View Full Version : Diary of a Casting Pot Construction

02-17-2006, 07:23 PM
I am building a new casting pot, and wanted to document my experience in this post for all to see.

Why am I building my own pot when I can purchase a Lee or Lyman pot? I wanted a pot that held at least 100 lbs of lead, and also could be foot activated for production purposes.

What I am trying to construct is an improvement over the pot I have used for many years. Here is a photo:


This pot works great, but has a few faults. One of which is that it takes way too long to heat up for use. Half filled, it takes about 2 hours for the pot to come up to temperature. That fact, and along with the other problems I have had with it, I decided to build an improved (I hope) design.

Here are the materials laid out:


Last week I concentrated on getting all the raw materials. Here is a list of materials, and their associated cost. I will add more materials as I purchase them.

$25 - 12" x 12" x 3/8" Steel Pipe Section (I cut this in half for my pot)
$25 - 13" W x 60" L x 1/4" Steel Plate
$45 - 3 - 6" 1500 Watt Electric Range Elements
$45 - 3 - Maytag Ceramic Element Connectors
- 2 - 5/8" x 24" All Thread Rod
- 26 - 5/8" Hex Nuts
- 1 - 3/8" x 24" Angle Iron
- 1 1 1/2" x 24" Angle Iron
- 2 - 3/8" Round Rod
$25 - 1 - 220V Switching Relay (Part of Temperature Control
$10 - 3 - LEE 20lb Pot Spouts (I need 3 to ensure spares)
$10 - 2 - LEE 20lb Pot Spout Rods
$50 - Consumables (Welding Rods, Grinding Pads, etc...)

This week I cut the 12" x 12" pipe section in half. My pot dimensions are 12" Diameter, 5.5" tall, by 3/8" thick. I also cut the bottom plate and the top shelf plate. This is what they looked like after grinding all the pieces:


Today I completed tacking the top shelf, the pot, and the bottom plate together. Here is a photo with a 16oz bottle of coke for scale:


This weekend I expect to do the welding on the pot base, shelf, and anywhere else it needs.

Here is a photo of testing out the element placement:


More to come....

02-17-2006, 08:01 PM
Good luck on your project ;-)
Looks like your off to a good start.

Blacktail 8541
02-17-2006, 08:15 PM
Nice start to your project, loking forward to the updates.

02-18-2006, 05:03 AM
...............Texasflyboy, really tidy work so far. I appreciate your taking the time to lay everything out so well to create the documentary of the construction. I'm really looking forward to seeing the balance of your posts on continuing construction. Pictures sure as heck add to the interest and information value.


02-21-2006, 10:32 PM
Well, I am about 95% done after a long day of work.

Here is the result:


I have about 48 photos on my web server showing the progress of construction.

Rather than eat up bandwidth here, I will post a listing of the URL's.

All of the URL's for the 48 photos begin with this address:


Here are the links to the photos:








































I will post later text to go with the photos. Tomorrow, or later this week, I will drill and tap the spout hole and begin assembly of the temperature control mechanism will will consist of the following parts:

Partlow 0F to 1000F Temperature control thermostat
220V Switching relay
Individual on/off switches for each heating element
On/Off switch for Whole Unit
Small Switchbox with 30A Circuit breaker.
Cord and plug to tap into a 30A dryer outlet

02-22-2006, 10:07 PM
I’m not sure which is more impressive the quality and workmanship, or the fact that you stopped and photographed it so thoroughly. When I’m working on something like that I hate to stop. Great Project!

02-22-2006, 11:01 PM
IT'S ALIVE!!!! Or just about. Now it needs a name. Make it a good one as it's sure to be copied. I feel like an uncle.

02-22-2006, 11:46 PM
IT'S ALIVE!!!! Or just about. Now it needs a name. Make it a good one as it's sure to be copied. I feel like an uncle.

Yep, you sure are. Your help in solving my little electrical problem allowed me to finally set up and use my 220V arc welder, which allowed me to weld the pot. My little cracker jack 110V arc welder would never have done the job.

You are granted "Uncle" status on this one for sure... :-)

02-22-2006, 11:56 PM

On to the spout. After much teeth grinding and wailing, I decided not to reinvent the wheel and try and use off the shelf components where I could.

Lee makes some pretty good pots, and I was able to access their spare parts page online. I noticed that they sold the 20lb. spout and rod as separate parts. So, I ordered three of each.

