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sonoman

Swim Jig Mold Issues

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My tournament partner purchased a do-it swim jig mold model #smj-3-mf a few months back, I  have never been able to get consistent pours with it, I spent yesterday reading up on fluxing and I  tried that last night, made zero difference and might have even made it worse, the mold has been sooted like every other mold I  own  so  I'm at my wits end, all my other molds pour fine with my lead so any thoughts?...hook sizes are what the mold calls for, and everything is kept warm....Thanks

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Sonoman,

     You seem like you have poured in the past, so this is not a new venture for you. What is not completely pouring? Head, collar? Also you mention the word warm. The lead and the mold should be hot to very hot so you can't touch the mold. Here are some of my thoughts on some things to try. Do not take this as a personal attack on you. These are just ideas to try to solve your problem.

 

#1 I don't know why guys continue to smoke molds when there is a 100% better solution. Try Drop-Out it is to mold pouring like a teflon pan is to non-stick eggs. I've never had any good luck with a smoked mold, plus it's messy with all the soot on the mold.

#2 Gap that mold until you get complete pours, then back off until you get no flash. If you are getting better pours, then you need to  put air vents in the mold.

#3 Hot lead, hot mold and warm to hot jigs. Not warm but hot.

#4 Try pouring  with the mold sprue hole shoved up against the pot pouring spout if you have a bottom pour.

#5 Finally pour it with a ladle to see if that works. Maybe your pot flow rate is too slow or too fast and you are getting air pockets.

 

Everything else seems in order. I have both of these molds and they pour flawlessly. Start again with some of these suggestions. There are sooooo many more variables, I can't write them all down.

Edited by cadman

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The sooting deal I read somewhere long ago and did it and it worked on everything elso so I  just stayed with it, hasn't worked with this mold for me, I actually have a professional bottom pour, a hot pot and a ladle...My bottom pour needs opened up a bit, its too slow, so i have been using the ladle...the hot pot needs an element so I  can't use it rt now, I will try gapping it later this afternoon and see if that works, I generally set the mold on the pot, it has a built in holder, so everything should be ok but it isnt, it actually pours best before it heats up, but I  can't seem to duplicate good pours yet....I  appreciate the response I  will figure this thing out.   thanks

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What kind of bottom pour pot do you have? I have a couple of Lee IV's and a RCBS, and on occasion the Lee gives me headaches sometimes.

 

I also have (2) hot pots, and they always pour consistently, reason being is they heat a lot hotter than the bottom pours. The only problem I have with a hot pot is the weight of it and it is a little dangerous if you over pour especially if you are going to use this to pour all day long. You really have to pay attention to what you're doing if you use the hot pot.

 

I am betting that your lead is not hot enough, just a guess. You know what you are doing, so this is not your first time.

 

Also I will bet since you are not getting lead down to the collar, either the lead is cooling too fast, or you have air trapped.

 

Definitely try putting a piece of tape or a business card between the mold halves, close and pour. See if that helps.

Edited by cadman

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I can't remember the name of the bottom pour but it resembles an RCBS pro melter but mine is older and isn't green, its orange  and black, I  bought it many years ago from a guy second hand I  rememember looking it up back then and it was retailed for about 400 bucks or so, so its a nice one , you most likely are correct I  will let it get as hot as it will and see how it goes, def. gonna try the spacing thing, its close i just hate bad pours, I checked out your jigs, they look awesome....

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Your pot is probably a Lyman. When I start having problems with cavities not filling, I always start with gapping the mold and work from there. Thanks for the compliment on my jigs.

Edited by cadman
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Here's a couple of more suggestions-

 

1-Check you lead temperature w/ a digital pyrometer

2-use soft (x-ray room sheet lead) for jigs- flux to remove impurities

3- Smoke the hook and any inserts in the mold cavity( I have custom ,lead CNC molds that will not pour unless I do this)

4- Heat them and the complete inside cavity of the mold( for 5 seconds) w/ a micro, butane torch using a sweeping motion.

Edited by smallmouthaholic

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The easiest fix is the ladle, I used a ladle for 3 or 4 years before getting a bottom pour and I love the bottom pour as I can do some serious production but there are things like my new swim jig mold in the 1/4oz cavity, it does not matter how hot I get the mold or the lead, it will never fill the collars but if I use a ladle I can do a lot of pours without fail, my last round with the ladle for those was 110 straight pours with no incomplete pours or any errors and I can do it as fast as the bottom pour but I have to stand when doing it.

