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Thread: Casting lead questions

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Just so. You are better off with an old cast iron sauce pan with an extended handle welded on. Finish the handle with a T bar so that you can turn and tip the pot.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post





    Weld a handle onto a cast iron pot and then pick it up full of lead, Nick?


    You go first.


    I pick up crucibles full of bronze fairly regularly. This is done with a crucible, specially made tongs and a pouring shank. Even with this equipment pouring twenty pounds of metal is simply frightening. The heat is such that you can't get your hands anywhere near the pot for more than a few seconds, and forget about picking it up. When large amounts need to be poured you can go to two-man equipment and after that it's hoists on a track.

    The whole idea of picking up a pot filled with lead using some cobbled-together gear is, quite simply, nuts.

    You can ladle lead plenty fast enough to fill the molds in question.

    Jim

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post





    Weld a handle onto a cast iron pot and then pick it up full of lead, Nick?


    You go first.




    Jim
    I have. The extension was a length of pipe that fitted over the stub of the handle secured by a bead of weld.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #38
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Good grief. I didn't mention that you could grab the tab with a large vise grip or bolt on a handle. Did I have to say that it will be too hot to grab the tab on the pot without gloves? If you looked at the description on ebay, they will ship without the handle attached. when supported with chains, it can only tip in one axis. We are talking about a half gallon of lead, 1.8 liters.
    pot2.jpg
    Last edited by MN Dave; 05-03-2019 at 08:23 PM.
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  4. #39
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Ingots that size, just ladle it. It will be just fine and much easier.

    Be VERY careful with the pipe, make sure the ends aren't pinched shut. I can't stress this enough.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    When we did our big pour we just dumped all the lead into the 200 gallon tank, shut the lid and lit the fire. Occassionally a sound like the crack of a small caliber gunshot or a boom of a firework would go off inside the tank, enough to make one jump 6 feet into the air. We knew it might do that and were not concerned because it was well contained but I would not want to be anywhere near that had it been an open topped container!!!

    We also poured a mountain of ingots on a sheet of ply, I forgot the plastic sheet under it for a vapor barrier and the plywood absorbed a little moisture over night. We filled the channels and a few seconds later tiny up to gumball sized hunks of lead were jumping 5-8 feet into the air. It only lasted for a few seconds as the bit of water vapor escaped but it certainly was spooky and I was very glad to have a face shield and such on.

    Moisture is the enemy!! Charring the wood first helped a bunch with that.

    It also liked to find any place to escape, I found gluing the wood together helped a lot, sealing any little cracks and joints. It can be water tight but not lead tight! haha

    All in all it's not that bad just be careful and go slow.

    Have fun!
    ACORN TO ARABELLA
    For additional info on this project:

    www.acorntoarabella.com
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAi...WB1xCp6uuUo0VA

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    I have. The extension was a length of pipe that fitted over the stub of the handle secured by a bead of weld.

    The bead of weld on the cast iron handle is what worries me more than anything else, Nick. Cast iron is prone to cracking when welded unless the entire piece is brought to red heat prior to welding. A tiny crack might go undetected until the weight of the lead is put on the handle, then, oops. Or, you might get lucky.

  7. #42
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    The bead of weld on the cast iron handle is what worries me more than anything else, Nick. Cast iron is prone to cracking when welded unless the entire piece is brought to red heat prior to welding. A tiny crack might go undetected until the weight of the lead is put on the handle, then, oops. Or, you might get lucky.
    Call me lucky then.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  8. #43
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Here are a few ballast blocks and the welded aluminum mold. These were ladled from the melting pot. They probably weigh forty pounds each.



  9. #44
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Dave,
    What size is the laddle that came with the pot? A large laddle that holds 16 oz or so with a nice long handle would be helpful.

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  11. #46
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Jim, glad to see that. My ballast blocks will be the same weight but a different shape.

    Navydog, didn't get a ladle with the kit. I can get one that holds 4 pounds of lead at a shot for about $20, so that's where I'll go on that point.

