Guide for folks new to casting

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Guide for folks new to casting

Post by hawcer on Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:34 pm

I put this together to help those new(or old) to the realm of casting. I am not a pro at this, and will never claim to be. This is not complete and I am hoping others will fill in or correct any missing information. I am also newer to casting so a lot of this is still fresh in my mind and hasn't become "habit" yet.

Where to get lead/ lead alloys for casting.

1) Purchase new lead alloys through a metals dealer or retail store
2) Used wheel weights is a good source for lead (until it becomes extinct)
3) Used range lead can be picked up or sifted out of the berms
4) Misc places like plummers, newspaper printers,water treatment plant, etc


NOTE: study

Brinell hardness

-- Pure Lead [99.85% lead]
5 BHN

-- Wheel weights [95% lead/ 0.5% Tin/ 4.5% Antimony]
8 BHN immediately after casting and air-cooling
12 BHN about 2 weeks after casting with air-cooling
14-16 BHN in about 2 weeks if tin is added to the mix and air-cooled
18-30 BHN if water quenched
25-35 BHN if heat-treated in an oven and water quenched.
(adding some tin solder wire to a wheel weight alloy mix will come close to lyman #2 )
(So far,I like wheel weight alloy as is)

-- Lyman #2 [90% lead/5% Tin/5% Antimony]
15 BHN

-- Hardcast handgun alloy [92% lead/2% tin/6% Antimony]
15-16 BHN

-- Linotype [84% lead/4% Tin/12% Antimony]
22 BHN


Muzzle velocity vs. Brinell hardness (BHN)

800-1000 fps 10-12
1000-1400 fps 12-16
1400-1700 fps 14-20
Over 1700 fps 20-30

These numbers are not set in stone, But it is a good guide to follow

END NOTEstudy





What to melt it in.

1) Electric casting pot
2) external heat source that will be hot enough to keep the lead in a liquid form using:
a) Cast iron skillet,pot,kettle (dutch ovens are the best imo)
b) stainless steel or steel pot,pan (not the best, but works)

Exclamation NEVER, EVER use any sort of aluminum or inferior metal pot to melt lead in!


Lee production pot Used for the final stages of boolit casting


Turkey fryer burner Excellent heat source


Cast iron kettle What I use to melt down scrap lead


Small cast iron pot Used for smaller jobs and is perfect for ladle dipping

Many things can be used for making ingots.


Mini muffin tin The "mini" sized ingots fit in the 10lb production pot perfectly


What a bucket of wheel weights looks like when cast into ingots


This is what is left over. It is all scrap, so treat it as such.

Safety...hmmmmm

1) well ventilated area
2) eye protection
3) no flammables near by
4) Keep water/liquid out of the area
5) Get some welding gloves
6) I don't recommend being under the influence of anything when working with molten metals


Typical welding gloves

You'll also need a scrap pan to put the dross, slag, steel clips and whatever else separates from the lead alloy and floats to the top. Old serving spoons or deep fryer scoops work for getting the junk out.

Scrap pan I got my pans from a restaurant going out of business

Fluxing

Flux serves a threefold purpose: it removes oxidation from the surfaces of the pot and contaminates from the lead, it seals out air thus preventing further oxidation, and improves wetting characteristics of the molten lead.

I have heard of many things used as a fluxing agent, the most widely used are:
1) Flux agent designed for boolit casting
2) wax
3) saw dust

I use old candle wax I save from my wives spent candles...it's free and it smells good when burnt. A pinch will do...drop it in, let it melt and burn off then mix your molten lead with your spoon and be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of your pot. Then scoop the crud off the top and you're good to go.


Preparing your mold

You'll need to smoke your mold to aide in the releasing of the boolits. A match or burning candle can be used to smoke the mold. I find holding the mold up-side-down in the open position over the pot while the wax from the fluxing stage burns off works well.

Place you mold on top of the pot to pre-heat it while warming the lead. When you first start,it might take two or three sets of boolits out of your mold to get it at a good operating temperature. No biggie...just throw the rejects back into the mix. The same goes for the lead knocked off the sprue plate...drop it back into the mix too.


Idea If the spout on your Lee pot ever clogs...it is not always due to debris. 9 out of 10 time it is caused by the lead solidifying in the spout. Heat the spout with a propane torch and you'll be back to casting in no time.