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Drop Out is a miracle product that is for sure. I treat all my molds with it and it works great!!

I never have nor never will smoke a mold as long as I can buy Drop Out.

I do have a few molds like my Do-It Flutter jig molds that require the mold to be tilted a certain way for the mold to fill properly.

If the other suggestions do not work try tilting the mold as you are filling and see if that helps.

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I pour alot out of this mold and I have no problem with the 3/8 and 1/2 ounce cavities but I can not pour the 5/16 with hard lead.  I use soft lead in my bottom pour pot on the 5/16 and they will pour perfect every time.  I should mention I always heat my molds on a hot plate turned all they way up.  I don't know if the hot plate is needed or not because I heat all my molds before I pour.

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My tournament partner purchased a do-it swim jig mold model #smj-3-mf a few months back, I  have never been able to get consistent pours with it, I spent yesterday reading up on fluxing and I  tried that last night, made zero difference and might have even made it worse, the mold has been sooted like every other mold I  own  so  I'm at my wits end, all my other molds pour fine with my lead so any thoughts?...hook sizes are what the mold calls for, and everything is kept warm....Thanks

Are you using metal pins or teflon pins for the weed guard ? Teflon pins will not cool the lead as quick as metal pins. A quick shot with a torch also helps.

Edited by flippinfool

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Are you using metal pins or teflon pins for the weed guard ? Teflon pins will not cool the lead as quick as metal pins. A quick shot with a torch also helps.

I was using the metal pins, I  got some poured using cadmans suggestions but I am fairly certain that i have a multitude of issues, I  use the ladle, mold is hot, I tried the wax thing in the lead, but I  tried other molds that I  own that pour well and had issues so  I  think my lead has too much other stuff in it that is preventing decent pours, so i need to round up some softer lead and def get that drop out stuff and see where im at , in the mean time i will find a pyrometer and see what gives, 110 pours would be a dream come true...i think i got like 3 or 4 at best and even then way too much trimming.

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I was using the metal pins, I  got some poured using cadmans suggestions but I am fairly certain that i have a multitude of issues, I  use the ladle, mold is hot, I tried the wax thing in the lead, but I  tried other molds that I  own that pour well and had issues so  I  think my lead has too much other stuff in it that is preventing decent pours, so i need to round up some softer lead and def get that drop out stuff and see where im at , in the mean time i will find a pyrometer and see what gives, 110 pours would be a dream come true...i think i got like 3 or 4 at best and even then way too much trimming.

 

You did the right thing, when you get a mold that you can't figure out, grab one that you know pours well and try it, this will let you know for sure if you have a mold problem or the lead is giving you a problem. If you use wheel weight lead you may have ended up with zinc contamination, I know some guys get by fine with it but it requires a lot of prep work but if you just drop a few in your pot, well that could cause problems. I learned the hard way, I made my own hard lead alloy by melting down wheel weights and then fluxing the lead and then pouring the ingots to add to soft lead. I got a batch of newer wheel weights and when I tried to melt them down I got a lead that was almost gooey, it didn't pour into the ingot molds smooth at all and I figured it may have been too low of a temperature but it wasn't the temp, I found out it was zinc contamination and when you have high zinc content there isn't a lot you can do, I don't know how to work with the stuff. After that experience I now buy hard lead from Roto Metals, it is what they call antimony lead ingot, it has saved me from having to mess with a lot of stuff. It is more expensive than using scrap lead but I know what I'm getting, and it saves my pots, no more constantly having to reseat the valve on my bottom pour pot and my pours are nice and clean as well.

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Yes I would rather pay a lil more and save the aggravation, that melter I am sure has bastard lead in it so the plan is to start fresh , I  have fluxed it several times and yes it has gotten better but no one would pour if it was this much aggravation...Thanks everyone for the help

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Sonoman,

 

I haven't heard anyone mention this yet, so I'll tell you what I do when I need to fill out the mold better.

