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Thread: Hand Casting with a Machine Casting Mold?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master turbo1889's Avatar
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    Hand Casting with a Machine Casting Mold?

    Has anyone tried doing this? Does it work okay or is it a PITA?

    Reason I ask is that ultimately my goal is to own an automatic Magma Bullet Master or equivalent casting machine. Although the fulfillment of this goal is years down the road I will probably own a Master Caster or equivalent assisted manual casting set-up in the not too distant future.

    So in the meantime, whenever I have a choice, I should probably be getting the custom molds I purchase cut in a machine casting type block. Then in the future I won't have to do a lot of work to convert them to use in a casting machine. But this would mean that I would have to hand cast with a machine casting type mold for the time being. Provided I had a set of custom handles made to grab the mold blocks the same way a casting machine does and a couple different sprue plates with different size fill holes made up to fit machine casting mold blocks with a conventional sprue plate shape I should be okay right? Or are there other issues I havenít thought of that would make hand casting with machine casting type mold blocks a PITA in the meantime?

    I imagine there are at least a few guys out there who happened on a good deal on a mold that was a machine casting type mold but they didn't have no expensive casting machine so they used it as a hand casting mold. How well does it work out?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    x101airborne's Avatar
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    interesting question. i will watch with interest. i am new to this area but have had the same thoughts.
    I came into this world kicking, screaming, and covered in someone elses blood. I plan to go out the same way.

  3. #3
    We bought a stand from Magma to put the pot from a Magma Caster on. We also bought a single hole, to replace the double hole, where the lead comes out.
    The molds for the Magma Caster can be modified for manual casting. All in All....it's the best pot we have ever used at Dixie.
    James
    Dixie Slugs (dixieslugs.com)-Home of the Dixie Terminator

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy TomAM's Avatar
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    It is a simple matter to drill and tap Magma style molds to install conventional handles. Also, I have designed a sprew plate that's much better for hand casting. I use these sprew plates to test cast my Magma designs for accuratemolds.com, and I've been wondering whether anyone would want them if I offered them for sale on my website.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Modifying the Magma two cavity moulds would be possiable and as TomAM stated a new sprue cutter would be required. I wonder what it would cost to make a set of mould handles to use the Magma mounting system?

    I have three of the Magma Master Casters and have quite a few moulds for them including some H&G two cavity moulds for them. Magma started out using H&G moulds.
    How's that hope and change working for you?

  6. #6
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    magma used to offer handles for thier molds.
    when using them with the sprue cutter for the machine, i just opened to the left then to the right.
    kinda awkward but it works.
    i think you could modify a set of handles to bolt right through the adaptor for the machine.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by casterofboolits View Post
    Modifying the Magma two cavity moulds would be possiable and as TomAM stated a new sprue cutter would be required. I wonder what it would cost to make a set of mould handles to use the Magma mounting system?

    I have three of the Magma Master Casters and have quite a few moulds for them including some H&G two cavity moulds for them. Magma started out using H&G moulds.
    Actually Magma started with SAECO molds, I had numerous sets of their first molds. Ballisticast used H&G molds.
    Almost any 2 cavity molds can be modified to fit the Magma machines. I did it with H&G, RCBS, Lyman, LBT and SAECO.
    SAECO molds are the best and out lasted the Magmas.

    The molds I make are made to fit my Master Caster.

  8. #8
    In Remembrance w30wcf's Avatar
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    Yes, hand casting with Magma molds works just fine. I have two Magma molds that I ordered about 10 years ago. THey came with the screw holes already drilled and tapped to be used with handles. I used RCBS handles that I did have to modify slightly to provide clearance for the spring that keeps tension on the sprue plate.

    I did not find it necessary to change the sprue plates for hand casting.

