Author Topic: Star-made shell plates  (Read 1647 times)

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FOR_Star

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Star-made shell plates
« on: October 23, 2017, 10:11:51 pm »
On original #13 Shell Plates produced by SMW, was any form of surface treatment [for rust prevention or aesthetics, not related to hardening] applied prior to the front and back faces being ground & polished?
Hot bluing, black oxide, other metallic coating, bead blasted, etc.?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2017, 10:14:15 pm by FOR_Star »
Warren
Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas
Star owner since 1979

fc60

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Re: Star-made shell plates
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2017, 11:37:00 am »
Greetings,

I have seen two style of shell plates.

The old original ones appear to have been sand blasted prior to grinding. This would remove any "crud" from the heat treatment and also gives the plate a nice visual appearance.

Toward the end of Star's reign in San Diego, and perhaps with the Pioneer owners, I have a plate that still retained the black appearance from the heat treatment. It was never sand blasted as the old ones.

Does this address your question?

Cheers,

Dave

FOR_Star

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Re: Star-made shell plates
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 01:21:45 pm »
Yes, thanks Dave.

That explains the textured appearance of small recessed area around the center hole on the bottom face.

When cleaning up acquired used parts that have some surface rust, I usually throw them into a container of Evapo-Rust.  It removes rust and any other oxide present (like bluing).  I was wondering if I was removing any SMW applied surface treatment that would have been left around the shell holder cuts, the center recess on the bottom, and the outside edge. Apparently, there is none.

Thanks again for the response.
Warren
Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas
Star owner since 1979

rbwillnj

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Re: Star-made shell plates
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2017, 09:57:19 pm »
I have one 45 Auto Rim shell plate that is blued.  It looks to be original Star, but I have no idea if the bluing was done by Star, or at a later time.

The Dillon 223 SuperStar shell plates were blued.

Bruce Williams
Star Machine Works
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Lifetyme

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Re: Star-made shell plates
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2018, 01:15:04 pm »
I have one 45 Auto Rim shell plate that is blued.  It looks to be original Star, but I have no idea if the bluing was done by Star, or at a later time.

The Dillon 223 SuperStar shell plates were blued.

Bruce Williams

Hi Bruce.

Dead thread I know but I just ran across it.  I was at the shop in San Diego on the day that Mr. Cunningham arrived to start packing up the reloader portion of Star Machine Works.  I picked up a caliber change from George and the shellplate I got was not blued.  On the table near the front of the shop sat four or five Universal machines that had just been assembled.  I don't remember any of those shellplates being blued either.  I never saw a blued shellplate until after the sale of the business.  Several months later I ordered a shellplate from Pioneer, CA and noticed the change when it is arrived.  I remember talking to Mr. Cunningham about the difference at a later date. He said it had occurred when he ordered his first batch of shellplates from a supplier that he had hired to machine parts for him


On my visit prior to this last one, I was picking up a few progressive toolheads that I had shipped to Star. I'd sent them so that they could bore and thread the taper crimp die position for me.  I remember George showing me a wooden box with rows of sizing dies that he had made and sent out for hardening locally.  He told me that the initial hardening had been inadequate and the had just come back from a second attempt.  I believe that these were the first carbide sizer dies that I saw coming from Star that were not Lifetyme.  My best recollection is that these were not marked as far as manufacturer but they were for caliber.  By this time Lifetyme was gone, Hulme case feeders were gone, the shop was out of toolheads, and the business was for sale.  We talked for a couple of hours and I opined that nobody was going to want a new Star machine without a case feeder or available spare toolheads.  George started climbing around, found the toolhead moulds, and asked me to ship him a Hulme case feeder so he could use it as a pattern.  He called a few days later and told me that he had sent the moulds out for pouring but that the business had sold so not to bother sending him a case feeder.

He told me that prior to the sale, arrangements had been made that each employee still working there would be allowed to take a Universal Progressive home.  I don't recall how many employees were left but I seem to remember the number was two.

FWIW.

Bob
Best Regards.

Bob

fc60

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Re: Star-made shell plates
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2018, 12:44:18 pm »
Greetings,

A most fascinating read!!!

Too bad the tool head moulds have disappeared.

