People say that the Lee 18 Cav molds produce pellets faster. I think the handles look much more comfortable on the lee style.
My long term plan is to make something like a powered magma master caster with stepper motors and a lee 4-20 pot. I've been speccing out the components in my spare time. I am pretty sure the machine could be made for under $300 in components. Then it would just be a matter of filling it up and letting it clank away in the background while I work on other projects. Whenever I get around to makeing it the first thing will be to get someone to make me a 2 cavity #4 Buck mold so that the sprue plate cuts the sprues clean and the shot are water quenched ready to go with no cleanup needed. That will be the way to go. If it works out well, I might make a bunch of them and build up a vat of shot. Then just get a basic FFL and sell my surplus.
That sounds like a plan. eventually it would pay for itself, and youd be helping alot of reloaders out. I have no experience with the lee, what are they going for? i got my mold setup for 26.00.
The Lee mold is about $40 normal non crazy time price. Titan reloading would probably be the cheap source. You also have to buy handles which are $11. So normal price would = about $51. I have the handles for my pistol molds, so it is more a question of overall utility. if you look at the design, it has 6 strings of 3 touching pellets. What people say is that if you tune your temp right, the sprue cutter cuts off the sprue and when you drop the shot into your catch bucket, many of the strings will break up. You still have to cut some of them with dykes and you still get some bad pours, but overall production volume/time is better.
The machine is made of vapor and unicorns at the moment and probably for a long while yet. If I can get my little brother to mill out the pieces that will make a big difference.
here is a guy in germany who bought a magma caster (~$750 + ~$95 per mold) and made a complicated chain drive.
That is complicated and basically has fixed timing relation to the components. I want to use a stepper motor to move the mold and a servo for the pour valve. I can set the delays in fractions of seconds that way very cheaply and adjust them as needed. I could also make it go like this at start: fill, pause, dump stroke, partial return, dump stroke, return, fill.... That could knock loose sticky bullets if needed. So far using an existing pot would cost $80 + a stepper motor for around $45, a controller for around $30, a solenoid for about $20 for the pour, a power supply for $?. So the parts that hold the mold is going to be the tricky part. I havent looked into cost, but if I can make them myself or get my brother to cnc them for me... I don't expect 7k bullets an hour. I expect it to just be steadily clanking away any time I am working around it. It could be sped up with a larger casting pot and a fan to cool the molds faster. Most people using the hand powered model claim 2-3K per hour, so automated would be in that range, but quality would go up since cooling would be more consistent, and you could optimize drop time into the coolant for temper.