I needed project to keep me busy over the last few weeks being that there was no temperature outside. The DIY case annealer videos piqued my interest. I watched several of the videos and decided that I wanted one with a hopper, case feeder, inclined face to keep the cases tight, and a case stop mechanism that was not sitting directly in the torch flame.
One of the things that I noticed was that almost every version had two speed controllers. The reason being that no two motors turn at the same speed with the same applied voltage. Some designs incorporated a proximity sensor to trigger the feed motor with the design being to run the feed motor at faster speed. I did not find any designs that used a gear or belt to run the feed motor. All you need is to run the feed from the drum and you can eliminate the proximity sensor, a speed controller, and second motor.
I have enough junk / pieces / parts laying around so this should be fun without spending too much money. Most of the DIY designs run near $100 to make. I wanted to see how cheaply I could build one for. So I pawed through my piles of "stuff" and see what produces some ideas.
My initial design started forming during a yard sale for one of my dearly departed RC buddies, Frank. We sold off his airplanes and accompanying cudriments to raise some money for his wife. I am not sure if she cared that much about the money, but she did want his shop and hanger cleaned out. In Frank's stuff I a found a motor with a gear drive and prop adapter, a few pieces of K&S Brass, and an RC speed control with hopes of possibly using it. The motor ran, but a gear in the gear box was slipping on the shaft. Frank must have crashed that one. I repaired it and gave it a test run. It did not have the torque necessary to run at low speeds. So much for that idea.
My kids completed a robotic science project a few years back. The project had leftover GT2 timing gears, belts, bearings, and a 12V power supply. These would be perfect to drive the feeder drum at a 1:1 ratio with the drum. This DIY project must have been fate as the motor specified by the You Tube projects had the same 8mm diameter shaft as the GT2 gears. What are the chances of that happening?
I ordered the 5 inch cake pan from Amazon. Amazon knew that I also might want the rest of the parts for the annealer. The 25 rpm motor, speed controller, and 8mm prop adapter was all listed as items frequently bought with the cake pan. Man, they make shopping just too easy. So much much for a $10 manual servo positioner to use with an RC speed controller. With $42 spent and the parts on the way I proceeded to dig aroung through the shop for piece of sheet metal. I had a piece that was big enough, but it was too thin. I took a trip to the hardware store an picked up and piece of metal to make the case and a piece of aluminum sheet to make the hopper - another $11. Now we are at $53 and more expensive than I first thought.
Now it is time to start making the components of the annealer. Starting with the case, I bent the case bottom was bent over an 2 inch angle and piece of flat bar. A die grinder with a 2 inch cut off wheel and a Dremel were use to make the speed controller cutout. Drilled the holes for the power button the speed rheostat.
Now to turn the cake pan into usable part. I mounted the Dremel to the work bench and spun the cake pan to cut off the lip. Centered and drilled the hole for the prop adapter. Cut a one inch case feed slot out of the drum. The motor shaft was not long enough to capture the GT2 gear and prop adapter at the same time. Hmm...., what to do. I could make a coupling rather easily on a lathe. Darn, don't have one of those yet. I fished around through all of my junk and did not find an idea that could be used at first. I hit pay dirt in my plumbing parts box. The O.D. of the prop shaft adapter, the GT2 gear, just happened to be slightly larger that a 1/2 copper coupling. I drilled access holes for the set screws in the parts with the thoughts of backing the set screws out of the prop adapter to capture the coupling and access to the GT2 gear to tighten the set screw to the drive motor. I pressed the parts together in vice. Wow - they are not going anywhere. I am surprised that the copper coupling did not split. All I ended up needing was the single hole for the timing gear set screw.
My pile of plumbing parts was still out. Let's see what else is in there. I pulled out a 1 inch coupling. The bearings fit inside of it with a couple of thousandths of clearance. We can make that work by staking the bearings or add a piece of tape to outside. How neat is that! Now I had what I needed to make the feed drum bearing carrier and a belt tensioner. It would have been nice to use one GT2 belt, but the belts from the kids projects were not long enough. I can make the distance with two of them. I should be able to pull that off with positioning of the tensioner. I also found a couple of 4 inch 8mm machine bolts and nuts to use as shafts. Things are coming together...
