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Thread: Virgin Cast!

  1. #21
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    Well since my last post I've had 2 more sessions cast and one was today.

    What I have recently learned is that this hot plate an d pan are not very efficient. It's taking me over an hour to get 15lbs of lead melted and then it is just on the edge of getting hot enough or holding temp. Second biggest issue is the operator! After I get started and get rolling I find I'm only able to cast for about an hour before I get fatigued and have to stop. The tempo of this set-up and this small two cavity mold I have to keep a pretty quick tempo to get the mold hot enough to get bullets w/o wrinkles. Though once I get to about 75 pours I then need to slow the pace as by then the mold is starting to over heat and starts dropping frosties!

    But I have learned a good bit so far and am gaining a better understanding of the whole process. Also the first batch I kept I took the time to weigh them out and there was a pretty large deviation between the heaviest and lightest. Almost 5 full gr.. Todays was much better, good fill out, sharp edges and a weight spread of less than 1 grain!

    Now I just need to find a better solution for a pot and a less fatiguing routine.
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    I am a Veteran, I am a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather.
    I was labeled a Deplorable, now I'm a Nationalist rather than a Globalist! As a USA Veteran I will proudly wear that to protect our Nation!
    When they can figure out how to legislate Morality and Conscience I will consider talking more gun laws.


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  2. #22
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    I use the Lee production pot IV and can keep up a pretty good pace with it, since I cast more than 1 bullet type at a time I can always switch molds if one gets too hot.
    I also quench in a bucket of water so if I want to cool a mold quickly I just dip the end into the bucket, I don't submerge it completely just touch the surface of the water with the mold, never had a problem doing that with the Lee aluminum molds.
    Czechbikr and kmw1954 like this.
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  3. #23
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    Fatigue, you say? Then you need to revise your setup a lot. More on that later.

    First, the larger the quantity of lead, the more consistently you can maintain the heat. A one-pound ingot partially heated, dropped into a 20# pot cools the melt only a little. Consider the same ingot in a 4# pot - DRASTIC difference !

    Now, to FATIGUE - - - if you arrange your equipment where you are seated and can rest your elbows on your knees and your hands extend out straight as you slide the mold in under a bottom-pour pot, pull it out, and without raising your elbows off your knees, swing slightly to the side and knock the sprue into a bucket or box, and swing just a bit further to knock the rivet and pop those little bullets out into another container ( be it a padded box, a bucket full of cold water or a bucket of used motor oil - - - - yeah, some of the old guys used to do that - claimed it allowed lubricant penetration in the matrix of the metal - Me? I dunno, I never did it). If you are situated that you can sit, and do not have to make deep-dipping motions with the ladle, wide moves with the molds, (no excessive bending of wrists, elbows, shoulders, or back) you can cast all day and if your pot doesn't allow for an apron or space for pre-warming the ingots, add a small grating or support so the next ingot is directly over the melted lead - the open pot wastes a horreduous amount of heat straight up anyway - - you might as well scavenge it and preheat the ingots somehow. Do not make any wasted moves, and do not make any long reaches or deep dips into the pot with the ladle.

    Bottom-pour pots were developed for a very good and logical reason. To keep the user from having to move large and awkward movements with heavy molds in hand. You use almost no energy in bottom-pour. Yes ! I'm a salesman for the things.

    The stick you use to knock sprue and rap the rivet needs be only an old claw-hammer handle, you know, the one you broke off when you were trying to pull that 20-penny spike without having to climb down off the ladder to get the crow-bar - save energy there, too. If you are supporting your elbows on your knees, you are saving so much energy as you sit that an afternoon's casting will not faze you at all.
    You must be careful what you pretend to be, because in the end, you are what you pretend to be.
    ....................Kurt Vonnegut, in "Mother Night"

    All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted. . . . . . . . . . . . .. — Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

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  5. #24
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    Flash, the biggest contributor to the fatigue is my over-all physical condition. Starts with limited mobility in the 1st place. Even short walks on flat ground get tiring. Then just the pace and repetitions after about 45 min. was enough to do me in for a couple hours.

    Yesterday I tried again and did change up the setup a little. First I changed around the cardboard I have set up as a wind break and that helped a bunch with the heating. Next I moved the pan that I am dropping into closer to my side and raised it up higher. Lastly I watched a lot closer to the condition of the bullets dropping from the mold and was able to slow my cadence some which really seemed to help. I was able to last long enough to drop 260 bullets before I got to the point that I either had to add more lead or shut down. I chose to shut down as I was starting to get tired.

    Still learning this whole thing and making progress but most of all I am enjoying myself and cannot wait to actually load and fire some of these.

    jspdrcrmach5 again I cannot thank you enough for the generous donation which finally got me started on this!
    Czechbikr likes this.
    I am a Veteran, I am a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather.
    I was labeled a Deplorable, now I'm a Nationalist rather than a Globalist! As a USA Veteran I will proudly wear that to protect our Nation!
    When they can figure out how to legislate Morality and Conscience I will consider talking more gun laws.


