Merging Reloading & Technology
Until recently, I never imagined I’d have any “creations” to share with the reloading community. However, technology is changing that. As I write this, I’ve had a 3D printer for almost three weeks, and I’ve already designed, printed & sent items off to a beta tester for evaluation. As of September 22nd, 2013, I’m offering a limited number of items for sale on this page.
I consider myself a technologist, meaning that I’ve created a reputation for understanding how a new technology works and then applying it to solve an “old” problem. I’m also an early adopter. Right now, the world is just beginning to understand the implications of 3D printing. It’s thought of as a DIYer’s technology (true), with limited real-life application. Perhaps, but I’m betting most people just haven’t sat down to consider what can be done. I did. Some of the reloading related creations that I’ve already made, or hope to print include:
- Improved primer catch tray for RCBS RockChucker Presses: The standard piece from RCBS causes spent primers to drop all over the floor. This is a huge improvement that routes the spent printers out through a hose, so they can drop into a bottle or bucket. This is downloaded from Thingiverse, and offered here with permission from the designer.
- Die holders. Yes, the manufacturer’s boxes work well. But what if you want them organized, and on your bench?
- Shell plate holders. For my RCBS Pro 2000, I’m looking for something that holds & organizes the shell plates & dies. They’re odd shaped & because of that, take up too much room in a drawer. I have a design to fix that!
- Core swaging & point forming catch tray. When doing these operations, the core or bullet drops out of the die and onto the floor. Not any more.
- Derimmed Jacket Container. When .22LR jackets are ‘derimmed’, they pass through a die that flattens out the base. Instead of pushing them out to fall on the floor, this will capture them in a cup.
- Bleed tray. Like cores & bullets, when you bleed off the lead during core swaging, the little lead wires fall onto the floor. Unless I design & print something that catches them!
- Core shaker. To make a completed bullet, you have to insert the lead core into the bullet’s jacket before forming it in the die. Doing that manually is time consuming & requires dexterity. This core shaker is adapted from the work of others on the Castboolits web site, and it uses gravity to set the jackets into holes & then to shake cores into the jackets. Huge boost to productivity! Here’s a prototype rendering:
So no, I’m not going to fabricate my own presses, dies or other “hard” tools. Others do that very well. I will, however, use technology to make my life as a reloader easier. The only things I need are the imagination required to envision the tool, CAD software, the printer and some spools of extruded ABS & PLA plastics. Along this road, I’ll probably find a few solutions in search of a problem. That’s OK too.
Check back often…