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Thread: Annealing Setup?

  1. #61
    Boolit Buddy McFred's Avatar
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    My quick and dirty DC induction annealer is maybe less dangerous than molten salt and lead and faster than a propane torch.

    https://player.vimeo.com/video/264494360

  2. #62
    Boolit Bub
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    I went with the BENCH-SOURCE case neck annealing machine. Poetry in motion.

  3. #63
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by McFred View Post
    My quick and dirty DC induction annealer is maybe less dangerous than molten salt and lead and faster than a propane torch.

    https://player.vimeo.com/video/264494360
    I'd be interested in seeing what you did with your setup McFred.

  4. #64
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    McFred i would be interested in a parts list and build description
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  5. #65
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    I'm with Smoke; please provide additional info.

  6. #66
    Boolit Master


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    Your induction machine looks awesome! I do, however, have a question (or two)... To my thought, the whole process of annealing is as close to rocket science as I may get. To wit, the brass at case neck needs to have its molecular structure changed; as opposed to ferrous metals, the more you work brass the harder it gets. I was taught, reinforced by many learned writings, that a correct combination of the correct temperature for a specified amount of time is what is needed. Too low a temp, or not long enough, and you've not annealed at all; on the other hand, too much heat for too long, and you've ruined the brass. Further, the major no-no is annealing (accidentally, of course) the case head, as the brass will no longer be able to contain the pressures from firing.
    I'm in no way criticizing or dissing your setup. I'd want one. So... here's my question: It looks like the case necks actually glow -- which, I've been told, it tooo much heat, when using a torch-fired annealer. So -- do you use TemLaq (750*) or any other means to determine correct annealing? And... does your annealed brass have enough "spring" to sufficiently hold your bullets?
    The "tried and trued" test we do requires a set of vice-grip pliers -- nothing else works. Set the gap in pliers to firmly contact the case neck of an un-annealed case, and -- while pliers are open -- turn adjusting screw in two turns. Now, again close the pliers, and you should see the neck go from round to slightly oval. And, when you open the pliers, case neck will spring back to being round again. The SAME should occur with your annealed cases. If it does NOT spring back, the cases are over-annealed/ruined. Again, I'm just curious here -- if they do spring back -- I want one!
    geo

  7. #67
    Boolit Master
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    Looks like the induction annealer needs a controller to adjust the power output and a timer to get repeatable annealing.

  8. #68
    Boolit Buddy
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    The most simple COMPLETE annealing for dramatic case changes is a 'Hot Pot'.

    Brass 'Cups' (blanks or slugs) are punched from sheet brass, those cups are annealed in a 'Hot Pot', usually glass, ceramic or steel shot (balls) held at a precise temp.
    I personally use stainless steel shot peening balls.

    These small balls enter all areas of the case and saturate the cup/case evenly & completely.
    The degree of annealing depends on temp and time.
    It's very easy to hold the temp of the media around the optimum temp for complete annealing, the time will be your vairable.

    A common thermometer with probe (about $30) will give you accurate temp reading to about 10*F.
    A common lead melting pot will easily reach optimum temp, about $60.
    An aluminum strip with drill holes to hold cases works both as a heat sink to keep excessive heat out of the case head, and as a handle to keep your knuckles out of the heat!

    In industral manufacture plants, the 'Hot Pot' serves two functions, one is annealing the brass cups, the other is when vibrated, the media helps polish up the brass, removing lubrication from the punching process.
    Just one of those stray facts, something for the 'Idea Bank' since you want to do your own work.

    I tried lead, salts, all kinds of heating processes, this produces the most consistent results and stands the least chance of ruining the brass, the only vairable is time in the media, which experimentation with sizing will tell you when you are 'Right'...

    I would suggest another pass through annealing after the neck is resized, to relieve stresses of sizing.

    -----

    Unless you build an electromagnetic induction unit from scratch, it's going to run $500-$600 minimum and you stand an enormous potential for ruining a lot of brass before you get the shape of the Ferrite correct, and your power levels/timing worked out.

    Units like AMP are all but useless for this purpose, the Ferrite isn't shaped correctly and it won't be properly placed for your brass, timing is via 'Programs' instead of direct read timing, so it's guess work at best.