    So in my effort to just get on with it and try a sample melt and pour, the first step was to get the propane tank filled. Yep, it's outdated so no fill unless it gets a new inspection sticker. And on top of that complication, the tank doesn't have a conventional fill connection. I need to make a stop at a local plumbing supply shop to see where I need to go next. There is an adapter manufactured for melt pots like mine that puts the burner assembly on a base that takes a standard gas-grill propane hose. This is actually a safer way to do it, too. Either I'll find one of them or just pick up a turkey fryer unit, which is said to work just fine.

    In the meantime, thanks everyone for all the tips.
    -Dave

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    I melted mine on a turkey fryer type burner. Worked just fine. I put an old BBQ grill on top for extra support or the four protruding pieces used to hold the pot would have dropped the lead for sure. Jim, that's 5x 40 lbs. How much will you need in the end I expect there are more to be made? How does that aluminum hold up? Any issues with it?
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    For small quantities (around 10kg) of lead I've used a gas burner (LPG). For large quantities I've used a wood fire. Wood produces a lot more heat than gas.

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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
    I melted mine on a turkey fryer type burner. Worked just fine. I put an old BBQ grill on top for extra support or the four protruding pieces used to hold the pot would have dropped the lead for sure. Jim, that's 5x 40 lbs. How much will you need in the end I expect there are more to be made? How does that aluminum hold up? Any issues with it?
    Dan, those were the ballast blocks on Sea Rover, my old catboat. I'm still wondering about the best way to make ballast for the current build as there's little room under the sole. I welded up the aluminum mold out of quarter inch plate. The mold worked well enough but should have had some draft built in. I was counting on shrinkage to release the castings, which might have been okay had I left the castings to cool to ambient temperature, but as I had only the one mold and I needed it for the next pour, so beatings ensued.

    Wox...good luck.

    Jim

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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Thanks Jim. I was wondering about release compound. Did you use it on the aluminum, and if not, do you expect that would have made it easier?

    And don't you gotta love the stuff we deal with here on the WBF. Where else can you legitimately have beatings, lashings, whippings and seizings?
    -Dave

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Thanks Jim. I was wondering about release compound. Did you use it on the aluminum, and if not, do you expect that would have made it easier?

    And don't you gotta love the stuff we deal with here on the WBF. Where else can you legitimately have beatings, lashings, whippings and seizings?

    I've heard you can use waterglass on wood molds, but I've never tried it. I didn't use any release agent on the aluminum. I'm wondering if the heat possibly warped the aluminum slightly, jamming things up. In any case, even a slight amount of draft would have helped.

    jim

  17. #52
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Thanks Jim. I was wondering about release compound. Did you use it on the aluminum, and if not, do you expect that would have made it easier?

    And don't you gotta love the stuff we deal with here on the WBF. Where else can you legitimately have beatings, lashings, whippings and seizings?
    We would get banned on Facebook for using such language.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    I've heard you can use waterglass on wood molds, but I've never tried it. I didn't use any release agent on the aluminum. I'm wondering if the heat possibly warped the aluminum slightly, jamming things up. In any case, even a slight amount of draft would have helped.

    jim
    No worries about keeping the lead from sticking to aluminum. Just don't clean the surface thoroughly just before pouring the lead. Aluminum is notoriously difficult to solder. It forms an oxide that is very difficult to remove in order to get the lead to stick. A layer of talcum powder might help. Dr. Scholls foot powder spray will form a nice even coat.

    Did the heat warp the aluminum? Yes. Measurably? Hard to say. The beatings probably did more than the heat.

    The ballast for the Sea Rover -- I would mock it up with styrofoam to get a good fit and make a plaster mold from that. Yes, you have to dry the plaster.

    Stove and Gasket Cement might be useful as a coating or as a sealant and inside corner filleting material if you want to build up an aluminum mold without welding.