I was happy with the spout, but disappointed with the rod. The rod looks almost like an afterthought.

So, time to make my own rod.

Here is the result:


The lee rod is at the bottom. My new rod is on top. It seals at both the tip end on also at the flange end. I prototyped the inside of the spout with a wax cast to see what a rod SHOULD look like.

This is the wax cast:


My rod is not nearly what the wax cast is, but patient work on the drill press with 600 grit sandpaper, a caliper, a Swiss flat needle file, and patience, patience, patience got me two sealing surfaces on the new rod. The stock material (the new rod) was found rolling around the bottom drawer of my tool box. I think it’s a leftover handle from those kits you buy to take off bathroom water valves, it’s the handle part.

I may take another crack at this tomorrow to see if I can't closely duplicate the wax impression. If anyone here is a machinist, I could sure use some help.

02-23-2006, 12:15 AM
Will the thermostat controll all 3 of the heating elements? Also what exactly is the funtion of the switching relay? Could one just use the controls for each element like is on a stove? I'm hoping you will detail the electrical stystem.

Your going to end up with an AWESOME pot. Very good looking work.


02-23-2006, 12:25 AM
Here is a photo of my current electrical setup. It uses a 220V switching relay (made in 1962 according to the stamp on the side) a Partlow 0F to 1000F temperature control, and miscellaneous wiring.


The temperature control (Partlow) has an adjustable setting to set the temperature at which the Partlow switches the power to the (in this case) single heating element on my old pot. It's either on (High) or off. There is no in-between.

I *could* use rheostats off of a stove to control temperature, in fact, I was thinking about that today. That would truly be the low cost option, as the Partlow temperature control is about $250 (ouch!). I thought that by using a casting thermometer, I could fine tune and calibrate the rheostats to discover which combination of settings would translate to a corresponding melt temperature.

I don't know which way I will go yet. The Partlow control, once set up, just does its job, switching the relay on and off to keep the temperature where it needs to be. The rheostats are an attractive lower cost option, but would always need to be on. There would be no "off" while casting unles I messed with them.

Don't know the answer, more thinking required. :-?

02/23/06 Update:

Thanks to a touch of insomia, I spent the last few hours on E B * Y and discovered that temperature controllers can be had pretty inexpensively. I even found the exact same model as pictured above (the Partlow MF-4) which is obsolete and discontinued. It sold for $35!!!

I emailed one of the temperature control vendors and for about $75, I can get a modern digital readout, relay output, K Type (0F to 1250F) Thermocouple Temperature controller. If I go used, the price drops to about $50.

With prices like these, I don't think I am going to use stove rheostats. I just may not use the expensive Partlow temperature controller.

Tah for now....ZZZZZzzzzzzz.

02-24-2006, 01:49 AM
Glad to see you are making progress, what a monster. I think you should call it "The Therminator"

Did you consider using three 15 amp 120 volt switches to manually control the heating elements?

02-24-2006, 02:32 AM
.................TFB, most impressive. Looks REALLY industrial, and that's a compliment. What are you going to use for heat insulation?

Have you considered having the spout mouth approx 1/4" up off the floor of the pot? While it would keep you from totally emptying the pot without tipping it, it should help to keep the crud out of the spout. I think this is 95% of the cause of leaking and dripping, crap in the spout.


02-24-2006, 05:17 PM
What are you going to use for heat insulation? Have you considered having the spout mouth approx 1/4" up off the floor of the pot?

1. Insulation...Hmmmmmm

I had in the back of my mind that I might need to insulate this thing for better performance. But until you raised the issue, the thought never made it to the surface. Well, it has. I did a little reading on the 'net and discovered Rock Wool Insulation. It's used in old stoves, blast furnaces, boilers, etc... The temperature rating appears to be in excess of 1500F. So, I think that is what I will use. My plan is simple, unless someone points out a flaw in my thinking. I am going to cover the bottom of the heating elements with a thin plate of steel (1/8", or 3/16th plate) I will extend that out past the all thread just enough to allow about 1" to 2" of space past the circumference of the pot base. Then, I hope to use sheet metal to cover the outside of the pot, leaving 1" to 2" of gap between the sheet metal and the pot wall. I intend to pack this gap with Rock Wool Insulation.

