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Old June 3, 2013, 04:14 AM   #1
paulsnapp
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Advice needed with ingot mold

Yesterday was my first attempt at bullet casting. I have watched many videos and read a great deal on this forum as well as others. I am glad to say most everything went well. All of my equipment (pot, ingot molds, bullet mold) is RCBS. The alloy I am using is RotoMetals #2 Lyman. I am also using an Auber PID controller to control my pot temperature. The only real problem I have is getting ingots to drop out of the RCBS ingot molds. The first ingots were from a pot temp of 675F and the second ingots were from a pot temp of 725F. Both began with cleaned ingots that had been sitting on a 900watt hot plate with the setting on high. I did not know how long to wait after pouring into the ingots before I tried to drop them. The very first ones did not drop at 10 minutes so I tried every 10 minutes to see if cooling would help. It didn't. I finally had to pry them out with a screwdriver. After that I would let them cool for about 5 minutes and then turned the molds upside down and banged them really hard on the damp towel I had on the table. It took a lot of hard banging to get them to drop out. Maybe this is normal, but if not, I would appreciate some advice.

I also tried to mold a few bullets from my RCBS .44-40 cowboy mold. This went pretty well. I began at 675F but had wrinkled bullets. I walked this temperature up 10F at a time until the wrinkles went away at 725F and bullets are shiny. Just wondering if this is a normal temperature for the RotoMetals Lyman #2 alloy?
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Old June 3, 2013, 05:50 AM   #2
mehavey
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I set the moulds on a small (6")/cheap fry pan on gthe hotplate, and cover with a small (4-5") cheap pot for about the time it takes the lead to melt (20-30 minutes). The plate is set to 3.7 on a scale of 6.

I'm casting #2 at about the same temp (700-710-ish) and have gone as high as 780 in the past. That's normal.

DON'T Bang the moulds directly. Get a plastic or rawhide hammer and tap on the top of the handles' HINGE pin to loosen the bullets. They will loosen/drop in 2-4 taps (smacks if so needed.) NOT the moulds themselves.

http://www.amazon.com/Euro-Tool-Yell...plastic+hammer
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Old June 3, 2013, 06:03 AM   #3
paulsnapp
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Thanks for the reply. It is not the bullet molds that I am having problems with. Bullets dropped out of the bullet mold just fine. It is the RCBS ingot mold that I am having problems getting the ingots to drop out. The mold has no handle. I tried tapping on the back of the ingot mold with my wooden mallet but that did not work at all.
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Old June 3, 2013, 06:11 AM   #4
mehavey
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Sorry.

In that case, smack the heck outta the back. It will work (SOONER OR LATER) and get easier over time.
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Old June 3, 2013, 06:14 AM   #5
dahermit
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From your post, I do not understand if you have pre-heated your RCBS ingot mold or not. If you have, stop doing that. There is no need to pre-heat an ingot mold...they release better when the alloy is poured into them when they are cold, begin to retain the ingots when hot. If you get some ingots that will not release, just let them sit until they have cooled completely. I have made many ingot molds out of angle iron so that I do not have to wait for a single ingot mold to cool before I can pour some more.

The difference is, that bullet molds have a fine, machined surface that the lead must form to, to produce well-filled out bullets. The smooth surface does not adhere to hardened alloy of the mold.

An ingot mold on the other hand, has a rough, sand-cast surface that will adhere to the hardened alloy if it is preheated.

Do not bang on the ingot molds excessively. I learned the hard way and cracked a Lyman ingot mold one time.
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Last edited by dahermit; June 3, 2013 at 06:25 AM.
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Old June 3, 2013, 06:29 AM   #6
mehavey
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Correct -- preheating an ingot mold will cause things to stick.
(I've not cracked one [yet]** banging it w/ either a wood or plastic mallet)



**
But there's always the 1st time
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Old June 3, 2013, 06:30 AM   #7
paulsnapp
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Thanks for the reply. Yes, I did pre-heat my ingot molds, two of them. The next time I cast ingots I will pour them at room temperature and see is this helps. Thanks again.
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Old June 3, 2013, 09:19 AM   #8
snuffy
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SMOKE 'EM! I'm the first to say don't smoke a boolit mold, but for ingots it's the thing to do to get the ingots to release. Another trick to do is if the molds are cast iron, to sit them out in the rain, then let them rust. The rust will provide a sort-of mold release and condition them so they never stick again.

I have a bunch of the Lyman ingot molds, I start them cold, then use them hot after dumping the first cast, they never stick. But they've been used a LOT!







Also a couple of the lee molds, they're aluminum, they work well too. That one pic shows a muffin tin, it makes 2.5 pound ingots that fit well in my preo-20 Lee. The big mold in the lower right corner is made of 3" ship & car channel, a buddy with a fab shop made it out of scrap. He borrowed it to me, I said I'd buy it, no sale, I said make another one, he said he's too busy!

Paul, the key to good fill-out and crisp shoulders is not the temp of the lead, but the temp of the mold. Since you have a hot plate, put that mold on the hot plate, pre-heat it. Get the mold up to temp, you should be able to cast great boolits with that Lyman #2 at no more than 700 degrees! Temps higher than 725 for the molten lead will oxidize that valuable tin at a much faster rate. Once oxidized, it can no longer help for mold fill-out and the strength it provides.

Using sawdust as a flux is also the best way to return oxides to the metallic state. Also, allowing the charred sawdust to stay on the surface of the melt, provides an oxygen barrier on top of the molten lead. It prevents, or at least greatly reduces oxide formation.
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