    Sodium silicate.
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  18. #53
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    The heat will cause a straight plaster mold to fracture/crack so at best you'd get a one-off. But with the addition of some silica sand or grog (plaster/sand/fired ceramic that's all been ground up) if you have it, you might get several runs with the lead. At least this has been my experience.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    I guess I have been lucky in that I was able to cast a whole lot of spline weights without cracking a plaster mold. Possibly a larger ingot would end up with a cracked mold but, I was able to make fourteen weights with these two molds.
    Jay


  20. #55
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Thread drift and plaster molds for Sea Rover's ballast:

    Sea Rover may not need more than one ballast casting of any one shape, so reusable molds may be a moot point. Whether one off or not, the molds need to be baked to prevent steam from breaking the molds or worse. Plaster absorbs moisture out of the air, so bake shortly before pouring the lead.

    Some posts on alloyavenue say to bake the plaster of Paris at 300F ( no, 2 hours at 210, then 3 hours at 350F, no 450F, no, 500C, no...) to drive out the bound water. This weakens the plaster, so silica flour (finely ground silica, not fumed silica?) or sand are used to add strength. Hydrocal is also recommended. Plaster molds can be reused several times. I think that baking at 300-350F is adequate based on the last paragraph of this from US Gypsum.

    http://www.alloyavenue.com/vb/archiv...hp/t-4943.html
    http://www.alloyavenue.com/vb/archiv...hp/t-8916.html
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  21. #56
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    I have cast Bronze in a Plaster of Paris and sand mixture...
    Many times.
    It has to be dry, like maybe 8 hours in the oven. But part of that is melting out the wax pattern.

  22. #57
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Still taking the baby steps. After visiting 5 or 6 different shops, I finally got the pieces I needed to get a lead pot cooking. I melted about a pound just to see it melt. Much like watching butter melt, actually.

    The small experiment brought on a new concern. As things were cooking in the driveway, little bits of leaves and stuff started drifting out of the trees. Is this a dangerous thing? Should I just get it good and hot, put on the face shield and gloves, and toss a leaf in there to find out?

    lead pot.jpg
    -Dave

  23. #58
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Still taking the baby steps. After visiting 5 or 6 different shops, I finally got the pieces I needed to get a lead pot cooking. I melted about a pound just to see it melt. Much like watching butter melt, actually.

    The small experiment brought on a new concern. As things were cooking in the driveway, little bits of leaves and stuff started drifting out of the trees. Is this a dangerous thing? Should I just get it good and hot, put on the face shield and gloves, and toss a leaf in there to find out?

    lead pot.jpg
    Leaves will just frazzle up as they hit the dross on top of the lead.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  24. #59
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    The only thing to worry about is what sinks to the bottom of the pot.
    You can send that to me for safe disposal.

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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    The only thing to worry about is what sinks to the bottom of the pot.
    You can send that to me for safe disposal.
    Well, you can have any uranium I might collect.
    -Dave

  26. #61
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Still taking the baby steps. After visiting 5 or 6 different shops, I finally got the pieces I needed to get a lead pot cooking. I melted about a pound just to see it melt. Much like watching butter melt, actually.

    The small experiment brought on a new concern. As things were cooking in the driveway, little bits of leaves and stuff started drifting out of the trees. Is this a dangerous thing? Should I just get it good and hot, put on the face shield and gloves, and toss a leaf in there to find out?
    Leaves, like sawdust can be considered as flux Post #14. They are the wrong shape, but dry leaves will reduce some of the lead oxide back to metallic lead. You could add more, but you should break them up first. Flux reduces dross. Wet leaves, don't submerge them -- Yikes!
    EDIT:
    https://www.artfulbullet.com/index.p...-sawdust.2439/
    Why I flux with sawdust...

    Well, one of many reasons: It gets the junk out and leaves the good stuff in the casting pot.