This is a quickie drawing of what I am contemplating:


That's the plan so far.

2. On the spout I agree. The problem is that Lee only threads about 1/4 to 3/8" of the spout. To raise the spout off of the pot floor and create a "ledge" to keep dirt out I was thinking of using a flat washer bored out to act as a step. This would raise the height of the spout by one washer thickness. Which, isn't much, but better than having the spout level with the floor of the pot. I would use two washers, but I don't think I will have enough thread left on the spout to engage.

02-24-2006, 07:04 PM
You might want to leave a little air around the elements .I have repaired a lot of stoves that burn off the connectors when a big pot is set on them they need air circulation...... Dean

02-24-2006, 07:06 PM
With the wall thickness of the pipe you're using, it would seem that once it came up to temp, it would hold pretty steady without any insulation. Though I guess it would save a bit of time getting it hot.


02-24-2006, 09:15 PM
You might want to leave a little air around the elements .I have repaired a lot of stoves that burn off the connectors when a big pot is set on them they need air circulation...... Dean

thanks. This is a quick drawing of what I intend to do with the elements.


The bolts I welded to the bottom of the pot to hold the elements in place are long enough to place a double nut on the end, leaving about 1" of bolt sticking out. I will cut the plate to fit the red square (from each corner of the all thread) and drill three holes where the red triangle has corners. I will use that 1" of bolt sticking out to hold that plate in place. I don't think I will use insulation here, just the plate cover to block the elements should be sufficent.

02-24-2006, 09:21 PM
For insulation you might try ceramic ( spelling ) sheet insulation.

We use it for around boilers , when we repair them and destroy the old insulation.

It is a soft white insulation , that dosn't cause me to itch
But is real hard on utility knife blades .

It comes in different sized sheets .
A local plumbing or heating supply house should have it .
A local boiler repair man might be sweet talked out of enough scraps to do the job for free .

We pitched all the scraps last job or I could give you enough .

Another Idea to think over , a insulated lid or cover , mabe for 2/3 or 3/4 of the top .
I have a insulated cover that I made for the Lee 20 lb pot , I have turned the pot off and came back 1/2 hr later and the lead was almost hot enough to cast yeat .

It looks like you are doing a great job .


02-24-2006, 10:35 PM

johnch said: "For insulation you might try ceramic ( spelling ) sheet insulation.

We use it for around boilers , when we repair them and destroy the old insulation.

It is a soft white insulation , that dosn't cause me to itch
But is real hard on utility knife blades .

It comes in different sized sheets."

I think you can get batts of the same stuff, or something similar, through your local woodstove store. I got a 24" square of it about 3/4" thick - a bit pricey, though - a few weeks back to refurbish an old stove I had stored out in the garage that the mice had nested in.


02-24-2006, 10:58 PM
I think we are all talking about the same product. Rock Wool is made from blown Basalt & Slag in a furnace. From what I understand, the process is somewhat similiar to making cotton candy. The stuff is blown in a superheated state and formed into strands.

Rock Wool has been used as stove insulation for years, especially older stoves. It comes loose, or in bats, or in semi-formed blocks. I just found some on eBay, so no problem finding some. I am still trying to decide if I need to insulate at all. More thought required...

02-25-2006, 03:51 AM
I am still trying to decide if I need to insulate at all. More thought required...

...............I'm no enginner, but I see a large mass into which you will be dumping heat. There is a large number of square inches of surface which will radiate heat away. Not being an engineer and uncertain of the terms, but I think once up to heat you'll lose it 2 ways. One is radiated (hold your hand a distance away and feel the heat) and the other is I think convection (?) which is air movement.

All home use lead casting furnaces are insulated and have a sheet metal jacket. Why not yours? Since air is a very poor conductor of heat (good at carrying it away, but poor transmission) I'd see a 1/8 to 1/4" airspace between the steel pot and then the mentioned solid insulation sheet, backed up by the rockwool insulation. All covered with a sheetmetal jacket, ideally with a polished or other reflective surface faced inward.

For under the burners, at a minimum I'd recommend a single sheet with a polished surface facing up.

Positively proven, a great deal of heat is retained via reflection. It's well proven that people covering gasoline engines with chrome plateing are placing an additional burden on their cooling systems, via heat retention. Bad for them, and good for you. Fiberglass insulation batting used in building construction is nothing more then a way to gather discreet airspace together in easily managed bundles!


