View Full Version : jason's casting quest equipment

10-26-2005, 10:06 PM
I think I name is very fitting at this time. OK a little info on me, I have been messing with casting for about a 1 year on and off. I have a small hotpot that I use. Well I have been very seriously thinking about getting a 45 the last few weeks and I would reload if I did. Looking into this I noticed how much bullets for a 45 cost. I about fell out of my chair. Then I started thinking I can cast bullets. Well that opened up pandora's box. Finding out first off the ole hotpot has to go. Nice for small stuff, I will let it do my fishing lures and weights. Well on the mighty quest. I have so fair made about 33 pounds of lead from wheelweights. Not very fun work with the hotpot. So this brings me to problem number one of my quest. The proper equipment. Me doing some research and fairly savvy i have looked up on google and also on about 4 different reloading websites. Not much on casting, BOO!! But I have found out however that if I want ot do lead smelting, I think that is the right term that for the volume it I need, I need a propane burner and a big pot. Propane burner is easy to get. Bass pro has them on sale for 30 bucks and they even throw in a turkey frier, mmmmmm turkey. So now Question number 1 of many is there any certain pot that would work good for smelting ww. I have a old teflon pot, like a big boiling pot. My main concern is not killing the pot, but killing me. Can i use this type of pot or will the teflon screw up the casting. I will await further input on this subject before writing more. And by the way its great to finally find a no kidding casting site. Thanks
The Quest goes on

10-26-2005, 10:46 PM
The turkey fryer is what I use with a elcheepo dutch oven.
This does a fine job of smelting then I pour into old muffen

10-26-2005, 11:31 PM
Take a trip to the local flea market, or yard sales, looking for cast iron. They should be dutch oven size or larger. NEVER USE TEFLON COATED pots, in an overheated condition they give off a poison gas, not good in a closed room, and can be bad outside. Also never use aluminum, when it gets hot ,it gets weak, sags under weight, ruptures, and pours hot lead on your feet. Dont worry about rust, just brush off what you can, it doesnt melt at lead melting temps, and if any that comes loose it should float to the top to be skimmed off with the other crud. For ingot molds alot of things work, like real ingot molds, cast iron corn bread molds (to make corn bread look like corn) and some muffin pans, (make sure they are smooth tapered, and seemless, or the lead may stick). Now go back to older questions on this topic, as there is a lot of information here. D.Mack

10-26-2005, 11:43 PM
OR pick up from the local 2nd hand store a 2 qt. stainless steel pot like I did this week, along with a nice cast iron muffin pan. Makes little bite sized ingots to fit the little electric Lee 10 lb.er I have. Now I need to make a bail for it. (the 2qt. not the muffin pan)

10-27-2005, 01:01 AM
..........My first batching-rendering setup was a Coleman camp stove and a 2-3 qt stainless salad bowl I swiped from the war dept. This was used for many many years, doing a fine job. Last year I decided to go the propane turkey fryer route, mainly to increase production so I only had to do it a couple days a year.

I bought a 6 qt cast iron dutch oven at Harbor Freight, and it must hold at least 100 pounds as it's a real deal to lift it full of lead. The propane burner is very fast heating the initial melt and maintains it's heat well. I think I have $40 tied up in the deal.

Cheak out the stickies at the top of this forum. Don't forget you have to think of ingot moulds too!


10-27-2005, 01:22 AM
Buckshot i have no idea how i could have forgotten about HF good call i have one down the way. I think i will go the 10 inch that looks beefy enough for what i need to get done. I have a trip to wallyworld in the future, most likely at payday i will check in there when i stop by. So now i need to decide on the type of ingots i need to do. I have a Lee ingot mold but I'm thinking a few different sizes my be a good thing

10-27-2005, 10:10 PM
well i had a bit of time today and i went to HF and got a 10 inch 4 quart cast iron dutch iron, brandnew for all of 14.00 even with tax. this thing looks like it will last a small nuke war. so thats a good thing. so on to finding the turkey burner. i may pick that up this weekend.

10-28-2005, 12:32 AM
I bought a turkey cooker at Wally World a couple years ago in November, I think. They didn't have any in the store but I went outside to the garden shop area where they had stashed a lot of seasonal stuff. I found at least 5 different models piled up in the racks. All of them were about 50% off. I picked out the strudiest looking one. I stored the aluminum pot and accessories away and bought a cheap dutch oven to melt wheel weights in.

