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Fluxing Question  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 11:07 am
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Rumplestiltskin
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When casting with a ladle how do you avoid scooping up some of the flux along with the alloy? In other words, how do you keep your flux out a the mold?

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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 11:46 am
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454PB
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I assume you mean dross, rather than flux.

When you dipper cast, you need to either continually clear the dross from the surface, or apply a layer of kitty litter. When I dipper cast (which is VERY infrequently), I prefer to keep cleaning the dross from the surface. I also re-flux every 20 minutes or so.

Normally what little dross there is on the surface is light and floats to the surface of the dipper as it is removed from the pot. By manipulating the dipper in a rolling fashion, you can avoid most of the dross.

This is one of reasons I prefer a bottom pour pot. I flux well, then leave the layer of dross on the surface as an oxygen barrier. The dross is only removed when the pot is refilled or the session is over.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 06:44 pm
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R. Dupraz
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Pretty easy actually. All my casting is done with the ladle. If you have a regular cast iron one, just move the dross out of the way with the rear while keeping the little spout above the melt. Then move the ladle the other way a little and let it fill from the bowl end with the clear lead. 

Akin to what  my Mama did while making that home made soup on the stove and wanted to make sure that the broth was just right. Yep, and it always was too.  

Last edited on Sat Apr 18th, 2009 06:58 pm by R. Dupraz



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 Posted: Sun Apr 19th, 2009 11:24 am
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Jeff Bowles
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I cast everything with a ladle..
I cast a lot of bullets, a lot! so far this year around oh 50,000 or more.
I use a couple of different dippers depending on the number of cavities.
For up to 4 cavities I use a RCBS dipper. If you take and push the dross off to the side and submerge the ladle, you get very little dross if any in the ladle.

If you are leaving the flux, like marvelux in the pot while you are casting, you are doing it wrong.

Another option is to visit Bill Ferguson, the antimony man at his website and get the smallest Rowell bottom pour ladle. I think it is a bit less than a pound of lead capacity.
I have a #5 for casting ingots and I can say it is the finest ladle I have ever used!

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 Posted: Tue Apr 21st, 2009 12:33 am
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454PB
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I disagree, I've been using Marvelux for 25 years, and I use it in the same manner as any other flux. I leave the dross on the surface of the melt.

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 Posted: Tue Apr 21st, 2009 06:36 am
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Jeff Bowles
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I've tried it, and it made a mess in my pot.
I generally flux with wax, so maybe some of us older farts are just set in their ways.

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 Posted: Tue Apr 21st, 2009 07:35 am
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Dollar Bill
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I use a Rowell bottom pour ladle and I have to say, it's the best ladle I've used. Normally, like Ron, I kind of move the dross to the side, then fill the ladle from the middle of the pot. Pouring big bullets, 520 gn 45 caliber, I get good consistancy. If the dross gets too thick, it's time to flux.



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 Posted: Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 04:13 pm
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Rumplestiltskin
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I have moved on to a bottom pour with good results. I am currently fluxing with paraffin wax and just want to know if I'm doing it right. I tried to heat treat some bullets that ended up getting SOFTER and I think I may have fluxed incorrectly. Do you skim before or after adding flux, or both? I use about the size of a pencil eraser, is this enough?

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 Posted: Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 09:24 am
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Jeff Bowles
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I toss a chunk about 1/2"square and after it melts light it on fire and stir the pot. Then I skim the remaining crud off and put it in a coffee can.

I get real consistent bullets under 1.0gr variance.

The stuff in the coffee can I remelt when I batch up another bunch of alloy, that way I can be sure I am not wasting anything I may have inadvertently skimmed off.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 07:22 pm
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redball2
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I don't cast as many bullets as Jeff but I've been doing it a long time. for flux. anything that burns will work. what its doing is taking up oxygen. I have used a can of mutton tallow for years but it is now about gone. I have put a layer of charcoal on top and it keeps the melt clean and it floats to the top and never gets in the mould. I sure there many things that works.

I don't like bottom pours. if you get leaks they are a pain but all of them will do the job. there more differences in casters than dippers. I have one of Bills rowell dippers, the one pounder. I have used it for some hock nose pour  550 grain 45 caliber bullets as you have to keep feeding the mould to insure it fills. for all others I have always used lyman. they are simply a small rowell dipper. I don't cast like the lyman books say. I bought a mould from Veril years ago and he advacted simply pouring the metal vertically into the mould. that is how bottom pours work. I find it is easier than the rotating method.

Jim Wilcox

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 Posted: Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 07:30 pm
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Rumplestiltskin
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So you basically want to skim only after fluxing and not before? I'm worried about fluxing out trace metals like antimony.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 09:00 pm
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hunterspistol
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  I do it the old-fashioned way and it's easier to explain. I use canning wax dropped in with the wheelweight while it's melting. When the smoke gets too heavy, I light it and it burns the impurities completely black.  I skim it with a long-handled teaspoon that I drilled a bunch of 1/8" holes in.  After you clear it the first time, the dross comes back, it's a silvery light metal floating on the top(not black, like the first time).  I skim the dross a little at a time while casting, just enough to keep the lumps out of my ladle and give me a place to  dip into. That teaspoon takes out just a little at a time.

    Generally, I'm not worried about retaining antimony when I cast, if I need hard bullets, I just drop them into my 5 gallon bucket of water from the mold. That will work too.  And I have Linotype on hand if I need it. But, I understand your concern.



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 Posted: Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 09:03 pm
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runfiverun
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the point of fluxing is to put those [tin and antimonial]oxides back into the mix and to take any dirt and dross out.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 4th, 2009 07:43 am
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Duane Mellenbruch
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I am not too sure about putting the oxide back into the melt.  It is my understanding a  casting flux causes metal oxide coated small spheres  of the two or three metals in the pot to coalesce or come together .  This does put the small spheres back into the melt, but the oxide remains and is skimmed off or left in place.  Duane

 

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 Posted: Thu Jun 4th, 2009 07:55 am
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Dollar Bill
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Runfiverun is right on the money. Read up on the subject of cast bullets and alloys. This is a good place to start, if you do not have the Lyman Cast bullet Handbook: http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletAlloy.htm The LASC website is a wealth of information on all aspects of casting and would benefit you greatly in your quest to produce quality cast bullets.

One other thing, to answer your last question: You cann't flux too much. Sometimes, whem I'm mixing 100# of alloy, I'll flux with a 1 inch chunk of parrafin, then if what is on top of the melt still appears to have some type of metal/dross instead of just black residue, I'll flux again. The I repeat it after casting 20# of ingots, or 40 bullets if the dross appears to be thick. It's a matter of judgement that comes with experience.

Last point: Be carefull of the part you skim off. In with the heavy residue is a dust. The stuff you skim off is much more toxic than the lead alloy, so don't breathe in any of the dust!

Have fun, keep the silver stream flowing, and we look forward to hearing about your progress.

 

Last edited on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 07:51 am by Dollar Bill



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