Help is always appreciated.
     
  2. JoergS

    JoergS Administrator

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    Keep on making incomplete balls for a while, this heats up the mould automatically. After a few attempts things will work just fine. <br><br>It is normal that the first runs are lousy. Simply throw the freak balls back into the pot (nice and slow).
     

  3. Wargasm

    Wargasm New Member

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    ok, I thought heating the mold up on the other propane burner would be good enough, thanks for the advice
     
  4. Wargasm

    Wargasm New Member

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    Alrighty, it worked. I heated the mold up on the second burner of my two burner propane stove while melting the lead on the other burner. The first half dozen or so were a little wonky after that it started working very well, towards the end they were coming out like ball bearings. I though that the aluminum mold block would heat up enough over flame, I guess it needed a little more heat than that. Thanks for the tip Joerg.
     
  5. mrjoel

    mrjoel New Member

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    This is why multi cavity molds are better: they hold the heat much longer. If using bullet casting molds, try to get a minimum four cavity mold. However, if the mold gets too hot, it will work against you creating bad balls as well. If this happens you will just need to let it cool off a little while. If you are casting outside in winter iron blocks are nicer as they hold the heat much longer. In warmer months aluminum has the advantage of dissipating the excess heat faster. <br><br>A Rowell ladle is the best piece of casting equipment you can buy. With it you don't need a lead pot and will outlast 10 LEE drip melters. The only catch is you need to provide the heat source with a fire or propane, but their value far exceeds replacing those godawful short lived elements in the LEE pot. Their spigot is also fershit in my opinion, never seen one that didn't leak. The #3 ladle I use for a gang mold has no wood handles so you have to use heavy leather gloves or just wrap it with a small sheet of leather like I do. For your purposes I'd go with a #2 as it's easier to handle and your pouring needs to be more precise with a bullet mold that has a sprue plate. The #1 will work too, but not as useful in cold weather as it tends to cool down quick as there is less molten metal in it.<br><br><a href="http://www.theantimonyman.com/ladles.htm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.theantimonyman.com/ladles.htm</a><br><br>Dont forget to keep the bearing surfaces lubricated frequently i.e. the hinges. Also remove the lube from the cavities with carburetor cleaner or engine degreaser. Grease and oil will distort your castings for an eternity unless it's a dry lube used sparingly. Using a dry lube can prevent the bullets from sticking to the blocks, this can be a real problem with aluminum blocks. Notice Hogabcastings use Teflon coated aluminum blocks on their gang molds for this reason. Iron blocks need to be well lubricated for storage or they will oxidize and rust quickly. Both the heat and the cavities which attract moisture from the air make this happen even faster than iron would normally. <br><br>The best hammer for the sprue plate is the changeable double headed mallet available at <a href="http://www.brownells.com." target="_blank" rel="nofollow">www.brownells.com.</a> It's a hammer that has threaded interchangeable heads on both ends that you can swap out by hand just by screwing/unscrewing them. I'd give you the link for the page, but this gunsmithing web store is banned in Saudi and I cannot open it as I don't use a proxy server. I recommend the large one with a phenolic head on one end and brass on the other. Hit the sprue plate with the phenolic end as it has much less chance of distorting your casts. The brass just gives the head more weight enabling an easy single blow to open the gate to break the sprue which is best for the same reason.<br><br>Your best second option is a rawhide head mallet. It's much cheaper but also quite light and will require more of a committed blow on your part to get it done with one rap. Keep in mind the more cavities you cast, the more difficult it is to break the sprues loose. Another good thing for LEE molds is the EZ mold handle, these really make breaking the sprue easy, especially with a 4+ cavity mold. The LEE molds in particular seem to almost need this item as the sprue plate doesn't give you much surface area to hit and is a bit difficult to hit squarely which is important if you want it done in one shot.<br><br><a href="http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product_info.php?cPath=22_101_283&products_id=8077" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product_info.php?cPath=22_101_283&products_id=8077</a><br><br>Bullet casting is a somewhat fickle affair, but you will get the hang of it.
     
  6. Crockstomper

    Crockstomper New Member

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    Put an edge of the spruce plate in the molten lead i do all my casting in a fire place or a camp fire and thats the only way i can heat it with out getting it nasty and i dont have any lube to use so i tap it with a spoon and drop it in a bowl of water with a couple folded paper towels in it for a soft landing
     
  7. mrjoel

    mrjoel New Member

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    If you drop your hot PURE lead balls into water it will harden them more than linotype alloy- but the effect reverses over several months and will end up softer than they originally were. This is not so with alloyed lead.
     
  8. Crockstomper

    Crockstomper New Member

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    I just use pellets from the pellet traps on the school rotc air rifle team
     
  9. mrjoel

    mrjoel New Member

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    Those are pure lead, they have to be soft as the bullets use skirts that must expand to fill the rifling grooves in the barrel of the rifle.