Cast Boolit Projects
I have been casting and reloading since the early 80's. Initially all tools required were purchased but the quest for more and better boolits soon forced me into tinkering with existing equipment or to just get down 'n dirty and make my own. Here are some of these projects.
MOAM(e) - Mother Of All Melters (electric)

The most recent of my projects was done to overcome the limitation of the small Lee melting pots I had been using. These Lee pots are very good value for money, but are a too small when needing to cast large numbers of heavier boolits. I did try and find a cost effective pot commercially but the only offering I was interested was too expensive. I love to tinker and soon had a plan based upon research on the Internet of projects others had done and shared.

Jmorris, a member of the castboolits fraternity, was one of those whose efforts inspired me to go ahead and build my own. I built my first MOAM(e) but even though it works well is not quite what I wanted but much was learned. Below are pictures taken during the construction of version 2 during which I made the changes I felt I needed over the first build.

Those that are interested in doing something like this need to be aware that a pot like this needs some form of temperature control such as a PID. I had already built my first one prior to this build so that is the unit seen in some of the pictures below.

   
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The valve is made up of a
3/8' stainless shaft turned
as shown. The spout on the
right is from 1/2" stock.
  This view shows the spout
detail.
  This heater band is a 2420W
240V unit. Dimensions are
6 3/4" dia x 4" H.Cost was
$35 off fleabay.
  Here are the main parts for
the pot. The cylinder dimensions
are 6 1/2" ID x 6 1/2" H.
             
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The spout welded into place.   The pot bottom welded into
place.
  Plate to keep the kaowool
insulation in place.
  Melter base. 2 pieces of
channel shaped steel.
 
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Frame to mount pot to base.   Frame welded to pot.   Frame and pot together on
the base.
  Handle made from 1/2"
stainless.
             
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The next 3 images show the
pour control assembly.
  Inside view.   Outside view.   Band heater in place.
             
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View of the kaowool
sandwiched. Once the pot
was completed I cut the treads
flush with the nuts.
  Kaowool held in place with
masking tape.
  Aluminum sheet covering
the kaowool.
  Top view.
             
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The MOAM(e) and the Lee
10lb production pot.
  Pot and PID controller.   Melting ingots.   Fluxed and ready to cast.
             
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1st casting session. 25lbs
of .40 cal 180grn.
  Another session. Start time.
I have modified the heat shield
aluminum to protect the exposed
kaowool.
  Here melting alloy is already
visible.
  Alloy has been fluxed and
cleaned. PID thermocouple
has been inserted and waiting
for temperature to stabilize.
             
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The temperature is almost stable.
  I use this hot plate (110V)
to pre-heat my molds. It takes
about 15 minutes so planning
ahead pays off!
  A fine crop of 230grn .45's
This is from one casting
sesson. Just more than 22lbs
was used here - no stopping
to add ingots or waiting for
temperature to come up again.
  The fine folks from Missouri
Bullet Company sell these
ingots. Try fitting one of these
into those puny commercial
pots.
             
Star lube sizer dies
I use Star lube sizers to size and lube my boolits. The need for different dies made me look at making my own. The work done by Lathesmith, Buckshot and others on Castboolits forums convinced me that I can roll my own. Here are some pictures and comments on making a die in 0.452" for my 1911's.
   
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I first made a pin gauge using
1/2" SS rod. The left most step
is from 1/2" to .450" The following
3 steps down are in .002"
There is no easier way to
determine inner size than this.
  Top is an original Star die.
Below is a piece of shaft
cut from a piece recovered
from the scrap bin at work.
  Here I am cutting down to
the .750" outer size. I stopped
cutting at .751 and used
emery cloth to polish to .750
  Different shaft piece. I found
that the original steel was not
suited. This is from 1" stainless
shaft - also from the bin. Also
note the 4-jaw chuck.
             
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Workpiece end drilled.   After drilling the boring bar
being used. I used the pin gauge
shown above to determine
when to stop boring. When
the .450 just started to enter
the size is ready for grinding.
  The lube recess has been
cut and the lube holes have
been drilled. I use 1/16"
holes. As I make my dies for
a specific boolit only I don't
make provision for multiple
lube grooves ala Star.
  Using a Proxxon grinder
mounted to the tool post to
finish grind the sizer to size.
I ground it till my .451" pin
gauge just squeezed in.
 
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Die turned around for machining
the other end. I ground the entry
to the die at a small taper to allow
the entry of the boolit into the die.
  A pic of the die in action. Lars
BAC without heat. Good stuff.
Boolits measure .452"
  I recently got this set of collets
off evilbay. I needed another
.401 sizer die so I used this
set. All I can say is, Wow!
  Once again I made a pin gauge
to be able to measure the size.
I used a piece of 1/2" SS rod.
             
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1" collet and SS shaft stock.
I am cutting down to .750"
  Ready to polish. A .001 over
required .750"
  End drilling.   Drilling. First stage was done
using a 1/4" bit. This is larger.
             
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Final drilling.   Machining the recess.   Lube holes drilled. 1/16"
This SS is tough and care
had to be taken to drill. Slow
speed a must as this steel
work hardens very easily.
  Boring bar in action. Sharp
tip a must. This SS cuts to a
smooth bright finish. Here a
3/4" collet is used.
             
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Boring stopped just shy of
the required .400"
  After the Proxxon was used
the final finish was achieved
using 400 grit wet/dry and
cooled & lubed using soluble
oil & water mix. The shaft is
3/8" SS rod machined down
and spilt to hold the paper.
  A view of the pin gauge. It
is stepped in 2 thou steps
down from .400"
  Pin gauge snugly fits into
the die.
             
Star Boolit Feeder

I use Star lube sizers to size and lube my boolits. I am planning on making my own boolit feeder to speed up the sizing. I have recently purchased a Mini Mill and need a project for it.

Update: I did build a boolit feeder and it works well, but it does not save any time without a collator. Handling the boolits to fill the tube is the same effort than just placing it directly in the sizer. I might build a collator some day.

Another Update - I bought a Hornady boolit collator and use this to fill the 4' tubes I use to feed the Star sizer. I'll post a series of pics and descriptions soon.

 
 
    Copyright & Rights belong to me, don't mess with it - CdK 2009 Updated 2014