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saltydecimator

another crazy project, making a bell from scrap shell brass?

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part of me being cheap and hoardy doesnt allow me to just throw stuff away that has "value".  recently bought a new house with a "sniper"(bell) tower.  we dont have a bell.  i have some berdan 308 brass, and 9 and 40 brass is kinda pointless, so i figured, make it outta my spare brass!  anyone ever undertaken something like this?  ive molded bullets, which is only sort of close, done a quick google, yada yada.... 

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I've done casting of various things. IMO practice on smaller castings first. Get a lot of green sand. Purify your metals a bunch. Have way more melt than you need. Bells are particular for needing to not have voids. I think one of those vibrators that they use for cement, which have basically a sawzall body as the motor could help a lot with doing large castings. Also preheating your mold. The real tricky thing with large castings is having enough thermal mass that all the metal can flow in, fill out all the detail, and out the vents and the bubbles get out before the metal starts to thicken and solidify.

 

You could talk to forum member "salt" he was doing some art castings kinda along the lines. 

 

You aren't going to get a good casting on your first try most likely. You are going to want about 1/3 more metal than your piece, and that's not counting for slag loss while you melt the metal down and purify it.

 

You might look into aluminum bronze.

 

 

gun brass is good brass for the purpose, but you are going to want to clean it as thoroughly as possible. and crush it. That will speed up melt time and reduce impurities.

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eeeeeeeeeeeenteresting!!  hadnt thought about crushing it, hahaha thats someting i can have the 3 year olds do, haha...

 

how big you think i could get away with?  im assuming i am gonna need to get some help locally when i move ( CO front range this week ) from an artys fartsy type professional in the boulder/fort collins/ greeley area...  so if i get help i assume i could do a good 18''- 2.5' tall setup?  lil baby be easy, but i kinda wanna do something "epic".... like i said, im way off the amateur  end of the spectrum, but i would like to give it the old college try...


Old fire extinguishers make great bells (cast iron have the best tone).

cast iron fire extinguishers?  havent heard of that... i google that and al-bronze

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Why not glass blowing , I think it would be easier .

Casting is hard with out the stuff., good luck.

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I think you could probably get away with making a bell that has about 5 lbs of metal in it, if you can preheat everything. Start with maybe 10 lbs of metal so that there is excess thermal mass. It's easier to cut off extra bits. It helps to design such that there are no particularly thin areas, and that the areas at the bottom of the mold are the thickest parts. That might mean casting the bell upside down. You'll have a lot of afterwork motorbrushing out all the casting texture.

 

There is a how-it's-made of a canadian bell casting company.

 

Gas cylinders in general make good bells, but unscrew the top before doing any alteration to a pressure vessel. Flooding with water also reduces your chances of making an accidental cannon.

 

I've an uncle who pulverized his face and hand while welding on a gasoline tank, after having theoretically done all the precautions you are supposed to do. I am aware of all the tricks, but you couldn't pay me to weld or grind on a gas tank that wasn't half full of water, , and had at least a 4" diameter hole open to the sky first, and filled up to the air hole with a heavier than air inert gas.

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I had a bike gas tank go WOOT! on me once when working on it AFTER I flushed, etc. Very startling. Cool, but scary. It made a LOUD HOOOOT! and shot blue fire out the filler. I'm glad it didn't go BOOM.

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I used to work on  elevators, and sometimes had to have large brass ring gears made. I found that spin casting made the best ring gears. Like a bell, voids and uneven flows make bad gears.

You could make a mold spinner from an old axle end with a wheel on it, and spin it with a belt and slow speed motor.

 

Good luck to you, wear leathers and a full face mask - and the mold MUST be heat dried, as the SMALLEST bit of moisture WILL cause an EXPLOSION. That was the first thing I was taught when learning to pour babbit bearings.

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That is a good way to do it. I had thought of spin casters as too complex for the DIYers

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a rear hub from a FWD car can be had @ salvage yard for a couple of bucks. Add a base, and a platform for your mold, and you've got it. Spinning's an easy fix any number of ways.

 

Keep us informed. This sounds like a cool project. I'd like to have a big bell in the yard (Mounted in concrete to keep it safe)

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Now that is cutting to the chase, yeah have seen some of those old steel gas cylinders used for bells and they work surprisingly well due to the quality of materials.