10-28-2005, 01:23 AM
i looked at wally world the other day for one and what i found wasn't that great, but i saw it was 25 dollars. well that night i went home and the wife got the mail and there it was, one at the bass pro shop that looked alot nicer then the one at wally world. it was 30 for that one, but they give a 10% discount for military so all in all i think the one at bass pro most likely will be better and they carry alot of cast iron there so i can look around and see what i can find

10-28-2005, 08:20 AM
Just make sure it has a good sturdy base. You don't want it to collapsing and dumping molten lead on your feet. The one I bought is made of 1/2" steel rod welded together. It looks like the manufacturer was trying to avoid any liability for accidents.

10-31-2005, 03:06 AM
ok so i went down to the bass pro shop and picked up my turkey cooker, 32 bucks of the whole thing and not a bad little package i must say. well having the cooker i full tank of lp and a cast iron pot i thought i would burn off the oil that was on my pot. well i got it smoking and started to think if this was a bad becuase its was empty. can anyone tell me if it is ok to get these things hot with out nothing in them. also today i fould my slag skimmer. a nice coleman spoon from wally world. a whole 2.69 cant bet that. well i have to find a good ladle and good clip skimmer. i got a good idea for the clip skimmer, still working on the ladle. i looked at the rowells but are they worth the money for one. any thoughts on this. thanks

David R
10-31-2005, 07:08 AM

A good ladle is important. Make sure the handle can carry the weight of the lead.

I guess its OK to get your pan hot, its cast iron after all. I have seen the bottom of my pan glow red while the lead pipe was not melted yet.

I built my own burners. One from one of those weed burners you see at welding stores. I just put the nozzle/burner part on a 90* elbow and mounted it with a good sturdy stand. I also built one from scratch. The scratch one is closer to the ground which I prefer. Much quieter too.


10-31-2005, 08:04 AM
..........jballs918, You might as well forget about that Lee ingot mould unless ya gotta zillion of'em :D. You'll have 85 lbs of molten lead at 900* and one bitty ingot mould. I can suggest where your production bottleneck will be :mrgreen:

I hate to suggest Wally World as I detest that place with a purple passion, but I was mopping along behind the missus one day (I HAD to go, copy?) so there we were, stalled out in the middle of an aisle due to some shopping cart wreak and lo and behold a big display of these "Mini Loaf Pans" were right there.

I brightened right up and glommed on to 2 of'em ($5.38 each) and didn't even ask permission. She turned around and said, "Ingot moulds"? Yup sez I. They're way better then the round ones I'd been using. Posted pictures of'em over on Shooters.com. I figure I can fill'em about half full and they'll go maybe 2 lbs each or so. I dis-remember but they make 10-12 each.


10-31-2005, 10:32 AM
I was having problems with getting enough heat in the MOAS - Felix and I have been cussing and discussing a new burner system for it - so I finished our last big WW score during the past couple of days with my old set up. I have a large cast iron dutch oven on a turkey cooker. I fill the pot heaping full and then hit it with a weed burner (from HF, but of course!). Instant melt, right now! And it burns off alot of gunk real quick. Skim, then dipper off into ingots, and do it again. I'm sure my pot holds at least a hunert pounds of melt, but I generally just get no more than about 3/4 full as I get into a purdy good rythm, and it goes along right well. I use a small shovel and do not handle the WWs or scrap directly. I use a wheel barrow to store the WWs (after sorting - see below), and another to collect clips until cool.

So after a few hours work I wound up with maybe (just guessing) 700-900 pounds (plus what's left in the MOAS - couple hunert?), two buckets of trash (valves, tire stickers, an old broken plastic flower pot (huh?, where did THAT come from?), cigarette packs, rags, you name it), 3 buckets of steel clips, and maybe a hunert pounds of the flat stick on WWs which were segregated for doing round balls for ML (gonna have to see if they really are softer than regular WWs).

Felix, got 7 good buckets coming back atcha. Others all broke. We can put them in a large trash bag to handle and move, because they are really very nasty.

Unless anyone really wants to go into major production, the dutchy oven and turkey cooker are probably the best way to go for home use - having more than a hunert pounds of melt can be hazardous if you're not paying attention. I really like the addition of the weed burner, because it significatly speed up the operation, and I ocassionally use it for its intended purpose.