02-25-2006, 12:20 PM
Ok, I am convinced. I agree with your posting. I am working today on putting the plate under the heating elements. Rather than polishing the surface to get a reflection, I think I will just use two sheets of aluminum foil. Which ought to take take of the reflection issue (nice and shiny and won't melt).

Gotta go work...

02-25-2006, 05:47 PM
Enclose the switching relay for safety. You can get a gray painted metal box with with a cover. They are cheap, come in many sizes, and are used as junctions for wiring conduit. They have lots of knockout holes for different size connectors.

02-25-2006, 06:16 PM
You might want to look at this site. I would stay away from the castable refactory because of wieght and it is not as efficent as the Kao-wool. I don't know if this is the same thing as your talking about but K-wool is good up to 2100 degress F. I use it to make my own propane blacksmith forges and it works very well. Paul is a very nice gentleman and will talk on the phone about what you may need to get where your going with you're project! Thanks for sharing!


02-25-2006, 06:53 PM
I don't think insulation weight is going to add much. This pot will hold over 230 pounds of lead, and with the heavy metal construction will probably weigh close to 350 pounds when full.

02-27-2006, 04:50 PM
Worked this weekend on the pot, had a few issues to deal with, the good news is that everything worked out in the end.

Here is where I am now, shielding has been added to hold the Rock Wool Insulation:


After Buckshot's post regarding insulation, I agreed with his thoughts. It can't hurt, and can only improve the efficiency of the pot. I was able to adapt the design to install the shielding, sheet metal purchased from Home Depot and cut to fit.

Prior to the heat shielding, I did finally manage to drill and tap the pot for the Lee 20lb spout. The Lee Spout is threaded 7/16 - 20. Consulting my tap and die chart, I discovered I needed a letter size drill ("W") to drill the hole. Another trip to Grainger, the only place around I can buy a single letter size drill bit. That ate up half the day on Friday. I had to disassemble the whole rig to get it down to the pot. I then jury rigged a platform on my drill press and clamped the pot in place. From the outside in (meaning I drilled the pot from the outside of the bottom towards the inside of the pot) I drilled the hole, and then removed the drill bit without touching the pot position. I inserted the 7/16 - 20 tap and by releasing the tension on the drill press, I hand started the tap (Note: No power to the press, I used my hand to twist the drill chuck manually) with the assistance of the press. I did it this way to insure a deal straight tap start. Once the tap started, I released the tap from the press and fitted a hand tap handle and proceeded to tap the hole manually after that.

I then released the pot, and hand stoned flat the ridge inside the pot created by the bit coming into the pot. I used a small stone that came with a Buck Pocketknife. No idea what grit it is, but I wet the stone, and just patiently worked it back and forth over the hole until I had a nice shiny flat spot all around the drill hole. I did the same thing to a flat washer, after boring out the center of the washer to just under the OD of the spout flange. I finished up both with 600 & 1000 grit wet sandpaper.

Here is the spout installed:


And the water test to see if the mold guide was centered: (it was)


Once the spout and side heat shielding was done, I decided on a design change for the heating element retainer. Instead of the flat stock (1/2") I had used, I removed the flat stock and cut to fit a piece of sheet metal to cover the whole heating assembly, and also to act as a retainer for the elements.


Why did I change this? The 1/2" metal flat stock didn’t' work out because I had to layer another 1/4" nut on top of the nut holding the flat stock in place to act as a stop for the heat shield that I was installing. I realized quickly by the time I layered all those nuts, the mold top would be over 2" - 3" from the bottom of the pot spout, making for a long long drop for the lead stream. I was worried that with such a long drop, the lead stream would cool too quickly and I would get all sorts of problems.

So, after taking a break and thinking about the problem, I realized that the flat stock holding the elements in place could be eliminated in favor of a piece of sheet metal to do both jobs, holding the elements in place, and also shielding the heat of the elements.

Here is the finished work:


Here is a photo of the pot as it stands today: (side heat shields painted flat black with 1000F paint)


For the remainder of the day I am working on the foot petal activated spout control. Here is the finished product:


To see the foot pedal spout control in action, click the following link. This is a Apple Quicktime Movie from my Kodak Digital Camera. You will need the Apple Quicktime software to view it, or some other media program that plays .mov files. The file is approximately 5 Megabytes.

