Lead too hot?

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1BadDart

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I've had a couple ball pouring secessions, the first went well, for my first time pouring balls anyway, but the second things went down hill. I'm using a Lee 10# bottom pour hot pot, a six cavity .395" Lee roundball mold and lead from sail boat keel weights, no thermometer. The lead was made into 1lb ingots and is pretty clean. After the first pouring session I emptied the pot and cleaned it well as there was some rust in it. I've been using this pot for years pouring crappie jigs.

This some of the worst ones, sorry for the dirty fingernails, I'd been working in the garden.
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freedom475

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Use acetone on a Q-tip to clean the cavities very well...twice.

Your cast ball pictured appears to have been dropped from the mold a little too early, so that your drop pad is damaging the soft lead....or your cavities have contamination in them.
 

1BadDart

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Thanks guys. I wait for the sprue to frost and solidify before cutting and dumping, I'll wait a little longer next time. The mold was very hot and had poured probably 75 balls when I stopped. I'll also give the mold a good cleaning.

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Things look a little hot and cleaning with acetone on a q tip will help. Did you smoke the cavities with a match? It helps. Also with the Lee mold the sprue needs to be cool enough so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the sprue plate and drag a scratch or groove in the top of the mold. I use a folded up blue Scot towel that I keep wet to help speed up the cooling. Yes I know, I'm not supposed to have any water within a 100 feet of my pot or I'll get myself killed. I've never had much success with a bottom pour pot but that's probably just a personal thing.
 
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Biggest thing that helped me was a thermometer. I always had my lead too hot.
I posted in another thread that I have two Lyman thermometers. In the same pot of lead side by side one reads 800 degrees and the other reads 700. I'm having them checked out by a friend who just spent quite a bit of cash for a PID (at least I think that's what it's called) that will accurately determine how hot his lead is. I doubt that either one of them is very accurate.
 
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I use Lee production pots ..thermometers get in my way ..I have found a cheap $20 infrared temp gun when aimed at the junction of the top of molten lead and where the valve operating rod enters the molten lead will give an accurate enough temp reading for this Gov't work
It WILL NOT give an accurate reading firing only on the surface of the molten lead ..so if you like this idea but have a "dipper" pot .. just drop in a piece of steel rod that will reach the bottom and shape a hook on the upper end to "hang" on the rim lip ...that would be a pot target

I also never ever use a bottom pour pot with anything but pure clean lead ..I never let the pot get lower than 3/4 full ..I never empty or clean the pot in any way ..and will always insure it is 3/4 full when I turn it off..
I have never had valve leaking of ANY consequence ..but then again I just may be very lucky too!

Let your mold sit on top your pot as it heats ..if possible let your mold sit on top of the molten lead
My money is your mold is too cold as to me the lead exhibits setting up in "waves" cooling/heat cool/heat ..most times when I have been in the too hot territory with lead .. I get more of a frosty look but admittedly that will also depend on your mold brand and material of the mold

The above and 50 cents won't get you a cup of coffee (I am still learning at age 75!) but the thoughts above can be the catylist for you to take your time and get methodical ..trying temperature ranges on both your molten lead as well as your mold temperature ..you will quickly learn there is ratio of lead to mold temps that mean everything in the outcome ..but common sense will prevail when you apply yourself to the challenge

Hint: Start with 700 degrees on both your lead and mold temp and then move only one variable at a time ..pour 10 with temps equal ..10 with mold 25/50 degrees cooler than the lead etc.

You will find the sweet spot for your specific pot, lead, mold, environment and most importantly YOUR rhythm .. Think pouring 10 balls .. with varying times between pours which will equal to same lead temp but varying mold temps ..you will find every 30 seconds equals a good pour (or 20 seconds or 45 seconds) etc. (understand a proper cadence rhythm can and will keep the mold at the optimum casting temperature)

Or be casual and place you mold back on the pot or on top of the lead after each pour and wait for the mold to come back up to the sweet spot temperature wise

OK ..Too much noise coming from me plus I am sure there are many far more knowledgeable than I but you will make casting pleasurable with just a little bit of experimenting/practice

Enjoy

Bear
 

Bushfire

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I am a novice at casting, and I'll admit I struggle, nay, fail to get my lead hot enough on my saucepan/bbq burner set up. They still come out ok albeit a little wrinkled and with my +/- tolerance of 1 grain I still keep most.

But a surefire way to increase the waste product is to use multiple cavities while learning. Just focus on one, since I've done that my balls are much more consistent.

I've give my moulds a good clean after use and before use. I've never had balls like yours and I'm too green to be able to tell you what's going on there.

I haven't invested in a temp gauge, I probably should as well as a lead furnace but while spare money is elusive and the balls fly in the general direction I aim it gets me by.

Edit, I should say I do always have a few factory 54s on hand if my casted supply runs low. But I've only ever shot my own .600s as they are better than $1 per ball to buy in Australia. For the ranges I aim to shoot with the smoothbore a little wrinkling probably isn't the end of the world
 

Sidney Smith

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Definitely too cold a mould, or the lead itself might have not been allowed to heat up to optimal Temps. If the lead and or mould is too hot, the ball will exit the mould a bluish purplish color.

