My Load Master Frankenstein

Questions and discussions and troubleshooting Lee Load Master presses

Moderator: darwin

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:47 pm

Hi all,

I just wanted to share my project that was in the making for quite some time. I got my LM about two years ago and of course I couldn't leave it alone. I got mine with all the bells and whistles for 9 mm. I got lucky as my bullet feeder was working and case feeder too. Once all the moving surfaces were deburred, sanded, polished, and lubed, my rig run like a champ. However, i didn't like the fact that it was a pain in the butt to load bullets into tubes and cases and then constantly have to stop and repeat. I didn't like the fact that if your mind wondered a bit you could load a bunch of rounds without primers. Neither I liked that I had to keep an eye out for potential squibs. Or my powder running out. So I set out to take all those features out of the reloading equation. Please bear with me as this may take few posts to write it all up.

Image

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:50 pm

One of the first things I did, having a 3d printer (indispensable in this endeavor), I extended the size of the powder hopper. Quite simple, yet make my life easier. It approximately holds twice the amount.

Image

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:02 pm

Then I started to think how to take out my watching over the whole process and maybe employ some sort of electronic solution. I played around with micro controllers so I figured that I could build something based on the Arduino. It should keep an eye out for squibs, powder level, and primers. Then I thought that maybe I can build some sort of a collators for feeding bullets and cases. With above plan I set of to build it all up. First "brain" came out looking like a bunch of spaghetti and didn't really work, second worked but looked like junk. Finally, I designed a proper PCB and had it manufactured for me. Pics below will illustrate the evolution.

Image

Image

Image

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:39 pm

Once the "brain" has been properly sorted out, I figured some kind of feed back system would be nice. I decided to add a small screen and a buzzer. Buzzer provides a instant warning and the screen lets you know what is the problem.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:43 pm

Powder hopper has a simple micro switch on top that get tripped as the powder level drops and top of the plunger touches the switch. I had to add some bullets to the plunger as it was too light to trip the switch.

Image

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:47 pm

My powder hopper also sits on station #2 so I had to route the bead chain through the press in order for it to function properly. Not super straight but it works 100%. In the picture you can also see that the priming bolt has been replaced with a harder one and the print on the head has been filed off. That made the primer depth irregularities a history.

Image

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:53 pm

Primer sensor took a bit of thinking as the primers themselves are very light in weight so I couldn't employ a mechanical trigger. Simple solution was to drill a hole through the feed ramp and install a LED on one side and a photo resistor on the other. Now if the primers are in the ramp the light from LED is blocked and if they are out the light get through to the photo resistor, resistance changes, and micro controller picks up the change and alerts. Simple, cheap, and easy to implement.

Image

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:02 pm

Next came tackling of making the collators for bullets and cases. I didn't want to buy them as $$$ was rather high. So I did the next best thing and researched the web to see how others have done it. It turns out is fairly easy if you pay attention to details. My collators consists of geared motors from Ebay (China origin), 5 rpm for bullets, 10 rpm for cases, each about $8, two paint buckets from Ace, some 1/4" MDF, and 3d printed bits. By far the toughest part was to getting the flip plate right on the bullet collator. The grove had to be big enough to catch the tip of the bullet but not big enough to catch the base. Once I figured it out, the rest just fell in the place. Lastly I added and elevation screws to the buckets so I can fine tune the angle of the collators.

Image

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:05 pm

Below are links to the videos of bullet collator in action.

https://youtu.be/hA_XtmkpT5w

https://youtu.be/gVHsVHmlfOA
Last edited by mpawlina on Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:15 pm

The case collator was a lot easier to make. Simply put the case won't stay in the cutout unless it goes in base first. One thing I did learned was to pace the cutouts far apart. If too close then the cases would have been bunching up and jamming the works. Hence farther apart and a faster motor. I didn't feel like making another plate so I just taped every other hole. Added a spring too to manage and "not quite in the hole" cases. Not sure I really needed the spring.

Here are links for case collator vids:

https://youtu.be/CfkckHG4GUc

https://youtu.be/pp6aiuj0zjA
Last edited by mpawlina on Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:25 pm

The bullets and case are feed down through the spring tubes. I tried different plastic rubbing but you can't beat the spring tubes. The mechanism that feeds the cases and bullets to loading press itself are Lee's bullet feeder and case feeder with their multi tubes removed. I did use a small portion of a clear tube just to be able to see if they are feeding correctly and not upside down. I did use similar sensors to the primer one. When the light hits the photo resistor the micro controller turns the motors on and off when light is cut of by a case or bullet in the way.

Image

Image

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:31 pm

Lastly I had to figure a way to detect squibs. The solution was to employ a powder level checking die from RCBS and two micro switches. I needed two switches in order to tell micro controller when to look for a squib. I mounted on the case feeder slider arm. That way the switch gets triggered at the top of the stroke. Within a .5 of a second micro also is waiting from a trigger from the checking die. If the die gets triggered, all is good, if not, then it means that the powder level is too low and alarms are sounded.

Image

Image

mpawlina
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:45 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby mpawlina » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:35 pm

Thanks for reading this long thread. Hope you guys enjoyed it. Let me know if you guys have any question or ideas. From my reloading bench to yours!

Cheers!

Image

Sparky45
Posts: 986
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:12 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby Sparky45 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:03 pm

Outstanding!! I can't even keep up with my LLM; Dillon 650 and two RCBS Rockchuckers.

gooffeyguy
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 5:39 pm

Re: My Load Master Frankenstein

Postby gooffeyguy » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:53 pm

Cool!

I would just set up the measure to not use the reset chain. Very easy to do on that Auto Drum measure.

I don't know how comfortable I would feel about having the powder and priming on the same station though!


Return to “Load Master forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 5 guests