Lee Melting Pot maintence

  • 1.8K Views
  • Last Post 28 September 2016
John Alexander posted this 22 September 2016

I have my 20 pound Lee pot cleaned out and apart to see if I can't stop, or at least reduce the dripping.  I plan to grind the valve with 220 grit and then maybe 400 grit valve grinding compound to improve the fit of pin to valve seat. The pins and valve nozzle that the C shaped piece ride on look as if they could stand some polishing as well.  I would welcome suggestions.

I would also appreciate suggestions for a lubricant for the pins and mold nozzle to lower the friction that will stand the high temperatures involved and where to find it.

Thanks for any suggestions and comments.

John

Attached Files

Order By: Standard | Newest | Votes
gpidaho posted this 22 September 2016

John, I haven't tried it in that application but I do use dielectric silicone grease to lube my moulds. I bet it would work to lubricate the pins and the like at high temperature. Available at auto parts stores. Gp

Attached Files

onondaga posted this 22 September 2016

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=6375>John Alexander

I spin the pin with a drill and pinch polish it with 400 grit emery.  I use steel wool on a dowel for the seat. the spout hole is 3/32” and I clear that with a drill in my fingers or  a pin vice before re-assembly.

Last I lubricate the moving part bearing surfaces and adjustment screw threads with clear silicone dielectric grease.

Gary

Attached Files

OU812 posted this 24 September 2016

I wonder if adding more weight to the lifting arm would help. This would add more downward pressure to help seal.

My RCBS pot will leak, but WAY LESS than the Lee.

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 24 September 2016

OU812 wrote: I wonder if adding more weight to the lifting arm would help. This would add more downward pressure to help seal.

My RCBS pot will leak, but WAY LESS than the Lee. I have been thinking along the same lines. The weight of the handle apparatus pushing the pin into the valve seat may not be much more than the buoyant force from the pin trying to float up out of the denser lead. And the fuller the pot the higher the buoyant force.  It is a cleaver design as all Lee products are but I'm not sure how best how to add weight.  A chunk of lead screwed onto the handle maybe.

Has anybody tried adding weight? No matter how perfect, or imperfect, the ccondition of the valve or well or not the other parts worked more force should improve things.

I managed to buy the dielectric silicone grease suggested by gpidaho and Gary.  It is a good think only a little is needed.  I figured at the rate I bought it is $800 per gallon.

John

Attached Files

onondaga posted this 24 September 2016

OU812 wrote: I wonder if adding more weight to the lifting arm would help. This would add more downward pressure to help seal.

My RCBS pot will leak, but WAY LESS than the Lee. I'd be more interested in why Lee doesn't recommend adding weight as you suggest. My opinion is that Lee has made the mistake in their instructions of taking it for granted that consumers will keep their pot clean and operating as designed without modifying it.

Plus it is clear that if you have to add weight to get  a seal,  you can also correct what you have done to lose the seal with pretty reasonable maintenance.

Lee instructions are specific about the valve pin and seal, at the first sign of dripping. use the slot in the top of the pin to rotate the pin with a screw driver and clear the pin/ valve seal as needed. Do that frequently and  any more aggressive treatment will be pretty far off if at all. Use clean metal in bottom pour pots and do alloying and scrap cleaning in a different pot avoids trouble very well too.

Gary

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bill2728
OU812 posted this 24 September 2016

You could experiment by clamping on lead weight with hose clamp. If that works maybe you could replace the wood handle with a lead handle.

Attached Files

onondaga posted this 24 September 2016

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=8191>OU812

Newest bottom pour pots model Pro 4-20 from Lee have a metal operating knob instead of wood and the part is available from Lee but it is not a cure all for poor maintenance or an admission of guilt from Lee. The part material modification is Lee's answer to user comments.

Mechanically, the heavier knob is not concentric with the valve pin and that is not a great arrangement. A heavier pin is a better guess at an answer. Cut a pin with a fat belly...I'd try that.

Gary

Attached Files

OU812 posted this 24 September 2016

Lots of flames (literally and verbally)were created because of the Lee pot.

Attached Files

onondaga posted this 24 September 2016

Mine remains trouble free.

Attached Files

rmrix posted this 24 September 2016

Not to sound like a smart alack but would plugging the hole and dipping help? I know I went to dipping a long time ago and have never looked back. Great bullets too.

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 24 September 2016

As stated earlier I am a great admirer of Lee's innovative design in most of their products but that doesn't mean they're perfect and they could have done better on this one.  The downward force on the valve pin is tiny and everything has to be perfect.  Sometimes I turn the pin as Gary suggests every other cast. It works temporarily but that and requiring perfect maintenance is a sign that the design could be improved. Lee has apparently recognized that and added more weight in the handle on newer models. I guess I will try that  as well as taking the advice on the better lubricant.

Trying to fix the problem with a fatter pin as suggested will make things worse because the pin floats in lead and pushes up not down. The fatter the pin the harder it will push up. Maybe a pin with a big knob on top out of the melt would work.

Thanks to all who offered advice.

John

Attached Files

onondaga posted this 24 September 2016

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=6375>John Alexander

Your idea with top weight is better than mine. But I have no  issue with mine or the design.  I have polished the pin/seal once in 1,000 pounds of lead and that was during disassembly to maintain spout hole diameter for full flow. I had an oxide garden in the chute.

Gary

Attached Files

R. Dupraz posted this 24 September 2016

I had a lee pot many years ago now and after a time it continually leaked and constantly dripped no matter what I did. . Even after I followed lee's instructions by rotating the pin and some other things.

Then bought another new one. The temp. wouldn't go higher than 700 degrees. It went back. Got tired of all the aggravation and bought a commercial Wagge 20 pounder. Went to dipping and no regrets after 15 years.

