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Thread: Choice of Metals and Checkmaker™ Operating Tips

  1. #1
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    Choice of Metals and Checkmaker™ Operating Tips

    I seriously need to update my operating tips and instructions using Checkmaker™ Dies.

    There have been so many of you that have figured out great tips over the years with your dies including using lube (something I've never done), sizing PB's, using LEE sizing dies, die cleaning, sharpening, and more.

    I figured this would be the best place to start posting this, then I will redo the info on my website.

    Guys, I'm totally committed to customer service. I know in the past I didn't handle some as well as I should have and a lot of that had to do with the pressure in my personal life, learning how to manufacture, going through a divorce and move. If I have ever came across as rude to anyone I sincerely apologize and it's never been my intent.

    Now older and wiser, I've learned to stay totally positive.


    •So please feel free to chime in and post about your process making your gas checks•
    ... on annealing, or metals, or sizing- ALL tips would very much be appreciated!


    Here's a pdf file of basic instructions:
    https://www.patmarlins.com/CheckMake...structions.pdf

    More Quick Tips


    Always Dog Ear your Strips:

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    Having a needle file in hand to use as an easy tool to set your cut disk in the forming hole of your female die works great. As you bring your ram down with the disk setting in the die, a needle file will help center if it doesn't fall right into the hole. Specially works well with small calibers like 22 cal, and big fingers like mine.

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    Rotate not only the upper die housing to align your dies so the male cutter comes up smoothly, but you can also rotate the lower female die as well.

    Carefully test metals make sure it is suitable to cut and form gas checks. Almost all Big Box store or hardware store AL from .009" to .011" is hard as a rock and doesn't work worth a **** and will damage your dies.

    Check out my "Frequent Questions" section on the front page of my website for sources on metals.

    It takes awhile to get your method working for making your own checks, just like casting boolits, you have to develop your process... patiently.

    There's lots of help here and I'm always just an email away....

    Pat ...
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  2. #2
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Lube

    I have had the 41PB and 44PB Patmarlin checkmakers, and I found they work better with a trace of lube on the cutting/shearing surfaces.

    I was using popcan metal. I would punch/shear popcan metal strips layered two deep, which seemed to give less tearing and more shearing of the material. Anyway, shearing two layers of popcan metal at the same time, seems to leave a small amount of debris in the die, after a dozen or so, punch cycles, this debris builds up enough to be seen visually, after a certain number of punch cycles(maybe 100 or 200?) it'll likely start to cause jamming and needs to be cleaned out.

    My tip:
    Use a lubed Q-tip (like many of us casters use for lubing a Sprue plate), I use 2 or 3 drops of a synth 2 cycle oil on the Q-tip and I would circle the q-tip inside the outer die cutter area every popcan strip (about 12 punch cycles, 24 disks), it would lube the die and clean the debris out in the same motion. It becomes second nature to do that every time you start a new strip. I will also wipe the lubed Q-tip on the sides of the cutter post, but that doesn't need to be done near as often, and is only really necessary if you notice the beginning of jamming issues...as that's where the jamming happens. I should state, I am talking about the smallest amount of lube applied is all that is needed.

  3. #3
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    That's Awesome Jon-

    Great tips.

    Really appreciate your help and taking the time.

    Pat
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    I would be interested in how people went about cutting strips. Find out if there are some innovative ways to make that task easier. Especially cutting them from the rolled aluminum from Ace Hardware.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  5. #5
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    I just use a paper cutter, and make a guide for each caliber (for strip width) with a line drawn on it. I use a piece of aluminum plate, but you could use anything stiff enough to hold on the right of your cutter with a mark. Slide the stock to the mark and cut.
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  6. #6
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
    I would be interested in how people went about cutting strips. Find out if there are some innovative ways to make that task easier. Especially cutting them from the rolled aluminum from Ace Hardware.
    If you ever find an old USA made paper shear at a thrift store, like the type schools have, that'd be the way to go.

    When I needed one, I couldn't find a inexpensive old one, so I bought a new CHINA paper shear from Harbor freight, they use to go on sale for $10, but I don't think they even offer them anymore? ...but you see them on flea bay.
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    I would cut the long rolls in to manageable pieces like about 12" by 12", then shear the strips on the paper shear using a homemade gauge (made of tagboard) that I'd hold against the edge of the blade and under the metal that's about to be cut...just like PatMarlin stated.

