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Thread: The hidden cost of Power Coating - your toaster oven

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    The hidden cost of Power Coating - your toaster oven

    I hadn't caught anything on this so I decided to look into it. I have a number of spreadsheets that I put together to figure out how much every aspect of my casting and reloading costs. I try to do what I can to shoot quality components as cheaply as possible. I realized that spreading the cost of ~$20 for a lb of powder over 7-9k boolits makes the cost insignificant on a per boolit basis. But what about running the oven to powder coat them?

    I have an energy monitor. I plugged my toaster oven into it to see how much power it uses. It is a smaller model. It uses $0.07 per hour. I have been standing my boolits on their base to bake them. I counted the last batch I did, I had close to 100 boolits on my tray. I figured that I am able to coat 7-9k, a lb of powder's worth, for about $1.63-2.10. Realistically I am probably using closer to $3. It takes time to preheat the oven. I also am losing some efficiency because I only have 2 trays. It takes a little while for a tray fresh out of the oven to cool. About 10 minutes. It also takes me close to 20 minutes to stand 100 boolits on their base using a pliers.

    I did try using a wire basket and dumping them on top of each other. I found that to be less efficient as they would stick together and I would have to cull some after breaking them apart.

    Figured I'd try a click bait title. Did it work?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Hick's Avatar
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    My last powder coating batch was 50 every 20 minutes (150 per hour), which, a $0.07 per hour works out to a cost of slightly under $0.0005 per bullet for electricity. This makes the power cost is negligible on a per cartridge basis. This includes preheat, as I run batches of several hundred without turning off the oven, and can get each batch back in the oven in less than 5 minutes after I take a batch out, and I bake for exactly 15 min at 400 F.
    Hick: Iron sights!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    JBinMN's Avatar
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    If "I" were doing what you are describing, putting a "cost" on the little things, I would tell myself that I am overdoing the "bean counting", and I need to just have fun.", and, "Hey... it is your path, so who am I to tell you how to walk it!".
    If you like to figure out what everything costs down to the minutia, so be it. Have fun!


    Personally, I do not worry about the "how much does it cost" much, as I do the handloading for the enjoyment of it & even just simple math tells me it is less expensive, after the initial investment, to "roll my own", than it is to buy factory made rounds. The time is not factored in , since I am doing something I like to do & do not consider it a "job", where I might feel the need to make $$ for my time.

    I like to cook, BBQ, and smoke foods in the smokers. The results are as good or better than any restaurant, in my & others opinion, & it is less expensive than going out to eat those sorts of foods I like to prepare. The cost is minimal and the time is not counted, as compared to what I would have to spend if I ate out. Same idea, in my book, as handloading & shooting. Or any "hobby" type activity where one is getting satisfaction, as well as use, out of what they produce.

    So, "Its YOUR party & you can cry if ya want to."....
    LOL


    Once again, "Have fun!"! & G'Luck!
    2nd Amend./U.S. Const. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

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    For the Fudds > "Those who appease a tiger, do so in the hope that the tiger will eat them last." -Winston Churchill.

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Dragonheart's Avatar
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    I have to agree, it's a hobby and I enjoy it. In my last cook I did almost 2500 bullets in my Hamilton Beach Toaster oven, so 7 cents sounds pretty cheap to me. But even if it were 7 dollars when we PC we are actually ending up with jacketed bullets. True they are not equal to a swaged bullet, but still all the benefits of a jacketed bullet.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    I like the idea of breaking cost down, it gives me an idea per round, justification to shoot a lot more, practice more.

    BTW.....I did the Low heat method for my Powder coating (industrial) 250 F for 13 minutes, utilizing Parchment paper, no BBs, didn't cull any bullets and they shot great. Some sized before and after, some i just sized after. No leading after about 100 rounds.

