Polishing mold cavity's ??

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Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Blade on Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:17 pm

Hey guys

I've recently bought 2 six-cavity molds, both are having a bit of trouble dropping out the bullets, well, not all six bullets of each mold. There's maybe 2 or 3 in a mold that needs quite a bit of shaking and if that doesn't help i use a wooden mallet and tap it on the handles. Yes, i did smoke the cavity's good.

Now, I'm thinking of polishing the cavity's. I've already made a phew perfect bullets for each cavity (and they are marked to which cavity they belong). I'm going to use a dremel with a fitting that can screw into the bullets, which will make it easier. But, now, which compound would be the best to use? I was thinking of a extremely fine polishing compound that you use on a car's paint job.

Any input would be great! Thanks!

Ps. About lubing the alignment pins.... I took one of my lube sticks and rolled the one end until it's very thin. Then i just jab it onto the pins, but at times the damn lube still tends to go into the cavity, then i need to clean that cavity again. Any help on this matter would also be appreciated.
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by hawcer on Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:30 pm

a good, non-abrasive metal polish like Mothers if you don't wanna take off any metal. Ball a piece of soft rag up on the end of a cleaning rod tip and spin it in the cavity using a drill.

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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by RichBirdHunter on Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:58 pm

Are you heating them evenly?
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by XbonesX on Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:10 pm



I've never done this as I don't cast, but I spoke to Eric (IraqVet) and he said the only thing he does differently now then what he did in this video is he trues the top of the mold w/ a block and no longer bevels the sprue plate.

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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Daywalker on Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:14 pm

Be very careful. I used turtle wax and went longer than I should have and a bit too fast. Toothpaste will polish them cavities really good too. just rub some toothpaste onto the lead bullets and turn them while slowly closing the mould until they fully close. Then just spin a bit more. Basically you just want to smooth it out enough to get burrs off. I actually opened them up a bit but they size back down ok...

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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Arty on Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:33 am

Try this. Get the molds really warm. Scrape them with wood - popsicle sticks & bamboo stir sticks work good. Get down into every nook and cranny of the grooves and bands, flats, and ogive. Use a side cutter on the wood to create the sharp corners and points you will need to get into edges. Once you get them CLEAN never smoke them again. You wont need to. Oil them every time when put away with light machine oil. Rem Oil works great. Then clean with Coleman White Gas(lantern fuel) before use. Brush them inside and out at least 3 times with one of those cheap wood handled paint brushes with CLEAN fuel. Never let the fuel drain back into the can. That way you will never again get any oil or other impurities on the surfaces of the mold and your bullets will drop out with ease. I have been reconditioning molds for many years and this a tried and proven method. NEVER USE ANY ABRASIVE ON A MOLD!!!!! It isn't necessary! I have returned many ugly molds back to service with this process. Try it, it works!
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Blade on Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:05 pm

Thanks you for all the replies!

hawcer: the only concern i have about doing that is, the rag not going into the "grooves" properly. Especially with my 38spl. mold. Below is a pic of one the bullets that came out of my mold.

RichBirdHunter: Yes, the mold is heated evenly otherwise i would have gotten deformed bullets in the middle, for that matter, frosted as well as half solidified bullets in the same drop.

XbonesX: I normally do that to all of my molds, the only difference is, i don't use a deburing tool what so ever and i put the sand paper on a piece of glass or something hard and flat. Then i take the mold block as well as the sprue plate and rub it onto the sand paper. Otherwise i you tend to "round off" the cavity's edges. Eventually it will happen again though, because when the sprue plate gets too hot, it tends to smear off the lead instead of cutting it and then you get lead smudges between the sprue plate and mold block. Then you're back at square one... Rolling Eyes

Daywalker: I've seen your video using the turtle wax, that's when i initially got the idea of doing it to my 2 cavity 38spl mold, but ermm, errr "patience" is the key... lol , i messed up my 2 cavity mold. BUT, this time i'm going to be more careful with my 6 cavity's. Hence the reason why i've started this topic. I'm definitely going to try the tooth paste method first. Sounds like a great idea.

Ps. The 2 cavity mold didn't go to waste though. I'm using that mold now, if i want to make more glue stick bullets Very Happy

Arty: I'll try that method if the other one doesn't work. Sounds like a good idea though. What about lubricating the alignment pins? Or isn't that necessary?

Thanks again for everyone's reply, it helped to give myself a bit more perspective about this.

