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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) electric lead melting furnaces (Read 3137 times)
Joe_S
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electric lead melting furnaces
Feb 10th, 2018 at 7:27pm
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I have been using a propane burner to melt lead for bullet casting, and am thinking about switching to an electric lead melting furnace with a PID (?) digital  heat control. I would want one that has at least a 20 lb capacity, and would not want a bottom pour arrangement.
Has anyone taken the time to calculate and compare the cost of propane vs electricity for bullet casting?
Has anyone had any experience with the new RCBS 25 lb Easy Melt lead furnace?
Thanks!
Joe S
  
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Schuetzenmiester
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #1 - Feb 10th, 2018 at 11:49pm
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Depends on your cost of electricity and propane.  Generally speaking I think about 10 cents per kwh would be about even.

I like my ancient 20 pound Lyman,  consistent temp from the factory.
  

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bnice
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #2 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 9:26am
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At the cost of LP and the difficulty of controlling the temp, I think a Electric and PID are a no brained. I use a 20lb Lee (cheap) and PID. I also have a old 20 lb Lyman but perfectly happy with the lee. Have less then $100 in pot and PID.
  
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Ranch13
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #3 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 9:31am
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No experience with the RCBS pot, but I got a hold of a Lyman mag 25 with the PID, and now all my other pots sit idly by and watch. I don't mind the bottom pour feature, I don't ever use it except to drain the last of the pot full of alloy to start a fresh batch.
Once you go electric the only time you'll think about propane is if you want to cast and the electricity is off...
  
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Schuetzenmiester
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #4 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 2:51pm
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Ranch13 wrote on Feb 11th, 2018 at 9:31am:
Once you go electric the only time you'll think about propane is if you want to cast and the electricity is off...


Absolutely!  I used gas for many years.
  

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SSShooter
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #5 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 3:01pm
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bnice wrote on Feb 11th, 2018 at 9:26am:
At the cost of LP and the difficulty of controlling the temp, I think a Electric and PID are a no brainer. I use a 20lb Lee (cheap) and PID. perfectly happy with the lee. Have less then $100 in pot and PID.

+1 Life is easy.
  

Glenn
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J Louis
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #6 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 3:43pm
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A friend brought over his new to him 25 lb Lyman Digital Pot to try it is a bottom pour and we simply removed the bottom pour hardware and also easily replaced. I then just simply turned and attached a plugged sleeve to go over the bottom pour nipple. I have been quite impressed on the temperature swing being very minimal and the ease of use. One only has to set the temp. one prefers to use and wait until it gets there. Here is a picture of it just after being plugged in with the temp. set at 780 degrees and the current alloy temp. at 81. It also heats up pretty fast and if one wants he can watch it as it rises or just to see where it is currently at. You can also watch the temp. swings as it cycles to maintain the set temp. and all in all a very nice and impressive lead pot at least this one is.

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JLouis
  
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Schuetzenmiester
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #7 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 3:56pm
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JL, How tight a tolerance does that pot hold?
  

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J Louis
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #8 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 4:43pm
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So far it's been around four or five degrees Bob Z and I have been using it for a bit over a year now. It's kind of an interesting pot in that it also incorporates a fan and I am not sure why or what the purpose of it might be. The swing might be a bit higher if one takes more time getting the ladle back into the pot I tend to cast quite a bit faster then most so it has very little time to cool between dips. One can also watch just how much the temp. drops just by adding a cool sprue or two into the pot so it appears to be very sensitive in regards to temp. tracking.

JLouis
  
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calledflyer
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #9 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 5:48pm
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Don't know for sure, but the fan may be to keep the electronics cool?
I worked around some emission monitoring equipment that had fans for that purpose. Just a guess, since I've never seen one of those pots. I'm a dinosaur that still uses gas.
  
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Schuetzenmiester
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #10 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 5:49pm
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My guess would be the fan has something to do with keeping the electronics cool.

I could not see any noticeable difference dropping a sprue in the melt using a thermocouple on my Fluke multimeter.  I will reexamine that one of these days.
  

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Ranch13
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #11 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 6:26pm
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When I first got my Lyman with the PID I also used the lead thermometer I had been using with my older Lyman pot. The temperature on the thermometer stayed very uniform, seldom changes 5 degrees when the melt is up to temp. The only thing was I had to set the PID temp about 10 degrees higher to match the temp on the thermometer.
  
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #12 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 7:04pm
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I would expect it to maintain a very tight tolerance with SCR control not possible with the older style differential dependant on the off on cycle. 

The actual temp depends on the quality of the sensor.  I doubt those Lyman thermometers are any closer than +/- 20F.  AS long as the error is consistent, one can get back to the proper temp. I probably checked mine against my Fluke years ago, but I do not recall the accuracy.

  

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J Louis
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #13 - Feb 11th, 2018 at 8:00pm
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I have had my RCBS Lead Thermometer since day one and bought it seventeen years ago I am sure it has probably changed. I have been casting for so long and always in abundance that can readily tell if the temp. is off by the quality of the first few bullets dropped and which way to adust it and how much. Don't even use it now no need to with the new Lyman Pot its pretty Damn cool and very enjoyable to use. Just set it watch it come up to temp. and then go, go, go with no stopping until the first 100 plus are very shortly done. Top it off watch it come back up to temp and then onto doing the same.
The only thing to keep in mind with this pot is it is 2 1/2 inches taller than the 20# Lyman Dipper so it does change your dipping  comfort height and you might need to lower your work surface all though I get by without having to do so.

JLouis
  
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texasmac
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Re: electric lead melting furnaces
Reply #14 - Feb 13th, 2018 at 5:59pm
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You have to watch those analog lead thermometers. They can go bad over time. I have an RCBS bottom pour pot that I've been dipping out of for at least 20 years. Prior to buying a PID controller, I sent the pot back to RCBS, believing it would not reach the required temp range I like to cast bullet at. After RCBS completely refurbished the pot & sent it back to me at no charge, I finally found that the over 20-year old thermometer was the problem. It was off by over 100 degrees. RCBS later replaced it for free.

After buying & using the PID controller for over 2 years, I'll never go back. BTW, if you subscribe to the Single Shot Exchange Magazine, look for an article in the next edition titled, Casting with a PID Controller.

Below is a photo of my setup. The PID controller is the little black box with the readout at 751 degrees.  750 degrees is the casting temp. I was using when the photo was taken.

Wayne
« Last Edit: Feb 13th, 2018 at 6:08pm by texasmac »  

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