Ludlow issue — typemetal sprayed out front?

I honestly don’t know what I’ve done wrong, but hopefully someone might have ideas or at least suggestions to help troubleshoot what’s going wrong here.

I cleaned my wife’s Ludlow this morning. Do it regularly and have no trouble there. Unfortunately when she went to use it, the mechanism seems to have stopped mid cycle and a bit of the metal sprayed out the front of the machine (where the slug would normally spit out) onto her leg.

After we got over the intial shock, I released the stick and opened the machine to see what the situation was.

The machine made it through the cycle far enough to cast the line of type but appears that something happened to jam up the process just after making the slug, before the crucible was able to swing left again to its normal/resting position.

At this point, the narrow slit where metal comes out is currently to the right of the arm which holds the felt that typically sweeps/cleans that portion as it moves back and forth.

Here’s a close-up of Ludlow in stuck position:

I tried turning the belt on the right side of the machine to manually move it through the rest of the cycle and it’s able to turn freely, but nothing is moving inside the Ludlow. The key under the knob doesn’t appear to be broken.

Any suggestions? I’m going to go back down and continue trying to fiddle with it. FWIW — I haven’t yet gotten the slug that was cast out of the neck/form — there appear to be some metal slag underneath that piece that is holding it in place.

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Okay. I was incorrect. Key under the knob on the right was broken. Makes sense. It encountered a jam and as such should have broken immediately.

I have replaced the safety key and now can move the Ludlow a little forward and backward through the cycle from the current location before things start to jam up again and I encounter resistance.

One of the biggest problems at this point is the mass of metal that appears to be hanging around under the slug in the neck.

Here’s another Imgur set showing the metal underneath the neck piece.

I’m trying to break off what I can without damaging the Ludlow itself. Still not sure if this is a one off failure because of a jam at an inopportune point in the casting process or if this is indicative of a larger problem.

I took the mold out and was able to clear the blockage from the neck. Cleaned out everything down inside the machine that I could get to and put the whole thing back together.

Will get underneath and do what I can to clean all the little bits of metal here and there to make sure nothing else is jamming it up. I’m assuming that might be the source of the issue? Something jammed at an inopportune moment?

Anything else that might result in a slug not cutting and jamming the mechanism?

Here are a few final pics showing the blob of metal once exposed.

For some reason you didn’t have good lockup between the bottom of the mold and the top of the mouthpiece. The safety sheared when the knife tried to trim the bottom of the slug.

Clean all the bearing points where the table meets the base. Make certain all the bolts are tightened that hold the latching mechanism. Make certain the Mold bolts are tight. It’s difficult to cover all the many things which could possibly cause this problem, but check anything you might think likely.

Clean it all well and cycle by hand to make certain everything clears.

I’ve not had a squirt that bad, sometimes a little too heavy trim at the bottom, which could be metal temperature set incorrectly, or mouthpiece not flat to the bottom of the mold.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Thanks for the suggestion and feedback, John! I think I’ve cleaned it well enough at this point but I’m a little terrified to run it again — I definitely like the idea of manually rolling it through first. How would I do that? I assume you’d want the lid open to see how the neck of the crucible and mold line up. Do you just pull the pins from the plunger so that it can’t depress and push metal through the system?

As long as the lid is up it won’t try to cast it will just cycle. Safety will control that. I would suggest that several things could have happened. 1. Your belt is slipping. 2. Your pot and mouth piece are out of alignment. The pin that holds the pot could have came out. (On the pot and down near bottom). Just few things to look for.

I’m not sure I can even trigger the process unless the lid is down, i.e. the safety is in place to prevent you from even depressing the trigger in the front.

The belt does seem loose — it came off entirely while I was manually moving it back and forth, trying to get the blockage cleared. I will take it off and see if I can find a replacement at an automotive/hardware store

Will check on the pin at the bottom of the pot, but would assume that would mean it wouldn’t move back and forth with the cycle. That being said, I can’t rule anything out — I really have no idea what’s causing the issue.

Answered my own question re: how to cycle the machine. Everything moved smoothly and the seal between the neck and the mould seemed good so I went ahead and ran a slug with no problems. Thanks guys! Very much appreciate the help. Always learning something new about these amazing machines. Thankful you guys have the experience and background to lead me through it.

Oh. Final question — regarding that loose belt, I’m thinking about looking for a replacement now In case it becomes more of a problem. Any ideas of where I might find a decent replacement? Thinking of just taking it down to a local automotive/hardware store to see what they have. Any better recommendations or suggestions?

The belt it tensioned by gravity, the motor is on a pivoting mount. Maybe something is blocking the movement of the mount.

John Henry

Hey John, I was able to cast a slug yesterday without issue. I was simply looking at the loose belt as a possible source of problems in the future. Will be looking for a replacement at local automotive/hardward shops.

Hi Jh
Never trust running the machine with the lid up, a friend of mine was hospitalised with burns when the pump safety block snapped and he was covered in molten lead.
The only way to run the machine with the lid up is to remove the back pin of the plunger lever if everything works ok then put the pin back when you finish work.
As for your problem after cleaning the plunger did you wipe the mouthpiece after you cleaned the dross from it, was the felt wiper fitted correctly if the wiper was old and burnt a piece could have come off and stayed on your mouthpiece between it and the bottom of the mould, there was something obviously between the two parts to get a splash like that.

An automotive belt that will work is: Kelly Springfield - 695K6 or equivalent.

Dave Seat