Quicktime Movie of the Spout Control (http://users2.ev1.net/~eastus1/newpot/11191.mov)

Here is a URL list of the photos of today's work:




















02-27-2006, 11:08 PM
............You're sure doing some impressive work. I have to ask, but what does your wife think? 8)

When I scrolled onto that photo of the unit with the insulation panels on, for a split second I thought you'd trashed the original deal and went and bought a stainless steel BBQ !

That foot feed is kewl. Mould in one hand and a beer in the other as soon as you rig up a way to have a sprueknocker activated by the other foot!


02-28-2006, 01:41 AM
Texasflyboy---That contraption will never work. I don't see ANY duct tape.

02-28-2006, 03:08 PM
I am now using an Excel spreadsheet to track costs and the tools I used.

The file is here:

Casting Pot Material & Tool List (http://users2.ev1.net/~eastus1/newpot/cpml.xls)

Version 2 of the same File (http://users2.ev1.net/~eastus1/newpot/cpmlv2.xls)

I am using Microsoft Excel 2003. If you need an older version just email me.

02-28-2006, 09:19 PM
Texasflyboy---That contraption will never work. I don't see ANY duct tape.

I used more than one roll of Duct tape. I need to add that to the materials list. I used it to hold pieces in place when I tack welded them. I used it to lay out the sheet metal to cut fine lines. I could go on and on what I used it for, but I used a lot. I even used a small piece to make a sanding pad with the wrong size arbor hole work in my 4 1/2" grinder. Worked like a champ.


02-28-2006, 09:22 PM
............You're sure doing some impressive work. I have to ask, but what does your wife think?

I have no idea what she thinks. She says I need to figure out a way to make money with all these unused skills I have. ;-) Legacy of a former wrench turner....(my dad owned a garage, grew up working on cars, tinkering with this and that).

02-28-2006, 11:52 PM
i love it when a man builds what he needs. ive followed your posts from the start.keep it up,you dont need much help from us,your doing fine on your own.

03-03-2006, 01:18 PM
Todays work was fabricating and installing the spout lever spring return. The spout rod needs opposite force in the form of a spring to ensure that the spout rod positively returns to the spout hole. I found a spring in the size and shape that I needed at a local ACE Hardware store in one of those displays that has about 100 different styles of springs on a display board.

I fabricated a little bracket out of leftover 1/2" flat stock with a hammer and a vice. The bracket was hammered into a large "U" shape and welded to the underside of the pot top after modifications were complete. I drilled a hole in the bottom leg of the "U" and tapped it 1/4" - 20. I then found a 1/4" - 20 bolt and ground a little flat side near the end of the threads and drilled a small hole to accept the spring wire. Since I was drilling on threads, the flat spot is necessary to get the drill bit started, otherwise, the bit walked all over the threads. I drilled a small hole in the 1/2" flat stock foot actuator assembly to accept the other end of the spring. The 1/4" - 20 bolt will allow me to adjust the spring tension by screwing the bolt in or out. The extra 1/4" nut will lock the bolt in place once its set.

Here is the photo of the finished work:


03-03-2006, 04:05 PM
Hint - on drilling a bolt double nut it where you want to drill and then drill right through the nut and bolt (on one of the nut flats of course). If the threads get barfed up a little when you run the nut off it will clean up the threads again.

I am wondering how much the pressure (flow speed) is going to be with that much lead on top of the spout when you open it up to fill a set of molds.


03-03-2006, 06:21 PM
Hint - on drilling a bolt double nut it where you want to drill and then drill right through the nut

Thanks. Neat trick. Have to remember that.

I am wondering how much the pressure (flow speed) is going to be with that much lead on top of the spout when you open it up to fill a set of molds.

That's why I made the spout rod adjustable. On my previous pot, with it about 90% full, I had about 100-150lbs of lead pressing on the spout. The steam came out rather well if you know what I mean. I could fine tune the flow with that adjustable screw.

I have a cadence when I use 8 & 10 cavity blocks which also helps. I place the mold in the tray, press the foot pedal, and with the 124gr. 10 cavity 9mm mold its a 1-2-3 move 1-2-3 move cadence. With the .45 225gr., mold it's 1-2-3-4 move 1-2-3-4 move. Once you get the cadence down, you can fill a gang mold in about 6-8 seconds (best guess). It doesn't take long at all.

