Northwest Washington state. (Between Seattle & Canada)

Is there anyone out there? I've a nice office/shop in Anacortes that would work great for meetings.

Any local newbies like some hands on tutoring?

Let me know!

-jim lee

Oh man, I'm in Bothell. It would be awesome to hook up and collaborate but would have to be on the weekend. Long drive but it would be worth it.

I actually run into a few problems on my current project and soon be posting on here to ask for any help and ides. I'm not a total noob, but am far from EE.

Mostly I get an idea and then put it together from bits and pieces from around the web.


This is great! Bothell's not too far away. The more people we gather up, the broader our pool of talent gets.

Lets see what you're working on.

-jim lee

I'm a competitive shooter and I reload my own ammunition. One day an idea struck me to have an Arduino based system installed on the reloading press. The system keeps an eye on primers being low, gunpowder being low, that there is a powder in the case before bullet is added on (very important as no powder bullet will have enough force from the primer alone to be driven into the barrel but not enough to go completely through and the next shot fires into it and at best you just blow up your gun, at worst, well you get the picture). Also I didn't like that I had to load cases and bullets by hand so I designed and and wired to the controler two automatic collators for them. It automatically orients them in the right way and drops them down to the press and stops once there is enough of them. The whole system has audio and visual indicators. Code is all done too.

I got a messy prototype working with a lot of 3d printed parts. Now I need to streamline the design, so I will use Atmel 328 chip instead the whole arduino. For now I work with dip28 package but ultimately will move to quad pack smd to shrink down the design. The design bellow includes power regulation as I need 12v for two 5rpm motors and want to drive all of it with a single wall pack. My amp estimates puts me with everything running at around 500 milliamps.

I'm also trying to figure out which software to use to design pcb so I can have them done professionally as several of my friends express that they want this system for their presses. I don't want to use Eagle as its too complex. I'm trying KiCad, Fritzing, and EasyEDA. I've been using ExpressPCB software but it locks me in with that manufacturer and they are somewhat expensive.

Anyway, take a look at the schematic and see what you think. I'll try to post some pics and maybe vid of the prototype in action.

Reloader.pdf (45.2 KB)

Wow! What fun! My brothers used to reload all their ammo. It was "the thing" going on in the garage back in the late '70s.

As for PCB design, I'm more a s-ware guy and shaky with hardware. But, when I do hardware, I always use ExpressPCB. I think they are just the cat's meow for that. Now that I think of it, I've been using them off and on for over 15 years! Wow!

Your machine is built up of 3D parts. You have a 3D printer? I've a couple and they are some of the most fun ever!

Thingaverse : My thingaverse stuff

Used to build 7 sell 3D printed quadcopters.

Lets see some pictures of your reloading machine.

-jim lee

Very cool designs. I want to take on a quadcopter myself but I have to finish reloader project first. I can segway into another project easily so I'm trying to keep myself on track. Speaking of trucks, that's an awesome army truck in the pic with the cup holder design!

ExpressPCB wants around $200 for 10 boards. Same from PCBCart or FirstPCB is around $80, and additional boards after initial order are $1-2 each! I emailed both companies to see if they can work with ExpressPCB files.

I got two 3d printers. My original is Prusa I2. I build it from instructions and mix of parts from web and ebay. Not easiest experience to say the least, but I learned a lot. My second one I just purchased a little while ago as a kit from web. It a delta design and mainly I got it because i think it is most mechanically graceful printer in existence, it's like a mechanical ballet. Pics bellow.

I'm ok with code. But I definitely write code that's probably overly long, simplistic, and messy, but ultimately it works. If you look at my code you'll probably have a good laugh.

I find that people either do Code or EE. Each can kinda' do the other but the thinking is too different. I'm definitly in the code camp.

Funny about that cup holder. I run that truck all the time 'cause its fun to drive. But, like I discovered when grabbing a burger, where can you put the drink? That cup holder was so amazingly handy! So I posted it on the forum where people restore those trucks. All I got was "I'd never drink and drive." Ah, no imagination those boys!

I've 2 Makerbots and we ran the heck out of them. Quads are easy, draw an X put the motors at the ends and the controller in the middle. The rest is just style.

I see all your reloading parts, how do you keep all the bits, casings, primers, slugs oriented? What happens when one is flipped over? Can the machine tell?

-jim lee

Here are some pics of the reloader parts I made. First is the gunpowder hopper with printed addition to hold more. Atop sits a switch that if you are low on powder the plunger will press.

