View Full Version : Star lubrisizer Heater on the Cheap (like free)
03-14-2006, 09:06 AM
We had an old unused coffe maker (GE) stored in the might-come-handy-pile, and I decided to see if the heating element would work to preheat my new sizer. The element is 900 watts, and has a built in thermostat. I used scrap materials I have scrounged to build a base, drilled it to accept the Star, then also drilled it to fit the same pattern as my Lee turret presses. I have a piece of 3/8" plate bolted to my casting bench, and I have it drilled and tapped to accept various presses, grinders, and sizers. Here are some pictures of the end result. It works well, but actually gets too warm for my homemade 50/50 Alox-beeswax mix. It would probably work great for some of the hard lubes on the market. This thing warms the sizer up completely in about 2 minutes.
The aluminum base plate mounted on my "adapter plate"
A blurry picture of the heating element
03-14-2006, 11:48 AM
Way cool work, but can it still heat a cup of coffee. Lol
I have a Midway heater on my Star, have tried to turn the heat down on the dang thing...it gets too hot too. A little heat seems to go a long way with these Stars.
Got to get some red lube that is a little harder but not too hard.
03-14-2006, 12:11 PM
Snag! Printed & saved!
Excellent idea! I think I will have to make one this weekend. Nice work, doesn't it feel great to recycle stuff like this?
03-14-2006, 12:16 PM
900 watts? IIRC, the Lee bottom pour pots are only 700 watts... What is the thermostat set for?
03-14-2006, 12:59 PM
Since you've gone this far with it, take the rheostat out of an old garage sale iron, put it in series in the circuit and you can then control the amount of heat the plate puts out. I use a less elaborate set up with my Star mounted on an aluminum plate and an old iron setting on the plate behind the sizer. I use the iron's heat control for the best sizer temp setting. Nick
03-14-2006, 02:18 PM
IIRC coffee is served at about 180deg? But that thingy boils the water to get it "up" and then lets it drip down. Maybe too hot for any of the hard lubes.
I do as fecmec, I have my wife iron on the top of the aluminum plate. Built in thermostat and I can move it closer to or further away from the sizer to control the heat better.
I do have a thermostat out of an old iron (that I'm saving for another project). It is pretty much a self contained unit with 2 screws for mounting leads to. I think you could add one of these to the top of the plate and make a nice unit.
03-14-2006, 09:16 PM
I checked the thermostat setting with my infrared heat gun, and it keeps the plate at 155 degrees. In one of the pictures, you can see a clamp on ammeter which told me how frequently the heater cycled and how much amperage it pulled.
I don't use the hard lubes, and this rig is too hot for the soft lube I use. However, my casting room is cold when I enter, and this rig allows me to be sizing boolits within 2 minutes. I can then turn it off. I normally use a hair blow dryer on my Lyman sizers, but it's noisy and takes 15 to 20 minutes to warm them up.
03-15-2006, 09:02 AM
Dang it! I had an old hair curling iron in my shop that the wife rejected years ago, now I can't find it.
Wanted to read the wattage on it...to see if it might be good for a lube heater.
Guess I'll have to go to the dept. store and read the label on one. Maybe they make them with thermostat.
By the way, what is a good wattage and temperature on a lube heater that don't get too hot.
03-15-2006, 10:25 AM
Uhhh....I don't know how a curling iron could be used. I was refering to one of the heated blow dryers women use to style their hair. Every woman has to have a new one yearly......
As far as heater wattage, I think the one I built would work with half the wattage, or a lower setting on the thermostat. The coffee pot heater is rated at 900 watts, so 400 to 500 watts should be enough. The thermostat is more important than the wattage, since it cycles on and off. A smaller wattage will mean slower response. The other guys have some good ideas of using the thermostat from an iron. Most irons use about 1000 to 1100 watts, but since it constantly cycles through the thermostat, it works well in the manner they describe.
One of the reasons I built it in this way is to avoid using the bench top as a heat sink. I wanted all the heat to go into the sizer, rather than the bench top. It could be somewhat dangerous if you forgot to turn it off. All the heat going into a wood bench might start a fire. It seems to work, when I place my hand on the steel plate behind the aluminum plate, it's barely warm.
Very nice touch.......Creeker
03-15-2006, 01:14 PM
454pb--I understand your concerns as far as a fire but in reality the iron setting is so low ( mine is between "off" and the start of the "steam" range) for hard lubes that I don't think fire is an issue. I have had mine on for 3 to 4 hrs in the basement while loading and sizing bullets with no problems, I don't think the temp is above 150 deg. Still I would not leave it unattended to be on the safe side. Nick
03-15-2006, 03:42 PM
I finally found the hair curling electric iron, it only has 13 watts with a low and high heat setting...which I have no idea how hot that is.
But you can't hold it in your hand very long on the High hot part.
You are so right on how would you mount it on a lube-sizer press. If it were unassembled you might be able to wire the leads to the aluminum hot plate that supports the Star unit. Or, maybe wired to the base of the Star body.
I'm just guessing here, but it would seem to be hot enough with heat to keep the Star lube soften up without it getting to gooey.
03-15-2006, 04:12 PM
hi ive been useing the c & h adj temp heater for years & drilled a hole in the base to insert a digital thermoter to ck temp settings for different so called hard lubes, lbt commercial, red rooster zambene, magmna , thompson hard lube and some lube i got from flight line bullets they all each have there owen favorite temp & pressure setting but the range for all is somewhere between 105 & 120 degrees
03-16-2006, 08:54 AM
I was given one of those heaters that you dunk in a cup of water. Anybody ever rig one of those as a lube heater?
03-17-2006, 09:34 AM
Been thinking about my previous post, and got to wondering if you could stick one of those cup heaters into a molten lead ingot and let it set up. Would it get hot enough to melt the ingot?
03-17-2006, 10:05 AM
There's only one way to know for sure, but unless it has a thermostat. I think it would melt the lead. You could always manually cycle it....depending on the size of the ingot, it would be act as a heat sink.
03-18-2006, 07:33 AM
900 watts sounds like way too much. When it is cold in my loading room I just aim a portable light bulb at my sizer, 75 watts does it after about 15 minutes.
03-18-2006, 11:20 AM
Same here for the lightbulb trick...I use a clamp on mechanic light pointed at the cylinder of my Star luber. I wrap the whole thing in a heavyweight terry cloth bath towel and leave it like that for 25 minutes or so.
When I unwrap the towel, I can lube for about 30 minutes, which is about the length of time I want to lube before taking a break.
03-18-2006, 12:01 PM
Once again, it really doesn't matter how big the heater is in watts, as long as it has a thermostat or switch. The advantage to a bigger heater is quicker warm up.
Previously, I used a hair dryer, which worked but was inefficient. Most of the heat was blown around the sizer, it was noisy, and it took 15 to 20 minutes to warm it up. By bolting the heating element directly below the sizer, it warms quickly and all the heat stays in the sizer. Granted, 900 watts is too much, but it only has to run 2 minutes and the sizer is warm. The thermostat only cycles about every 15 minutes, and then is on for a minute or less.
It ain't perfect, but for $90 less than the heater Magma sells for this sizer, I can live with it. I may do some experimenting with an in line thermostat.
04-03-2006, 08:35 AM
Lotsa good ideas here! A little "yankee ingenuity" does the trick every time....
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