Cheers,

Dave

Lifetyme

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Re: Star-made shell plates
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2018, 01:47:03 pm »
Greetings,

A most fascinating read!!!

Too bad the tool head moulds have disappeared.

Cheers,

Dave

Hi Dave.

I didn't know those moulds had disappeared.  It was my understanding at the time that Mr. Cunningham had them.  I have heard rumors that he tried to tried to have a Chinese company make machines or parts for him.  I heard the attempt was unsuccessful but if true, that might explain the moulds being missing.

Btw, I remember asking George what type of metal was used in the casting of toolheads.  His reply was "old engine blocks."


Best regards.


Bob
Best Regards.

Bob

FOR_Star

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Re: Star-made shell plates
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2018, 04:07:41 pm »
Very interesting stuff.

So you think the tool head molds went off to China and never came back.

What other parts in the reloaders were cast?  Alum. base, crank shaft bearing, powder slide housing ??  Did Star do their own casting?
Are the raw shell plates cast, or sliced from large round stock?

I've never read Bruce mentioning the tool head molds, or any other molds.

From a machinists view, how difficult was it to cast, then machine the casting into a finished tool head?
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 09:04:59 pm by FOR_Star »
Warren
Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas
Star owner since 1979

Lifetyme

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Re: Star-made shell plates
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2018, 12:44:35 am »
Very interesting stuff.

So you think the tool head molds went off to China and never came back

I don't know.  I never heard anything about the moulds being missing until today.  A story going around was that an attempt had been made to manufacture in China and that it ended badly.  I don't have any first hand knowledge but was just theorizing how the moulds went from in Pioneer, CA to missing.

I'll leave it to the machinists here with more talent I have to answer your other questions.

Best Regards.

Bob
Best Regards.

Bob

fc60

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Re: Star-made shell plates
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2018, 11:59:13 am »
Greetings,

Neverning done any casting, other than bullets.

I have machined Nodular Cast Iron parts for hydraulic cylinders. They cut very well with flake chips, no stringers. After about 50 parts, your hands absorb some of the Iron and stay red for several days.

I have machined the taper crimp station on the Star tool heads and, again, it machines well.

With cheap castings, you take a chance of getting a ball bearing in the material. Reeks havoc on your turning insert!!!

If Mr. Cunningham was planning to outsource to Communist China, Bruce Williams saved the Company from shame just in time.

Cheers,

Dave

fc60

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Shell Plate material
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2018, 12:06:29 pm »
Greetings,

Regarding the shell plate material, I do not know what Star purchased; but, I have two shell plates stamped "O1" which suggests O-1 Tool Steel.

You can buy tool steel, A-2, O-1, O-2, A-10, ect. in round bars. For a reasonable fee, the vendor will cut them into slices for you.

I doubt they were cast items. It would only add expense.

Cheers,

Dave

FOR_Star

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Re: Star-made shell plates
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2018, 12:48:17 pm »
Thanks Dave and Bob.

Well, I'm not thinking of cranking up a faux-Star production line.

I am 'dangerously' mechanically-minded enough to be curious about how Star made these great machines the we hold in such reverence.

In the way modern-day progressives are constructed, I would guess that a 2018 Star-like tool head would be made from an alloy of Aluminum.  Maybe sleeved for less wear in the center bore.  Wonder how such an aluminum part would hold up compared the the original all iron/steel?

Oh well, just wandering thoughts.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 11:40:49 am by FOR_Star »
Warren
Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas
Star owner since 1979

rbwillnj

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Re: Star-made shell plates
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2018, 10:27:29 am »
Not to worry, I have plenty of tool heads, both reconditioned and new, so I don't think I will need to cast and machine any new ones.  However, I do have Star's jigs and fixtures for machining them.

I believe the molds for the tool heads and crank shaft bearings were sent to a foundry in Tijuana which had a sales office in San Diego.   I got in contact with the company and they did locate the pattern (mold) for the crankshaft bearing, but have not found the pattern for the tool head yet.   Although I'd like to have it, I can't see needing it anytime soon.  I have lots of tool heads new and old, and it's more cost effective to recondition a used tool head than cast and machine a new one.

Best Regards,
Bruce Williams
Star Machine Works
NRA Patron Member

 

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