Reloading press fabrication.

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Shade, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    Tossing around the idea of building my own reloading press, single stage,
    Have all the materials laying around the place.

    Have any of you evey done or attempted this?

    Thoughts, ideas?
     
  2. 303tom

    303tom Well-Known Member

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    Good Luck...................
     

  3. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    Hmmmmm, Sincere or sarcasm? BTW I do like sarcasm when delivered
    with some dry humor.



    Here are my thoughts so far, it could be an O frame or C frame. I would like
    to have a real beefy C frame, I have all kind of heavy plate (>1") and up to
    5" rounds.

    Still debating whether to make it a solid weldment or a bolt together style.

    If I machine the base (part that contains the ram) and the top plate (die
    plate) separately and use a bolt together design then I have to keep the
    holes lined up, not hard on the mill, done similar work many times making
    welding fixtures. Just have to plan out everything well the vertical supports
    will be heavy round stock with the ends turned square in the lathe. This is
    the design that I think is the route I am going to try first.

    To give you an idea of this: https://fsreloading.com/lee-classic-...ess-90064.html
    but it would a single stage press not a turret.

    The second option would be a solid weldment. With a solid weldment I would
    machine the ram bore first, weld up the assembly than in the mill indicate the
    bore in and machine and tap the die hole. I would likely have a underbored
    rough hole in the weldment to use the co-axial indicator (Blake) to reach
    through to get to the ram bore.

    A little background info, I am a welder, started in the Navy welding for
    6 years then ran my own welding and fabrication business for 9 years. For
    my equipment I have a Romi 13-5 Lathe, Bridgeport Mill, Dynasty 300DX
    and Millermatic 350P. And all the needed tooling to do this.
     
  4. anm2_man

    anm2_man Member

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    I say if you have enough time & money - go for it. I would stay away from bolting it together - Cast or weld is they only way to go. I have a cheap Lee C frame press - its cast and I only use it for de-milling my Missed reloaded ammo, and its amazing how much it flexes when I pull the projectile. When you sizing long cartidges, there is a lot of pressure applied to the frame. I would look at all of the different manufactures and see where they cast the strength in the casting and try to duplicate it with welded plates.

    :)




     
  5. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    I bet we have the same light duty press from Lee, I purchased just
    for sizing cast lead bullets. I works great for that, but not much else.
    I have run some .357 Mag and .45 ACP through a Factory Crimp Die.
    Works for that but not much more. I wouild not even try any bottle
    necked cases in it on any operation.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  6. Jim1611

    Jim1611 New Member

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    I've thought of this myself, especially for a 50 cal. I think I'd design it as a bolt together. The parts could be keyed so that the pressure is on a key and not a bolt. Welding is going to warp things. You can true them up but for some areas it may be hard to machine, or impossible where it is located. 3 things you want.
    1. Ease of getting the brass into the shell plate.
    2. Precision everywhere.
    3. Rigidity.
    That's what I see as being most important as far as design and how it's built. You may want to get some of the plates surface ground too, if you go the bolt together route. Oh and you might even want to make a replacible sleeve for the ram to move up and down. Bearing bronze would work great or if you want to get real fancy use linear bearings.

    I think you have a great idea. Some of the commercial presses don't have enough room for some of the longer magnum rounds if you use the dies that have the brass and bullet follower that moves inside the seating die. I'd say go for it!
     
  7. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    I was planning on using hardened dowel pins.

    Warpage I can control. I agree some of the long reach with tools and boring
    bars would be a machining challenge on a Bridgeport.

    You know how it goes, long tools in tiny holes...

    Me likely that idea!!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  8. Jim1611

    Jim1611 New Member

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    http://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-linear-bearings/=jv8j3u
    They have a real good selection of linear bearings and hardened shaft. You can get hardened shaft material that's soft in the middle so it can be machined. Might make a good main shaft.

    Now you got me interested in making one of these!! All I need is another project. :D
     
  9. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    Hardened and ground shaft is a good call I need to get some to fix my
    finishing mower, nuther story for nuther time. I bet I could use the same
    size. My concern is getting debris in linear guide. I think a bronze bushing
    is a better choice. Oil impregnated cored bronze rounds are reasonable.
    http://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-red-metal-hollow-tubing/=jv9k6m

    Addictive aint it, and without the side effects of drugs.... LOL
     
  10. 303tom

    303tom Well-Known Member

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    I guess a little bit of (BOTH). Being a Machinist/Mechanic, I know it would not be easy............
     
  11. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    I'm no expert (don't even play one on TV) but could you build it up out of heavy plate and bolt it together to get all of the parts machined and lined up, then weld it all together as a final assembly? This way you could pre-heat the whole thing as an assembled unit before welding so as to control heat warpage.
     
  12. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    Slightly related, Attached is a photo, on the left is a shell holder I made for
    .50 BMG. A friend who owns a gun shop wanted some bullets pulled from
    .50 BMG rounds. So I made the shell holder yesterday evening and used
    a 1/2" collet on my Bridgeport to hold the bullet and used the shell holder in
    my Kurt vise and lowered the table to pull the bullet, worked very sweet, in
    the middle is a standard shell holder for size reference. The right is the
    1-1/4x12NF tap for this project, it is on loan from my buddy's work, not that
    they know it. A good new tap that size is ~$150, so the loan system
    worked out just fine.

    (PS sorry I suck with a camera...)
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  13. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    Actually I have most of it worked out.

    C Frame style, when I get the prints finished I will post them.
     
  14. Jim1611

    Jim1611 New Member

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    This is kind of a rough idea of what I was thinking for a bolt together assembly that keyed from the sides and bolted. All of the plates could be made flat this way and if you did your part on the machining it would all line up and be true. Keep in mind this is just something I drew quick for the sake of conversation and nothing is really thought out for size or placement of anything.

    Great job on the shell holder too!!

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    I might go thicker on the top and bottom plates, they are drawn at 1" right
    now, might go 1.25"

    Here is the first pass at drawings not finished yet.

    Still need to add the ram guide to the bottom of the plate and work
    out the lever and linkage for the ram. But it is working out. Will be using
    3/8" socket head cap screws for fastening and 3/8 x 2 hardened dowel
    pins for location. The top and botton plates will either be CNC water jet
    or CNC plasma cut.

    If anybody want the actual CAD drawing send me a PM and I can email
    them to you as a .dxf or .dwg format. I use Turbocad.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Jim1611

    Jim1611 New Member

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    I drew them 1 1/4" thick, figured that would be about right. Nice drawings you have. Nice concept too!
     
  17. gunnut07

    gunnut07 New Member

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    Sounds like a fun project. The only thing that is going to be hard I would think is the geometry and what not.

    You can buy replacement parts for RCBS and other presses. I would get an RCBS or Hornady single stage press ram so you can use standard shell holders.
     
  18. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    Got the base and top plates water jetted. Time is going to be the real
    challenge on this project... Those are 1.25" plates. Took about an hour
    of cutting time to waterjet them.




    .
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  19. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    Nice! Keep taking pictures as you go.
     
  20. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    Been moving those plates around the shop for the last year plus; actually
    going to start machining on them this weekend. Will post pictures as it
    progresses.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014