The Feed Drum Carrier is made from a 1 inch copper coupling and a few slices of 1 copper pipe from the plumbing box. Freebies! I wired the brass legs, aligned them, and soldered them to the coupling.
The tensioner is made from an 1 inch copper coupling with slices of 1 copper pipe. Cut out the side of the coupling to provide a path for the belts. Cut the base from some a piece of Frank's brass. Soldered the works together - a couple of times. Dropped it while it was smoking hot and it came apart, luckily the cat was nowhere near. I had to add a second brass plate to the base for bearing clearance and additional support. It mounts to the case using 6-32 button head screws from the pile o' screws.
My initial try at a feed drum used a piece of 1 inch nylon round. It was no where near round so that did not work. I found a piece of 1 1/2 PVC and started with that. I used a hole saw to cut a pine center insert. Epoxied and fiber-glassed a balsa support inside. Rounded the corners off and relieved an area to accommodate a 30-30 case rim. The slot is sized for 44, 308, and 30-06. 5.56 is a little loose so I fashioned an adapter using brass tube and brass sheet.
I located the hole for the drum shaft. I dug through my pile of screws and found (3) 2 inch 8/32 screws to make the motor stand off. Mounted the motor and drum. I located the feed drum shaft on the case. The tensioner located using a compass set for the center line distance of the GT2 gears of the belt. The intersection from the drum and feed drum holes marked and drilled for the 6/32 button head screw. The tensioner slot allows for proper tensioning of both belts.
The hopper is made from aluminum sheet. It is mounted to the case by drilling tapping the case for the 6-32 screws. 6-32 nuts are back tightened to the hopper after the hopper is aligned with the main drum.
The case stop and adjustment arm is bent from a piece of 1/16 aluminum. It came from a spanner that I made many moons ago to work on Mercruiser out drives. I found a 5/16 carriage bolt to mount the arm. It is captured between the case front and case side. The square slot in the arm keeps the bolt from rotating. The stop is attached by drilling and tapping the arm for a 6-32 button head screw. The screw was ground flush with the arm. The arm is relieved slightly were it passes over the drum's prop adapter.
I made the torch holder from two pieces of aluminum channel. The channel and aluminum solder was from my grandfathers "stuff" so that is another memory being built in to this project. Drilled the hole for the torch and one for the mount. I also drilled additional air holes just in case I needed to position the torch with its air holes inside of the holder. Fit the two pieces of channel together and aluminum soldered them. The mount is made from a piece of 8-32 rod from the junk pile. Drilled and tapped the case for the mount. I splurged bought a couple of wingnuts - cranked them onto the 8-32 socket head screws. The torch is also from my grandfathers stuff.
Now that all of the parts are fitted, it is time to finish the case. I chose the top bend line where the depth of the top would match the perpendicular line of the back. Mounted the case in the bench vise with the angle, and bend it using a piece of flat bar. The case sides are made from some leftover v-match pine. The case was drilled and counter sunk to accept some #4 wood screws from the pile o screws. I found a left over rattle can of primer and paint and finished off the case. Drats! I forgot the fill the over cut for the speed controller. Oh well. I won't tell if you don't.
Final assembly went smoothly except for one of the power supply screws. It was hard to get to. I managed by sticking the nut to piece of tape and positioning it with a little prayer. I pulled the protective tape off the speed control and darn! The display is cracked. I came to the conclusion that it I arrived broken as I could see the crack in the earlier construction pictures. Oh well, not worth bothering with as I can live with that.
The final adjustments were completed and I decided that would rather have a hose feeding the propane torch than a bottle hanging off of it. The hose also allows you to keep the propane bottle up right, making flame adjustment easier and more consistent. $11.99 and two days later it was at my house putting the final cost at $64.
The first 5.56 cases were run through the annealer without issue. This was fun to build and it works like a champ. I will post groups of construction photos later.