RCBS Pro-Melt Cleaning?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by FullClip, Sep 23, 2020.

  1. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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    Did some casting yesterday for .38/357 rounds. Melted down 10 pounds of lead flashing ingots with about 2 pounds of linotype.
    Go to start pouring, and the nozzle of the spout glogs up. Had about 800 degrees on the pot as measured by Lyman digital pyrometer...but could only get an inconsistent dribble most of the time.
    On the full open setting I managed to get a half way decent flow, so I used that to fill up ingot molds and emptied the pot. Took the valve stem out and used a MAP-Gas torch to melt what little bit had hardened in the nozzle and then chased it out with a little Yankee push drill bit. There seemed to be some ash built up on the edges of the pot and around the nozzle.

    Remelted everything and had no problems pouring my bullets after the cleaning. This is the first time I've cleaned the pot in 10 years since i bought it.

    Anybody got a good way to keep this from happening again?

    Normally when I'm done with casting, I just leave the lead mix in the pot.
     
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  2. XNavyvet71

    XNavyvet71

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    Have seen it recommended to hit nozzle with a propane torch. Had the nozzle on my Lyman 20 plug up, the first time emptied pot disassembled drilled out harden whatever it was. Second time hit with torch, after about 10 sec. was back to casting. I think my problem was lead was not hot enough.
     
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  3. Taterhead

    Taterhead

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    The best thing I ever did for my Pro Melt was stop using sawdust on the top of the melt. No matter what I did, that junk would circulate to the bottom. Pure beeswax for me now.

    When I moved recently, I drained it. I could tell that the nozzle area was staying cleaner with the beeswax.

    I've been really happy with the Pro Melt. Too bad they are obsolete.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
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  4. fredj338

    fredj338

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    Stop melting scrap in your pot. Many say the Lee pots drip, but I have 10# & 20# that never drip. I only put clean alloy in my casting pots. I also NEVER empty my pot, that is the quickest way to get crud in the nozzle. The only flux I use when casting is to stir with a wooden stick. Clean alloy needs little flux.
     
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  5. flyover

    flyover

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    What fredj338 said. I ruined a Lee 10 pong pot by smelting lead in it. I'm slowly getting set up to smelt using cut down 20 pound propane bottles and a burner for a turkey fryer.
     
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  6. fredj338

    fredj338

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    I had a buddy who welds make me a bottom pour smelting pot. It holds about 50#. I havent used it yet but he has one & says it works great. I have maybe 500# of range scrap & ww to melt but I hate doing it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
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  7. jmorris

    jmorris

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    +1 on the not using your casting pot for smelting. I also keep mine full of lead when not in use so it doesn’t rust. Made it really difficult to move before I put it on a rolling cart but I haven’t had it empty to clean in the last 15 years since I starting using that method.

    I do use a wax flux and an aluminum stir stick, I can scrape around with.

    I haven’t played with a pro melt or any other bottom pour either but the one I built has an adjustment to control how far the needle can come off the seat.

    On mine it’s the bolt that stops the solenoid from pulling the arm further down that where the head is adjusted to.

    53A781AE-8B61-4738-B1DE-F522007DC23A.jpeg

    You might look and see if a stop is keeping you from fully opening the valve.

    The other thing I did is bolt the orifice block to the bottom of the pot below the valve. It can be removed and cleaned if needed because it’s below the valve and the exit holes are much smaller than the valve opening.

    88158EE9-F3A6-4DB6-A3F4-E737366E4CB9.jpeg
     
  8. Taterhead

    Taterhead

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    Very nice setup!

    A few questions, if you'll indulge me.

    How many bullets do you prefer to cast in one session?

    When replenishing alloy, is there a recovery time, or how do you deal with it in the middle of a session?

    You mentioned wax for flux. Can you describe your timing/frequency.

    That's a big pot! Just trying to process how you'd keep track of it.
     
  9. jmorris

    jmorris

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    I normally don’t start it up if I am not doing at least a few thousand.

    I still have other stuff goin on but if I am out of things to do, I have a beer or two. It recovers faster than initial warm up (the pot holds over 60 lbs, using a 3500 watt element) and I add the sprues back as I go.

    I flux before I start casting (after the lead is molten obviously) and after I replenish with more ingots (and they are fully melted). I make my ingots around 21-22 lbs to minimize surface area that can oxidize.

    This is how it works.


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2U1ujg_nzo


    It’s a faster trip to the end, if I do the other operations at the same time as I am casting. Some of my molds are kind of sticky and require the knockers.


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8tWaN5PrTY
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
  10. jmorris

    jmorris

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    To the OP, 800 degrees is pretty hot I don’t see how the pour nozzle could freeze up at that temperature. I’d also make dam sure I have great ventilation when approaching temps that hot or at least make sure your thermometer is accurate, the danger of fumes go up dramatically as you approach 900 deg and higher.

    Not to mention, unless you are going super slow or cooling the mold, I’d expect “frosty” bullets well before reaching 800 F.
     
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  11. noylj

    noylj

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    Call RCBS. They'll know what to do. They may have you send it back or they may send you a new nozzle.
    Empty pot. Turn upside down. Lock nozzle open. Hit nozzle with torch and use wire to poke out any debris that is blocking the hole.
    I have been casting for at least 45 years, including with an RCBS Pro Melt and have ALWAYS done smelting in the various pots I've used and never had an issue. Only issue I have had are short circuits and heater burn outs, but nothing due to smelting.
    I have always used bullet lube or wax to fluxing, always fluxed often, and always ignited the flux.
    No one has ever found that they fluxed too often.
     
  12. fredj338

    fredj338

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    I have a Magma Caster, holds 40#. I can add 5# ingots & it doesnt even slow down. I dont flux in the casting pot. just stir with a wooden stick. Never empty the pot, where many start having issues. Any crud floating on top is now in the spout & once there, diff to remove.
     
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  13. Taterhead

    Taterhead

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    I don't drain mine either, except the one time then gave it a good cleaning. But it was in good shape.

    I float a bit of beeswax on the top to keep the tin and antimony oxidation at bay. Seems to work well. When I first started, the guys at CB (and the LASC site) recommended pine sawdust on the top of the melt to keep everything in solution. Terrible. That crap did get down into the spout and left inclusions. No issues with beeswax.

    There are times I covet a bigger pot like yours.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
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  14. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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    Yeah, 800 is pretty toasty. I jacked up the heat to try to clear the nozzle, and it was still just kind of dribbling even after a good warming with the MAP torch. That was what made me empty it (crappy ingots) and give it a good cleaning.
    I'd been using sawdust for fluxing, and from what I see here in some of the responses, that it aint the greatest maybe.
    Seems to be working fine now, and I'll go with wax for fluxing and see what happens.

    The pyrometer seems to be real close, and reads spot on at 32 and 212 when doing the water test, and the thermostat setting and pyrometer reading are pretty close.

    I got lots of ventilation as I'm already stupid enough and don't want to make it worse.
     
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  15. fredj338

    fredj338

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    Why I dont actively flux, just stir with a wooden stick every time I add alloy. I keep foil on top of the pot to reduce oxidation.
    The 20# lee works fine. I put a pid on it, preheat my ingots on the pot edge @ add no more than 2# at a tme. I usually can just keep casting.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020