03-04-2006, 10:43 PM
The "K" type themocouple arrived in today's mail. I mounted the thermocouple vertically at the rear of the pot using a short piece of 1/2" flat stock. I bored the flat stock about the same OD as the thermocouple sheath and then twirled 600 grit sandpaper on a wooden shish-ka-bab stick split at the end with a small strip of sandpaper trapped in the split. I worked the sandpaper slowly to open the hold OD up to where the stainless steel sheath of the thermocouple would barely slide into the hole. I wanted friction to hold it, and it worked. I then drilled two holes on the other end of the flat stock oversize for two 8-32 bolts. I just spaced them evenly apart. The flat stock was overbored smooth to let the threads of the bolts pass, but the hole in the pot top was tapped 8-32 for the bolts.

Took about an hour for this part of the job.

Here is the photo of the finished work:


03-05-2006, 06:03 AM
..................I can't wait till 'we' melt some lead in this honker 8).

1) Notify Texas Dept of water and power the test will shortly commence
2) Secure and lock power plug in position.
3) Confirm all extraneous electrical consumption on site is off
4) Transition main switch from standby to main grid
5) Man power switch and wait for all clear
6) When directed switch to main grid power service
7) Set element tempurature control
8 ) Flip switch to supply main buss current to elements



Blacktail 8541
03-05-2006, 03:49 PM
Buckshot, you forgot to add notify the fire department to go on standbybecause of brown outs.

03-05-2006, 10:35 PM
For something to be truly impressive, two essential elements are called for:

1. Carbon Arc Rods - ala "Mad Scientist"
2. Large Copper Knife Switch

I may add both...;-)

03-05-2006, 11:17 PM
TFB,Nice work.I love the knife switch idea.Allways wanted one of them to mount on the wall.You will need a hunchback to throw the switch! "IT IS ALIVE" :mrgreen:

03-06-2006, 05:11 AM
.............Yeah, and having a young Terry Garr around wouldn't be bad either, "What magnificent knockers!"


03-06-2006, 11:56 AM

Frankenstein, Igor and Inga in front of HUGE castle doors]
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: What knockers.
Inga: Oh, thank you doctor.

Man that was 1974 She was 25 then.Damm I am getting old!!!

03-06-2006, 10:14 PM
Today was spent fabricating the foot pedal assembly. I had a hard time with this one, but in the end it turned out OK.

I intitially tried to duplicate my old foot pedal, but since it was made entirely out of iron, and was on the small side, I really wanted to use off the shelf parts. Problem solved at Home Depot. I found a galvanized reinforcing sheet metal piece that is used to reinforce deck 2 x 4's. Here is a photo of the piece, unmodified:


Since it was created to fit over a 2 x 4 (edge on) I slipped it over the edge of a 2 x 4, traced its outline, and then made a gentle curve from the inside line out to the edge of the 2 x 4. Something like this:


This piece of curved wood would become the foot pedal.

I next took a short (about 8" or so) piece of 1/2" flat stock and bent it into a wide "U" shape. This would be the bracket to hold the wood & sheet metal foot pedal to the "L" shaped board (more on that later).

I notched the opposite end of the wood slice out of the 2 x 4 to create a gap for a double 1/4" nut that I had welded together (poor man's collar).

Here is a drawing of that:


This was really a one-off, go-by-feel type of thing, so I won't go into more detail into how I built it. Here is the finished product:


Here is a slightly different angle that shows the "U" shaped bracket better:


The assembly was bolted to a 7" wide "L" shaped piece of wood as seen in the above photo. This will get screwed to one of the front legs of the table where the pot will be placed.

Here is a short Quicktime movie of the foot pedal in action, it's about 2MB:

Short 2MB movie of the Foot Pedal (http://users2.ev1.net/~eastus1/newpot/footpedal5.mov)

03-11-2006, 09:31 PM
After a week of work, I finally managed to fire this thing up! The good news is that it works! Here is a 10MB QuickTime Movie of the pot heating up:

(I did mention this is a 10MB file!)

Movie of the Pot Heating up (File Avail. only for 10 days) (http://users2.ev1.net/~eastus1/newpot/potinaction.mov)

Due to my server space starting to fill up, this movie and all the others I posted will only be available until March 22, 2006, and then they will be deleted.