    More accuracy testing needs to be done yet, but looks very promising

  6. #6
    Boolit Master BNE's Avatar
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    For me to do the accounting down to that level would drive me crazy. I enjoy the whole process. Casting, coating, sizing, cleaning brass, reloading, shooting and even cleaning guns. So it is not really a money per operation thing for me. Its more of can I afford X to make this more enjoyable?
    I'm a Happy Clinger.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    I keep spreadsheets on every caliber. Takes less than a minute to enter the data on a batch. Unless I'm developing. In which case, I later return to add a link to a pic of the target. For fun, I include a column for $ saved per round, for that recipe. Cost is figured for the components and rounded up. For example, I think my last .223 costed 5.2 cents. I figure that as six cents in the spreadsheet and figure that covers electricity, PC, tumble media... And then some.
    I have a formula in the sheets that calculates a running total of money saved. Once that number got bigger than my startup cost, I started buying more stuff. I think the first thing I didn't really need was a brass tumbler. It was awesome. Beautiful brass and no more washing it in the sink.
    I keep the total spent on "stuff" lower than the total "saved" and it is a most excellent defensive weapon against the spousal unit. Kind of a fun game in itself.
    More stuff currently being shipped. (That I don't really need.) Still plenty of slack in the budget. And a happy wife. Life is good.

    Edit: I don't count my time, as it's all fun. Except trimming isn't my favorite. But a Frankford Arsenal case prep center is part of the inbound "stuff". Should be somewhat less tedious than the Lee case gage/drill setup.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy sparkyv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weeple2000 View Post
    Figured I'd try a click bait title. Did it work?
    Yes it did.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


    Walter Laich's Avatar
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    agree with many above: casting and coating is fun and I enjoy it.

    Do enjoy trying to find ways to make the tasks easier and faster but that's just me.

    to each his own is my thought on this
    NRA Life
    USPSA L1314
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    RVN War Games, 2nd Place

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBinMN View Post
    If "I" were doing what you are describing, putting a "cost" on the little things, I would tell myself that I am overdoing the "bean counting", and I need to just have fun.", and, "Hey... it is your path, so who am I to tell you how to walk it!".
    If you like to figure out what everything costs down to the minutia, so be it. Have fun!


    Personally, I do not worry about the "how much does it cost" much, as I do the handloading for the enjoyment of it & even just simple math tells me it is less expensive, after the initial investment, to "roll my own", than it is to buy factory made rounds. The time is not factored in , since I am doing something I like to do & do not consider it a "job", where I might feel the need to make $$ for my time.

    I like to cook, BBQ, and smoke foods in the smokers. The results are as good or better than any restaurant, in my & others opinion, & it is less expensive than going out to eat those sorts of foods I like to prepare. The cost is minimal and the time is not counted, as compared to what I would have to spend if I ate out. Same idea, in my book, as handloading & shooting. Or any "hobby" type activity where one is getting satisfaction, as well as use, out of what they produce.

    So, "Its YOUR party & you can cry if ya want to."....
    LOL


    Once again, "Have fun!"! & G'Luck!
    I have heard people say this and I am not saying that you or me is right or wrong. Different strokes for different folks. For me, part of the hobby is detailing the amount I'm saving. If I had to guess, I suspect that I am probably only saving about $10/hr for my labor when casting. But I agree with you that for a hobby I enjoy so much, the amount I'm saving is irrelevant.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by sureYnot View Post
    I keep spreadsheets on every caliber. Takes less than a minute to enter the data on a batch. Unless I'm developing. In which case, I later return to add a link to a pic of the target. For fun, I include a column for $ saved per round, for that recipe. Cost is figured for the components and rounded up. For example, I think my last .223 costed 5.2 cents. I figure that as six cents in the spreadsheet and figure that covers electricity, PC, tumble media... And then some.
    I have a formula in the sheets that calculates a running total of money saved. Once that number got bigger than my startup cost, I started buying more stuff. I think the first thing I didn't really need was a brass tumbler. It was awesome. Beautiful brass and no more washing it in the sink.
    I keep the total spent on "stuff" lower than the total "saved" and it is a most excellent defensive weapon against the spousal unit. Kind of a fun game in itself.
    More stuff currently being shipped. (That I don't really need.) Still plenty of slack in the budget. And a happy wife. Life is good.