    w30wcf
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master turbo1889's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomAM View Post
    It is a simple matter to drill and tap Magma style molds to install conventional handles. Also, I have designed a sprew plate that's much better for hand casting. I use these sprew plates to test cast my Magma designs for accuratemolds.com, and I've been wondering whether anyone would want them if I offered them for sale on my website.
    Well, since your the guy I will most likely order my next couple custom molds from (timing dependent on cash flow of course) how much extra would you tack on to the price of a machine cast mold for one that could be best described as "Drilled & tapped for conventional handles as well complete with hand casting sprue plate and hardware. Complete and ready to hand cast with now with drop in fit for machine casting later on." If you don't want to give a +$ estimate for that option publically that's fine drop me a PM or if you don't have time right now, that's fine too the question will come up again next time I order from you. Or if you don't want to do the extra hardware yourself that's fine too, I should be able to scrounge up someone to make a sprue plate or two and a set of handles to match the machine cast style mounting system. A picture or two of what you came up with for a hand casting sprue plate to work with the machine casting sprue plate mounting system would be appreciated either way.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltaenterprizes View Post
    Actually Magma started with SAECO molds, I had numerous sets of their first molds. Ballisticast used H&G molds.
    Almost any 2 cavity molds can be modified to fit the Magma machines. I did it with H&G, RCBS, Lyman, LBT and SAECO.
    SAECO molds are the best and out lasted the Magmas.

    The molds I make are made to fit my Master Caster.
    Thanks for the info.

    I was given one of the first Magma auto casters that came with eight sets of moulds, all H&G. I just assumed that's what they started with.

    Unfortunatly, the individual who was running the machine never cleaned the sprue cutters or tops of the moulds and had ruined almost all of them. I was able to salvage only two of the H&G #34 moulds out of a set of eight. At the time Magma wanted $2,300.00 to rebuild it. This was a couple decades ago.

    I passed the machine on to some one else as I did not have the funds to have it rebuilt and buy new mould sets for it.
    How's that hope and change working for you?

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy TomAM's Avatar
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    Magma style blocks have the familiar 5/16 slot, which can be used for common handles (RCBS or Lee 6 cav), if drilled and tapped. Magma sells a hardware kit which contains the machine mounting fittings that screw into this slot and the Magma style sprew plate. Their sprew plate can be used for manual casting, but it's rather awkward and has no stop pin.

    I have made a sprew plate that makes hand casting much easier and requires no modifications to the mold blocks. Since Magma's hinge screw is not at the block's corner, the plate was designed smaller than the block so it would clear the cavities without having to swing 180 degrees. The hinge screw's tension spring is at the top, so there isn't a spring and screw head protruding from the base to interfere with hand casting. Note that you will need to modify your handles slightly to provide clearance for the hinge screw to pass through.

    When ordering Magma type molds from Accuratemolds.com, I drill and tap for handles free of charge if requested. My sprew kit can be included for $15.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    H&G molds were/are available from Magma but at twice the price of the other molds.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master turbo1889's Avatar
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    Well I think this is the way Iím going to do it whenever possible from now on.

    I actually like the resulting sprue plate and hold down style better this way and with the way Tom does it with a recessed bolt head on the bottom there is no interference for use with a mold guide on a bottom pore pot.



    31.5-cal Hybrid Mold 1 by turbo1889, on Flickr


    31.5-cal Hybrid Mold 4 by turbo1889, on Flickr


    Machine Type Mold Set Up for Hand Casting for Now - Close Up of Hardware by turbo1889, on Flickr


    31.5-cal Hybrid Mold In Modified Lee Handles by turbo1889, on Flickr


    Modified Lee Handles 1 by turbo1889, on Flickr


    Modified Lee Handles 2 by turbo1889, on Flickr

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    Magma moulds are dimensionally very similar to RCBS, and work with RCBS or Lee handles. You might have to do some minor work on the handles with a file but that's easy. Unscrew the two brackets that hold the mould to the casting machine, drill and tap two holes to hold the handles, and fit a different sprue cutter. The Magma cutter has two legs designed for automatic opening and closing on a machine, and are unsuitable for hand casting. An RCBS cutter works quite well. The holes might be slightly out of position, but that's not unusual anyway. Alternatively, make a new cutter. You'll need to drill a new hole through the mould for a new sprue cutter retaining screw, because the existing hole is not in the right position. You'll also need to instll a stop pin. You can fit that to the mould block or the cutter. Sounds complicated but is actually easy.

    Forget about the Mastercaster. The pot that comes with it is the best I have encountered, I use it for commercial casting. The machine works well and is quite fast with a double cavity mould, but not as fast as hand held multi cavity moulds, and you can buy a lot of those for the price of a Mastercaster. I cast commercially with multi cavity hand held for that reason.

  15. #15
    Boolit Bub smilin jack's Avatar
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    Great! This should get me going on modifying my 3 gifted Magma molds and some Lee 6 cavity mold handles.
    Been sitting on the three molds for quit some time, trying different handles etc.
    Hope to get started soon.
    Thanks, Jack
    smilin jack

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