  7. #7
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    Walter Laich's Avatar
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    I have a special built form that allows we to fine tune the width (two screws horizontal that the side of the strip butt up to)

    then have a straightedge and box cutter. a bit slow but gets the job done with soda can Al.

    did try some metal coil and I have to admit that is hands and feet faster and as a result more fun for me

    Love the idea of a bit of lube--will give that a try
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  8. #8
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    I've had the same small old american paper cutter I bought at a flea market for years and it gets used everyday.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatMarlin View Post

    Carefully test metals make sure it is suitable to cut and form gas checks. Almost all Big Box store or hardware store AL from .009" to .011" is hard as a rock and doesn't work worth a **** and will damage your dies

    Pat ...
    I am confused my this statement, are you talking about aluminium roof flashing rolls? or something else? Thats what I've been using mine actually measures little over .013" thickness but it cuts fine and works great for 30 cal checks.

    Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dimaprok View Post
    I am confused my this statement, are you talking about aluminium roof flashing rolls? or something else? Thats what I've been using mine actually measures little over .013" thickness but it cuts fine and works great for 30 cal checks.

    Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk
    Hi dimaprok ... Yes I am talking about specially roof flashing rolls.

    Sounds like you got the good stuff which is an Amerimax product, close to .013-.014". If it cuts disks well and forms good checks your are doing great. That's what we need.

    Some rolls, specially in the .009" - .011" (approximate) range is hard as a rock and does not work worth a ****.

    So, check carefully- look over at my "Frequent Questions" page on the homepage of my website for more info.

    I'm working on a whole new updated page with more info on metals, and will be sending out emails with this info ASAP. Leaning a new emailing system and will be sending out tips so if you're not on my list, please signup on the home page. Working on video too. Lots to do and lots of orders to get out the door daily.

    Warmest regards,

    Pat ...


    Make sure you check the tempered hardness and softness. I've run across hardware store .009-.011" aluminum (approximate) that was so hard you could make bench tops out of it. Lousy performance for gas checks.

    On the flip side is metals to soft. Copper that is to soft can cause issues with deforming when disks are cut. Causing jams. The metal needs a certain amount of rigidty. The best test for thin metals are soda cans. Beverage cans have just enough stiffness to make good disks and performing checks.

    My dies for gas check shank molds are optimized for .014 but work with other thickness metals. Not much thicker. Just depends on the metal.

    I cannot stress enough the importance of being careful when first using new metals to make sure it's suitable for making gas checks. As I mention in my instructions, I will not warrant dies that are damaged by these hard metals. I can rebuild them, and get you going again but I'm not doing it for free.

    I always warrant, and send out new die sets or parts to replace sets that are out of spec and do not function correctly, which happens from time to time, at no charge. It's the nature of machining, and it happens rarely thankfully, but it does happen.
    Last edited by PatMarlin; 04-15-2018 at 01:00 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Here's some more...

    What Metals Do Can I Use With my Checkmaker™ dies?

    Gas Check Metals-

    I do not sell copper or metals.

    PB Checkmaker™ ( stands for "plain base" bullets) dies take advantage of thin aluminum beverage can material or thin copper .004- .008, and some shooters are using slightly thicker metals, for plain base bullets. Thickness up to .010 may be to thick. Metals as thin as .004 has to be stiff enough (tempered about like beverage cans) to be able to work. Too thin and soft can cause problems. To hard and it can tear and not form. Beverage cans make great performing PB gas checks.



    Checkmaker™ gas check shank dies-

    Shooters have used various types of metals including, .004 beverage can alum, .014 aluminum and copper in .010 copper "foil" and other thickness with good results. Beverage cans make gaschecks that work for gas check shank molds, but accuracy will be limited. .014 Amerimax Aluminum holds the record as the best performing metal.

    **Please note some material is tempered extremely hard- cuts hard and forms checks that tear. That will need to be annealed. TRY before you buy...!

    Amerimax Aluminum

    Amerimax Aluminum is hard to beat, some batches have been tempered to hard. Please Check before damaging dies.

    Cheap and many shooters are getting great results, plus the .014 is accurate as all get out, holding the record with many of my customers shooting one-holers with gas check shank molds. Currently .014 Amerimax is winning match competitions and out performing factory gas checks by many cast shooter as well.