Clogged spout


Releasing the boolits
I don't have much trouble with this...most of the time my boolits fall right out when I open the mold. If they don't, a sharp tap on the mold handle pivot bolt with a hard mallet will knock them loose.


Use a box with a soft cloth or t-shirt in it to catch your cast boolits when released from the mold. If you are water quenching, a bucket with a towel cut to direct the boolits into the water worked really well.


Quench bucket Use the extra section of towel to dry off your hands


Harry potter doesn't mind the boolits drying in this pan


Mold maintenance

I found it best to wipe off your mold of excess lead when it is still hot. Also, keep the sprue plate pivot clean...you don't want lead solidifying under the plate, it will cause the aluminum to mar. applying a little wax to this area during your casting session will keep it lubricated and lead free.(do not get wax in the mold cavities)


Lube here

When you get the hang of it, you'll end up with great looking boolits!



Last edited by hawcer on Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:34 am; edited 27 times in total

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Re: Guide for folks new to casting

Post by brow_tines on Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:00 pm

Great write up!!!! Don't forget to go to your local water treatment plant and waste water plant to look for lead. I work at a water treatment plant and we use chlorine as our disinfection, we get them in 150lb cylinders and everytime we change a cylinder we have to change lead washers !!!!
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Re: Guide for folks new to casting

Post by hawcer on Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:05 pm

brow_tines wrote:Great write up!!!! Don't forget to go to your local water treatment plant and waste water plant to look for lead. I work at a water treatment plant and we use chlorine as our disinfection, we get them in 150lb cylinders and everytime we change a cylinder we have to change lead washers !!!!

I never heard of that source before...do you have enough scrap lead from that to use?

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Re: Guide for folks new to casting

Post by Daywalker on Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:07 pm

Very excellent write up. So great, it is going to become a sticki for this this section!!


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Re: Guide for folks new to casting

Post by brow_tines on Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:11 pm

hawcer wrote:
brow_tines wrote:Great write up!!!! Don't forget to go to your local water treatment plant and waste water plant to look for lead. I work at a water treatment plant and we use chlorine as our disinfection, we get them in 150lb cylinders and everytime we change a cylinder we have to change lead washers !!!!

I never heard of that source before...do you have enough scrap lead from that to use?

A guy cleaned up the chlorine room about a month ago, 1st time in years, he carried out about 30-40 pounds of soft lead washers. I look a coffee can in there about 2 or 3 weeks ago for the used lead washers, now the bottom is full. It would be a fairly slow supply, but it's free !!
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Re: Guide for folks new to casting

Post by hawcer on Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:55 pm

I've modified and added some more info...it is alot more complete now. Smile

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Re: Guide for folks new to casting

Post by Mohunter on Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:16 am

Great Job Hawcer, that's a very nice write up!
I was reading it with great interest just as if I had never casted before.
It's nice of you to share your wisdom with some of the newer guys thinking about getting into casting.
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Re: Guide for folks new to casting

Post by dartfreak75 on Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:26 pm

thanks thats a great walk threw im gonna try to get stated soon im looking for lead now~!
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Re: Guide for folks new to casting

Post by Blade on Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:09 pm

hawcer: you might want to add one important thing. When getting a new mold, you want to clean it properly with acetone or something to get all of the oils out from the factory, otherwise you will have a hard time casting perfect boolits. But other then that, excellent job!

I'm just curious, i have tried putting some wax on the sprue plate bolt, but it always ends up going into the cavity... I have tried using a very small amount.
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Re: Guide for folks new to casting

Post by hawcer on Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:40 pm

Blade wrote:hawcer: you might want to add one important thing. When getting a new mold, you want to clean it properly with acetone or something to get all of the oils out from the factory, otherwise you will have a hard time casting perfect boolits. But other then that, excellent job!

I'm just curious, i have tried putting some wax on the sprue plate bolt, but it always ends up going into the cavity... I have tried using a very small amount.

Good point on cleaning the mold...I did forget about that.

When lubing the sprue pivot, tilt the mold so the cavities are higher than the pivot. Then dab a piece of wax on it while the mold is hot.

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Re: Guide for folks new to casting

Post by Blade on Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:50 pm

Ok, I'll do that next time when i cast, thanks!
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Re: Guide for folks new to casting

Post by kcatto on Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:59 pm

Awesome I like the idea of smoking your molds with the flux burn off.....

!Brilliant!

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Re: Guide for folks new to casting

Post by tcvpar on Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:34 am

anyone casting 41cal? need 170 gr to feed my 41ae qp

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