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Forster Trimmer Maximized

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by GW Staar, Mar 11, 2010.

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  1. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    New Mexico and Proud American

    I don’t think I’m the only one, who once invested in a lathe trimmer, who’s now looking for a faster, less monotonous trimming process to relieve that bottleneck, without having to pay $450 for a Giraud. Since the purchase of my first progressive (Pro 2000) I have grown really tired of cranking the ole Forster. (it's the last slow tedious process) Well, I decided to attempt to motorize and "modify" my 40 year-old trimming station to see if I could have and eat cake too.....cheap, delicious....cake, no less!:)

    Basically, my goal was to eliminate the wear and tear on my wrists, already damaged by 20 years of designing buildings with a keyboard and a mouse then building them with a hammer. It had to be easy to build and low tech. (I'm not a machinist or a electronics whiz) Result pictured below:
    Forster image 1.jpg
    The funny contraption made of out pipe and PVC, below the bench, is a foot rest/pedal (normally padded with foam pipe insulation [think bare tired feet at the end of a workday]). It connects to the bottom of a 1" PVC riser after first going around a pully under the bench top. (next two pictures)
    Forster image 2.jpg
    Forster image 3.jpg
    Forster image 4.jpg
    The PVC canister hanging from the end of the Riser is a dead weight. It has a threaded fitting and plug at the bottom. I filled it with 7 1/2 lbs. of lead weights (bullets, shot, wheel weights whatever). Gravity is free and doesn't get tired like I do. Notice the 1 ¼” PVC pipe at the top. It makes a perfect sleeve for the 1" riser. Also notice the “S” connector … there to make it easy to take the weight off when not in use.


    The picture below shows the riser and sleeve terminations topside. The 1 ¼”sleeve comes through the table top and is screwed into the vertical section of the (already-screwed-down) wood base, by drilling lower and upper 1/4" holes clear through the sleeve...then drilling larger holes at the back to allow a counter sink to bevel the hole inside the sleeve for flat head screws. That makes sure no screws interfere with the motion of the riser inside the sleeve. So now the sleeve through the tabletop is fastened to the Trimmer’s new wood base, top & bottom.

    I then slightly beveled the top of the sleeve to reduce friction.

    Notice the Nicholson File Handle (Home Depot) I use to make tightening the collets effortless. I got the black bins from Home Depot.

    The Tee that joins the screw gun and forster shaft is a regular 1 ¼” glue-in Tee with a 1 ¼” to 1" thread reducer glued into the center hole of the Tee.

    It so happens that the tee is a perfect tight press fit to the variable-speed ($80) drywall screwgun I bought at Lowes. The only way I’ll get it apart is to cut it off….perfect.
    Forster image 5.jpg
    Why'd I pick such a tool? For 3 good reasons! 1.variable-speed, 2. no collet, it’s press and lock. (the Forster power adapter is a press and lock bit), 3. Screwguns have clutches. That means when the tool is raised, the cutter stops turning.

    Other things to notice in this picture is that the design of the Alder wood base gives me a perfect mount for all my press tools, trimmer pilots, and a Walmart clamp light. I placed the trimmer station so that the light can do double duty to make sure I can see well while using the Pro 2000 press.


    Counter support: (Picture above & below) Notice the bracket, piano wire and spring tying the screwgun to the back wall. Since ball bearings are out of the question in this low tech PVC riser design, to keep the thing lowering and raising smoothly to perfection, a counter weight to the heavy screwgun was necessary to keep the riser from binding against the sleeve. With the spring counterweight, its nearly frictionless and works perfectly. Next picture:

    I use a simple hose clamp around the S.G.’s switch to set the speed to exactly where I want it…not too fast to burn the blade, not too slow to cut roughly. (about half way worked for me)

    Notice the two screws either side of the all thread. That’s to keep the Tee from turning, yet can be removed. I graphited the riser to keep things slick.

    The Screw Gun Model can be seen in the next picture.
    Forster image 7.jpg

    The picture below shows 3 important things. Vacuum nozzle, Piano Spring Ejector and the FORSTER 3-WAY CUTTER!!