Maintenance, just boil it out to clean ever so often and it's good to go again.

You get what you pay for.

Attached Files

JeffinNZ posted this 24 September 2016

I plugged both my 10 and 20lb and bought a ladle.

Cheers from New Zealand

Attached Files

RicinYakima posted this 25 September 2016

RD, Jeff and I are all reading from the same page. I like my 1970's Lee ten pounder much more since I plugged it and use it for dipping. For gang moulds for pistols, the SAECO 22 pound utility (made by Waage)does great.

Attached Files

delmarskid1 posted this 25 September 2016

My RCBS Pro-Melt has dripped once in 15 years. I liked the Lee 5 pounders when I had them. I did mods and maintenance as stated by others and they were trouble free.with the exception of the mods and maintenance. I like the 20 pound Lee dip pot that I own.

Attached Files

Westhoff posted this 25 September 2016

Ive never used a bottom pour pot and at my advanced age (I'm now in my LATE codgerhood) I probably never will. I'd probably still be using my Lyman 20 lb. dip pot if the repair shop that used to keep it running were still in business fairly near. However, after about 40 years of heavy work the Lyman pot “retired", and I bought a Lee 20 lb. pot (dipper only). Took me a few weeks to get use to it, and now I'm to the point of being VERY happy with it.

Some of Lee's stuff I'm not too enthusiastic about, but the Lee 20 lb. dip pot so far is working fine, and actually seems to be holding desired temp closer than the Lyman pot. The other Lee product about which I'm REALLY enthusiastic is their collet neck sizing dies. Best idea Lee ever had!

Wes

Attached Files

onondaga posted this 25 September 2016

Westhoff wrote: Ive never used a bottom pour pot and at my advanced age (I'm now in my LATE codgerhood) I probably never will.

Wes, I am an old caster too, since 1957. I only recently , 3 years ago, tried Lee 6 cavity bullet molds and some buckshot molds that cast a lot more.  It was a difficult translation to 6 cavity bottom pour casting until I learned to pour with one continuous sprue from the bottom pour spout.

Some guys may be able to do that with a big ladle. I have never tried a 6 cavity with a ladle but it sure is easy with a bottom pour, and I have been able to work my cadence to drop every big sprue into the pot as I work and maintain production till the pot is exhausted of metal without even fluxing. I don't believe that can be done with a ladle. I am pleased with bottom pour.

Gary

Attached Files

gpidaho posted this 25 September 2016

I learned to cast with the Lyman Mag 20 bottom pour. And yes, it drips some when it needs cleaning. The bottom pour does really shine when using the six cavity Lee moulds. I pour a large end to end sprue and they rain handgun bullets. Gp

Attached Files

Westhoff posted this 27 September 2016

I'd possibly have tried a bottom pour pot if I were still competing at Bullseye Pistol, but I just had my 89th birthday (told you I was old) and I shake a little much with a one-hand hold nowadays. I did cast a whole bunch of H&G .45 semi-wadcutters with a 4 cavity mold and a dip only pot during the 30 odd years I shot pistol.

Now I compete with an issue 03-A3, and when I cast with a 2 cavity mold I segregate cavity 1 bullets from cavity 2. A 6 cavity would prove too much for an old man's patience, I'm afraid.

Wes

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 28 September 2016

I got the pot back together with all the sliding surfaces polished and lubed with the recommended grease and the valve seat and valve lapped with fine valve grinding compound. It drips about the same as before not horrible but a minor pita.

The handle assembly carrying the pin/valve just does not go up and down smoothly. I think I know the problem.  Casting a a zillion bullet mostly in single cavity molds has worn the hole that slides up and down on the spout into an oval (maybe an 1/8") letting the assembly twist out of alignment as it is worked.  I will try a new handle to get things lined back up and see. More weight on the pin wouldn't work. Pushing down on the handle doesn't stop the leak it just binds.

if a new handle  doesn't work this could turn into a saga.

John

Attached Files

RicinYakima posted this 28 September 2016

John, Sell it on EBay, and buy a new one. End of problem. Ric

Attached Files

onondaga posted this 28 September 2016

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=6375>John Alexander, you said,

"The handle assembly carrying the pin/valve just does not go up and down smoothly." I have noticed that during operation of my Lee Pro 4-20. I cleaned and lubricated as you did, then I adjusted the handle bracket assembly by bending to restore the smooth operation. It took some looking and trying. But John, I bet if you got a new part and installed it yourself instead of Lee installing it, that you would likely have to adjust it by bending for smooth operation. The part is an inexpensive jig bent piece of flat stock, they don't just drop on and work perfectly.

That assembly is checked and adjusted for function during factory assembly  but is easy to bump out of adjustment. I believe I bent mine with my ingot mold when I was boxing it up with the pot to put it away.

The fix is pretty simple. Clean, lube and adjust for smooth function. I consider this normal maintenance and not even a repair. I'm sure you could do it if you put your mind to it. It is not a design flaw. It is an example of the Lee Factory mission to make the pot affordable with simple engineering and the fewest parts.

Gary

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 28 September 2016

Thanks Gary.  You are probably right I will take another squint at the alignment and bend it a bit. But it is pretty sloppy now with the big oblong hole sliding up and down on the nozzle. It will be worth a try while waiting on the new parts which Lee is sending at no cost except shipping. I ordered the newer version of the assembly with the newer and simpler adjustment and the Steel knob  for a tad more weight. John

Attached Files

OU812 posted this 28 September 2016

After you assemble the assembly, try lapping the pin and valve seat while pin is inline. Remove adjusting wing nut and chuck pin in cordless drill then lap. Maybe preheating the spout seat before lapping would help. You could turn on the pot briefly to preheat.

Warping caused by heat and added weight of lead maybe the cause of leak.

....

Attached Files

Close