 

I also cast bullets (or boolits as us casters call them) and I am far more picky about filling out the entire mold cavity when casting my lead bullets (need to have consistant weight, lube ring grooves, OD, .etc) I could get into more detail but this is the lure making forum. :D

 

I used to buy wheel weights and melt those down, flux, and re-flux but my lead was very inconsistant. I now purchase lead from a local indoor gun range that comes out of the bullet traps. Bullet lead is very soft compared to wheel weight lead. This lead is soft because it's typically held together with a FMJ (copper) or copper plating. Afterall, you want bullets to expand, so the softer the lead, the better (as long as it jacketed).

 

My "go-to" solution for filling out a mold when pouring, is the addition of Tin. I buy the thick plumbers lead free solder from Home depot that is typically used for brazing or soldering copper pipe. The key is to not add too much. I usually aim for 1-2% of my lead to be Tin. It really helps fill the mold out.

 

No Tin on the left and Tin added to the right

A48D6C85-4866-4444-88D0-AB8D8743E4D3_zps

 

Solder I use

B6EFEB7D-74BD-476B-B7E9-E3AF01F54015_zps

 

I also have some molds that don't like to drop my casting out. For this reason, I keep a 4x4 block of wood laying on top of my casting bench and i simply give the mold a firm, but no too hard, whack on the wood block and my castings fall right out.

 

Just for reference, I do use a Lee 5lb bottom pour pot for all of my castings and I flux my lead (once per full pot) with cheap dollar store birthday candles. :yes: I will admit, my very first time was quite amusing and I was not expecting the pot to catch fire while the wax burned off. :lol:

 

I hope my little tips and tricks can help you out (or anyone for that matter) as well if you choose to try them. 

 

Greg

Edited by -fishboy-

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Sonoman,

 

Have you solved your incomplete fill out problem yet? Could be your particular mold is a lemon - very rarely I've had Do-its with mysterious unfixable pour void problems. One in my experience is the 3/4 oz cavity in an INT-4-AB which despite multiple attempts honing the inlet gate & cavity still voids in the same area with HARD LEAD. Solutions:

1. Softer lead works OK 

2. I got a second mold with no problems even with hard lead.

 

Consistent complete cavity fill, especially barb collars, in some of my jig molds require near pure soft lead + as "fishboy" suggests the addition of tin. Typical soft scrap sources like sheet & plumbers blocks can vary in composition and some can be harder than optimal. As a commercial lead caster for 15+ years I have learned to process scrap batches separately by type into clean 1# ingots. Near pure "soft" will have a shiny surface and so called "soft" tramped with antimony or ? will have a grainy or crystaline surface appearance. I also prefer my tin to be 99+% pure rather than solder with antimony, copper, or silver added.

 

Yes, with problem molds you can use tricks like smoking, release agents, cracking, heating, but it might be a good idea to start with soft as possible lead. Which is why some Do-its specifically state "Use bottom pour furnace and soft lead".

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I am convinced it is the lead, I just returned from the Fishers of Men national chanpionship which was held on Lake Chickamauga, while there I  had the pleasure of meeting a guy which owns Soddy custom tackle and he and his guys make almost everything they sell right there, he poured us some 1/2 football jigs while we waited and he showed me his setup...I have basically the same stuff that he uses but mine do not pour anything like his did, he told me about the lead and how much trouble they had when they werent using the soft lead...so lesson learned, my lead that i have left is borderline so i will try the tin deal and add the products everyone has mentioned...but from here out i will stick with the lead that i know is softer...def. appreciate all the help.

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You may also want to try using talc. (baby powder) in the mold as well, I read a thread about fluxing and someone mentioned using talc. so I gave it a try and it made all the differance in the world. The product released from the mold better and the fill was more complete. Very in-expensive tip with great results.

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I have been pouring lead for about 20 years. Never saw the use in fluxing. Unless I were experimenting with an unproven mold, I have only really found three variables:

 

Temperature

Composition of the lead

Flow

 

Voids are corrected by either increasing the temperature, using softer lead or opening the gate on the Lee pot/ switching to ladle.

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update...I  changed the lead out of my Lyman melter, cleaned the thing, purchased the drop out stuff and applied to the mold, put soft lead in the thing and now it pours like a champ....no bad pours whatsoever , so a big thanks to everyone for the help....now to get more soft lead

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