    The vacuum (in the store room) keeps brass chips from filling up my collet holder. I hold the hose with a short piece of 1-1/4"PVC with a bit less than half the circumference sawed away; The piece is bolted to a support and the hose is just pressed in.

    The Spring Ejector flips a trimmed, chamfered,and deburred case into the black bin. (thanks to the 3-way cutter) As I built this, Forster is making 3 cutters, .223, .243, and .308. The street price, $50 ea. More cutters is supposed to be coming.
    Forster image 8.jpg
    Forster image 9.jpg
    My trimmer doesn't run continuously like a Giraud. I bought this momentary switch from Radio Shack. Press the button with your right hand, watch the trimmings come off, when the brass quits flying you’re done. You let go of the switch, release the lever, and the brass flips into the bin. Wiring diagram below.
    Forster image 10.jpg

    Weight under the Bench: 18” of 1 ¼” PVC glue cap at one end (screw on the “I” bolt first) . Then glue a 1 ¼” coupler (glue ends) Then glue a 2” threaded plug over the coupler.
    Forster image 13.jpg
    I just used boolits for weight until I collected enough range lead.
    Forster_image_14.jpg
    Forster_image_15.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
  2. chagasrod

    chagasrod Member

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    THUMBS UP GW Staar. Genious!!!!
     
  3. AzBuckfever

    AzBuckfever member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
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    157
    WOW, my only modification would be to get rid of the drill and buy a cheap motor somewhere :D Looks good though.
     
  4. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    Location:
    Nicholls,GA South Georgia
    I'm working on a RCBS with a small sewing machine motor with the foot control speed on-off switch.

    Jimmy K
     
  5. AzBuckfever

    AzBuckfever member

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    Now that would be a perfect motor :) Never thought of that...and you already have the freakin' pedal. I think I'm going to have to use that as well, as one of my machines (POS Brother) is shot from trying to sew canvas :D
     
  6. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    ??? Is the micro switch/light the only thing telling you the correct length has been achieved....or is there an adjustable hard stop?
     
  7. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    The micro switch in the original design was removed...it wasn't accurate enough, so I went back to using the steel disk (the normal Forster stop), set-screwed to the shaft. It works more than fine....it was a case of fixing a problem that didn't exist.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  8. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    I got it.....what RPM do you find works the best?
     
  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Excellent set up.
     
  10. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    New Mexico and Proud American
    I pushed the screwgun switch half way and set the hose clamp. Don't know the RPM's. I did notice that set too low, the motor bogs when it meets the resistance of the trim work. Obviously at low speed the motor has inadequate torque.

    The torque increases tremendously at a little faster speed...and so does the noise. In the first days I used the tool continuously on, There had to be a better way. Constant on wasn't saving any time at all, and my mental state got fragile, with the noise combination of screwgun & the vacuum. The other consideration is wear and tear on the trimmer bearing with a constant-on motor. That's when I added the momentary switch! That's all the right hand has to do.

    Here's the Process:
    The legs raise the trimmer.
    The left hand places the case
    Legs lower the trimmer on the case neck
    Left hand tightens the collet.
    Right hand presses the switch for 2 or 3 seconds.
    That 2 or 3 seconds is the Long Step!:)
    Simple and fast.

    My biggest hangup with Giraud trimmers is holding the cases while trimming. I can't do that.....At my age, that simple act is painful, with arthritis and carpel tunnel syndrome from Cad, and Hammers, drills, etc. (My business in hard on bodies.).

    Running the vacuum hose through the wall behind and putting the vacuum unit in that storeroom the best idea. The continuous vacuum noise is minimal, the trimmer sounds like a sewing machine.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  11. Lonely Raven

    Lonely Raven Member

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    Location:
    Bolingbrook, IL
    American Ingenuity at it's best!

    Nice choice on press by the way.
     
  12. GW Staar

    GW Staar Member

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    Location:
    New Mexico and Proud American
    I'm happy with it...I wonder if I could paint the Dewalt green.....:rolleyes:

    Naw...then it wouldn't match the gold Forster Trimmer.:)
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
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