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Thread: How Hard is it to Cut a Reloading Die

  1. #21
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    That would be my weapon of choice.

    However; If ya don't know already--- The wheels are very brittle. You'll want to dress accordingly.
    Heavy gloves, jacket, full face shield, and work around the die body without letting the disc go deeper than the outside wall thickness.

    A shattered 6" angle grinder disc is the only tool I've ever used that sent me to the Emergency Room.
    This isn't me, but I kept a similar picture in my shop to show the kids that wanted to borrow a angle grinder and disc--
    "to do something real quick", and didn't have time to put on safety equipment.

    That, and pointing at the 1/2 of a disc stuck in the shop's ceiling was always enough to show them the error of their ways.
    Exactly why I NEVER use angle "grinders" with cut-off wheels!!!!!! Bad tool combo! Only cut-off I use is my 14" ridged metal chop saw with a thick blade. It has never ever shattered. Those little skinny hand-held "grinder" (notice the name-sake!!!!!) blade-things are an accident looking for a place to happen (see picture)!

    Your hands/arms/body are not rigid enough to prevent binding and torquing of the skinny very brittle little blade in the work.....and it shatters. Avoid angle grinders with thin cut-off blades. They are made for GRINDING and SANDING weld joints/body work smooth..........not cutting-off stock.

    Whatever tool you do use............ALWAYS wear safety glasses and a FULL face shield.

  2. #22
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    Bejeesus. Me. Scared out of.

    I will for now own keep my tools to the stated name. A grinder will be used for grinding. A saw for cutting. A drill press will not be used as a lathe.

    I really, really want to thank everyone on this post.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rfeustel View Post
    Bejeesus. Me. Scared out of.

    I will for now own keep my tools to the stated name. A grinder will be used for grinding. A saw for cutting. A drill press will not be used as a lathe.

    I really, really want to thank everyone on this post.
    A very wise decision, my friend. Countless people have lost eyes, fingers, arms, and lives using a tool designed for one purpose for another WRONG purpose!

    If you REEEEEEELY want it cut, take it to a professional machine shop who will have correct tools. But there probably goes your "cheap" terminology used in your opening post.

  4. #24
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    Heh y'all would NEVER make it on a pipe crew. They would laugh you right on out the gate talking about wanting a 14" cutoff saw b/c you are scared of a little 4" angle grinder and cutoff wheels. I have used THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of cutoff wheels in a DeWalt angle grinder. How you going to cut 12" schedule 10 stainless in position with a chop saw? How are you going to miter a fitting to make a custom fit? You certainly won't do hi purity stainless with a chop saw.

    As far as cutting a Lee die with a cutoff wheel, done properly, done CAREFULLY with gloves and eye/face PPE it's easily done and does a very neat, precise job.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throats honed? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Click here to send me a PM You can also find me on Facebook Click Here.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougGuy View Post
    Heh y'all would NEVER make it on a pipe crew. .
    I've only gone through a couple hundred cut off discs over the years, but it didn't take long for them to earn my respect.
    I learned to be careful, not use the 'el cheapos', and run off any onlookers in the shop.

    I can't remember the name of the company, but I always ordered the ones made in Germany.
    They did the best job, lasted the longest, and had the fewest 'incidents'.
    Political Correctness and the cancel culture is only allowed to exist because of the coward culture.


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  6. #26
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    I hereby submit my man card to this post.

  7. #27
    Hello Rfeustel,

    If you want to shorten a die, simply put it in a lathe & turn it with a carbide cutter.
    If you need to change the inside, that's more tricky.
    A straight through bullet sizer could be polished if you don't need to go very far,
    but the farther you go (diameter) the bore will get egg shaped.

    AntiqueSledMan.

  8. #28
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    My advice find a local machine shop tell them what you want done and pay them for their services. They'll have the right tools and equipment to do the job accurately and safely

  9. #29
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    I used a HF 14" chop saw with metal cutoff blade to cut a Pacific brand 280rem FL size die (to be used to size annealed brass 5.7 cases for jackets for swaging 30 cal bullets). I setup the chop saw outside, on a picnic table and made a redneck water cooled setup with a garden hose. I'd cut a little, cool off the die, cut a little more, cool off the die...repeated until I was through. When Cutting hardened dies, you don't want to overheat the metal.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougGuy View Post
    Heh y'all would NEVER make it on a pipe crew. They would laugh you right on out the gate talking about wanting a 14" cutoff saw b/c you are scared of a little 4" angle grinder and cutoff wheels. I have used THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of cutoff wheels in a DeWalt angle grinder. How you going to cut 12" schedule 10 stainless in position with a chop saw? How are you going to miter a fitting to make a custom fit? You certainly won't do hi purity stainless with a chop saw.

    As far as cutting a Lee die with a cutoff wheel, done properly, done CAREFULLY with gloves and eye/face PPE it's easily done and does a very neat, precise job.
    But we are NOT on at pipe crew and many on here have absolute ZERO experience with cut-off wheels and grinders.

    You might, but most do not!!!!!!!

    Experienced pipe fitters are one story.........casual casters with no tools and no experience is a totally different & dangerous story.

    Please do not compare them and lead the innocent inexperienced on here down a dangerous rabbit hole from which there is no return.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    That would be my weapon of choice.

    However; If ya don't know already--- The wheels are very brittle. You'll want to dress accordingly.
    Heavy gloves, jacket, full face shield, and work around the die body without letting the disc go deeper than the outside wall thickness.