The final 5% of work proved to be challenging. Last week I received the Watlow (made in 1979) temperature control I purchased on eBay. It took a few days for me to figure it out, and how it worked. I grew to like this temperature control, on the inside it looks like a High School science project, with relays, resistors, pot controls, etc... REALLY easy to work and repair these, as you will see later in this post.

Once I figured out the temperature control, I decided to create a control area at the rear of the pot to house all the electrics. Here is what I ended up with:


The Watlow is a very simple temperature control. The dial ranges from 0F to 800F and uses a "J" type thermocouple. There is a range window above the temperature control wheel that shows action 50F above and below target temperature range. The relay inside the temperature control activates when the range setting hits the center. It seems to work pretty well for a nearly 30 year old control. On this particular model, the relay simply flips between open and close on three contacts. Contacts 1 & 2 are normally closed, and when the relay fires, 2 & 3 are closed, 1 & 2 are open. So I decided to use this relay (inside the temperature controller) to control 110V to the other 220V 30A relay that I had purchased. It worked fine.

Finishing up the pot called for installing the foot pedal and welding the round rod to the top of the pot. Here is what it looks like finished (warning - the link is a BIG photo)


Link to larger photo (http://users2.ev1.net/~eastus1/newpot/11482.jpg)

After I finished welding the round rod extension (basically I was connecting the gap between the round rod from the foot pedal to the round rod that was hanging from the turnbuckle attached to the spout control) I decided to add some reinforcing to the wood stand that holds up the pot. Don't have photos of this, but I had some leftover oak 1" planks and these were cut to fit alongside the wood box. Once cut, they were gorilla glued and screwed into place to provide additional support for the pot.

After everything was hooked up and checked for the 10th or 11th time, I decided to plug it in and see if it worked.

And.........it didn't.

The relay in the temperature control was firing, but the big 220V relay wasn't. It's not hard to miss as it makes a loud "clunk" when it opens and closes. I pulled the temperature control apart (the inside just slides right out of the box) and discovered a broken wire on the relay contact. It was an old repair, and the wire had been jarred loose. Yah! I got to use my soldering iron. Popped it back in and the big 220V relay fired right away.

But, no joy on the heating elements.

I was only getting 110V to the heat elements. Unplugged everything and checked again. Starting running continuity checks on the wiring and discovered that the little 30A fuse box I installed had a fuse that was seated cockeyed. The bracket holding the fuse must have gotten bent (opened up) when I was installing the box and the fuse wasn't making contact with one of the circuit legs. Once that was fixed, plugged everything in and .....SMOKE!

Started getting smoke off of everything on the pot. Residual oil from construction, etc.... Let the temp come up to about 400F or so and the smoke disappeared.

I didn't melt any lead tonight, just wanted to verify that the pot worked. Tomorrow, I will start testing the pot with lead to see how long it takes to melt a 50% load of lead.

I consider the project complete. I want to thank everyone for their advice and comments as I went along building this thing.

I kept all the photos I took, the original files, not the reduced photos I posted here.

I have about 350 photos, and the movies also. The folder takes up about 300MB of space, so it will fit on a CD.

My intention is to archive the thread, the photos, and all the other info I gathered to build this pot and put it on a CD and offer it to the visitors of Cast Boolits.

I will make it available for the cost of the blank CD and postage, which I think will be about $3 or less per CD. I ain't interested in making money on this thing.

If you want a CD,


Email me. Here is my email address:


Again, please don't post to this thread if you want a copy of this CD. It wastes bandwidth and doesn't add to the value of the thread.

I do not guarantee that I will do this. I am self-employed, and my time is sometimes gobbled up by making a living. However, if I do decide to do this, here is how I plan on operating:

1. Email me with your name and mailing address. Do not send any money. Don't know how you would since I haven't posted a PayPal address (I don't use PayPal anyway) or my mailing address. Yet.

2. Once I see how many people are interested, I will place a trigger date and number let's say "By May 31, 2006 , 35 CD's" for the sake of argument.

3. On June 1, I will email folks with a mailing address who have emailed me. I will then produce the number of CD's and mail them out once payment is received.

4. Once that is done, game over. I am not interested in mailing out CD's of this project for the rest of my life. So, this is a one time deal.