 

Grandma had one to call in the men folk from the field for lunch and supper, shows in some old pictures but was gone by the time I landed on the planet. ;)

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On 10/27/2017 at 5:15 PM, BlackHeart762 said:

I have seen bells made from small aluminum oxygen tanks or large steel oxygen cylinders

 

Both just have the valves removed and cut the cylinder to length for desired tone.

 

 

BH

ya i may have to go the route of simple vs bell shape....  then again if the stuff is already melted ive done most of the "hard work"  (hard being i dont have a foundry, so chances are im at someone elses place)

 

great thoughts all around folks...

 

thithink  brass needs to be de-primed?

Edited by saltydecimator

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Mostly because the priming stuff is dirty, I would. I would also wet tumble the brass afterward if you have a tumbler.

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Semi related. I got my scuba tanks rehydrod. I use them for paintball. They condemed one of my tanks, so I guess I have a bell now too, once I get some time with a saw.

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good plan! 

 

tried airsoft?  seems less messy and hurty

 

ya i have a tumbler, gotta dig out my scrap and see what i have..

Edited by saltydecimator

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I have tried airsoft. It's okay, but paintball is superior. I will play either given the chance. Most of the fun/notfun is about who you play with, and where. No game is fun if you are playing and half the people are trying to cheat, even a win means nothing.

Setting aside the cheapest wimpiest walmart grade stuff, that kids use, and that no one who plays for long sticks with...

Airsoft hurts more, and it tends to attract the sort of people who get off on hurting people. The general standard that most people tune their airsoft guns to is a 0.2 gram bb at 400 FPS. If you don't have a chrono, a fairly accurate way to test this is that 400 FPS is right where the BB will go through both sides of an empty coke can. Example: 

Then you know that a lot, and I mean a lot of the people who play are running hotter than that. i.e. they might chrono with 0.2 gram bbs, but then they play with heavier, or they sneak in a gun with uprated springs, pistons, etc to have higher velocity. 

The worst you get from a paintball is a bruise and possibly some scuffs through the skin. The most common injury is a knee injury from sliding into something while diving into cover.

It also doesn't have nearly as much effective range, unless you use heavy weight bbs at really hurty velocities. And it is hard to prove whether someone is shot or not short of bleeding. This encourages cheating, though both sports have their share of cheaters.

As for mess, short term, airsoft is kinda cleaner. Long term, the paint breaks down and goes away and the bbs linger. Even the supposedly bio degradable bbs don't really. Also, if you are using the fun gear, a lot of them don't like the bio bbs as much, but they are getting better.

Generally if you play a lot the gear cost is similar, but the PB stuff is much better quality. The cost per day of play is higher for PB because the paint is more expensive, and is perishable.

Airsoft has manuals of arms and looks that tend to feel more "real" (but let me say I have a whole rant about "who cares about real, if it's fun. And real for what purpose, and how real....") However the capacities, and ability to shoot further tend to make the tactics of paintball more useful if your goal is simulation. For some reason, it's hard for gun people to get their heads around the idea that there can be other goals or things that make paintball fun than mere simulation.

I'll say that if you play any format, whether competitive speedball, recball, behind your parent's barn with the other 12 year olds making up the rules as they go, or at some huge multi thousand player scenario game....... Either paintball or airsoft are fun. Both give you tactile feedback when you do something wrong, and give you a sense of probability. No matter how well trained you are and no matter how right you do things, and how wrong the other guy does things, you still get shot. I love the pistol, rifle and shotgun matches, and go as often as I am able, but on the whole, paintballers and airsofters have a lot better situational awareness and a lot better feel for movement, and use of cover and concealment, and angles sight, and teamwork than any of the firearm crowd toes. It's conditioned response. If you are sticking your elbow out behind cover, or sitting in one place too long, or reload in the open, you get a pain feedback and at least a few minutes before you are back in the game. In other training or matches, you might get docked a point if the RO notices, but it doesn't have the sting to keep it sharp in your mind. 

I love pretty much all the shooting sports, but my favorites will always be 3 gun type stuff, and paintball. Both are more fun when you play with skilled opponents. All of them teach transferrable skills.

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I do airsoft, I used to play fairly often.. The big thing is for most fields is that they have two limits generally, 30 rounds per second, and 400 fps. I built more than a few rigs that could do both, but they only came on the field when you had flagrant cheaters. Almost every regular player had their cheater buster rig, but they normally did not come out.

Like you are playing capture the flag and someone will just run to the flag despite it being fully covered.. We had one that the guy ran for the flag and 12 people hit him, including one that had a spot light, and you could see this pyramid of plastic roaring toward him and spraying off him for a full eight to ten seconds.. So he only got hit like 3,000 times, changed the flag anyway and only indicated being hit while walking back, then had the gaul to complain about "overkill".