Also, you might have had some crud in your lead. If it's not hot enough, the impurities won't always float to the top. I always stir the lead a few times just before beginning to pour, to get any slag to float to the top.
 

Kansas Kid

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I wouldn’t smoke the mold, I think it’s BS. Also look into some sprue plate lube like bull shop or two stroke engine oil. A little on a Q tip and rub a film on Top of hot sprue plate about every 30 pours.

Tooth brush and 409 cleaner to get rid of soot and good magnifying glass to check for tiny burrs.
 
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I was afraid this would happen when you said your where going to buy the gang mold in the other thread.
You've scorched it. I'd be willing to bet there's galling on the mold and sprue plate also.
Tough call, but a spade is a spade.
Sorry, you jumped in with both feet and it was deeper then ya thought.
You can do one of two things at this point if you want casting to be successful and proficient.
1. Mark it up as a rookie mistake and take the loose,, then move forward.
2. Defend yourself as it's not a big deal and keep on trying to get a decent product out of the mold.
One of those choices is better than the other.

I destroyed my first two molds while learning. It was a lesson in humility.
It cost me $$.
Then I started to follow directions and advice.
I Honestly hope you make a good choice,,
 

maillemaker

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Multi-cavity molds can be tricky to get consistent drops out of. You have to move fast in your work or the mold will be unevenly heated from one end to the other.

Wrinkly bullets usually mean either your lead is too cold or your mold is too cold or both.

I highly recommend a metal thermometer. I like to pour at close to 900F.

When you pour, the puddles on the sprue plate should take some seconds to solidify.
 
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Hint: Start with 700 degrees on both your lead and mold temp and then move only one variable at a time ..pour 10 with temps equal ..10 with mold 25/50 degrees cooler than the lead Enjoy


I’d be very careful getting the mold that hot
Becareful heating molds to anything higher than 400 for steel and aluminum, brass even lower like 380 . Brass molds cost more and will warp and will not be covered by manufacture warranty. Lead melts below 700 but from what I read is the recommended pour temperature. I’m still trying to figure out how to determine the temperature of the mold. I get my mold relatively hot and then I start pouring and repeat until I get nice drops. I recently purchased had it made 44-40 with a wide grease ring 5 drop mold. My 2 drop mold just works it’s brass a couple of heating pours and I’m on my way. Not so with the 5 drop mold it requires a lot of heat to get them all uniform. Plus I discovered you can’t trust those made in China thermometers. Next time I will have a propane tourch on hand. I have had excellent results with both aluminum and brass molds. The 5 cavity steel mold I have to master right now it’s the master. Maybe I’ll just sell it . 😂
 
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Thanks guys. I wait for the sprue to frost and solidify before cutting and dumping, I'll wait a little longer next time. The mold was very hot and had poured probably 75 balls when I stopped. I'll also give the mold a good cleaning.

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I have same lead pot and pour into 2 different 6 hole molds. I get the pot hot and lead melted on 10, pour a few to heat the mold, then turn down to 8. I have also found that I cannot pour from the bottom pour on large or 6 hole molds. Try pouring from a ladle. Also from Frankfort Arsenal buy the cleaning flux and mold release spray.
 

1BadDart

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I was afraid this would happen when you said your where going to buy the gang mold in the other thread.
You've scorched it. I'd be willing to bet there's galling on the mold and sprue plate also.
Tough call, but a spade is a spade.
Sorry, you jumped in with both feet and it was deeper then ya thought.
You can do one of two things at this point if you want casting to be successful and proficient.
1. Mark it up as a rookie mistake and take the loose,, then move forward.
2. Defend yourself as it's not a big deal and keep on trying to get a decent product out of the mold.
One of those choices is better than the other.

I destroyed my first two molds while learning. It was a lesson in humility.
It cost me $$.
Then I started to follow directions and advice.
I Honestly hope you make a good choice,,
There's nothing to defend, if the mold is toast, its toast. For the sprue plate I don't see any galling.

My jig molds are large molds, but they heat up evenly, all aluminum with wood handles and some have a small ingot mold in the bottom to help warm them. The bullet mold with its steel handles and sprue cutter warms differently as they act as heat soaks.

I'm going to give the bullet mold a good scrubbing and try it again, if I get the same thing I'll move along and chalk it up to experience.

Thanks guys, Justin
 

User_Dan

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I've had a couple ball pouring secessions, the first went well, for my first time pouring balls anyway, but the second things went down hill. I'm using a Lee 10# bottom pour hot pot, a six cavity .395" Lee roundball mold and lead from sail boat keel weights, no thermometer. The lead was made into 1lb ingots and is pretty clean. After the first pouring session I emptied the pot and cleaned it well as there was some rust in it. I've been using this pot for years pouring crappie jigs.

This some of the worst ones, sorry for the dirty fingernails, I'd been working in the garden.View attachment 151524 View attachment 151525 View attachment 151526
That appears to be a cold mould and some dirt in your lead. Reflux, stir the pot and allow the mould to heat back up. Lee moulds drop heat fast.
 
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