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Thread: PID Temperature Controller for Lee Casting Pot

  1. #1
    VIP Site Benefactor mktacop's Avatar
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    PID Temperature Controller for Lee Casting Pot

    Another forum member, hobbles, asked for more information about the PID Temperature Controller I built to control the temperature of my Lee Pro 4-20 lead casting pot. In case anyone else is interested, I decided to post the information here for all to see. Please understand, this is not an original idea I had. I used information obtained from another forum to build this controller.

    PID stands for Proportional-Integral-Derivative. A fancy way of saying "high-tech" thermometer. In a nutshell, the PID controls the heating element of the lead pot using a Solid-State Relay (SSR) to control when the heat is on or off. It monitors the temp of the lead via a high-temp Thermocouple and is "smart" in that it can and will "learn" how the heating element and lead react (how long it takes to heat up, how quickly it cools down, how much thermal carry-over takes place, etc.). Building it was pretty easy with basic, and I do mean BASIC, electronics knowledge and parts from Radio Shack and Auberins.com.

    The PID will maintain the temp of my lead at 670 degress +/- about 2 degrees. It effectively eliminates one variable of the casting process by allowing me to concentrate on casting without constantly checking the temp and messing with the heating control of my Lee melter.

    Here is the parts list I used and a schematic…

    PID: http://www.auberins.com/index.php?ma...products_id=14
    Thermocouple: http://www.auberins.com/index.php?ma...products_id=22
    Solid-State Relay: http://www.auberins.com/index.php?ma...&products_id=9
    Radio Shack Project Box (I used the large one, but medium would probably work): http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2062284
    Terminal Block: http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2103983

    The rest of the parts are common and can be picked up at any Radio Shack.
    On/Off Switch
    Wire for internal connections
    Extension Cord – I cut it and wired it in so that I could plug the Lee pot into the PID controller, then plug the controller into the wall and not have to wire the Lee pot directly into the PID.
    I also used some Aluminum from Lowe’s to build a simple bracket for holding the Thermocouple in place in the pot, with the tip of the thermocouple about ˝” from the bottom of the pot.

    PID.jpgPOt and PID.JPGschematic.jpg
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  2. #2
    Mini Gun hobbles's Avatar
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    Re: PID Temperature Controller for Lee Casting Pot

    Thanks mktacop,

    Boys, I received a few bullets from him and did a check on the weight of his compared to the ones I made. His are a LOT closer in weight them mine are.
    Guess I gotta build me one of those contraptions. The bullets he made are nice!!

    Like I mentioned/asked him, I got into relaodin to save money, when does that part start
    "Fear nothin but God"
    "You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."

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    VIP Site Benefactor mktacop's Avatar
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    Re: PID Temperature Controller for Lee Casting Pot

    You are welcome sir. I also built another PID for temperature control of the heated base for my Star Lubricator/Sizer. I used a different temp sensor, and didn't need the SSR since the heater for the sizer is only 60 watts and draws less than 1 amp. Because of this, I was able to allow the PID to directly control that heater.
    WAR EAGLE!

    USAF Retired
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    www.bslbullet.com

  4. #4
    Preferred Site Supporter Onelight's Avatar
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    Re: PID Temperature Controller for Lee Casting Pot

    That is great!
    This needs to be saved

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    VIP Site Benefactor Pond Scum's Avatar
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    Re: PID Temperature Controller for Lee Casting Pot

    That is a pretty cheap PID controller! Nice setup mtka!

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  7. #7
    Mini Gun hobbles's Avatar
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    Re: PID Temperature Controller for Lee Casting Pot

    I got into makin my own bullets when I was shootin my smoke pole. I figured out that after I made my 11th box of round balls is when I started savin money. A box of rb's were $10 a box at the time. My set up cost right under $110. I get my wheel weights for free from my tire shop.
    I could put my rb's into a 3 inch hole at 100 feet, mostly in the center of the hole. I drop deer round here at 50 to 75 feet.
    I shoot a 54 cal, I used to use a 530 ball but dropped down to a 527 with an .018 pillow tickin patch which is pushed with 74 grains of R/S powder. That is the only weapon I hunt with since 03. I use my Zipo lighter to put the film on my molds instead of a match, seems to work better for me. My Winchester 30/30 just sits in the cabinet.
    Then I got into making them for my 9's. That's where things got touchy. I made more today from my new mold. I have tried different temp. settings on the meltin pot and my bullets still come up between 127.+ and 129.+ grains. It's a lil hot out to try em out at the moment.
    "Fear nothin but God"
    "You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."

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    Re: PID Temperature Controller for Lee Casting Pot

    I use nothing but 100% pure lead for my round balls in all my BP applications. Due to this I just fire up my cast iron pot over my propane burner and pour with a lead dipper. I think I have $20.00 invested. I am casting .443 = 131 grains and they weigh out within 2/10th of a grain. I also use .15 pillow tacking to patch these in my .45 Pennsylvania Lancaster flinter.
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