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Thread: sprue plate and mold Lubrication

  1. #1
    Boolit Master dbarnhart's Avatar
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    sprue plate and mold Lubrication

    Getting really close to casting my first boolits. My Lee 45 230gr mold arived yesterday. The instructions say:

    "Lubricate your mold. Very lightly touch bullet lubricant to the sprue bushing, 'V' ribs and locating cross pin. Use Lee Bullet Lube #90007. Do not use Liquid Alox as it will bake onto surface and prevent proper closure. WARNING: Do not start casting bullets until your mold has been lubricated"

    OK, having no source of Lee Bullet Lube #90007 nearby, what can I buy at Ace Hardware that will do the job?
    Last edited by JonB_in_Glencoe; 04-20-2017 at 10:49 AM. Reason: edited title only

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    My advice is to ignore the Lee instructions. The lube recommended by Lee is a beeswax/Alox blend that will make a sticky, burnt mess on your mould, no matter how sparingly you use it.

    To get the best results, you WILL need to lubricate your mould or the sprue plate will start to gall and tear up the top of the blocks, and the blocks won't close correctly after a while without a thin film of lube.

    Go to the hardware store and get a 2-oz bottle of two-cycle premix oil, any flavor except outboard. Clean your mould, especially the cavities, with HOT water, at toothbrush, and detergent to remove the machining oil from the pores in the cavities, as any slight trace of oil will cause wrinkles and voids in your boolits. Next, take your clean, dry mould, close it up, and dip a corner of it in the molten lead for about 30 seconds. Swing the sprue plate open and dip the tip of it in the alloy for about ten seconds.

    Now that the mould is somewhat preheated, take a Q-tip and dip it in the oil so that about 1/8" of the tip turns blue-green. This is plenty. Open the sprue plate and rub the soaked Q-tip over the underside of the hot metal until it's all shiny, then swap ends to the dry end of the Q-tip and wipe it off. Do the same thing to the ribs and cross pins, being careful NOT to get any on the flat faces of the blocks where it can migrate into the cavities. Dip the tip again and apply some around the head of the sprue plate pivot screw, letting it wick into the bushing and wave washer. Preheat your mould again and start casting. When you start to get good boolit base fillout, recoat the underside of the sprue plate again, and you can even do the tops of the blocks of a hot mould as long as the cavities have boolits in them to keep the oil from wicking down in the holes.

    I've tried to emphasize how LITTLE it takes, and how using even a hint too much oil can cause casting problems. It is difficult to describe, but if you can see any shine from the oil, you used too much, wipe off the excess with a clean Q-tip.

    And don't use fake Q-tips, get the brand-name ones, as the knock-offs will get you burned due to the weak sticks folding up.

    I usually do this at the beginning of a session, and again at the end when I'm done to prepare the mould for storage. A new mould may take several applications in a casting session until it gets "broken in".

    Hope this helps,

    Gear

  3. #3
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    cbrick's Avatar
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    Synthetic 2 cycle oil. Use very sparingly with a Q-tip, use the other end of the Q-tip to wipe off excess. DO NOT get it into the cavities or use enough that it could migrate into the cavites. Put it on the alignment pins, under side of sprue plate and sprue hinge bolt. Very little goes a long way.

    Rick
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master



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    First, read the Leementing sticky, it's loaded with much information and will allow your Lee mould to be more productive and less troublesome.

    Second, Bullplate, available from member Bullshop, is arguably the best mould lube. Synthetic two-cycle engine oil works well, too.

    Third, if your mould is not clean or hot enough, expect wrinkled boolits.

    Fourth, after implementing all of the above, ignore the Lee instructions.

    Last, but not least, read the stickies and spend as much time as possible doing research in the Archive.

    Edit to add: Gear and Cbrick type faster than I do.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master dbarnhart's Avatar
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    I love this place. I can't believe how incredibly helpful everyone here is.

    Thank you.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Keep that used q-tip by where you cast. It can be used over and over without adding more lube. Yep, it takes that little to do the job. I will use that same one for as long as it holds together. With the small amount of oil it holds I don't even bother to wipe off the film.