    Units like 'Annie' with Ferrite cores are better, but only slightly since you can shape Ferrite to more precisely fit your case/application, but you are still stuck with one power level... This means the only changes are time & grinding/cutting a (stubborn) ceramic Ferrite core.
    On the other hand, Litz wire & Ferrites are cheap & you can do a lot of experiments with different shaping.

    TIME for the annealing process to happen inside the brass, at any given temp, is critical, and for complete annealing, lower temps and longer times are mandatory.
    At around 650*F to 700*F it will take the average .30 cal. brass about 60-90 seconds to fully anneal.
    Closer to 650*F you stand very little chance of ruining the brass, while you will reap 85%-90% of the benefits of annealing.
    There is no way you can leave a brass in a high power electro-magnetic induction annealer, around 12 seconds the neck will be melted/burned completely away.

    The electro-magnetic induction annealer 'McFred' shows above is a closed coil unit.
    The closed coil is MUCH less efficient than a Ferrite concentrated version,
    So it diffuses the heat better in the case.
    The issue I have with closed coil units is cooling (water cooling shown in video) and if you want any volume done at all, it's very slow since cases have to be dropped from top, or pushed up from bottom one at a time.

    Closed coils are used for heat treating since they impart energy very evenly into the material being heated. If you have the time, and a rock steady power source so the only vairable is time, this will work quite well.
    The sheer mass of material in a Hot Pot makes it more consistent, but this unit will do the job quite well.
    If you could turn the power down on commercial units (like Annie) it would do the same job but with a built in digital timer.

    -----

    You *CAN* flame anneal, but I would advise against it.
    It takes a diffused, lower temp flame to allow TIME for heat to saturate, and for the annealing process to happen.
    Flame often WAY overheats brass, flame infuses the expanded grain structure with carbon, and flame will generally give you a distinct 'Heat Affected Zone' you probably don't want since it leads to case wall separations.

    If you ever see a video of manufacturers flame annealing (nearly none do now) you will see a long row of gas nozzles, diffused flames, and the brass passing (relatively) slowly over those nozzles/flames.
    This is both to keep temps reasonable, and to allow TIME for the annealing process to complete.
    The oxygen engorged, pinpoint flame nozzles are WAY too hot for proper annealing and result in alloy components separations (lamination) in the brass.
    When the heat is really stupid hot, you will see little 'Pits' in the brass, this is where components of the alloy burned away in the direct flame, and the brass is ruined for it's intended purpose since it's unpredictable when worked.
    Last edited by JeepHammer; 08-04-2018 at 05:32 PM.

  9. #69
    Boolit Buddy
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    GeorgerKahn,
    You are about right on some counts, and you are a victim of dogma/misinformation on others.

    There is exactly ONE way to scientifically verify proper & correct annealing (Softening) of the brass, and that's a properly prepared sample that's 'Hardness' tested.
    (Properly know as cross sectional density).
    The most common testers are Rockwell & Vickers.

    The ONLY proper scientific way to determine condition of grain & chrystal sizing is proper sectioning, mounting, polishing, etching & staining of sample,
    The using a scientifically calibrated microscope to inspect the grain & chrystaline structures, including measurements of same (which is why you need a microscope with built in scale).

    This is what a proper cartridge brass 'Hardness' test sample looks like,

    https://beta-static.photobucket.com/...080&fit=bounds

    If you want to have some scale on the above picture, this is one on a wider scale, you might recognize the extraction groove and rim in this picture.
    https://beta-static.photobucket.com/...080&fit=bounds

    Don't make the common mistake of thinking 'Hardness' has much to do with grain structure or chrystal size.
    The two have a loose relationship, but they are a LONG way apart from being able to tell what one is doing from the other.

    -----

    A common, and often repeated dogma mistake is thinking you can use a pair of pliers to check 'Hardness'.

    The effect you are looking for is REBOUND, and again, it is very loosely related to 'Hardness', but you can't tell anything with pliers.
    Common pliers have different leverage points dependant on brand, length ratio, etc and are in no way 'Calibrated' to tell you anything.
    Even the 'Two Turns' depends entirely on the thread pitch, thread engagement, wear on the threads, etc.

    There is a quite specific gauge for testing rebound, and it has nothing to do with pliers.

    ------

    Another of the dogma/disinformation ideas is you must see 'Color' change in brass.
    All proper annealing is done well below the 'Glow' point of brass.
    And keep in mind, the brass is going to 'Glow' at different heat saturation levels, the mouth is going to 'Glow' sooner since it's thinnest, then the neck, with thicker shoulder bends 'Glowing' last, all else being equal.

