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Old March 15, 2018, 11:59 AM   #1
Venti30
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Automated Decapper

I have seen some impressive DIY machines, and some high end, high production equipment meant for making ammo.

At one point I was interested in building a sorter with opposing rollers. When I started reloading, my home range gave me a 5 gal bucket full of what was thought to be pistol brass, but of course was mixed with everything under the sun including rifle cases. That process of sorting through 5 gallons of brass is what put the sorter thought in my head. What a task it was, but I was grateful for the starting source of brass! My commitment to them, was that I'd bring back any non 9 mm, deprimed and cleaned for them to do whatever they wanted with it. Fast forward to now, and I still have half of the 9 mm I initially received from that bucket because I've been picking up my own as I go. So, my sorter "needs" have diminished.

I am however interested in making a decapper. The purpose is, that I really don't like running dirty brass through my press and case feeder, but am not committed enough to clean the brass twice.

I've acquired a
* single axis beam assembly typically used for home CNC gear
* NEMA 23 stepper motor
* Arduino control board
* Stepper motor control

The c Beam axis assembly was easy enough to install, and programming the stepper motor and controller were reasonably straight forward to get working, although I've got some learning to do in order to get the stepper motor to function exactly how I want it to.

In my imagination, I have the stepper motor assembly standing vertical, with it's linear action oriented vertically. The motor would cycle up and down while attached to the drive plate would be a modified tool head with a universal decapping tool.

I am slightly delayed in determining the best way to utilize a standard or DIY case feeder to keep a constant supply of cases being fed and ejected from the machine.

The linear actuator assembly was found through www.openbuilds.com

http://openbuildspartstore.com/c-bea...tuator-bundle/

Arduino
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

and

stepper motor controller (required for heavier motors) 3 included in this pack, only needed one.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

So, as I Frankenstein my way through this tinkering project, I was wondering if anyone has devised a decapping tool that was automated, or have any thoughts or insights on how you would go about it if you were so inclined.

This is definitely not a needed item, but rather, because I can, and prefer to remove a highly repetitive task from my processing.
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Old March 15, 2018, 12:17 PM   #2
LBussy
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Seems like the long pole in the tent is going to be orienting a bunch of brass the same way ... look to the various shell feeders for reloading presses for inspiration there. The fall-down easiest may be the way Lee does the Case Collator. Of course you'd want some method of rejecting improperly presented brass too.

That being said, I decap and clean on a Lee Turret Press set up to single stage use. It's about as fast as I'd want and if I have a tray of dirty primed brass there at my left hand, I can decap as quick as I can pull the lever. Far be it from me to stand between anyone and an automation project - I've automated far far sillier things. If you want effective however, doing it by hand is not that bad.

Have a look at this vid for a guy that gets going at a pretty good clip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znaGRwzn44E
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Old March 15, 2018, 12:32 PM   #3
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Just found this by clicking around:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fnG8iSyvEE
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Old March 15, 2018, 01:01 PM   #4
Venti30
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Hi Lee,

I could easily adapt my current case feeder, or may just build a DIY case feeder as there seems to be many examples floating around on youtube, forums etc.

This falls squarely into the "why would you go through all that?" category. I just like to tinker, and the challenge of taking a thought, to a finished project.

What I've found is that I really like reloading in general, strictly as a tinkering hobby though. For me it wasn't about saving money or shooting more. What I like best is the creation of a healthy supply of practice range bullets, I guess the recipes and making them happen. What I like the least is sitting over a manual process like decapping so while pondering how to simplify or mechanize it, this is what I've come up with.

At the end of the day, I'd bet that if I just bought a hand decapper like in that video, I'd spend less time overall compared to what I'll spend in time on this project, but it's intriguing to me I suppose. I've also considered letting my home range use it if it were to help them process their brass.

Some people say they decapp while they watch TV or some such, but my reloading all lives in one area and based on the fragments and dust I see from decapping, I cant imagine bringing that into my house. I am a little particular though about the work environment where I reload. It's dedicated space so that when I'm there, that's all I do to avoid distraction and the possibility of making a mistake with such an important group of components.

Well before I started, I determined that when I set up my area, it had to be organized and clean. I've attached an image and hopefully insn't upside down.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg bench.JPG (101.3 KB, 27 views)
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Old March 15, 2018, 04:39 PM   #5
LBussy
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I like the blue bins to match that purty blue dust cover.
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Old March 15, 2018, 05:14 PM   #6
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Old March 15, 2018, 10:00 PM   #7
jmorris
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I built this one last month, it decaps and sorts by primer pocket diameter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJgU3-OXuUU

I built the brass sorting machine years ago though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFw7IcQUmgs
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Old March 15, 2018, 11:17 PM   #8
Venti30
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JMorris, those are marvelous creations!
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Old March 16, 2018, 07:53 AM   #9
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Thank you. Sounded like the decapping machine was pretty much what you were looking for.

It’s just a gearmotor and simple linkage that moves the cases along the track and drops new ones in from the tube that goes with the Dillon collator.

Just a linear slide and a block of aluminum drilled and tapped 1/8 NPT so it uses the collet and decapping pin from the Lee universal decapping die (or any of the pistol dies as the rifle ones have expanders built into them).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzPBLrtajCc

We are pretty limited here on posting photos but send me a PM with your email address and I can send you photos of it, if you are interested.
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Old March 16, 2018, 07:56 PM   #10
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PM sent jmorris. Looking forward to seeing more pics.
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