    Keep it where it belongs, and keep output of the cavities. That is how you get the mould to run like a champ and get good fallout too.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbarnhart View Post
    Getting really close to casting my first boolits. My Lee 45 230gr mold arived yesterday. The instructions say:

    "Lubricate your mold. Very lightly touch bullet lubricant to the sprue bushing, 'V' ribs and locating cross pin. Use Lee Bullet Lube #90007. Do not use Liquid Alox as it will bake onto surface and prevent proper closure. WARNING: Do not start casting bullets until your mold has been lubricated"

    OK, having no source of Lee Bullet Lube #90007 nearby, what can I buy at Ace Hardware that will do the job?
    Hi you have already got some good hints. The big disadvantage with oils or commercial bullet lubes is the potential danger of contaminating the cavities which will result in poor quality bullets. Hence the well meant hint to use sparingly and wipe off any excess before casting. With bullet lubes this is not so easy to detect, but when your mould gets up to working temperature ( around 200C) the bullet lube will definitely melt and will creep and possibly contaminate the cavities. In my view a better way is to use bar soap or sodium stearate as used in Felix's bullet lube recipe. The melting point is somewhat above 250C. Here in Germany we can buy plain soap bars without all the cosmetic ingredients often found in the personal care type soaps. The product is basically mixed soaps from plant oils ( coconut) and animal fats but does contain some glycerin as a by-product from the soap manufacturing process. This type of soap is best used as a mould lubricant in the following manner.
    1) clean your mould thoroughly and degrease with organic solvent like paint thinner or mineral spirits.
    2) warm your mould on a hot plate or on the edge of the melting pot for about 10-15 mins until really warm. Saliva should sizzle when brought into contact with mould surface.
    3) now open the mould blocks and rub the soap bar lightly over the locating pins on the inside mould faces and the top side of mould blocks especially the area around the sprue bolt hole. If the soap bar is too large just cut a wedge off this will give nice sharp edges which will allow a more precise application of the soap.
    4) now start to cast and if your mould is still fairly hot you should get good visual bullets within 20-30 cycles. If you persistently get poor fill out then probably some soap has contaminated the cavity. The only way to correct this is to let the mould cool and degrease once more before repeating steps 2 and 3.
    5) if you plan to go for prolonged casting sessions over 2 hrs. you will find it helps if you re-apply soap to the locating pins and top mould face after 1-2 hrs. Depends to some degree on casting method and casting temperature. The top mould face can be best done after cutting the sprue, but prior to ejecting the bullets from the cavities.

    Best regards and happy New Year to everyone.

    Adrian, Germany.

  8. #8
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    Excellent tip, Adrian! Natural, plain Lye soap is available at most "Hippie" stores here in the States, it should be similar.

    Gear

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Checkout the mould lube instructions I posted in the Lube forum. I originally had problems getting the image to show, but they're fixed now. Here's the link to it:

    http://www.castboolits.gunloads.com/...d.php?t=137982
    - MikeS

    Want to checkout my feedback? It's here:
    http://www.castboolits.gunloads.com/...d.php?t=136410

  10. #10
    In Remembrance
    montana_charlie's Avatar
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    I am sure glad to see so many abandoning the old practice of using various kinds of 'wax' to lubricate bullet moulds. It may have been useful when casting by a campfire in the middle of nowhere, but makes no sense in any situation where actual 'lubricants' are available.

    CM
    Retired...TWICE. Now just raisin' cows and livin' on borrowed time.

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    Couple questions on the post above. 1. Why not 2 cycle oil for outboards? 2. Why synthetic, other than a lot more expensive?

  12. #12
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Synth burns cleaner in the engine, so when you put it on a hot sprue plate, it doesn't make any crud.
    Outboard? I'm 100% sure amsoil marine 2 cyl oil will work.

  13. #13
    Outboards are water cooled....the assumption is the oil won't stand up to the same beat as an oil designed for air cooled 2 strokes.

    I use Stihl Ultra...in my saws and on my sprue plates.

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