5. I reserve the right to change or modify any part of this deal at anytime for anyreason including not doing it at all.

I am getting married in a few weeks, so my time is no longer my own. I want to share the info with folks, but I realize that circumstances beyond my control may affect my ability to do this.

So, if you want a CD, EMAIL ME.



03-12-2006, 12:31 AM
I have been wondering throughout this project how you managed enough time to spend the weekends on it. Now I know, your single and didn't have to deal with the honeydew list every weekend. Good thing you got it done before the wedding, and congratulations. To bad that you won't have enough time to use it now. [smilie=l:

First class work and I bet it's going to do a great job for you. Its been interesting following your progress.


03-12-2006, 02:20 AM
.............TFB, you did a rally proffessional job. Not only in the pot construction but in documentation and explainations of why and whatfor. I really like these step by step construction jobs.

I'm anxious to hear about how it works, etc.


03-12-2006, 10:17 PM
Thanks for the kind words.

After 24 hours since I made the offer for the CD, I received just one email.

So, I am modifying the offer.

I am making five (5) copies of the CD. Period. The next four people that email me asking for a copy will get it.

After that, no more.

If the mods of Cast Boolits want one of the CD's for arhive with the thread then PM me or email me and I will mail one free of charge for the board archives.

Time to start casting....

03-13-2006, 02:34 AM
That is a very cool project and I for one am flattered you shared it with us here at CB. I didn't want to step in early but did want to make sure you knew I have been following this thread since day 1.
The membership talents showcased on threads such as this are inspiring and welcome,I look forward to more contributions as you obviously aren't done,despite what your new wife might think.
I would like a copy of the CD,I will pm you my address. I will keep it next to the shooters.com CB archive cd I have on hand. Copies will be available from me in the future for new members that join too late to take you up on this offer.
Thanks again!

03-13-2006, 10:30 AM

BEAUTIFUL JOB all the way around !

I would also like a copy of your CD documenting the construction. E-mail is on the way.

Thanks for all of your efforts in putting the thread together.

Best Regards,

Jerry Lewis

03-16-2006, 10:26 PM
You make a big pot, sooner or later you gotta feed it.

At some point today I realized, just maybe, that the pot might be a little too big.

Sheesh.....How am I going to keep this thing fed?



Beau Cassidy
03-17-2006, 08:39 AM
That looks like a pretty good size ingot. Tell us more.

03-17-2006, 09:03 AM
The ingot is from an old linotype mold that I found in the trash behind a printers shop years ago. One corner had broken off, so they threw it away. However, the other 8 cavities still worked well.

It makes a 3.5lb ingot when using wheelweights.

Here is a photo from my website:


03-17-2006, 01:25 PM
A linotype mold,so that is what it is.I got two of them some years ago.Gee,I do not even remember where? CRS

03-24-2006, 12:24 AM
Seven CD's were mailed out. One was sent to this board for the archives. I think this thread is going to be saved, or moved to an article. You can contact the Admin of this board if you want a copy of the CD.

I have archived this post, and the photos on my web server. I have reformatted the text into a web page describing more detail regarding the construction.

I will be happy to answer questions in the future regarding the pot should anyone email me. The link to the new page will be posted here, and also on my Casting Home page as soon as I have time to finish the coding.

03-24-2006, 08:15 AM
I'm looking foreward to getting my disc. Now to start hitting the tire shop's :castmine:

04-24-2006, 01:16 PM
"If anyone here is a machinist, I could sure use some help." I am a machinist with a home shop.
If you are serious hit me with a pm or email, I think I can solve you problem about raising the spout off the bottom of the pot by making an adapter to thread the spout into. Just trying to help.

I also made a large bottom pour pot but fired it with propane and compressed air. use it for converting wheel weights to ingots

04-24-2006, 06:47 PM
I got my C.D. and spent some time watching it. Very informative and a labour of love. It's given me idea's on my own smelter.

04-04-2007, 05:13 PM
Due to the loss of my server space since this original posting, many of the photos and embedded links in the original posts no longer work. I have moved all the necessary files to my space here at Cast Boolits and am slowly updating a page I created showing how this pot was built.

This new page is meant to replace this original thread for the source material regarding the construction of this casting pot.

Here is the link:

The Cast Boolits Model 1 Casting Pot (http://www.hensleygibbs.com/TCD/articles/castingpot.htm)