Here is a pic of one of the bullets that dropped out of my 6-cavity 38spl. mold. 150gr RN
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Daywalker on Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:42 pm

That is a nice looking cast...Hopefully this week, I will be breaking out my smelting gear and start making more ingots!!!

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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Blade on Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:21 pm

From next week i'm off work for 2 weeks, then i can hopefully turn about 260lbs of ingots into pretty boolits Very Happy
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Blade on Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:47 pm

I finally had the chance to start casting and i've noticed 3 things:

1) My 9mm mold drops out perfectly and i didn't even polish that one. The only 2 things that i've done was to clean it properly and to smoke it.

2) My 38spl mold i've polished with the tooth paste.... didn't work. It still holds onto the mold.

3) I've tried casting with my 38spl. mold without smoking it (after i've polished it). The bullets came out bad, looks like the lead started to solidify before it's properly filled. Yes... the mold was hot. The reason why i know it was VERY hot, is the sprue plate was starting to smear off instead of cutting.

I've read a very long article about the Lee molds and the guy did mention about you have to smoke the Lee molds, because that soot helps to keep in the heat for that extra second or something, so that the cavity can properly filled.

I'm going to try and polish my 38spl mold again, but this time with a very very fine polishing compound. Plus, this time i'm going to do it only a little bit.
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Arty on Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:08 pm

Blade, a couple questions - Are you using a dipper or a bottom drop melter? What are your alloy mix(lead/tin/antimony) percentages(if known), and what is your pour temperature?
If the lead solidifies before the mold is filled you pour is probably to cool, or you could have to much air space between you dipper and the mold allowing the lead to cool. Very shiny bullets w/ rounded looking edges are to cool. Bullets that look crystallized are to hot(not always bad). A good bullet will have a somewhat matte looking finish with sharp, crisp edges.
If you are smearing at the sprue you need to wait a few more seconds to let the alloy harden a bit more. Once you load up lead on the mold and the sprue plate you will have other problems.
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Blade on Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:20 pm

I'm using a Lee production pot (the 10lb) with WW and no zink WW. I made sure of that... i've fluxed it with sulphar just to make sure Very Happy I've got my pot running at no.8 setting.

Here's the article i've mentioned earlier:
http://www.surplusrifle.com/shooting2006/swwheelgun2/index.asp

Here's the part where he talks about smoking the mold:
"First, the mold cavities must be smoked to produce a well filled out bullet. The reason for this is aluminum has an amazingly fast heat transfer rate. It both heats up, and cools down quickly. When hot lead alloy hits a cavity, the mold quickly pulls the heat from the alloy, so fast in fact; that the bullet will start to solidify before the cavity has filled out correctly. A coating of soot from either a butane lighter or a match (not from a candle though) acts as an insulator. The soot allows the molten lead alloy to retain its heat just a second longer. Long enough for the bullet cavity to fill completely. While the instructions don’t specify this, I find coating the top and bottom of the sprue plate with smoke is also helpful. While a several matches are fine to coat a one-cavity mold, I found matches were too slow with the 6-cavity mold. Here’s what I did. I took a long piece of ½ X ½ inch scrap pine and set the end on fire. It became a giant matchstick! That burning piece of wood smoked the 6-cavity mold in short order. One last step in the mold prep process must be accomplished before we can begin casting."
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Arty on Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:57 pm

First of all, you need to know what the temperature is. I highly recommend you invest in a thermometer. There really is no other way to maintain any consistency, not only from start to finish on a batch, but from today to the next time you cast. Putting the thermostat at any particular setting does not assure any specific temperature. You notice Lee publishes no Setting-to-Temp specs. At any given setting the temp will change through your session as the volume in the pot changes. Some people may disagree, but w/o a thermometer you will never know where you are. The Lee 6 cav molds are HUGE heat sinks and must be brought up to a working temp before they will throw good bullets. Remember the Law of Physics that states the rate of heat transfer is faster the greater the temperature differential is. That is most likely the reason you aren't getting full casts.

I use a Lee Pro 4-20, and at a setting of 8 it will hit 1000 degrees easily! Depending on the mold I cast in the neighborhood of 700-730 w/ lyman #2 alloy, and the 4-20 pot maintains this temperature around the "3" setting on the thermostat. I know through experience 10 degrees one way or the other will make a difference! Bottom line is that without a thermometer you will have no idea what the temperature is, whether it's fluctuating, or what whether you are to cool or to hot.

Keep working with your process until you get the results you want, then keep coming back to it!!
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Blade on Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:08 pm

Arty: I apologize for taking you for granted. I've just figured out why my cavity's aren't filling up properly.... It's all about the temp of the lead. You were right.