    Edit: I don't count my time, as it's all fun. Except trimming isn't my favorite. But a Frankford Arsenal case prep center is part of the inbound "stuff". Should be somewhat less tedious than the Lee case gage/drill setup.
    This is an interesting idea to track savings over number of loads. I have an idea of how many bullets I have gone through to some degree. I did want to figure out how long it would take me to break even on my casting investment given my projected shooting amount. I don't know that my wife would care one way or the other about the actual cost - she will regardless complain (jokingly?) about buying more "gun stuff". But in general I want to keep my monthly nut as low as possible.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master



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    Nice to know that that the little ovens don’t cost that much to run. I have always wondered about that, but never took the time to figure it out. It wouldn’t make any difference. I would still keep using mine.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    I heat my work area in the garage with electric heat, so the lead pot and the PC oven run for free any time I am using heat .

    Bill
    Both ends WHAT a player

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by weeple2000 View Post
    I hadn't caught anything on this so I decided to look into it. I have a number of spreadsheets that I put together to figure out how much every aspect of my casting and reloading costs. I try to do what I can to shoot quality components as cheaply as possible. I realized that spreading the cost of ~$20 for a lb of powder over 7-9k boolits makes the cost insignificant on a per boolit basis. But what about running the oven to powder coat them?

    I have an energy monitor. I plugged my toaster oven into it to see how much power it uses. It is a smaller model. It uses $0.07 per hour. I have been standing my boolits on their base to bake them. I counted the last batch I did, I had close to 100 boolits on my tray. I figured that I am able to coat 7-9k, a lb of powder's worth, for about $1.63-2.10. Realistically I am probably using closer to $3. It takes time to preheat the oven. I also am losing some efficiency because I only have 2 trays. It takes a little while for a tray fresh out of the oven to cool. About 10 minutes. It also takes me close to 20 minutes to stand 100 boolits on their base using a pliers.

    I did try using a wire basket and dumping them on top of each other. I found that to be less efficient as they would stick together and I would have to cull some after breaking them apart.

    Figured I'd try a click bait title. Did it work?

    yep, I just realized I've been using powder to coat, when I should've been using "power coat" (per click title) no wonder they seemed awfully slow no power coat on them!!!! just had to say it

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Jun 2018
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    Madison, WI
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    Good catch, not sure I can update the title to fix it though. Freudian slip.

  16. #16
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    I don't even want to even entertain the idea of spread sheeting all my costs. 3 Presses, dies, molds, tumblers, tools, dehydrator, case gauges, trays, powder hoppers, trimmers, annealers, primers, powders, bullets, lead, lead pots, oh my...my brain is starting to hurt.

    For the amount of money I have in In Line Fabrication stuff...I could probably have bought enough ammo to shoot the rest of my life.

    But alas...I'm in it for 1. Accuracy 2. Fun 3. Learning

    I think I have about $1500 in 5.56 for 22lr to .224 dies, reloading dies, meplat trimmer, re-pointing die...not including shared expenses of press, Dillon swage, case trimmer, tools, powder, primers....again...my head hurts thinking about it.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    Oct 2009
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    I sure wish some of you guys that enjoy casting lived closer to me. You could have a great time casting for me and I would not have to deal with it. To add to your fun, I would give you 150 lbs of 92-6-2 alloy for every 100 lbs of bullets. I would even size them and lube them myself, unless you insisted on having more fun doing that too.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  18. #18
    As long as I keep track of my gambling debts my wife is happy. I can cast, load, coat, and shoot as much as I want to. Lifes to short.

  19. #19
    Super Moderator & Official Cast Boolits Sketch Artist


    RP's Avatar
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    You may want to factor in the the heat from the oven if your in a AC room which would make your AC run more plus the fan sucking the fumes out doors will also increase the cost. But if your in a cold room the heat now is heating the room saving you some more money.
    They say the more you shoot the more you save I should be making money by now but it still costing me. Its like going to the store and they say the more you buy the more you save. THATS A TRICK if you really want to save dont buy anything.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  20. #20
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    Who would want to powdercoat their toaster oven?

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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