About the trash. Years ago I used to just dump and melt, until I began to see all manner of garbage in it. Even had a live round go off in the MOAS (heavy cover in place, but there was no mistaking what it was) while doing range scrap. Now, I'll dump the stuff on a sheet of plywood and take a look see. Remember, only you can prevent a mishap. And in this latest run it gives me a chance to get the water off them before the go into the pot. I did have one little explosion this time (either a wayward water drop, a bug, who knows) and got a small spot on my arm and on my glasses. Did I mention safety? This activity is NOT for stoopid people.

Happiness is a large pyramid of clean ingots! sundog

10-31-2005, 11:22 AM
Corky, a couple of weeks ago someone stated we need a fork looking heater from a commercial furnace, fed by two 100 gallon propane tanks. It takes that much surface area within the gas tanks to evaporate enough "heat" to do justice to that MOAS. Maybe we should check this out for next year's WW and range scrap run. AND, WE NEED HELP from some younger casters who would like some of the produce. If that does not come to pass, I will see if I can get some college kids who need some cash. I'm sure we can get some of Nick's friends over there if we can't get someone from a local school. ... felix

10-31-2005, 08:02 PM
That was me.

I would also suggest ditching the factory reg on the burner and going with a "fuel gas" reg from an industrial source.

Building burners is easy, you can do it from pipe fittings. Here's an idea for an air mixing valve using a "T" fitting:

You call also use a ball valve instead of a swinging cover plate.

This is what I was talking about:

If your really sneaky, you space the "tines" wide enough so you can stick another tine in from the other side using another "fork" burner.


10-31-2005, 08:53 PM
Ok, what kind of pipe? Objective is to light the damn thing and go away for the night, and do the results of the melt the next morning. We don't want the pipes to melt under any circumstance. 1 inch carbon steel? 3/4 inch? stainless steel ball valve? I know that gate valves are easiet to adjust for a just right air stream. ... felix

10-31-2005, 09:31 PM
Plain ole' black pipe should work. There are a number of ways to do an air valve. I just presented two of them that would be cheap and easy.

And lighting and walking away is an absolute nono. Your dealing with molten metal, fire, and combustable gas. It absolutely HAS TO BE WATCHED.

Besides, I think that it would melt down a full load in less than two hours.


11-12-2005, 09:06 PM
hhhmm i see a bit of derailing on this post, anyways back to the quest at hand. last weekend i went out and got 53lb of ww for 10 bucks. not the best deal but not the worse. ok so this weekend i have to stay at my house im on call for work, for the las vegas air show. not a big one, gives me penty of time to kick around the house. well i bust out the old turkey cooker and fire up the old burner. put the pot back on and get it warming up. i grab about 25lb of ww and decide to drop them into the pot. well less then 5 minutes later the ww are alomost done. this is great the fastest i have ever done this and all the smoke was alot less this time. to hell with my hotpot 2. so i take my 2.50 scooper from wally world and get all the crude out of the pot. everything is going great. so i dont have a ladle yet so i decided to use my scimming spoon. i see no problem with this. so i still fulling up my mini muffin pan and get it all full. i figured out at this time i think it will be a great idea to get more of these becuase i have only removed a little bit of lead from the pot. well i will take care out that later. so my being happy things are going so well i go to dump them out and nothing, nada, nunca. there stuck. ok so i try dropping them a few times thing that they my come out. nothing, i beat them with a hammer, nothing. so i had to beat the muffin cups out and drop them back into the lead and melt them out. so big problem i got 25 lbs of lead in my pot and nothing ot put it in. i go and get my wifes muffin tin and procede to start dropping the lead it. needless to say i owe her a pan. but i had the same problem with that one, but not as bad becuase it was rusy. only 4 of the 12 stuck. so now i must find a better mold. does anyone have this problem with cast iron, if not then i will see about getting some of it. or does anyone else know a good way to mold with costing a fortune. yet agian thanks for all your info

11-12-2005, 09:28 PM
Jason, Jason, Jason em,em,em,em,em! Son you didnt read rule #1(never never never use light gauge steel for an ingot mold. Especialy old bread pans you found at the dump, but lets not go there. here ya go, we just got a new sportsman wharhouse up in FB and I saw there some cast iron corn bread molds. Those will work nicely. I have several similer but mine are cast aluminum which also works nicely. I have four each with seven cavities which is enough to keep the process going smoothely. Go back three spaces, do not pass go, do not collect $200.. Just in case here is a get out of jail free(get your wife a couple too).

