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Old November 27, 2022, 12:24 PM   #1
Marco Califo
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Melting brass

So, I ordered a propane furnace set-up, including crucible, mold, etc. I will be melting deprimed cases. I also received a 1/2 pound of borax Flux. My question today is about the borax. I understand that I am supposed to make paste and glaze the inside of the crucible and mold. The crucible will be preheated, empty. I suppose I could put the boraxed mold inside the furnish, and preheat it to set the borax glaze.
The furnace is from China and I do not expect any coherent instructions.
Any tips? Any red flags?
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Old November 27, 2022, 03:58 PM   #2
tangolima
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It will be like running a steel mill. No info to offer, but will be following with enthusiasm.

Trying to make lead-free solid bullets?

-TL

PS I know a guy who claims he could swage brass casings into bullets, probably with steel cores.

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Last edited by tangolima; November 27, 2022 at 04:04 PM.
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Old November 27, 2022, 04:18 PM   #3
Marco Califo
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tangolima, not casting brass solids, not yet anyway. That discussion came up once before. IIRC the behavior of molten brass in molds designed for lead bullets was problematic. That may have had to do with shrinking or the lack of it.
Anyway, I found some info on the internet, and the borax can be melted alone, first, then tipped to coat the crucible insides. Then poured into my mold to flux that, too. It preps the surfaces.
Actually, my initial purpose is to melt down SPP 45 ACP brass, so that it never confronts a 45 ACP loader again in their range brass.
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Old November 27, 2022, 04:37 PM   #4
tangolima
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That's funny. Hammer on anvil will smash those out-cast brass out of circulation, and it uses less energy.

I'm sure brass cast bullets require setup different from lead bullets.

Will be following.

-TL

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Old November 27, 2022, 08:48 PM   #5
Marco Califo
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Small propane furnace kits can be purchased for $135.
This is what I bought on Amazon: GONGYI USA 6KG Propane Melting Furnace Kit Includes Crucible and Tongs Foundry Kiln Made by Full Stainless Steel for Smelting Scrap Metal Recycle Gold Copper Aluminum Casting GMF600.
It has lots of good reviews and is a best seller. It has a $30 off coupon so cost was around $135.
Separately, I purchased a mold and welding gloves. It has arrived but I have not opened it yet.
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Old November 27, 2022, 08:52 PM   #6
Jim Watson
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Quote:
Actually, my initial purpose is to melt down SPP 45 ACP brass, so that it never confronts a 45 ACP loader again in their range brass.
That is a waste of time and money, I don't particularly like but do have a use for .45 Small.
How about a few hundred in a flat rate box?
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Old November 27, 2022, 10:04 PM   #7
FITASC
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Quote:
That is a waste of time and money, I don't particularly like but do have a use for .45 Small.
How about a few hundred in a flat rate box?
Seconded! I have more SPP than LPP
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Old November 27, 2022, 11:23 PM   #8
Marco Califo
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because i want to.
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Old November 28, 2022, 12:01 AM   #9
tangolima
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Originally Posted by Marco Califo View Post
because i want to.
Nothing wrong. It is an experiment. What you learn from it may become useful for other projects, say casting solid brass bullets. I just find it funny, that's all. I do funny things of similar nature sometimes.

-TL

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Old November 29, 2022, 12:11 PM   #10
Marco Califo
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"Brass is more malleable than bronze or zinc. The relatively low melting point of brass (900 to 940 °C, 1,650 to 1,720 °F, depending on composition) and its flow characteristics make it a relatively easy material to cast."
Wikipedia Brass article.

Iron and steel are higher, but not as high as I thought:
Cast Iron
Fahrenheit (f): 2060-2200
Celsius (c): 1127-1204
Carbon Steel
Fahrenheit (f): 2500-2800
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Old November 29, 2022, 02:12 PM   #11
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Many moons ago I worked in a foundry & did some brass casting in sand molds for myself. One thing I remember doing was to break up a glass pop bottle & put it into the crucible with the brass. The molten glass floats & seals off the molten brass from oxidizing. It took three men to cast with two pouring & one pulling the glass back. That's how I was taught to do it & it seemed to work.
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Old November 29, 2022, 02:38 PM   #12
Marco Califo
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The borax is supposed to look and act like glass. I am doing very small scale. Just fun experimenting. I have a small crucifix mold, maybe 4 oz. Capacity.
I brought up the iron and steel melting points, because they are higher than brass, but I am suspecting lead bullet molds, even if cast iron, or steel may not be viable to cast bullets. I do know some brass solid bullets are machined on a lathe.
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Old November 29, 2022, 02:47 PM   #13
Bill DeShivs
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Casting small brass items in sand is very inexact.
Centrifugal or pressurized casting into plaster moulds is the only way to get detail.
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Old November 30, 2022, 12:17 PM   #14
Marco Califo
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Lost Wax Plaster Mold

I will initially be casting into "Machined graphite ingot with a steeper wall taper".
Plaster is interesting though. I could cast some bullets out of wax. Then make a one-off plaster mold around the wax bullets (with a hole of course). Melt off the wax and cast brass into the plaster mold. Breaking off the plaster would leave the brass bullet, to be cleaned, trimmed, etc.
This method could also be used to cast brass rods, which could then be lathed to final deminsions.
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Old November 30, 2022, 12:50 PM   #15
Jim Watson
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Melting point of silver is about 960C, not much hotter. So for a similar project see how a vampire novel author's husband tackled the Silver Bullet Problem:

https://www.patriciabriggs.com/artic...rbullets.shtml

Includes a copy of the hilarious 'Lone Ranger go Away' with the undying quote:
"It's a cinch Tonto didn't cast these silver bullets over a campfire."
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