Generally I played with a full sized M14 with irons only, in semi only. It shot 400 fps on the dot, but the big thing was it shot +/- 2 fps which when running .3g pellets averaged a 4" group at 150' and the trajectory was almost perfectly flat... Normally I'd work my way up the field until I got behind one of the better chunks of cover, then I worked at thinning the other team out so my guys could work up the field.

My other specialized gun was an MP5 that shot 280 fps and 28rps. But I had all metal impact parts, so it probably bordered on causing hearing damage.. That was for running at the indoor in the dark hallways, the intimidation factor was really high, it really did sound like it was going to hurt bad.. I normally paired that with a few thunder B grenades.. Those are definitely not hearing safe.

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You probably would be fun to play with. I've tweaked a few buckings etc to get airsoft to shoot about as accurately as that with the ammo it liked, but on the whole I still feel more confident about making consistent hits at that range and double with paintball. I buy good paint, and sometimes it just isn't on hand, so there is that. I prefer the feel of the pneumatic airsoft guns, and closed bolt PB. I don't know why but that perceptible locktime/dwell time really bugs me.

But I think we are thread jacking, so didja ever cast anything? Have you CNCd out a bell from cartridge brass? Made jingle bells out of garand clips?

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We used to have a lot of fun. We would go to the Orlando indoor field a lot, the field ended up closing after a few years because it had a reputation of letting "professional teams" of 20-40 year old guys group up on one team against all the walk ons which where mostly kids...when I went I would show up with a gang box full of gear, like 20+ guns that I would buy broken for $20 and upgrade, and loan them out to kids that had walmart stuff. And then we would group the newbies with a couple of our group into 5-6 person fire teams and we would show the newbies how to take out the "pro level" players... It got to the point that the refs would see us and holler into the ready room "hey (insert team name) your ass kicking just showed up"... Good times!

The trigger lag can be reduced with high torque motors, mosfets, large Lipo batteries and a "prewind timer module" that stops the piston in the retracted position..

As for casting. I have a pile of brass, a propane furnace and a crucible but as of yet no castings.. I'm trying to make a part for a spot welder out of the brass.. I got a pair of 15kva rocker arm spot welders for $300 but they use 1.75" arms and I'm standardised on 2" and 1.5" and having odd ball sizes is annoying.. So I want to remake the parts.. So I'm interested in learning more about casting.

Edited by csspecs

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That's very similar to how I ended up with aproximately 26 autocockers. I would get ebay lots with titles like "paintball stuff, needs work" for ~$150 and 5 minutes of tuning later I had a $400 and a couple of HPA tanks, and a mask and a hopper or two. I would sell the stuff that wasn't to my taste and have the lot for basically free.

Also, "i'm having a baby and my wife says this needs to go, so here's my really tastefull collection I built over the years for basically nothing. I'd rather sell it to you than let some kid on ebay part them out..."

And the bit that is similar to you. I mostly hung out with a friend in my town who had a PB store. His main competitor was a tourney style guy, who ran with a flashy crew of cheaters. They went to all the tourneys with all the new gear, and were never fun to play with. Every few months, someone would join their crowd, buy some gear, then get fed up with the behavior, and basically rage quit and fire sale their gear. Usually after paying the other shop to "fix it" so, A new $1200 fancy gun would be non functional, because they botched the install of the cheater board. stick the OEM board back in, and replace a few seals and it would be good to go. I didn't take many of those, but my friend did. I would sometimes get payed to do the airsmithing. Honesty, and a bit of objectivity in distribution of teams goes a long way toward making it fun and building a sustainable scene. If you don't boot the cheater because he is a big spender in the shop, or your buddy, you kill the whole local scene and your shop will close.

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got some  foam in a can to make solid wheel barrow tire for a  road side rescue, (actually 2) and then that occured to me that i could use expanding foam for a mold.... i was trying to figure out how to form a square into a nice bell shape, but i assume it will be easier to mold the mold....

 

i do like the idea of using car bell housing as mentioned above..

Edited by saltydecimator

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I know you need to pay attention to what kind of foam. Some of them off gas stuff which will contaminate your melt. Also you basically can use the foam, and dissolve it out of plaster with acetone, if you want to make a plaster mold. Just has to be the right kind of foam. Hack A Week did a series on that technique for making the form for a motorcycle gas tank.

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