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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday was my first session of bullet casting. I was quite pleased with the results. I did have one question. I am using a Lee Pro 4-20 furnace to melt my lead with. It was about half full of melted alloy. How much of the Marvelux should I add to the alloy to flux it? I noticed what looked like globs formed on top of the alloy after a time. I assume this was some of the alloys in the mix or am I wrong.I would appreciate any input.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the information. I will check these sources out. It is nice to have someone to go to when you are a beginer. The insturctions don't include everything.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Also, you should pick up a copy of the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, or the similar book from RCBS, if you don't have one or the other already.
 

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The instructions on the Marvelux indicate that it is to be stirred into the alloy with a heated utensil and then skimmed off after the stirring phase is complete. As a side note, you should keep your lead pot full when you are casting, and add more metal as room becomes available. This will help to keep your alloy temperature more constant, which will make your casting and bullet consistency easier to maintain. I add the sprue directly back to the pot after it has been cut, this also helps to maintain alloy temperature. The other benefit of keeping the pot full, is that you don't have to flux as often. If you happen to use a larger pot when processing your alloy, such as wheelweights, you can flux it before you pour your ingots. I like to cast with prepared ingots as it makes the most of your time casting and provides less distraction when you should focus on a established casting routine in order to help make uniform bullets.

It sure is satisfying to have a big pile of new shiny bullets when your done.
 

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cturpin,

Be very careful with Marvelux. The used flux, and that includes that which sticks to your ladle, is hygroscopic (that means it absorbe ambient water vapor) to such an extent that if you were to plunge your ladle into hot metal this could result in an explosion. Always heat your ladle by floating it on top of the molten metal for a few seconds to vaporize this water. If you are in a high humidity area even a few minutes will allow the residue to gather enough water to be hazardous. When you do place the ladle in the metal, dip it only 1/4" or so at first, if you hear or feel any sizzling then let the ladle heat more before submerging it any deeper.

I live in Utah, where it is so dry that you don't even need to worry about cleaning blackpowder guns immediately, and I still have enough concern for the water issue with Marvelux that I don't use it anymore even though it is an excellent flux.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I would be interested in what you do use if you no longer use the Marvelux? Thanks for your good advice.
 

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There are lots of things that you can use. A small piece of pine wood even works. The nice thing about the Marvelux is that it is clean and doesn't make a bunch of smoke like almost every thing else I've tried does. The moisture concern when working with molten metal is a valid one, but with the proper precaution I don't see it as a problem. You should always be aware of what you're doing when you introduce something cold into something very hot. The used flux should be removed from the pot as completley as possible and left somewhere saft to cool before discarding. As far as the remaining flux on the handle of your stiring device, this is easily removed when warm with a heavy rag or by just giving it a swipe with the heavy leather gloves that you should be wearing when casting, unless you're silly. I used all sorts of different flux techniques over the years and I'm very happy to have "found" the Marvelux, as it works great. I don't think it requires any more attention to what you're doing than any other aspect of working with molten metal. As I said in the previous post, if you melt you metal in larger batches, you can flux before making ingots. This is the way to go if you have or can borrow the equipment.
 

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cturpin,

I use several things which, as mentioned in the last post, all smoke. The smoke can be alleviated to a large extent by lighting the fumes, the flames consume the smoke without effect on the efficacy of the flux. Look in your yellow pages for honey producers, You can usually buy raw beeswax from them for a good price, and a couple of pounds will last a long time unless you are casting commercially.

You can use beeswax, parafin, synthetic lubes, crisco, or just about anything greasy. Many years I bought some synthetic beeswax at an army surplus store and found it is of no use other than as a casting flux. I also keep bullets which were sized and lubed and found to have defects, there is enough lube in the grooves of 3-4 of them to adequately flux a pot.

Contrary to another post, there is absolutely no hazard in introducing something cold into the pot of molten metal. That is precisely what we do every time we add another ingot to the pot! The hazard is introducing water below the surface of the melt, it will flash off as steam nearly instantaneously and cause an explosion.

For my purposes I didn't find anything with Marvelux which gave me offsetting benefits to the disadvantages I have found with it, including cost.
 

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A previous post mentions the hygroscopic properties of the residue from Marvellux. I have had the pot erupt from using a ladle that had residue, that had gathered moisture, on it. Be careful and carefully preheat the utensils.

I have used handfuls of the leftover crayons the kids discard.
 

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If you really want to see a melting pot erupt, throw a box of cull bullets in it with a few stray live primers for good measure. I got a box of scrap/cull bullets from a gun dealer I knew years ago and didn't really sort through it before putting it in the plumbers furnace. Luckily I escaped injury. I haven't had any problems with moisture as related to flux, but it's good to be aware of the potential problems that can be encountered when working with hazardous materials. In light of the other posters experience, I would make sure to be careful to clean your stirring utensil well after fluxing if you decide to continue with the Marvelux. The reason I mentioned being aware of what you are doing when introducing something cold into something that is very hot, is to make sure you are introducing only what you want into the hot material, with no unintended tag alongs-like primers or moisture.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I want to thank kciH for answering a question that was rolling around in my head. How to clean the goop off of my ladle after removing the flux? I am soaking in this advice you guys are giving.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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One thing that isn't imediately obvious is how easy it is to pre-heat any spoon or ladel that you plan on dipping lead with or scraping flux/gunk.

Usually, you can just float the ladel/spoon on the surface of the molten lead for a short amount of time. We don't think of heavy things like steel or iron 'floating' but they are much less dense than lead. Make sure the weight of the handle doesn't push it off the edge of the pot and down into the lead!

A good habit to get into is pre-heating anything you can before putting in the pot. Ingots can be set on the edge of the pot for a short amount of time to heat them up and drive off moisture.

Don't feel too stupid about the primers in the lead, Dean Grennell mentioned doing the same thing once, except it was a live .22 round. Just be sure to wear your safety glasses at all times and exercise all due caution.

Oh and scrape gunk off of spoon with another spoon! Goodwill is a perfect source of many casting implements, they just aren't always marketed as such. Couple of big old steel kitchen spoons are extremely handy when casting.
 
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