    Ever since reading Glen's article "The 'Simple' act of Fluxing" years ago and subsequently experimenting a great deal with various sorts of sawdust, shavings, pine resin, coffee grounds, wheat bran, stale breakfast cereal, sugar, and other things from the shop and pantry, my success rate using dirty, contaminated lead scrap for bullet casting has improved drastically.
    Last edited by MN Dave; 05-08-2019 at 09:49 AM.
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  27. #62
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Leaves, be they dry or green will just burn up and become a slight addition to any dross. For small jobs the dross can be scooped off. When I poured the 670kg of ballast for Blow Fish, the lead was allowed to flow through a hole in the bottom of the melting pot and into the mould. Since all the dross was floating, it remained in the melting pot until all the lead had flowed out from below, and then the dross being assorted ashy solids, it stayed put in the pot when all the lead was gone. No need to skim off the dross at all, and neither did I need to bother about any contaminants going in with the lead. Chucked it all in and it soon sorted its self out.

  28. #63
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Well, you can have any uranium I might collect.
    But you're keeping the gold, right?

  29. #64
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    But you're keeping the gold, right?
    Oh no, my secret plan revealed. It's true, I'm planning for the Waterworld future, where I'll be shaving bits of gold from the bottom of my ballast castings to survive the lawless, sunken planet.
    -Dave

  30. #65
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    So I decided to go with steel, highly reusable and easy enough to put together. But I don't weld so I bolted it together. The joints will all be sealed with stove gasket cement. It's 1-1/2" angle iron on a quarter-inch thick slab of steel that's been collecting dust in my garage for about 30 years. It was once a centerboard experiment.

    My biggest concern is whether or not the lead will find it's way under the flat stock bent around in the corner to create a finger hold for removal. (I decided the center handle called for in the plans was way more complex than necessary.) If that cavity does fill with lead, I'll just leave the lead in there and let it be part of the mold.

    The cement needs a day to dry and then heat treatment to cure. Not sure when I'll find time next to do a test pour. But I do believe I have all the parts to move ahead.

    Mold.jpg
    -Dave

  31. #66
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Could you not just pour some sand into that cavity so the lead can't get in? I'd consider packing sand all around the mould as well, to keep the lead in the shape required. Just bury the whole thing in sand and any leaks should come out as stringy bits easily broken off then the resulting sharp edge filed smooth.
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  32. #67
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Sailor, I may wind up doing that. Because I have to reuse the mold about 20 times, I'm hoping I can set it up to fill, cool, dump, flip back over and fill again, knocking out the lead sausages short-order cook style. I'm going to attach a long handle of some sort to it, too, so it's easy to turn over. Total weight with the lead in it will be about 60 pounds. But if I have to repack it with sand for every pour, then that's what I'll do.
    -Dave

  33. #68
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    The flat stock bent around in the corner looks like it is concave on the bottom side. (Bottom of the picture, not the mold) The lead might grab that unless there is enough vertical draft angle. It might be a good idea to take a C-clamp and bend it flat.

    If the lead cools too fast as you ladle it, it would be easy to set the mold on concrete blocks over a small charcoal fire to preheat it enough to slow the cooling as you pour. Maybe slide it off the fire onto more blocks, then pour. Lighter and no sloshing. You could also bake the gasket cement that way. The directions say to heat slowly to 500F.

    Another thought, and not necessarily a very clear thought, is that you could drill and thread a couple of holes in the plate for 1/2" jacking bolts to push the lead out. More trouble than it's worth unless you find it difficult to shake out the first few castings. Anti seize compound should take the heat.
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  34. #69
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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Dave, thanks for those tips. We do have an electric grill I was thinking of putting under it to help cure the cement. That will get it to 350 at least, maybe 500. If not, I'll try a heat gun to push it to that point. As far as preheating for the pour, not sure I want fire or electrical stuff going on in the vicinity. I'll probably try a test in the cold mold first. I can position the pot very close to the mold to keep the lead moving.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Casting lead questions

    Another sealant which can handle molten lead temperatures is silicone, the stuff used for sealing up roof gutters etc.

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