This is a low primer sensor. It's made from one led and photoresistor. Primer interrupt the led light. Arduino reads analog input from photores and acts accordingly. No primers, light on, input reading high, etc.

The next pics are of the squib (no powder in the case) detection system. First pic is of a sensor that gets tripped when case goes up and the powder level causes the little ram to hit the switch if it's correctly filled. The second pic is of a second sensor that tells arduino that it's time to check for squib, which is at the top of the reload stroke, otherwise the arduino would constantly scream the there is a squib.

Here are the pics for feeding systems for bullets and cases. Here’s the collator of bullets, it picks them up, flips them if facing pointy end down, and sends them down the feeder tube.

Here’s the sensor attachment. It sits above the feeding die and when the bullets stack up to this level, hits interrupt sensor and motor stops. I wanted smooth and steady motors so I picked up 12v, 5rpm motors off of Ebay. Bonus of a 5rpm motor is that due to the gearing reduction is has loads of torque so I can put a lot of bullets and it goes like a champ.

Same principal applies to case feeder. Although a little easier to get the cases oriented the right way, as they don’t stay in the pockets since the base of theirs is so much heavier.

Here’s the “brain box” where the Arduino sits, all the wires go into, and the lcd resides. As this is a prototype inside is an Arduino with a mass of wires going to the veraboard hosting electronic components and connections. I don’t like this setup long term, hence I want to go the single chip, all on the one board solution. Couple of screenshots of different messages, with custom icons I designed.








Lastly, if you look carefully, there is a small wire sticking out on top the box. It is attached to one of the digital input on the Arduino and when you touch it you get all the sensor readings on the screen. I thought it would be nice to have some troubleshooting build into it as ambient light may play havoc with the photoresistors and some thresholds may need to be adjusted. Another lesson I learned, don’t use semi-transparent PLA for photosensors (insert palm smack on the forehead here).



My attempts (aka hack jobs, lol) on improving my circuit board design. Version one sits inside the prototype, but here’s my attempt (V2) on making an Arduino shield, worked but still a huge mess.

Here’s latest V3 board, homemade as you can see, but little cleaner. V4 will be using IC sockets for the Atmel (another lesson learned).



Ha! PC boards what a wiring madhouse. I had/have two EE brothers. One of them liked doing high power stuff. The last project I remember was the power & control section for an electric jumbo jet tug. Man, you do not want to get that wrong!

Look at the number of downloads your pictures are getting. Now either you can't get enough of them and are clicking like mad or we have a lot of people reading this topic. I wonder if any are local to us?

-jim lee

Well now would be the time to come out of the woodwork!

I live in Seattle, but would be willing to drive up north for a weekend Arduino meetup. I'm just getting started with Arduino and I could really use some help in learning the basics of the code.

Or, if anyone reads this message and lives near me, please respond if you are interested in getting a group going for local meetups.




I've been in "bitland" all weekend. Sounds like both of you guys are down by Seattle. W9SPY, you're the latest arrival, lets hear what you have planned. And if you need help, I'd be happy to have a shot at helping you. I come from the code side of things so I'm shaky in the electronics department.

I'd love to have a maker weekend but it seems unfair to drag both of you all the way up here.

I've been working on running different screens on my Arduino. Then I switched to a Teensy for more memory. The Teensy is tiny but programs the same as the UNO. And instead of 2k RAM it has 64K. The code space is way bigger as well. And, instead of a 16mgz clock mine's running at 72Mhz.

My old Adafruit capacitive touch shield. That's the Teensy in the back there.

-jim lee

Hi I live in Federal Way and would like to get involved. Anacortes is about a 2 hour drive from me. My wife passed away in Oct. and I lost all interest in doing anything. Maybe getting around some people with like interest is what I need. If you ever have a get together please let me know. I am retired and can come up any time.

@Naneen, sorry about the wife. That's gotta' be really rough.

Finally got the calculator into a case and buttoned up.

Video of calculator running

That was a heck of a lot of work! How did people do this before 3D CAD and 3D printers to check the fit of everything?

-jim lee

Rulers T-Square drafting tables. And lots of math works. Of course back them every one knew how to use a slide ruler.

Ok, there HAS to be more PNW people out here..

Made a vacuum gauge that also measures leak-down. Its for chasing down leaks when vacuum bagging stuff.

-jim lee