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Thread: Mold release?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy gnappi's Avatar
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    Mold release?

    I read an article about Lee aluminum molds and the author STRONGLY recommended mold release. Aside from the expense of the stuff, "having" to spray the molds is a non starter for me and if that's the case I'll stick with Lyman steel molds.

    So do you HAVE to use mold release with Lee molds to keep them in top shape?
    Regards,

    Gary

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    No, there are procedures here for removing burrs and getting the molds to operate better but mold release is not needed or used by most here.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Ozark mike's Avatar
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    Never used a release and i have more lee moulds than i can count
    Those who would trade freedom for safety deserves neither and will lose both

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Paso View Post
    No, there are procedures here for removing burrs and getting the molds to operate better but mold release is not needed or used by most here.
    Didn’t use mold release when I had Lee molds. That being said it was a happy day when I sold off my last Lee mold. They got me started and for that I am eternally grateful.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy gnappi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post
    Didn’t use mold release when I had Lee molds. That being said it was a happy day when I sold off my last Lee mold. They got me started and for that I am eternally grateful.
    That's a curious thing to say. Did you stop casting altogether or go to another brand like Saeco or Lyman for casting?
    Regards,

    Gary

  6. #6
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    I lube the alignment pins, Lightly dampen a q-tip

    top of mold, with boolit still in the mold, Lightly dampen a q-tip- wipe on -- wipe off

    bottom of sprue plate Lightly dampen a q-tip- wipe on -- wipe off

    sprue screw/hinge I use a needle tip dropper bottle, with boolits still in the mold. I swivel the sprue plate seeing where the movement is in the washers and put a tiny drop there, then I swivel the sprue plate multiple times and wipe and oil (creep) I see [Do this every 1/2 pot full]

    with synthetic 2 stroke oil/fuel additive

    the cavities get a good scrubbing with dawn, hot water and a denture brush, dried then the mold get heated to 400° on a hot plate.
    if boolits hang up after a few casts I rub the edges of the cavity (s) with the bottom of a carpenter pencil to remove any burs

    if after a few casts the boolits aren't smooth and the alloy is up to 720° with tin in it I'll lightly smoke the cavities with a butane lighter

    in worse case scenarios I lightly Leement (polish) the mold cavities (search leementing)

  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    I have 6 Lee molds and have never used a mold release or smoked them. The only reason I have anything other than Lee molds is because of designs they don’t have such as Keith style bullets for one example.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conditor22 View Post
    I lube the alignment pins, Lightly dampen a q-tip

    top of mold, with boolit still in the mold, Lightly dampen a q-tip- wipe on -- wipe off

    bottom of sprue plate Lightly dampen a q-tip- wipe on -- wipe off

    sprue screw/hinge I use a needle tip dropper bottle, with boolits still in the mold. I swivel the sprue plate seeing where the movement is in the washers and put a tiny drop there, then I swivel the sprue plate multiple times and wipe and oil (creep) I see [Do this every 1/2 pot full]

    with synthetic 2 stroke oil/fuel additive

    the cavities get a good scrubbing with dawn, hot water and a denture brush, dried then the mold get heated to 400° on a hot plate.
    if boolits hang up after a few casts I rub the edges of the cavity (s) with the bottom of a carpenter pencil to remove any burs

    if after a few casts the boolits aren't smooth and the alloy is up to 720° with tin in it I'll lightly smoke the cavities with a butane lighter

    in worse case scenarios I lightly Leement (polish) the mold cavities (search leementing)
    I basically do my own variation of all of the above. The scub is essential, I use a mild abrasive powdered cleanser called Bartenders Friend. I find that the Lee molds can have a substantial burr on the edge of the cavities, the scrubbing removes the burrs.

    Sometimes I get a little too much two stroke oil on my mold. A quick spay with brake cleaner, followed by a clean q-tip swipe in the cavities, gets me back in business.

    JM

  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    I looked at my Lee mold instructions, they have it in bold not to use any kind of mold release product.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I use the graphite stuff by NEI. I cover the entire mold inside and out. It makes lead spashs easier to clean off and gives a small amount of rust protection, like over night. A good mold does not need a "release agent", but I use the affore mentioned on all my molds, regardless OF MAKE OR MATERIAL FOR THE AFFORE MENTIONED REASONS. opps, I not fixing that sry. I now make my own as I can't buy it any more.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    In answer to the OP. No, you do not need mould release with Lee or any other mould unless your goal is to get said mould to drop smaller bullets. As to lubrication, I use two cycle motor oil sparingly on the pins but find it annoying as a sprue plate lube. The best by far lube I've found for top of mould, bottom of sprue plate is Dielectric Grease found at any auto parts store. It doesn't migrate into the cavities and just a very small amount does the job. Gp

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnappi View Post
    That's a curious thing to say. Did you stop casting altogether or go to another brand like Saeco or Lyman for casting?
    It’s not curious at all. Lee makes entry level molds that leave a lot to be desired. We live in the golden age of custom molds. I don’t own any commercial molds anymore. They’re all custom and a joy to cast with. They will also outlast a Lee molds by a few generations as they are built out of better materials.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I put nothing but lead in my molds' cavities, nothing. Early on I tried "smoking" the mold but at best I was just putting some carbon in the cavities and it transferred to the bullet, making the alloy look dirty (which in fact is does "contaminate" the alloy via the mold). I tried a commercial mold release, with similar results, just adding a contaminate to the cavities. I "season" my new (great, well made) Lee molds after I give them a good cleaning. I place them on my hot plate, on high, and heat until they are very hot, several minutes. Then I turn off the hot plate and allow the plate/mold to cool, then reheat. I'll repeat four or five times and I get good casting non sticking boolit right away. Works for my well designed, good fitting, well manufactured Lee molds, and even some Lyman molds I've purchased...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by ascast View Post
    I use the graphite stuff by NEI. I cover the entire mold inside and out. It makes lead spashs easier to clean off and gives a small amount of rust protection, like over night. A good mold does not need a "release agent", but I use the affore mentioned on all my molds, regardless OF MAKE OR MATERIAL FOR THE AFFORE MENTIONED REASONS. opps, I not fixing that sry. I now make my own as I can't buy it any more.
    Since when did aluminum rust?