11-12-2005, 11:10 PM
If you live in Vegas ,PM me and I will give you a lyman ingot mould. Are you stationed at Nellis.

Be carefull Dye

11-12-2005, 11:33 PM
Jason--The old aluminum muffin molds work fine for ingots. I bought 10 at a garage sale for .25 a piece.

11-12-2005, 11:40 PM
ok maybe im just not using them right, i was also thinking about the cast iron cornbeard molds. but i found some that looked like caktis molds. i my go with those. just something different

11-13-2005, 03:42 AM
What's wrong with sheetmetal ingot molds? I use a bunch of loaf pans from Wally World and they work great.


11-13-2005, 12:10 PM
The key (for me) is the aluminum. I have not had lead stick to it. I quickly threw away the regular sheet metal muffin tins after I had an experience similar to yours.

Do they even sell aluminum muffin tins at wally world any more? All I ever see at the regular stores are the sheet metal ones. I have gotten all mine for .25 to .99 at the local thrift shops.

Anyone in the know-
Are WW soft enough to bend if run through one of those Do-It decoy weight molds? Will the only ones that are useable for decoys be the ones made from tape weights?

Here is a link to the mold I am talking about.
http://www.do-itmolds.com/products/specialpurposemolds.php?UID=2005111308101712.216.8 2.25&category=strap_decoy_anchor_-_ingot_mold

11-14-2005, 12:51 AM
i use the mini-muffin pans all the time with no problems. you have to get the seemless,one piece stamped kind. the ones with the cups crimped in will stick. the teflon will leave a bubbly surface on the ingots until you get it cooked off but it doesnt seem to affect the bullets any.

Wayne Smith
11-14-2005, 08:46 AM

The secret is simple - rust! Or at least it worked for me. I use an old muffin tin with which I had the same experience, including beating with a hammer! I was able to pound some shape back into the cavities, and let them rust. The ingots fall out now, albeit with some interesting wrinkles.

11-14-2005, 09:23 AM
The teflon will leave a bubbly surface on the ingots until you get it cooked off but it doesnt seem to affect the bullets any.

AHA! I wondered what was causing the cratered look in my ingots!


11-14-2005, 10:15 AM
The trick to making ANY type muffin pan work for an ingot mold is polishing it with Jello. But you have to pick out all the sugar and all the flavor before you use it. The sugar will be the white spots and the flavor will be the colorful spots. Once all this is picked out,what remains will be the substance you need to polish your muffin pan so that it works as an ingot mold. It works on any muffin pan,rusted,non rusted,seamless,seamed,welded,glued together,aluminum,steel,teflon,non teflon,dimpled,smooth,virgin,non virgin,new,used,bought,stolen,bought from department store,wally world,yard sale,from wives kitchen--with or without her permission,Goodwill Industries,Salvation Army,Red Cross,taken from an enemy soldier during WW1 or ww2,Civil war,Korean war,Viet Nam,or any other war,can be from a fallen comrade from any war,inherited from any family or non family member,dump ground find,New Orleans,Twin Towers,or any other type not mentioned.

11-14-2005, 12:37 PM
carpetman not trying to sounds like a butthead but how does one go about polishing with jello. im sure i could pick up some plain jello. this sounds pretty interesting

11-14-2005, 01:27 PM
Jballs---That might be a good idea,buying unflavored Jello to start with---never thought of or tried that. To polish you HAVE to do it in back and forth motion---never circular motion. Use a soft natural cloth--no synthetics. I have found red and white checkered color to work best. Try it and post your results.

11-14-2005, 03:00 PM
ok i got a hotpot2 i can warm up a small batch and see what i get. now you got me thinking. im going to go home and look at teh box of jello

11-14-2005, 06:50 PM
can we just buy plain flavored sugar-free Jello and skip all the picking out?

Will it ruin the taste of the muffins when the tin gets returned to the kitchen?

11-15-2005, 09:44 AM
I think he just likes jello.


11-15-2005, 10:14 AM
I have tried to tell several folks them mini loaf pans are for the birds, wife didnt listen, so we bought some, they sucked, the lead sticks to the non stick coating, and the multi piece construction is not very strong.

The BEST thing I have found are called "popover pans"


They can be found on Egay, my first one came from Goodwill, they work great, and last forever.

