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Thread: Making that Bullet Collator

  1. #1041
    Boolit Buddy GWS's Avatar
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    Thanks to this thread, I bought a new 3d printer, and printed my first one. I decided to go the hex route. The hex heads came in a sack of 4, so I used two. One I epoxied upside down into the plate....the second is mounted to the motor as usual. The heads meet in the middle of the plate pretty much.

    That allowed me to both have a handle, and also allowed me to screw the plate down to the motor to keep the plate from tilting. I used a big thick washer between the base and the plate, to allow boolets to drop all the way in......since my plate wasn't quite deep enough. Less friction that way anyway.

    I'm experimenting with a special plate for nose down 45 ACP so no ramp or bullet flipping is needed or used. The design required a ring mounted above to prevent boolits from dropping base side down.......IOW's, with the ring just high enough to let boolits slide under sideways, boolits can't tilt base down enough to fall where point down can and do, because of the shape of the plate's holes. The base down unfallen are knocked back to the bottom where they often just fall in nose down or again come up to get knocked back down until they do fall right.

    The hole shape also required a modification to the bullet knocker, and a notch in the base, otherwise it would bind up and stop because of the sharp angle of the holes.

    It's not finished yet, but here's a little video to show you the concept. Works quite well even in preliminaries.....not perfect, but close, just needs mounted and the top ring adjusted just a little.....



    The following picture shows the bullet drop hole shape.....taken during the infill part of the print.....



    Thanks, AmmoMike and TylerR for all your generous time and expertise that you have shared. Same with RedlegEd and AR-Bossman.....could not have done this without you.....Just awesome people. When I get it mounted permanently, I will post a working video.....if.....it works as good as I think it will.

    Of course I'm posting this not as an expert, but as one hoping the experts will see and pass on any flaws in the plan or suggestions for improvement.

    Already looking ahead to the next one........the upsized one thanks to TylerR, for collating .223 and .308. Unfortunately, it will have to use a ramp to flip bullets....so far....
    Last edited by GWS; 09-14-2020 at 02:55 PM.

  2. #1042
    Boolit Mold
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    Anyone have an Amazon recommendation for:
    1. Small switch for bullet dropper assembly?
    2. On/off switch for the bullet dropper as a whole?

    I'm building out the 223 case feeder version. Early progress is promising (looks like it drops correctly no matter what the case orientation is!), but trying to optimize my costs a bit this time around.

  3. #1043
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by GWS View Post
    Thanks to this thread, I bought a new 3d printer, and printed my first one. I decided to go the hex route. The hex heads came in a sack of 4, so I used two. One I epoxied upside down into the plate....the second is mounted to the motor as usual. The heads meet in the middle of the plate pretty much.

    That allowed me to both have a handle, and also allowed me to screw the plate down to the motor to keep the plate from tilting. I used a big thick washer between the base and the plate, to allow boolets to drop all the way in......since my plate wasn't quite deep enough. Less friction that way anyway.

    I'm experimenting with a special plate for nose down 45 ACP so no ramp or bullet flipping is needed or used. The design required a ring mounted above to prevent boolits from dropping base side down.......IOW's, with the ring just high enough to let boolits slide under sideways, boolits can't tilt base down enough to fall where point down can and do, because of the shape of the plate's holes. The base down unfallen are knocked back to the bottom where they often just fall in nose down or again come up to get knocked back down until they do fall right.

    The hole shape also required a modification to the bullet knocker, and a notch in the base, otherwise it would bind up and stop because of the sharp angle of the holes.

    It's not finished yet, but here's a little video to show you the concept. Works quite well even in preliminaries.....not perfect, but close, just needs mounted and the top ring adjusted just a little.....

    The following picture shows the bullet drop hole shape.....taken during the infill part of the print.....

    Thanks, AmmoMike and TylerR for all your generous time and expertise that you have shared. Same with RedlegEd and AR-Bossman.....could not have done this without you.....Just awesome people. When I get it mounted permanently, I will post a working video.....if.....it works as good as I think it will.

    Of course I'm posting this not as an expert, but as one hoping the experts will see and pass on any flaws in the plan or suggestions for improvement.

    Already looking ahead to the next one........the upsized one thanks to TylerR, for collating .223 and .308. Unfortunately, it will have to use a ramp to flip bullets.
    Looks great GWS. I love seeing people try new concepts. Definitely interested in seeing the final version.

  4. #1044
    Never being satisfied with good enough I've spent the last couple weeks remodeling and tweaking the original design. Initially I started making some small changes with the goal of eliminating some of the hardware but I eventually got around to making it more modular and bigger to make better use of my 200x200 mm build plate.