    Order from your local Ace Hardware- Amerimax Aluminum

    Thickness is .014 that has consistently produced one-holers with my dies by

    many of my customers and makes great gas checks for gas check shank molds.



    Ace Hardware order number is #58012.

    Amerimax number is #68104.

    4" x 50' roll at $16.99.
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  12. #12
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    Amerimax offers different types and thickness. The thinner stuff maybe tempered to hard. Always "Try before you Buy" and quantity of metals.


    DO NOT Buy .009- .011" Aluminum Flashing from Amerimax or any Box Store! It is All tempered to hard and not suitable for gas checks and can damage dies! I will no longer replace any dies used with this metal.


    STANDARD alum-.014 (part #68104)

    One (1) 4"X 50' Amerimax roll will make 9600 gas checks with the Checkmaker™ dies in 30 caliber. That's less than $1.77 per thousand. Aprox. 4 per square inch. How's that for efficiency?

    Excellent source of copper with free shipping-

    http://store.electrical-insulators-a...pper-foil.html



    Coil and Foil Supplies

    Yonky Sells pre-cut Strips for Checkmaker dies.

    Yonky's .014 is easy to cut. Good metals.

    http://www.coilandfoil.com/







    Checkmaker™ (Final) Slot Widths-



    .500

    22 cal, 22PB cal, 6.5 cal, 270cal, 7mm, 7mmPB, 30, 7.62x39, 303 British, 32/8mm (all calibers smaller than 32/8mm use .500 strips)



    .545

    32-20PB Winchester, 30PB, 7.62x39PB, 32PB, 338, 338PB, 35

    35PB, 9.3mm, 375



    .600

    375, 375PB, 38-55PB Winchester, 40, 41, 405 Winchester



    .640

    40/10mmPB, 41PB, 44, 45, 405PB Winchester



    .665

    44PB, 45PB-Pistol, 45PBR-Rifle, 480 Ruger



    .695

    458PB SOCOM, 45PB-AR, 480PB, 50, 50PB-Pistol, 50ca Rifle, 505 Gibbs



    Cut your strips to fit your dies.

    A paper cutter makes accurate strip cutting a breeze. Using a made up guide works very well also, as shown in Operation Instructions .pdf file.




    What are Checkmaker™ PB style Dies?



    PB Checkmaker™ ( stands for "plain base" bullets) dies use thin aluminum beverage can material or thin copper .004- .008, and some shooters are using slightly thicker metals, for your favorite plain base bullet.Shooters are now able to use and buy plain base molds in place of check shank molds and have the best of both worlds in one mold without the higher cost of thicker metals, or expensive factory gas checks.

    The beauty of the my PB version dies is you can take advantage of inexpensive thin metals.

    We are getting remarkable performance out of firearms, even auto loaders with group sizes shrinking, and no more leading. The PB dies are truly breaking new ground.

    I now have customers who are winning IPSC competitions with PB gas checks.



    Notes on Checkmaker™ dies for 45 Caliber

    45 caliber dies

    45 caliber dies for shank molds work for both 45 cal pistol and 45 cal rifle with one (1) set. You simply (if needed) adjust metal thickness. You need a solid bench and press.

    45PB caliber dies (plain base) use a separate set of dies each- one (1) for pistol and one (1) for rifle. You need to specify which one.





    Notes on dies for 50 Caliber

    50 caliber dies

    The standard (shank mold) .501 50 caliber pistol (500 S&W) etc., Checkmaker™ dies will only work with a modification to your mold. Standard 50 cal cast bullet shanks are designed to use .022 metal which is expensive.

    I designed Checkmaker™ dies in standard 50 caliber (gas check shank molds) to work with inexpensive thinner metal. You need to order a 50 cal mold with a .473 shank, or have your mold shank opened up to .473. This way you can use inexpensive metals from .010 to .016 and the best performing .014 Amerimax Aluminum. Again- the 50 cal standard Checkmaker is not designed to make a gas checks with (expensive) .022 thick metals.

    However, all Checkmaker™ 50PB caliber (plain base) version dies are designed to work with no mold modifications. You can make PB gas checks with up to .014 metals to fit any 50 caliber pistol plain base dies.
    Patmarlins
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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