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Old 05-25-2012, 12:31 AM
Steel76 Steel76 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 473
Casting dilemma

Ok call me a redneck or something,but I got a wild notion to build a bottom pour electric furnace that would do more than 20 pounds of wheel weights at a time.And do it with scrap that needed tossed out anyway.Besides I needed some practice welding anyway!

I have it in the testing phase at the moment.Yesterday with the element open I made a few 38 bullets to test the molds picked up at a flea market and to try out the roundball .311 mould I bought new.They came out great and filled completely.No issues at all other than having a pound or so of lead in such a big pot and spooning it out into the mold.Still testing before I make it bottom pour.

Today I incased the burner element and sealed it to the pot base.And put about 10 pounds into it to see if it would melt it.Had pure heck from that moment on.I got a film on top of the lead that I cannot remove.Bullet molds would not even attempt to fill.The lead would run down and off the sprue cutter but not a drop go into the cavity.The lead would stick to the straining spoon and the one I used to scoop the lead out and fill the mold.The film on top looks like heat burned chrome like header pipes on a motorcycle.I can scrape a section out and it would look the same 2 seconds later.

What happened?
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Old 05-25-2012, 12:41 AM
noylj noylj is offline
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Could be contamination. Zinc or Calcium (?), from battery plates and use of the wrong wheel weights, will cause a film on the surface that needs to be removed.
Check at forum. I "think" you would slowly lower the temperature and remove most contamination when it is on surface.
You "might" be able to bottom cast the alloy, but you might be battling that contamination no matter what you do.
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Old 05-25-2012, 07:00 AM
Alland Alland is offline
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I think it is zinc contamination. I sounds like what I had when melting scrap. I traced it to two piece expanding concrete anchors. One part was lead, the threaded portion was zinc alloy.
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Old 05-25-2012, 07:48 AM
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AndyC AndyC is offline
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1. Don't get the temperature too high - you want to get to around 700F.

2. Flux the melt with anything containing carbon - used motor oil, sawdust, candles, etc - and stir it well. Scoop any floating junk off the top and discard.
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Old 05-25-2012, 11:31 PM
sergeant69 sergeant69 is offline
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ok. ur a redneck. or something. WHAT THE HELLS WRONG WITH BEING A REDNECK!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-31-2012, 12:53 AM
Steel76 Steel76 is offline
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NOT A DARN THING!!............except when said on the inet it seems.Seems like when someone is to me made fun of,whether it be democrat or republican,they are called redneck.So I use the word cautiously anymore.But back to the matter.

But it seems it was my heat.In the beginning i didnt even have the slightest hope that it would get hot enough.And I sure didnt expect encasing the element would raise the heat that much.Cranked wide open it will melt the entire pot full in less than 5 min now with it incased.I think I found the right setting now though and made a bunch more buckshot.Thats all I am going to make with this batch that got over heated.Shouldnt matter in a scattergun I dont think.

I no longer have burnt looking film on top atm.But now I have a sandy dirt like residue on top that I cant seem to keep skimmed away.I'm pretty sure i weeded all the zinc ones out,but i'm going to double check.And now that I have the temp right it should no longer be a problem anyway.

Its not pretty atm but it is working.I have the bottom pour part designed in my head.Just trying to workout some unforseen kinks before I start it.
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:12 AM
FN in MT FN in MT is offline
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Location: Craig, Montana
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I'd make a visit over to the CastBoolits site for not only the contamination over there under ZINC contamination.

But I would post WHAT your doing with the pot construction as well. I'd bet others on CB Forum have built pots and could probably save You a LOT of time with the bottom pour design.
Why struggle reinventing the wheel when it's already been done?

Zinch wheelweights are becoming more and more common. Even a little zinc in a pot will contaminate the metal. When smelting scrap I INSPECT all the WW's first, then melt at a low temp, so if one gets by the will FLOAT on top for some time, before melting. Making it easier to see and REMOVE. As Zinc melts at a higher temp than lead.

Few years back had a buddy helping me smelt. He ruined overr 100 pounds of lead adding Zinc WW's and I didn't catch him doing it. All that metal now good for fishing sinkers.

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Old 06-01-2012, 01:44 AM
Steel76 Steel76 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
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Thanks for the suggestion of visiting castbullets.

Most I seen were built off turkey fryers though and have to keep a lit torch handy to re-melt the lead that solidifies at the end of the pour spout.I plan to not have that problem but time will tell.

I did see a way to make a bottom pour setup and use a lid on the pot to keep the enormous amount of bugs in this area out and eliminate the chance of me dropping a drop of sweat down in the pot!I will be smelting outside!!

If someone doesnt mind,could someone tell me the size of the outlet on the bottom pour spout?And if you think it should be bigger or smaller?
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:09 PM
CherokeeT CherokeeT is offline
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If you are planning on using this pot to melt and blend lead alloys and then to cast from, that will give you problems down the line because of all the crud that will accumulate in the smelting process with raw WW's and other lead. Generally best to use a separate pot for smelting and use the casting pot only for pouring in the moulds.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:44 AM
bruce381 bruce381 is offline
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go to cast boolits site and reead the sticky yhings also get a thermometer, melt should be maybe 650-750 depending on the alloy it may hve been too cold. Try for 100 gdegrees over the FULL melt temp. Also mold have to be HOT before they will case well.
You maybe were to cold or have Zinc or something in there. Flux with a big handfull of DRY saw dust strill in and scrape sides then stir more a few time that may get the problem to go away, skim off the dirty gray scumy stuff. I save my skimming tho cause if you get enough you can exstract more tin/lead from it latter.
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