While i was watching a movie today it just came to me... Every time i open my mold, i immediately throw back the excess lead from the sprue plate. Thus cooling down the temp of the lead. At first it didn't make sense, BUT i'm using a 10lb pot which is half the size of everyone else's pot that i've seen throwing all their sprue cut offs back into their "20lb" pots....

What i've done now was, every time i open my mold i put the cut offs next to my pot and when my pot has about a 5th lead left, then i add all of the cut offs back into the pot. so far so good!!

SO.. in theory what i've said about the smoking... could be utter BS imo. Smoking it, does make it easier to drop if you haven't polished the mold though. But it has nothing to do with a proper fill out.
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Daywalker on Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:18 pm

I may be quite the oppisite. I know your using a 6 cav and I am using a 2 cav and that might be the difference. But I set my pot on 7 and that is where I have been casting at. Doing it like that for a year now. All of my sprue cutt offs goes directly back into my 10 pound pot. Really have not had a problem cooling off. Interesting your having that kinda of luck. I just don't see the spur being cool enough to cool the lead in the pot, I mean even after cutting the spru off, you wouldn't touch it with your fingers without loosing your finger prints... I could be wrong.

I usually put my mould over the opening of the pot, cut it and it falls right in and then the bullets goes right into the water quench bucket.

I guess what is working for one is different for another? Glad you are finding your Rythem Blade!!!

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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Arty on Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:29 pm

Blade, you don't owe me an apology! I don't always come across well on the internet. I'm an old fart that grew up with a heavy black telephone(party line no less!) and 4 cent postage stamps!!! I simply don't communicate very well via a keyboard! I would much rather exchange ideas from a stool w/ a Miller in my hand!!! Daywalker makes probably the best point - once you find your rhythm you'll know what works! Keep at it!
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Blade on Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:14 pm

Daywalker: I have also done that with all my 2 cavity molds over the past year. Meaning, throwing the sprue cut offs straight back in the pot and i had no problems like this.

I think the problem with the 6 cavity is, is the fact that the sprue cut off is one long solid piece of lead and when i put that back in the pot, it kinda cools down the lead in the bottom of the pot. Unlike the 2 cavity's, which are small. that melts almost immediately.

Arty: I still stand with what i said, because i didn't think much of what you have said. Until earlier today, when it all made sense.

The good thing is, i have a good rhythm now with both of my 6 cavity's, so finally it's going great Very Happy . I've just finished casted and sorted about 600 38spl. boolits. The hardest thing was the sorting... I still have to weigh and lubricate them. But first thing tomorrow i'm going to cast some 9mm boolits.

Will post a phew pics of the boolits and some that are loaded.
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Blade on Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:44 pm

And here's a phew Pics:

The 6 cavity mold is just for comparison to the size of the 2 containers.


38spl Boolits +-700
[img][/img]

9mm Boolits
[img][/img]

A phew 38spl that are loaded
[img][/img]
[img][/img]

And finally My casting setup, which i'm very proud of Very Happy , That brownish color thing is a old copper extractor from my mom's kitchen, which i've fitted with a strong extractor fan.
[img][/img]

Unfortunately i haven't had the time to load up a phew 9mm rounds. I was just about to, when i took out my calipers, i found that the battery was flat. Hopefully tomorrow i can get another + a spare... Luckily for the 38spl. there is a crimp groove, so no calipers was needed there.
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Reload3006 on Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:34 pm

Those are great. only thing better than making em is shootn em. Congrats Blade!
cheers
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Arty on Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:52 pm

Nice bullets! Nice work area!, Nice job!!!!!!! There's a whole lot of satisfaction when you make you own!
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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by hawcer on Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:47 am

Looking good!

Now go shoot them up and make some more Wink

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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Daywalker on Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:49 am

awesome man....pure awesome!!!

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Re: Polishing mold cavity's ??

Post by Blade on Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:47 pm

Thanks for all the compliments guys!

I finally got new batteries for my caliper, then i could finally get a phew 9mm loaded. Below is a phew of my testing rounds, since this is the first time i'm using this particular bullet.
[img][/img]

Hopefully if all goes according to plan, then i will be able to test these phew rounds, but in the mean time i'm just going to make some more Very Happy I've got 2 different batches there, hence the water and air cooled. It's for a 9mm so, i don't know what exactly to expect. Both should work without leading and the powder weights should work as well, as i have been shooting 126gr. bullets with that same charges.
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