    The other myth of annealing is 'Color', the neck changes 'Color' when properly annealed.
    Gas annealing often produces a color change, simply because the case wasn't cleaned, or because you overheated the surface and oxygen attacked the brass.
    Severe overheating produces a dull, pitted surface, pits being where alloy components burned away.

    Impurities in the gas can cause a texture/color change.

    -------

    The general rules for home annealer are more or less correct...
    Stay at or below 750*F and lesser annealing is better than overcooking the brass.

    DO NOT rely on thermocromatic paint (Templaq by name brand) unless it's specifically formulated for brass!

    Copper & Zinc are used in thermocromatic paint and react with the cartridge copper & zinc giving false readings.
    This is simple to prove to yourself, simply paint one side of a case with 750* and the other side with 800* and heat.
    The 800* will change color first every time, a MINIMUM of 50* false readings.
    Last edited by JeepHammer; 08-04-2018 at 06:49 PM.

  10. #70
    Boolit Buddy McFred's Avatar
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    tl/dr

  11. #71
    Boolit Master waco's Avatar
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    Another vote for the Bench Source Vertex machine.
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
    Proverbs 1:7

  12. #72
    Boolit Master


    georgerkahn's Avatar
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    JeepHammer (& others): Re, "A common, and often repeated dogma mistake is thinking you can use a pair of pliers to check 'Hardness'" -- you and me are 100% in concert. I cannot even conceive of a repeatable method using ordinary pliers!
    What I use is a pair of Peterson brand Vice-Grip pliers, which may be locked at any setting. With the jaws around an un-annealed case, you tighten the screw so it just makes firm contact -- e.g., enough to just hold the case -- and then, go another turn or two. With "virgin" brass, you used the correct term, "rebound", as the brass will spring back to its original form/tightness in the Vice-Grips. If over-annealed, it will not. At least, that's what I gave been doing for more than a decade.
    I have been using the Templaq, and had no idea -- THANK YOU FOR THIS INFO! -- re false reading potential. Maybe I've been lucky? That my annealed brass springs back, kind of (to me) make it moot. Regardless, I seem to get three times as much life, as a rule, from annealed brass than that which is reloaded sans this step.
    Thank you for the info.
    geo

  13. #73
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I check with a sized case for rebound or spring back and how much. I size in bushing dies so I know what size the neck was sized down to in the die. Ie my 243 die has a .265 bushing in it. Measure sized necks with a good .0001 reading michrometer and see where its at. Brass has a memory and wants to return to that along with the spring back from hardening. If cases measure .266 then brass has .001 spring back

  14. #74
    Boolit Buddy
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    The best a home annealer can do is watch SDs drop with a chronograph.
    When SDs hit single digits you are 95% there (all else being equal).

    Hot Pot has longer time factor (and I use dry media) and seems to produce the most repeatable results.

    With SDs in single digits I did micrographs and they really looked good, annealed each time from first firing.
    Don't let the brass turn to dust before significant annealing and it reconstitutes much better.

    Keep in mind that crud/contaminants creep into the brass along the way, intense pressure & flash heating will do that to brass since grains expand & contract, but it's not bad and you can get a couple dozen loads before you see big issues often times.

  15. #75
    Boolit Buddy
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    Right or wrong it’s my way. I have had good results using color to establish a time in a propane flame. To work I first clean and polish the brass because any carbon or powder stains can. Effect the heat transfer rate. Everything needs to be clean and shinny for uniform results. For a brass holder I had a 5/8 piece of shafting drilled so just the base of the shoulder and neck stuck out. A hole to loosely slide a 1/4” wooden dowel was then drilled through to use as an ejector. The shafting serves as a heat sink to prevent overheating the main body of the case. Span of water is used for final cooling. In use a cleaned case is inserted into the shafting and held in the propane torch flame. It is rotated at as constant rate as comfortable. When colors start to show around the neck the shell is ejected into the pan of water. By counting it is fairly easy to get good results which match military brass colorations. Usually the count is lower than when all the colors show because of reaction time. With direct flame impingement when colors start to change it happens real fast. Probably a lot of things wrong with this method but seems to work for my needs so far.

  16. #76
    Boolit Bub


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    Another for Benchsource Vertex. It’s been great by me.

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BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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GC Gas Check