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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday morning I was getting ready to cast some bullets. After melting the lead and fluxing I decided to fill the pot by dropping in some cull bullets and left over sprue cuttings. I scraped a small pile into my hand and dropped a couple of bullets in the pot and then decided to just drop all the rest in. BIG mistake. Immediately something sparked and the lead boiled and exploded out of the pot. I jumped back --53 year old reflexes still work -- and avoided most of the lead. My shirt and pants were spotted with lead. Fortunately, I had safety glasses on since there were two fairly large splatters of lead in direct line with both eyes. I received very minor burns on my upper lip, left wrist and palm, side of my right arm and my right leg. Only the last two and my lip show any mark today. Lip would have been worse except most of the lead lodged in my moustache.

I am generally very carefull with melted lead, but this sure taught me a lesson. Pictures below.


http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g13/H-Marlin/CastingAccident001.jpg

[img]http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g13/H-Marlin/CastingAccident003.jpg

[img]http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g13/H-Marlin/CastingAccident002.jpg
 

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Silver,

I am glad you are OK and thank you for posting these pics to remind us to be ever so careful whether reloading or casting.

How did your mustache smell?? :wink: Great T-shirt by the way.

Dave 8)
 

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Holy cow! What would have caused the lead to boil up and explode like that? :?:

Good thing you had your safety glasses on. My family laughs at me for wearing the silly looking things around my garage. I don't care...I've gotten stuff in my eyes too many times to go without them now.
 

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"original old navy"

Gotta love that shirt!

Sure glad you're ok. Thank God for the sense to have those safety glasses in place!
 

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any idea why it boiled so quickly?? Water is usually when lead is poured into it....steam and displacement.....I've not seen that happen with lead being added to melted lead before, even when there is small amounts of moisture on the lead....
could have been a really nasty situation, was bad enough as it was....glad you are okay!! and yes to those goggles....smart!! I have a heavy rubberized apron that I wear....looks like Dr. Frankenstein...but it's about safety, not fashion :lol:
 

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When you pour molten lead into water the water boils and hisses, when you pour water into molten lead, the water sinks into the lead befor it can boil away, so the water turns to steam UNDER the molten lead. The result is an explosion! OUCH! And it doesn't take much water to do this! A drop of sweat will cause an explosion!
"Let's be careful out there"
 

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A stray cartridge or trapped water.

A little water on the surface will just boil off, pretty much instantly. It has to get down below the surface to do real damage. The usual cause is a calcium cloride deposit on a wheel weight. It and the common flux Marvelux are highly hydroscopic and will absorb several times their weight in water. The WW or spoon will carry the bonded water into the alloy before it can turn into stream.
 

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I'll shoot my pot with a water pistol any time y'all wanna come watch. Might get a little spatter, but I won't get that kind of explosion. Water ain't dangerous until it gets below the surface of the alloy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've been thinking about this alot (no surprize there) and trying to figure out what happened. It could have been moisture from sweat as I scraped the lead into my hand and dumped it in the pot. It sank and then the action started.

The other posibility is gross carelessness on my part. I had been using my single-stage press on that same bench and it is highly possible that a live primer got away and hid in that pile of sprue cuttings. At any rate I will never again add to already molten lead.

I do thank you all for the expressions of concern that I am ok. I often cringe when I think about how bad this could have been.

Dang, that was one of my favorite shirts. Don't think I will get all the lead off without leaving some holes.
 

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Silver,

Your "shield" saved you bro. :wink:

Dave 8)
 

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That looks like the water "splatters" I've seen a couple of times. Normally I let my ingots get hot before I add them since any porousity on their surface can trap moisture. Even the timiest amount of liquid water increases in volume exponentially when it becomes gas. (If you want to see a demonstration of the phenomonen in reverse, try heating a couple of teaspoons of water in the botton of a pop can until it is steaming good, then quickly invert the open end of the can into some cold water - just don't hold the can with you hands when you do. Besides being hot, the can collapses with enough force when the gaseous water contracts that you will likely get pinched good if you try.)

Glad you are okay. Adding lead to a hot pot can cause flinching which is hard to overcome!:lol:
 

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SAW THAT FIRSTHAND WHEN I WAS 12

Water or Salt both can cause that, imagine salty sweat.
My father had worked in the gray iron foundry at Maytag and before that at John Deere.
My older brother and I had collected some lead,so dad thought it would be a worthwhile lesson to teach us about casting on a hot August day.
So we made mould of a spearhead and poured the first one fine.
While pouring the second it exploded much like the pictures you show.
For many years thereafter my older brother had a scar shaped like a cowboy hat on his left cheek.
It had to have been a drop of sweat fell on the molten lead.
Thats when Dad told us some of the ornery guys in the foundry would throw salt pills in the pot in the foundry.

Be careful out there!!
 

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I wouldn't try to clean the shirt, i'd hang it on the wall above the work bench as a permanent reminder of how lucky i am and what could happen the next time i make a stupid mistake. Glad to hear you got out of it unhurt.
 

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Thank you for sharing. You have made me think about things I had not thought about for awhile and what you described could very easily be me.
 
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