    I separated the side walls from the base mostly so I didn't have to reprint everything if I wanted to make some changes to the base. The side walls are plenty strong at 3 perimiters (1.2 mm) thick.

    I designed printable spring flipper to eliminate the spring and screw. It works well on initial testing but I need to tweak the shape of the tip a bit because it's been knocking out upside down bullets.

    The drop tube spring adapter is hardware free on the top end. The connector just snaps into the base and the spring threads into the connector. The bottom end used a long lever limit switch like the one that comes on the MBF but a straight arm that just snaps in. I don't have any bullets smaller than 124gn but I tried a 1/4" driver bit that weighed 73gn that went through easily. I need to find something around 50gn to test.

    The flipping plate adjusts in and out with a screw rather than using a set screw so it's easier to tune.

    The flipping ramp is a separate piece so you can adjust it out or replace it with a taller one if necessary.

    This takes 6 cap head screws, 2 set screws, 4 nuts, plus the electronics to assemble.





    Movie ---> https://imgur.com/bW6tkZj
    Movie with flipper ---> https://imgur.com/zuouuAZ

    Any feedback is appreciated.
    Last edited by Michael303; 09-14-2020 at 03:52 PM.

  5. #1045
    OK, new here. She's up and running. The grey parts are from the original design. The yellow are all redesigned parts.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here it shows the whole thing. It's a variable speed with the a light sensor. Dillon 650 and a Hornady 9mm bullet drop die.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The first change I made was to get rid of the spring. Aside from the numerous questions on sources of a spring, it just seemed more in keeping with the whole concept to print something. The tube is 5/8" thin wall plastic tubing that I originally had to load "sleeves" of bullets for the drop die. The connection to the feeder is a swivel quick disconnect. I greatly cut down on the adapter for the Hornady die as well. The added bonus is the structure is rigid so it provides a second point of support for the feeder. It's disconnected here in this photo.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Next change was the mount. I saw people attaching to the case feeder post, which I liked. The bracket for the case tub wasn't angled properly and had a lot of slop. So, 3/8 all thread to a pipe clamp on one end (with a bushing). On the other end, I made the pivot toothed with a hand knob so that the tip angle can be changed easily as well as removing the bin without removing the arm if desired. You can see the teeth here.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The last item was the control box. I probably spent the most time here. Design of the box itself so it was form fitting. The motor, LED, and photosensor are all connected via JST connectors which meant a PC Board for the male side of things. The box contains that PCB, the photosensor relay, and a MOSFET motor control I made so the motor speed can be varied with the potentiometer. Using the MOSFET allows the speed to go all the way down to nothing and doesn't get hot.

  6. #1046
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael303 View Post
    The drop tube spring adapter is hardware free on the top end. The connector just snaps into the base and the spring threads into the connector. The bottom end used a long lever limit switch like the one that comes on the MBF but a straight arm that just snaps in. I don't have any bullets smaller than 124gn but I tried a 1/4" driver bit that weighed 73gn that went through easily. I need to find something around 50gn to test.
    I like your mods! What switch did you use for this?

  7. #1047
    Boolit Buddy GWS's Avatar
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    Michael! Good design!.....separating the base with the sides makes good sense to me, and it works perfect base down without the bullet knocker......so why use the knocker at all? Neat idea for the knocker tho. You going to keep the files close or share them.....??? What diameter is your base and bullet plate?

    MavenBlack! Good ideas too! If one can get the measurements right, using the clear tubing is nice.....besides being able to see the bullet stack clearly, it also makes it possible to mount the collator lower.....I like that, being height challenged.

    If I did that I'd use a proximity sensor instead of the microswitch, like I did on my Hornady feeder modification, and put it just outside the collator box for a longer bullet stack.



    But you gotta angle that $6 sensor so bullets slide down against it.....that way bullet size matters not. (that project was before I bought a 3D Printer, obviously)
    That one works equally well with 9mm, 357, .40, .45ACP, with only a single plate.....only the bullet feed die and interface to said die has to change for each caliber.

    Little video of it doing .45 gold dots until the filled tube stops the motor:



    Same exact setup collating 9mm.....no plate change, only feed die was changed. (before the motor was mounted on this vid, just hand turned)



    I'm really giddy over my 3D Printer.......projects such as the above are SO much easier to build! Just need to learn OpenScad better......
    Last edited by GWS; 09-15-2020 at 03:46 PM.

