Lee Bench Plate

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azlester
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:40 pm

Lee Bench Plate

Postby azlester » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:32 pm

As happy as I am about the customer service people at Lee, I am extremely disappointed with the Lee Bench Plate.
I love the concept of being able to mount different presses and or tools into the same space on my reloading bench. But, the set up just stinks. I got one of the fist batch of Bench Plated that they shipped out to the retailers. It came with 3 plywood inserts. I set one up for the Loadmaster and one for the RCBS single stage I have. Everything was just fine when one afternoon as I was loading up some 9mm the press came out of the Bench Plate and landed in my lap. It spilled almost the entire powder measure full of powder flying in all directions as well as the case loader tubes for of brass. I gathered up the pieces and reinstalled the press into the Bench plate. after about 10 cases I looked down and saw that the insert had worked it's way loose again. I called Lee and the customer service woman transfered me to tech support. The gentleman that answered the phone asked about what happened and said the he would tell MR. Lee about it and that they would call me back. When the guy called me back he said that in the first batch of Bench plated that they sent out the plywood wasn't thick enough to engage the Z-bar and that they had replaced the plywood inserts with a piece of solid wood. They sent me out 3 new replacement inserts. When they arrived I spent the next 1/2 hour remounting the presses to the new pieces of wood. I figured all was good to go. I resumed cranking out some more 9mm rounds only to discover that the new inserts were working their way loose too! Now I am really ticked. If I had to do it all over again I would pass on the Base Plate altogether! I fixed the problem myself by drilling 2 1/4" holes toward the top of the insert all the way through the steel plate and the top of my bench. I went to Home Depot and purchased 2 1/4" pins to inset through the holes locking the insert in place. Now they don't budge at all until I pull the pins. Now the other day while I was removing the crimp on some 5.56mm cases with the RCBS press and the RCBS crimp swag die the new wood insert the press was attached to split down the grain of the wood with the press once again landing in my lap( I had also set this insert up with the 2 1/4" hole for the pins). I am going to take these new inserts and do the only thing I think they are good for... chuck them in the fire pit out back(at least they will keep me warm), I am going back to the plywood inserts and drill the 1/4" holes in them for the pics. At least the plywood won't split!

The other thing about the Bench Plate I didn't care for was that when you mounted the Loadmaster there was no place to mount the support bracket for the container to catch the finished rounds. I had to take a piece of angle iron and chop it up to fit around the Z-bars. It isn't prefect, but it works.

If you are using a Lee Bench Plate be very very careful and keep an eye on the wood inserts as they will work their way loose!

kcbrown
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:55 pm

Postby kcbrown » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:49 pm

I tried the bench plate myself.

It's an excellent concept, but the use of wood without any sort of steel reinforcement makes it useful only for single stage and turret presses. There's too much flex in the plywood inserts to make it useful for the Lee progressives, which demand absolute rock solid stability.

If they used a steel plate on the top of the inserts, it would eliminate that issue and make these useful for the Lee progressives.

prs
Posts: 846
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:44 pm

Postby prs » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:58 pm

You seem have more patience than I. Can you tell what kind of "solid" wood they used? Pine, fir, cedar, yellow poplar, oak, etc? Elm would be good, that stuff harly ever splits or cracks. A good grade of plywood is a better choice of woods as you cited. Maybe HDPE, like cutting the piece out of an old plastic kitched cutting board. I',m keeping mine bolted soldly to the bench. Better luck to you!

prs

azlester
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:40 pm

Postby azlester » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:44 pm

It appear to be pine. It isn't very hard.
I think that the HPDE would have too much flex. The 3/4 plywood seemd to be stiff enough to avoid too much flexing.

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Jumping Frog
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:17 pm
Location: Texas!

Postby Jumping Frog » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:36 am

I assumed from the get-go that the wooden plate wouldn't hold up.

My first Loadmaster mount was on a 3/4 inch wood top to the bench. The Loadmaster quickly cracked that top near the back screws in a line parallel to the front edge.

I re-mounted on a 2x12 oriented from front to back on the bench. Haven't had any problems since.

azlester
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:40 pm

Postby azlester » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:51 am

It wasn't the Loadmaster that cracked the wood. It was a RCBS Rockchucker 2 single stage that I was using to swag the primer pocket crimp on some Lake City 5.56 cases. It is not like I was doing a full case resize on a 50 cal case or anything.

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Buckeye Marksman
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:55 am

Improving the Bench Plate

Postby Buckeye Marksman » Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:24 pm

I'm thinking about replacing the z brackets with some sort of compressible material with a metal plate on top.

The compressible material (rubber, silicone, stiff synthetic sponge?) would form a rectangular solid measuring 1.0" x 4.0" x 1.0" with two holes drilled in it aligned with the existing adjustment screw holes in the bottom plate.

The metal plate measuring 1.5" x 4" x 0.0625" with two holes aligned with those in the compressible material replaces the top part of the z bracket. Part of the top plate (0.5") would hang over the compressible material and rest on top of the wooden block.