The Lodge cast iron cornbread type skillet works OK but not quite as good as the popover pans, ingots do not come out of the Lodge quite as easily.

http://www.atlantafixture.com/Detail.aspx?ItemId=207597&S=1 another Egay item

I actually prefer smelting once the snow is on because you can quench your ingot molds on the snow for faster production.

I found a HUGE stainless ladle at a kitchen store, it is for stock pot use so it has a LONG handle, and it is one piece construction, it would probably hold ten lbs a scoop.

To those using the Harbor freight cast iron Dutch ovens, be vewwy vewwy carefull if you try to move them with lead in them (bad idea anyway) the chinkese bail handle or the eyes it is in are designed wrong and the pot does not care if it stays hanging level or not, IE it will be quite glad to flip over while you are carrying it by the handle.


12-31-2005, 12:10 AM
well i havent posted on this in a while since i have been doing so much lately. but as for the mold issue i have finally solved that. my beloved wife decided to get me a nice cast iron 1 1/4 lb cast iron ladle. i love it it works great for what i found for a mold. and you asked what did i find finally. i went with a 9 hole cornbread maker. cast iron and tuff as hell and only 5 bucks. i could beat it. so on to the next item at hand. that would be the melting pot. i love the turkey burner but it is a bit big for just casting, great for smelting. so that brings me to the next decision, bottom verses top. i'm making more or less rifle bullets. speed it not an issue im looking more for quality. most will be around 100 to 150 gains. and most of the molds out there are 1 and 2 holers. i was looking at getting maybe a lee 20 magunum with a RCBS pour ladle. but i have heard that the lee pot only holds on a good day about 13 pounds. i also have been working making 1/2 lbs lead bars for casting sessions to help on the whole temp issue. so if anyone can tell me if what im thinking is way off or a good idea please give me so more inputs. as always thanks

12-31-2005, 01:33 AM
jballs-Jason---For your described purposes I don't really see only 13 pounds as a limitation---for your heavy bullets 150 grainers that would be 606.667 bullets and you said you are not after speed. For the 100 grainers you'd be getting 910 bullets out of 13 pounds. My vote would still be the bottom pour and despite all the horror stories you can read,I do like my Lee. (not so fond of Lee molds). Hey did you try the Jello?

12-31-2005, 01:32 PM
no i didnt try the jello sorry i just went out and got the corn pans it was cheap from the bx

01-01-2006, 04:17 AM
...............Ditto The Carpetman's last post (forgetting the Jello part) re: Lee pot.


01-27-2006, 04:32 PM
Jason my man: I had a similiar problem with boughten muffin tins. I now use egg cartons! You know those carboard ones that contain 12 eggs. I place them on a two by four plank and carfully ladle into the cavity until it is about even with the partition separating it from the other 11 cavities. Once it is full with two hands I transfer it to my BBQ grill to cool. I have about 6 of them going at once and by the time I fill the last one the first one is solidified enough to dump onto the ground. They are good for about 4 or 5 castings and then they are scorched enough to develop hole and can crack. So start saving those egg cartons. I also slice off the cover as it is clumsy. I have a whole 5 gallon plastic bucket full of egg carton shaped ingots. I went the dutch oven cast iron route on a side burner that came with my Sears BBQ. I also have a propane weed burner which I will try to use the next time I cast some ingots.

02-03-2006, 01:00 AM
Hi all. Iv'e been lurking a while and this is my first post. I am just getting started and have been using a colman propane stove with a 8 qt ss stock pot. For ingots I've been using pop cans with the tops cut off. They take a while to cool but you can't beat the price. Ingots usually go about 7 to 7 1/2 lbs from WW and fit into my 20 lb lee pot.


02-03-2006, 04:46 AM

may i welcome you to the craziness they call casting. well yet agian things at antes's looney bin as my wife calls it are going well. the casting project is nearing full steam. i have all my 77lbs of lead all cleaned and made into ingots. i recently received a lee 20 bottom pour from joed, thanks a ton. so now comes the most importent part the molds. i have a eye on 2 for them for me. A rcbs for my 32ws, not cheap eeekkk. and the handles i got really lucky and scored yet another get deal from a casting member. thank god i found this place, i have saved a ton of money. so as i grow ever closer to casting my first bullet i'm getting very excited. and i sure hope in the long run this saves my money becuase the wife has about had it lol. but i want to say to all of you guys thanks. i have learn just a ton about casting and how to do it and have to make it work and work well. they say the proof is in the puddin, so we will see.