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Thread: How To Prepair My Mold For Use

  1. #1
    Boolit Man trapper44shooter's Avatar
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    How To Prepair My Mold For Use

    Guys I have a new in box 2 cavity LEE 454 round ball mold & what all will need to do in order begin casting I have sprue lube & I am waiting on the BEESWAX & my wooden Q tips to come in I have seen some videos on you tube I just want to be sure that I cast good round balls for my revolver

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    I would spray it well with break cleaner and scrub the cavities and mould face with a toothbrush. Then I take a pencil and color the tops of the blocks, the bottom of the sprue plate, and the alignment pins. Then I'd heat it on the lead and let it cool at least once before casting with it. This will help keep screws and pins from moving. Get a screwdriver handy when you start in case the screw does need adjustment.

    I moved away from oils and waxes for mould lube because I spent half my time trying to get the oil out of my cavities. I over apply it basically.

    Round balls are the easiest shape to cast.

  3. #3
    Boolit Man trapper44shooter's Avatar
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    thank ya Bazoo

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Some use rubbing alcohol instead of the brake cleaner, but I think both are intended to do the same thing: remove any residual cutting or preservative oils used by the manufacturer.

    Another step for some is to rub the edges of the cavities with a piece of wood, say, the end of a popsicle stick or a chop stick. The idea here is to remove any machining burrs.

    Brass molds, I've read here, benefit from heat cycling a few times prior to the first casting session. This reportedly aids in developing a patina that improves casting, but my current molds are aluminum where that isn't necessary, so I don't have any personal experience to offer.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trapper44shooter View Post
    thank ya Bazoo
    You're welcome. Everyone has their own way on moulds so you'll likely get plenty of ideas.

  6. #6
    Boolit Man trapper44shooter's Avatar
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    I hate to sound so stupid but how will I know if the mold gets too hot

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Getting too hot for casting can show in the sprue, the mold and in the boolit itself.

    The sprue will take longer and longer to harden (hardening as indicated not just the physical change from liquid to solid, but also by a change in surface sheen). Cutting the sprue, you may see that it breaks apart and crumbles easily as it gets hotter.

    You might start seeing smears of lead on top of the mold as it gets hot, showing that the sprue hasn't completely hardened yet.

    The boolit itself may not drop from the mold as readily if it hasn't cooled enough to shrink. It may look small, and the hotter the mold, the more frosted it will look. You may start to see plugs being pulled out of the bases.

    Way, way too hot for the mold is when the handles start to smoke and char...;^D
    Last edited by kevin c; 02-28-2020 at 05:23 AM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Here is a good read if you haven't already seen it. http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Contents.htm

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Frankly you will answer most of your own questions once you start pouring molten lead into a mold. The changes quickly become obvious.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    When you pour lead in the mold, the air that was in there has to escape. It goes out the vent lines machined in the face of the mold, the sprue hole in the mold and sprue plate. If your mold is too hot you'll end up with "whiskers" along the parting line and the sprue where the plate and mold top meet. If the mold and alloy is at the right temps, there will be no whiskers and the sprue will be a cut with no lead smear across the top of the mold blocks and/or bottom of the sprue plate. You want to pour a little extra alloy on top of the sprue plate so the ball can suck alloy down into mold as it cools. That sucking of lead as it cools helps to seal the slight air gap between the mold and plate. You'll notice a dimple in the sprue over the hole as the sprue freezes which should only take a few seconds. Some folks like a little frosting but it isn't necessary or bad. If they start out shiny and start to frost, it's time to slow your casting pace. Not a lot, just a little. If you don't get complete fillout you need to quicken your pace. The secret to good casting is maintain a consistent temp in your mold. Aluminum heats fast but loses heat fast. You need to find the balance between heat rise and loss as you fill the mold with hot alloy and cut the sprue and dump the perfect ball you just cast.

    If you make mistakes, they will remelt and pour again. I cast the same lead 5 times before I got it right. Of course, I got to shoot a few of the better ones along the way just to be sure. Practice, practice. Figure out what your doing wrong and try not to do it again.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The others have pretty well covered things. But I would start with some boiling hot water and Dawn dish washing soap and give the entire insides, top of the mold and under the sprue plate a really good scrubbing with something like an old tooth brush or finger nail brush. Dry it out really good and set it on the edge of the pot and get it hot. Then using a q-tip put less than a drop of 2 cycle engine oil on the pins that line the mold up and just a touch on bottom of the sprue plate near the pivot screw. I'm talking a pin head size drop of oil. Then start casting.

    If you get good bullets that fall from the mold easily then you are set. If the bullets don't want to fall out with a gentle tap on the handle hinge screw you can rub a piece of wood around the mold cavity where the base of the bullet is located and maybe rub the cavities with a pencil lead.