    I never use any release agent. I have found that there are times when a light smoking of the mold will improve the bullet quality. This only happens during the first couple of casting sessions. I've never had to do this with iron molds, only aluminum and occasionally brass.
    NRA Benefactor.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I smoke most of my aluminum moulds and have sprayed them with Drop-Out, that NEI stuff and other graphite preparations when somebody gave me a can to use up.

    I don't do this so the mould will “release” the boolits. Sticky cavities need breaking-in, deburring, mild lapping or other mechanical checks and/or operations.

    A carbon or graphite film in the cavity acts as an insulator, retarding the heat transfer from the liquid lead surface to the highly-conductive mass of the aluminum mould. This prevents premature hardening of the lead until the cavity is filled, reducing or eliminating wrinkles, pores or other incomplete fillout. Once the mould is fully up to temperature, this insulating property may be of less importance, but it does allow me to turn the heat down slightly, for faster sprue hardening and enables a less-frantic pace of casting in order to maintain mould temperature.

    If these deposited films reduce the diameter of the boolits so cast, the extent is smaller than I can measure, either with a micrometer, a sizing die or a group on target. I suppose somebody could spray enough Drop-Out in there to leave a layer, like blobs and runs on a bad spray paint job, but that is more a defect of technique than any defect in the product. I find that the carbon film generally gets removed from the cavity over a casting session or two. I then wipe off the faces and cavity with a cloth (making sure the vent lines are clear) and reapply.

    Your mileage may vary, but I would advise you to find out what works for you, your mould, and your casting method. If I have to sully the purity of my mould cavities with foul foreign substances, walk widdershins around the pot as I cast, or howl curses to the heavens as I tap on the hinge to release a boolit, then that’s what I do, if it lets me empty a 20-lb pot in an hour or two. When I cast, I want boolits, not a science project. If the mould is truly hopeless, like an off-center cavity, burrs, etc, of course the casting session is over for that mould and it’s off to the shop.

    But most casting problems are addressed as if I have a cold. The proper course of action would obviously be to research the basic aspects of cold virus propagation and infection, and devise a vaccine to cure the common cold once and for all. But since I just want to do a job, I take a Claritin and a couple of handkerchiefs and get on with it.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Once an aluminum mould is completely cleaned of all machining oils , heat cycled a few times and broken in with a few casting sessions ... it will become seasoned like a cast iron skillet and boolits will not stick .
    If you have a cavity that is "sticky" spray the cavities with a Dry Lubricant that contains Teflon and let dry . The micro-Teflon particles form a thin film like a teflon coated pan and boolits want to jump out the mould when opened ... after a few uses you will no longer have to use it.
    The dry Lube is the best "mould release" it doesn't build up and it doesn't make your mould black and cruddy and .... It Doesn't Contaminate the Cavities . Just try it once !
    The stuff I've used in the past was Liquid Wrench Dry Lube L512 but I'm sure any brand will do .
    If you need a mould release ...this is the best !
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnappi View Post
    I read an article about Lee aluminum molds and the author STRONGLY recommended mold release. Aside from the expense of the stuff, "having" to spray the molds is a non starter for me and if that's the case I'll stick with Lyman steel molds.

    So do you HAVE to use mold release with Lee molds to keep them in top shape?
    I've never used a mold release agent or smoked a mold cavity. Just never had the need.

    If you want to keep your mold in good shape read the sticky about lubing a bullet mold. A fraction of a drop on the line-up pins and about an equal amount on top of the blocks near the sprue plate bolt and you're set.

    Good lube practice and treating the mold gently will make it last and last.

    If you do have a mold that won't drop the bullet look for burrs around the cavities with a magnifying glass. There are also stickies about how to do this.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I guarantee, once the mold's temperature rises above ~150 degrees F, if you pick it up with bare hands (by anything but the handles) you are going to release it PDQ!
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master



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    Like everyone else, I have never used a release agent. Sometimes boolits may stick a little, but with a tap of the sprue plate mallet on the handles (never the mould itself) they fall out.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Liquid Wrench Dry Lubricant.

    I use maybe 2 drops on a 2 cavity mold. A 6 Cav will need 3.


    I start with a Q-tip with a drop of LWDL work the cavity's, then the vent lines, other side same thing. Then I work over the sprue plate, and the pouring holes.

    By the time the mold is warming up there is NOTHING left to migrate. It evaporates, leaving a thin dry film behind.
    Bullets fly out of the cavity's. Lead does not stick to the sprue plates.

    Eventually if you cast 5-10,000 bullets you may need to reapply.

    A single 4 oz bottle will last you your entire casting life.
    Minimal cost, minimal fuss, and your molds will thank you and last longer.
    It was three things that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts. 3 things twice actually. We need to get back to our roots.

    Back to those 3 and the other big 3. The Declaration of Independence,
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    Get GOD back in our lives and our country, find the courage of our convictions, or guts, and a willingness to stand up and fight for what we believe in. Guns.
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