  8. #1048
    Quote Originally Posted by erwos View Post
    I like your mods! What switch did you use for this?
    Thanks. It's the same style as the on on the MBF dropper. This is the switch I used: https://www.digikey.com/product-deta...266-ND/1825046

    I think it might work down to at least 50gn projectiles but I don't have any to test. Maybe I'll print some dummy rounds at different weights to test. There are a few options on Digikey that take less force to actuate that would work with little to no modification to the drop tube.

    Quote Originally Posted by GWS View Post
    Michael! Good design.....separating the base with the sides makes good sense to me, and it works perfect base down without the bullet knocker......so why use it at all? Neat idea for the knocker tho. You going to keep the files close or share them.....
    I think the bullet knocker is still needed. A few bullets got through in my testing that dropped in nose down. I might post STLs to Thingiverse when I'm done.

  9. #1049
    Quote Originally Posted by GWS View Post
    What diameter is your base and bullet plate?
    The bullet plate is currently 186 mm and the base is about 198 mm from front to back.

  10. #1050
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael303 View Post
    Thanks. It's the same style as the on on the MBF dropper. This is the switch I used: https://www.digikey.com/product-deta...266-ND/1825046
    Very good. I looked around for a long time, and I'm going to give these a try for my case feeder:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Switch-SNAP...s/153939598655

    These are the E22-55HX switches, which are 4g of operating force instead of the 2g of the recommended 85HX switches. That's not optimal, but it was the only thing I could really find that was comparable. I'm using it for the 223 case feeder, and 223 cases are about 95 grains (6 grams), so I THINK it should be heavy enough to push the switch down. Guess I'll find out!

    I do like the idea some people had of using an inductive sensor; this seems like it would have the benefits of the light barrier approach without the drawbacks (complex wiring and tweaking sensitivity). Maybe if I build a third feeder...
    Last edited by erwos; 09-15-2020 at 10:35 PM.

  11. #1051
    Quote Originally Posted by erwos View Post
    Very good. I looked around for a long time, and I'm going to give these a try for my case feeder:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Switch-SNAP...s/153939598655

    These are the E22-55HX switches, which are 4g of operating force instead of the 2g of the recommended 85HX switches. That's not optimal, but it was the only thing I could really find that was comparable. I'm using it for the 223 case feeder, and 223 cases are about 95 grains (6 grams), so I THINK it should be heavy enough to push the switch down. Guess I'll find out!

    I do like the idea some people had of using an inductive sensor; this seems like it would have the benefits of the light barrier approach without the drawbacks (complex wiring and tweaking sensitivity). Maybe if I build a third feeder...
    It looks like the E22-55HX switch has an operating force of 4 gram-force. My switch is 10 gram-force. Gram-force is different from grams. My switch handled a dummy round that weighed 60 grains without slowing down whatsoever. At 4 gf that switch should easily actuate for 95 gr and much smaller.

    The proximity and light sensors are neat but my preference was for the lever switch since it seemed like the most simple option.

  12. #1052
    Boolit Buddy GWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael303 View Post
    It looks like the E22-55HX switch has an operating force of 4 gram-force. My switch is 10 gram-force. Gram-force is different from grams. My switch handled a dummy round that weighed 60 grains without slowing down whatsoever. At 4 gf that switch should easily actuate for 95 gr and much smaller.

    The proximity and light sensors are neat but my preference was for the lever switch since it seemed like the most simple option.
    The whole reason I showed my pre 3D printer project here was to demonstrate just how simple the proximity sensor is. I pulled my hair out over the levered switches......got them to work for one caliber, then changed to another and it wasn't reliable.

    I guess I just got tired of so much time spent changing calibers. The point of a bullet feeder is to save time, but I was fiddling and fiddling to get the next bullet to work right....I think I bought 4 levered microswitches, and they were all too insensitive.....didn't pay enough money for one I guess. It's bad enough that one has to print a new plate for each caliber.....my Hornady modded one uses just one for at least all my pistol calibers.....making it crazy fast to change from one to another.....just change a die head on the press.

    So for me simple was something that didn't require weight to activate. Anything that slides down the tube against the proximity switch....no matter how light, trips it.....and since at the time I didn't have a 3D printer, I found a 1/2" CPVC plumbing Tee fitting that fit (with the help of a drill) at Home Depot, both the tubing and the switch. Like I mentioned the key for success there was an angle to allow the bullets to slide against the switch side.....so the angled drop is necessary....but the bottom of the base has to be angled anyway, so that's not hard.

    Somewhere.....maybe thingiverse?......I saw a thingi for a proximity switch that mounts directly to the outlet on the base. Looking....... If I find it I'll want to buy some more switches for the Open Feeders I want to perfect.