    At one time and maybe even now Lee recommended using Beeswax to lube your mold. Beeswax flows too much for this and can cause casting problems. Save the beeswax for flux and buy a small can of synthetic 2 cycle engine oil for lubing the mold. And it only takes less than a drop!

    And don't be too discouraged if it takes a few times to get good bullets. I don't mean to bash Lee but sometimes their molds can be challenging for a beginner to use.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    I clean my new molds with brake cleaner and a Q-tip type gun cleaner like others have mentioned.

    One thing I do that hasn't been mentioned is I take off the sprue plate and sand it with 1000 grit sand paper keeping the plate flat on the paper then sand the edges of the plate that run over the mold block. I find this especially important with Lee molds if you don't want grooves in the top of the mold block from the sprue plate. I also pay attention to the corners of the sprue plate as they can groove the mold blocks as well. I've groove Lee mold blocks just from opening them a few times checking the mold out when opening the package so first thing I do before even opening the mold is take off the sprue plate. Lee molds seem to be the worst for having rough sprue plates but the Noe mold I just received needed a little sanding as well.

  13. #13
    I use acetone and an old tooth brush to ean them out. I never lube the sprue plate with anything. I put a tiny dab of anti sieze on the sprue plate screw after the mould is hot as well as on alignment pins.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy Tazlaw's Avatar
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    Such good information!
    Just knowing enough to do it, is not enough to do it right! -Taz

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Use pure lead for roundballs!

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub D-RIG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muddydogs View Post
    I clean my new molds with brake cleaner and a Q-tip type gun cleaner like others have mentioned.

    One thing I do that hasn't been mentioned is I take off the sprue plate and sand it with 1000 grit sand paper keeping the plate flat on the paper then sand the edges of the plate that run over the mold block. I find this especially important with Lee molds if you don't want grooves in the top of the mold block from the sprue plate. I also pay attention to the corners of the sprue plate as they can groove the mold blocks as well. I've groove Lee mold blocks just from opening them a few times checking the mold out when opening the package so first thing I do before even opening the mold is take off the sprue plate. Lee molds seem to be the worst for having rough sprue plates but the Noe mold I just received needed a little sanding as well.
    This is a excellent thing to do , it always amazes me that the
    sprue plates are really not that flat and especially the sprue holes .

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muddydogs View Post
    I clean my new molds with brake cleaner and a Q-tip type gun cleaner like others have mentioned.

    One thing I do that hasn't been mentioned is I take off the sprue plate and sand it with 1000 grit sand paper keeping the plate flat on the paper then sand the edges of the plate that run over the mold block. I find this especially important with Lee molds if you don't want grooves in the top of the mold block from the sprue plate. I also pay attention to the corners of the sprue plate as they can groove the mold blocks as well. I've groove Lee mold blocks just from opening them a few times checking the mold out when opening the package so first thing I do before even opening the mold is take off the sprue plate. Lee molds seem to be the worst for having rough sprue plates but the Noe mold I just received needed a little sanding as well.
    I will do that to all of my molds. My flat surface may not be perfectly flat, but it's as close as I can come to it in my shop. I'll start with 800 and go to 1000 and finally 1500 oiled wet/dry paper.

    I've seen some polished areas on the sprue plates regardless of who made it.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Harter66's Avatar
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    NOE instructions say ,
    Wash with hot water , Dawn , and a tooth brush . Rinse in hot clear water . Heat cycle to casting temperature and cool 3 times and cast .

    I've adapter this to all new moulds not of iron . Iron I just wash and go . I currently have a lot of NOE and MP sprue lube on hand but have a pint of synthetic 2 stroke oil on hand . A damp Q tip holds more than enough to lube pins and pivots . Just touch the alignment pins when hot and you'll see the lube wick to the blocks same with the sprue hinge screw . Done cold , old mechanic take your chances , I get a touch like the damp Q tip pulled across my thumb pad , and wipe it across the sprue plate mould face leaving it dry but color changed . I repeat if the sprue hinge gets stiff or every 3-4 runs whichever comes first .

    Search Leementing for more insight into vents , breaking edges , block alignment etc .
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  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harter66 View Post
    NOE instructions say ,
    Wash with hot water , Dawn , and a tooth brush . Rinse in hot clear water . Heat cycle to casting temperature and cool 3 times and cast .
    I read Noe's instructions when I got my first Noe mold a few days ago. Pitched them in the trash, grabbed my can of brake cleaner, Q-tip and cleaned the mold up in a few minutes. After a little sanding on the sprue plate I went to casting up about 100 bullets on it's first heat cycle. Second heat cycle was another 200 bullets, now that I have everything figured out and come this weekend my load testing will be done I figure the third heat cycle will be a few 100 bullets. By the time I finish the heat cycles I'm not sure I will even need to cast anymore bullets for a while out of this mold.

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