    A shattered 6" angle grinder disc is the only tool I've ever used that sent me to the Emergency Room.
    This isn't me, but I kept a similar picture in my shop to show the kids that wanted to borrow a angle grinder and disc--
    "to do something real quick", and didn't have time to put on safety equipment.

    That, and pointing at the 1/2 of a disc stuck in the shop's ceiling was always enough to show them the error of their ways.
    My first job at the little machine shop I started in was cleaning a 30 year man's thumb out of the 6 inch belt sander. A lesson well learned. I still have the full set of fingers.
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  12. #32
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    Why not heat the die red hot? I have done so several times. They are easy to cut after that. You can do what you want and re-harden when you are ready.

  13. #33
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    I just cut a die after heating

    Quote Originally Posted by n.h.schmidt View Post
    Why not heat the die red hot? I have done so several times. They are easy to cut after that. You can do what you want and re-harden when you are ready.
    I am not an expert, but many dies are very hard and in my opinion not suitable for cutting with a grinder blade tool. I just shortened a sizing die that was nearly glass hard by heating it to cherry-red and letting it air cool. Thus annealed, I cut it easily to the required length with standard tools. I honed the interior slightly without really enlarging the bore and that was that. I considered rehardening the die but found this unnecessary since it was a steel die used with lubed cases. Just what works for me; good luck

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winger Ed. View Post
    I can't remember the name of the company, but I always ordered the ones made in Germany.
    They did the best job, lasted the longest, and had the fewest 'incidents'.
    With cutoff wheels you usually get EXACTLY what you pay for. I don't buy cheap ones because they are only $4 more for a box of 100 than the good brand is for a box of 50. I like to go to youtube and watch some of the "tests" people have done, it's quite informative and pretty accurate. I buy the wheels that delivered the best results and lasted the longest.

    Let me edit this post and say that almost ALL of my positive experience with cutoff wheels has been with the .045" thick wheels. .040" wheels make a neat cut but the attrition rate is high.

    EXTREME CAUTION AND DILIGENCE IS REQUIRED with 1/16" wheels! These wheels will grab and jerk the grinder uncontrollably, I do NOT like to use them and DO NOT recommend them for this reason.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throats honed? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Click here to send me a PM You can also find me on Facebook Click Here.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rfeustel View Post
    I also have a chop saw and a Milwaukee grinder that goes 8500.
    Don’t think the chop saw will spin fast enough, or accept a thin enough blade. The ‘Metabo’ type right angle grinder type tool will do both. A 4 inch wafer (thin) wheel works the best. As someone else said the heat from cutting (really abrading) will soften the steel. I cut a SDB die down with mine. On top of the guard and all you PPE, set your cut up to eliminate any flex of the cutting disc. The blade will shatter if you flex it too much.

    DISCLAIMER- the following is for entertainment use only! Proceed at your own risk.
    I drilled a hole in a 4x4” that the die fit in tight. Then ran the blade along the top of 4x4 through the die. The cut was 1/2 mill out of square but a fine metal file trued it up pretty easy.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  16. #36
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    I don't touch grinders any more.

    I had small and big ones for normal hobby/ car / household use for decades.

    One day I was cutting a metal tube (for Sauna chimney) and the big grinder just jumped off my hands, flew against a wall -and bounced to my belly. It then fell on the floor, still running.

    First thing I thought "I'm dead". I then pulled the cord and took a look at my belly... lots of blood but it looked only scratches and that's what it was, circular scratches near my belly button. I went to a med check anyway... feeling very lucky when they picked som minor metal/who knows what pieces from my skin.

    The grinder brand was Gern and the kill switch was not working... I admit I didn't check the function at that time before starting to work.

    Those half a dozen white circular 3-4" scars are here to remind me to take precautions... I was wearing a leather vest, doc said that a shirt would have grabbed the (at that point most probably broken) blade and...

    Please excuse me for the horror story but be careful out there with power tools. I don"t even change my winter wheels any more, there are professionals who do it better - and safe.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petander View Post
    the kill switch was not working... I admit I didn't check the function at that time before starting to work..
    At the shop, we'd wear out an angle grinder every couple months.
    We did a lot of grinding, cutting, and wire wheel scrubbing with them.
    To save time changing discs & wheels, I kept 4-5 of them on hand.

    Guys would complain I always ordered the ones that didn't have the trigger lock/button feature,
    and they got tired and hand/finger cramps from having to hold the trigger.
    I always told 'em if they were that tired, don't use it.

    I remember a story from one of the body shops where years before; a fella was using a big grinder with a broken trigger.
    Not a small angle grinder, but one of the really big, hand held ones.
    Somebody by passed it and it ran constantly when ya plugged it in.
    Yep.... It 'bucked', hit him low in the chest, and ripped all his innards out, killing him.
    Political Correctness and the cancel culture is only allowed to exist because of the coward culture.


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    In life: We are given tests, and learn lessons.

  18. #38
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    I believe the German wheels are the "Pferd" brand. Having spent 20 years in the industrial construction field, I can tell you all kinds of stories, but will defer. Get the right tool for the job, and don't take shortcuts, EVER!!
    Lead Forever!


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  19. #39
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    I will not buy any disc grinders without a trigger now and if you are too tired to pull a trigger switch you do not have any business operating one in the first place.

    Three44s
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    “There is more to this than dumping lead in a hole.”

  20. #40
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    I think I’d take it to a machinist to see if he’d cut it.

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