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Tips for making small jigs with hard lead

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I picked up some dive belt weights from the scrap yard the other day and realized it was mostly hard lead when I started pouring. I'd say 40% of the time the collars are not forming right. I mixed some softer lead with it and that worked for awhile but I don't have any more to mix. Try'd fluxing with candle wax but don't know how much that helped. Does anyone have any tips on casting small 3/4oz jigs with hard lead?


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Only thing I can suggest is do not start pouring as soon as the lead melts. Let it stay for a good 10-15 minutes more on the heat. That may be enough to get it done for you.

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I am assuming you are using an open flame and cast iron pot. I pour down to 1/2 ounce with hard lead no problem, but the temp needs to be high. Not sure how hot you can get the lead in one of those hot pots, if that is what you're using it may not work without softer lead.

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Ya know I think your totally right. The lead would cast right the first few times then as there was less lead in pot they started coming out deformed. I thought it had something to do with the weight/pressure/force of the lead pushing the lead into the mold faster. I have been thinking about making the move to a bigger pot with temp control but since I use mainly scrap lead that has lot's of junk in it I'm afraid of the down pour melter getting clogged all the time. I guess I could make clean ingots and then put um in the down pour melter. Thanks for the help loony tunes


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Another factor is the temperature of the mold. If it cools off too much you get incomplete jigs. A bottom spigot pot usually stays pretty clean since most of the impurities float on the top of the liquid lead. (just scoop them off) I have a 10# and you can get the lead hot enough to pour any mold. :D

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I always heat the molds by pouring a couple jigs with no hooks first. I ordered a 20# Lee pot so hopefully that fixes my problem. Thanks for all the info guys it's much appreciated!


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I always heat the molds by pouring a couple jigs with no hooks first. I ordered a 20# Lee pot so hopefully that fixes my problem. Thanks for all the info guys it's much appreciated!

 

I do the same thing. Once the mold is up to temp I don't have any issues. I've used lee pots in the past and never really had any issues. If I have issues I assume the lead isn't hot enough and try to correct it.

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Both the heat of the lead and the mold make all the difference. I suggest getting the commercial lee pot that holds 20 lbs and has a temp control. Once hot enough I never have an issue. I use to use the open flame and cast iron pot but quickly learned to make an investment in effiency. Worth the 80.00 all the way.

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I need your help again guys. I'm going crazy over here trying to figure out what the heck I'm doing wrong. I got my Lee 20# melter today and still having the same problems!! The collars on the jigs just won't form. I try'd several temp settings, flux, adjusted the flow rate, even the sinkers I try'd aren't coming out right! This lead I have is very brittle could it be too hard? I just don't get why some come out fine and others don't. I have poured thousands of jigs with out an issue so I'm starting to think it is this batch of lead. It's 5lb lead weights from a old dive belt. This is very frustrating being I just spent $90 on this melter and my problems are not solved.


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     Old dive belt weights. Maybe dirty lead.Are you skimming the dirty film off of the top before pouring?

 

That shouldn't matter with a bottom pour pot.

 

The question is what ele is in with the lead in terms of metal? If its melting at around the right temp I don't know what the problem would be.

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Did you hold your mold over a candle flame as the soot makes an excellent fluxing agent or maybe you might want to open up the sprue hole a bit with a dremel tool......

 

You might also need a vent in your mold as a tiny amount of air trapped in the bottom of the mold will stop the smooth flow of the metal.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Drew C. View Post

That shouldn't matter with a bottom pour pot.

The question is what ele is in with the lead in terms of metal? If its melting at around the right temp I don't know what the problem would be.



Yea that is the question. From searching I've done around the net it seems hard lead gives problems with smaller molds. I'm gonna give this lead one more shot in the am, I hate to waste good money (60lbs left) but this lead is making me want to jump off the brooklyn bridge!


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Yea that is the question. From searching I've done around the net it seems hard lead gives problems with smaller molds. I'm gonna give this lead one more shot in the am, I hate to waste good money (60lbs left) but this lead is making me want to jump off the brooklyn bridge!

 

You can try mixing it with other lead to see if that helps. If its a small mold issue you could always save that lead for bigger molds. I'd try to find a use for it one way or another, lead is hard to come by.

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