    Join the fun!

  6. #25
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    kmw1954, I just re-read this entire thread. I'll see your limited mobility and inability to take long walks - and I'll raise you a broken vertebra, broken wrists and ankles and I'm lucky to be able to walk from the front door to the pickup - and I'm nearly 82. But casting bullets can be a very rewarding pastime, especially when you get the system working. Keep at it.

    Just a simple thought about molds getting too hot - keep a regular wash-cloth folded over twice (four layers) lying close by, thoroughly wet. When your mold gets too hot, just sit the bottom of of the mold on that for a second or two and it will chill enough and you can maintain the correct temperature.

    Having a consistent heat source for your melting process is important. Have you (being in Wisconsin, I imagine you did as a young fellow) ever stood on the gunwales of your canoe and tried to throw something with any accuracy? I'm sure you have also considered if the cardboard ever got hot enough to catch fire? If you could arrange to have your seat where you were diping down into the pot, rather than having to reach up to table-level and more, it might help.

    Frosty bullets is more so a sign of too hot lead than too hot mold, though chilling the mold a bit may help. Most of my casting is/was done with Lyman and Lachmiller molds, I only have a few Lee aluminum ones, but I am impressed with the consistency and quality out of them.

    Keep at it - there will soon come and "AHHH - HA! moment" when it all comes together, and you can tewll exactly what is going on.

    Just curious , what do you use to flux with, and how and how much do you skim. How dirty is your lead? Those things matter an awful lot. Being an old-timer, I still flux with pure beeswax, and only skim what is obvious dross. The guy who first introduced me to casting used pine-shavings and pine-pitch. I don't know if it made better bullets, but his garage sure smelled nice. (Yes, this was before the time that "proper and adequate ventilation" was stressed, but his garage had enough draft, as it was.) Occasionally, the inside of the pot should be scraped and cleaned of whatever may be sticking there, too, particularly if you are using a bottom pour pot.

    If you are using, as most of us do, lead scrounged from the backstops, wheel-weights, plumbing and cable-sheathing, you will get impurities in the lead. Strive for as clean as you can maintain.

    Keep at it, good luck.
    Czechbikr likes this.
    You must be careful what you pretend to be, because in the end, you are what you pretend to be.
    ....................Kurt Vonnegut, in "Mother Night"

    All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted. . . . . . . . . . . . .. — Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

  7. #26
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    Flash I just hope I'm still breathing at 82! Can't remember trying to stand on the gunwales of a canoe but I can sure remember the first time in a kayak!

    From what I have found is the frosting I'm seeing is more directly related to my tempo. Going to fast and building to much heat in the mold and if I slow down it goes away but if I slow too much I start to see wrinkles. As for my windscreen cardboard it is far enough off that it doesn't get warm.

    The lead I am using is from wheel weights and I rendered it myself and it is pretty clean though when I reheat it to use after it's molten I flux it again with paraffin wax and then wax flux it again after about 150 drops as by then because I'm ladling I am starting to see a lot of oxidation in the top of the alloy.

    Still looking for sources for materials. Illinois outlawed lead WW's years ago so it's a waste of time to go down there. Recyclers will NOT sell to the public and most every tire shop I've inquired in already has someone taking theirs.
    I am a Veteran, I am a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather.
    I was labeled a Deplorable, now I'm a Nationalist rather than a Globalist! As a USA Veteran I will proudly wear that to protect our Nation!
    When they can figure out how to legislate Morality and Conscience I will consider talking more gun laws.


    Join the fun!

  8. #27
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    Pure lead sheeting from old roofing is nearly always 100% pure, soft, (roofing contractors, demolition companies), old plumbing contractors and suppliers, lead keels from old sailboats, old scuba-diver weights. are pretty much good lead.

    On e-bay, you take your chances, unless somebody will GUARANTEE AN ANALYSIS.

    Then, there is always Rotometals https://www.rotometals.com/bullet-casting-alloys/


    I have sifted the backstop bank at my range - the blackpowder range is the most productive, as they shoot pure lead, and at 25 yds, and they shoot an awful lot, plus the County Sherriff's department does their monthly training and qualifying at that range, so it is a goldmine for scrounging lead.

    I was, for a few years, a member at a rather popular club near a fairly large city, and their shot-fall area covered six or seven acres, and just once in that time, they had a commercial recovery company dig it up and sift out sixteen tons from the trap and skeet ranges. About ten years of shooting.

    Sourcing GOOD lead, with no zinc in it, has become more difficult lately, but t is available. The lead makes the bullet, the antimony makes it harder, and the tin makes it flow and fill the mold to exact shape.

    Good luck with your weekend work/casting fun.
    You must be careful what you pretend to be, because in the end, you are what you pretend to be.
    ....................Kurt Vonnegut, in "Mother Night"

    All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted. . . . . . . . . . . . .. — Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

 

 
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