    I could go the light sensor direction (also bullet size independent) but it requires electronics to buy too.....more expensive than the $6 I spent and way less simple to install.

    UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: The modified Hornady stock motor was a 120V AC motor and used a 120V sensor. For the Open Bullet Feeders using 12V DC motors you have to buy a Normal Closed (NC) 12V induction sensor/ switch like in the link below:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CWTQ3SF...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
    Last edited by GWS; 09-17-2020 at 01:06 PM.

  13. #1053
    Quote Originally Posted by GWS View Post
    The whole reason I showed my pre 3D printer project here was to demonstrate just how simple the proximity sensor is.
    That makes sense. I've never messed with prox sensors so I just went with what I know. The long lever on the switch I used should work with a wide variety of projectile sizes but I only load 9mm for now.

  14. #1054
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'm having issues with my photo sensor module. I can't figure out how to get power out that works. The module is getting power and I can hear it click when I cover the sensor and the green light turns on.
    This is the module I ordered:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    This is the wiring diagram on Amazon
    Click image for larger version. 

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    These are pictures from another Amazon item that looks like the one I ordered.
    https://us.amazon.com/GEREE-Control-.../dp/B00PC1TKD0
    Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #1055
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by n10sivern View Post
    I'm having issues with my photo sensor module. I can't figure out how to get power out that works. The module is getting power and I can hear it click when I cover the sensor and the green light turns on.
    Not sure if you have seen this but here is a wiring schematic put together by AmmoMike. Hopefully this helps.

    wiring_schematic.pdf

    Try this:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by TylerR; 09-21-2020 at 11:36 AM.

  16. #1056
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerR View Post
    Not sure if you have seen this but here is a wiring schematic put together by AmmoMike. Hopefully this helps.

    wiring_schematic.pdf

    Try this:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yeah. I tried to follow his schematics

  17. #1057
    Boolit Buddy
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    I got it working. I had to wire it like this. Don't ask me why this works but it does. Now I just have to figure out how to make collator plates for the hex.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #1058
    Boolit Buddy
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    is this correct for 9mm plate?
    Click image for larger version. 

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  19. #1059
    Boolit Mold
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    Hello everyone, I swore I was registered on this forum but found out I'd never registered so this is officially my first post. I read through everything and have ordered parts and a Prusa MK3S and a bunch of filament. Can't wait to make bullet feeder/collators for my press(Also on order) finally getting a Dillon press!!!

    I want to take the time to thank everyone for their contributions especially @AmmoMike83, @TylerR, I know I'm missing some of the huge contributors but it was a lot of reading.

    Can you guys look over my parts and let me know if I messed up on any of it? I also will be buying the hex attachments. Will the Prusa be able to print the bigger stuff? I've never owned or played with a 3D printer before.

    Here's what I have currently;
    Lighted on/off switch
    https://www.amazon.com/Twidec-Rocker.../dp/B07V5CTJWY

    Momentary reverse button
    https://www.amazon.com/Uxcell-a16121.../dp/B06XSBYNM7

    Motor
    https://www.amazon.com/Bringsmart-JG.../dp/B078JHVJYL

    1/2" brake line protector
    https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Bra.../dp/B01MTV5UW4

    3/8" brake line protector
    https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Bra.../dp/B01N59WJ96

    LEDs
    https://www.amazon.com/LAOMAO-Bulbs-.../dp/B00H98OS2W

    Motor speed controller
    https://www.amazon.com/uniquegoods-1.../dp/B00RYKR83Q

    Light sensor switch
    https://www.amazon.com/Solu-Photosen.../dp/B00ZWPKKJE

  20. #1060
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fil131 View Post
    Hello everyone, I swore I was registered on this forum but found out I'd never registered so this is officially my first post. I read through everything and have ordered parts and a Prusa MK3S and a bunch of filament. Can't wait to make bullet feeder/collators for my press(Also on order) finally getting a Dillon press!!!

    I want to take the time to thank everyone for their contributions especially @AmmoMike83, @TylerR, I know I'm missing some of the huge contributors but it was a lot of reading.

    Can you guys look over my parts and let me know if I messed up on any of it? I also will be buying the hex attachments. Will the Prusa be able to print the bigger stuff? I've never owned or played with a 3D printer before.

    Here's what I have currently;
    Lighted on/off switch
    Looks good to me. Not sure what the momentary reverse button is for. Also keep in mind that the JGY-370 is not really strong enough to power my larger feeder.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check