The adjustment screws could be replaced by longer lengths of thread bar with wing nuts and washers on the top. Some loctite (tm) could be used to secure the thread bar into the bottom plate.

Cranking down on the wing nuts should cause the compressible material to bulge out slightly and lock the wooden block securely into place.

This arrangement should allow the user to rapidly swap out the wooden blocks without the use of tools...

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Hawkmoon
Posts: 390
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:35 am

Postby Hawkmoon » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:12 am

Like Jumping Frog, I have my own, home-brewed "bench plate." My presses are each bolted to a 2-foot length of 2x10 structural grade lumber. The 2x10, in turn, is attached to the bench top by two large C-clamps. Nothing moves when loading, and to swap the press I just unscrew the two C-clamps.

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Buckeye Marksman
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:55 am

Postby Buckeye Marksman » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:03 pm

Newer Lee bench plates have an "index" hole in the base plate. The idea is to drill a hole in the wooden base and use an object like a screw driver inserted into the hole to lock the block into place while it is in use. The newer version also comes with one pre-drilled steel block and two wooden blocks.

More to follow...

rowe_s
Posts: 903
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:46 pm

Postby rowe_s » Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:33 pm

Jumping Frog wrote:I assumed from the get-go that the wooden plate wouldn't hold up.

My first Loadmaster mount was on a 3/4 inch wood top to the bench. The Loadmaster quickly cracked that top near the back screws in a line parallel to the front edge.

I re-mounted on a 2x12 oriented from front to back on the bench. Haven't had any problems since.


I bolted my first Loadmaster to a piece of 3/4 inch oak, the oak is bolted to the top of a heavy wood bench anchored to the wall. Several years and at least 50,000 rounds later it is still bolted to the same piece of wood to the same bench. The mount has always had a little flex.

erle
Posts: 281
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:15 pm

Re: Lee Bench Plate

Postby erle » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:55 pm

[quote=] I am extremely disappointed with the Lee Bench Plate.
I love the concept of being able to mount different presses and or tools into the same space on my reloading bench. [/quote]

I did the same thing about 4 months before you. Only way I could keep plate from working loose was to replace screws with high strength bolts with lock washers. Then I had to tighten them really tight with a wrench. Mine came with one metal plate which was the only one I could use. I finally ditched the whole thing.

I ordered the Inline Fabrication Ultramount & I highly recommend it. Be sure & get the "Quick Change" version. I did & I use it for all my presses, case trimmers, vises, etc. In fact Dan will custom make a plate for you to fit anything you have to mount on it that is not standard. Takes me less than 30 seconds to switch presses. And yes, it is solid. Exceeded my expectations for being steady.

Look him up. inlinefabrication.com

:lol:

carload9
Posts: 2025
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:52 am

wake up

Postby carload9 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:06 pm

hello: pics worth a 1000 words. MM's "Shake Brake".

Image



This is good too.
Image

MM stuff fits on dillon too: "Shake Brake".

Image
Last edited by carload9 on Sun Nov 01, 2015 4:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

GhostlyOne
Posts: 365
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:25 pm

Postby GhostlyOne » Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:37 pm

I experienced the same problem with mine as did you. I replaced the "solid" wood blocks with plywood to no avail. Still worked loose. Replaced the screws supplied with the unit with allen head bolts. Got tired of messing with it and gave it to a machinist buddy. He messed with it for a couple months and pitched it. Nice idea, but did not work out for me.

carload9
Posts: 2025
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:52 am

steady

Postby carload9 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:01 am

funny thing is: it would work but only with a solid table and a shake brake. I never understood why they made the mount holes so huge. 1/4 inch would be plenty.

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Buckeye Marksman
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:55 am

Re: Improving the Bench Plate

Postby Buckeye Marksman » Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:11 am

Buckeye Marksman wrote:I'm thinking about replacing the z brackets with some sort of compressible material with a metal plate on top.

The compressible material (rubber, silicone, stiff synthetic sponge?) would form a rectangular solid measuring 1.0" x 4.0" x 1.0" with two holes drilled in it aligned with the existing adjustment screw holes in the bottom plate.

The metal plate measuring 1.5" x 4" x 0.0625" with two holes aligned with those in the compressible material replaces the top part of the z bracket. Part of the top plate (0.5") would hang over the compressible material and rest on top of the wooden block.

The adjustment screws could be replaced by longer lengths of thread bar with wing nuts and washers on the top. Some loctite (tm) could be used to secure the thread bar into the bottom plate.

Cranking down on the wing nuts should cause the compressible material to bulge out slightly and lock the wooden block securely into place.

This arrangement should allow the user to rapidly swap out the wooden blocks without the use of tools...


A quick and dirty way of adding wing nuts to the Lee Bench Plate is to cut two four inch sections of 3/4" by 3/4" square hard wood dowel and drill two holes in each section that line up with the holes in the existing z-bracket. One way to do this is to turn the z-bracket upside down and tuck the wood up under the ledge and use the existing holes as a drill guide. You may also round off one corner of the block prior to drilling in order to get a tighter fit with the z-bracket.

Here are some pictures:

Image

Image


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