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Thread: Fluxing Questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Fluxing Questions

    What is fluxing?

    How do you do it?

    Why do you do it?

    What effect does it have on the lead?


  2. #2
    Boolit Master on Heavens Range
    felix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    fort smith ar
    [quote=Bullshead;421352]What is fluxing?
    Fluxing is the act of washing the elements of oxides so that
    the raw metals will stick to each other, hopefully with the suds
    coming to the top to be skimmed off.

    How do you do it?
    Washing tin, lead and antimony, the usual elements for us, best be
    done with a carbonized substance, like something that burns
    slowly by the heat in the pot.

    Why do you do it?
    Stir the pot with teaspoon of motor oil, a stick, wax, etc.

    What effect does it have on the lead?
    Makes it a combined substance.

    ... felix

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    I am not sure I completely understand fluxing, however, I do know metals will not flow or combine into a weld, braze, solder, or alloy without it.
    In my opinion, fluxing in general, is an antioxidizing agent. At higher temperatures, it becomes a wetting agent.
    Why do it?
    In a melt, oxygen penetrates, and permeates a melt. In other words oxides form. This makes scale. Scale in time makes slag.
    Essentially, oxygen with heat makes a rust. The flux, and sometimes carbon, can make an antioxidant. Lead oxides very quickly, in a melt, the surface can oxidize very quickly. Adding a flux to the surface prevents the oxides from forming, and penetrating the surface.
    Lead can be melted without flux, however, flux helps the melt.
    I use beeswax for flux mostly, with lead. Lead is a low temperature melt.
    With silver, I use boric acid. Much different temperature range.
    An example, when melting wheel weights, you have large surface area. As the melt collects and remains liquid, there is less area. The surface collects oxygen. The flux acts as a wetting agent, and oxygen barrier. In alloying, the flux helps the metals to flow together, rather than making metal layers.
    I work with fluxes about every day. I still do not know why they work. I have read as many theories as there are.
    Basically, fluxing makes lead casting easier. I have read Ivory Soap makes a good flux. I use beeswax because I make my lube. I have plenty. It smell good also.
    Once you start casting, you will see when the oxides need fluxing. A good melt will have "plates" that form on top of the melt. The Lyman Bullet Casters Handbook shows great photos of these.
    I have tried quite a few fluxes. I lately tried liquid solder flux. It has muriatic acid. I like it when I am starting my melt, but, when I pour some on when hot, it spits.
    I just get better results fluxing. Borax helps some, but it is like Kitty Litter. It just collects slag, rather than fluxing.
    Stirring with a wooden rod, is not fluxing. It is deoxidising. It is effective for removing loose oxides within the melt. To a large extent, too much heat, and no flux, an alloy can partially seperate during the solution stage. If the alloy is a critical mix, flux is mandatory.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master S.B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Central Illinois
    Fluxing is the cataliizing process process of getting lead, tin, and antimony to stick together. Without it the base metals won't adhere to each other in an alloy. As has been stated earlier in this thread, high carbon products work best in lead alloys. I use sawdust and stir it in with a teaspoon or laddle.
    "The Original Point and Click Interface was a Smith & Wesson."
    Life member NRA, USPSA, ISRA
    Life member AF&AM 294

  5. #5
    Boolit Master at Heavens Range

    Junior1942's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tullos, Louisiana
    I haven't fluxed in many years, and it has made zero difference in my bullet quality, ease of casting, etc.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    South Jersey

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    That video left something out, IMHO. I didn't see him stir the pot real well, nor did he scrape the sides of the pot. He only seemed to skim the surface a bit. Lots of dirt hides deeper in the melt, and also clings to the sides of the pot.
    He didnīt mention the (cheaper) alternatives to store-bought flux, either.
    Last edited by utk; 11-02-2008 at 01:17 PM.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check