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DIY Case Feeder for 550B

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DIY Case Feeder 550B Dillon


A custom casefeeder. This one is specific for the 357 magnum although could be adapted to most any pistol cartridge.  Haven’t given any thought to rifle cartridges. This is the Engineering Development Model; have thought of a few minor improvements but likely will not do another as this one works quite well. 


Features include: 

·     Low voltage DC and low power as it is powered by a wall wart

·     High and low passive limit switches so the motor doesn’t start with each casing drop.

·     Quiet worm gear and motor to drive the collator

·     Collator will slip if a jam rather than stalling the motor 

·     Shuttle moves in and out on recirculating ball bearings

·     Rare earth magnet provides the motive force to move the shuttle

·     Drop tube does not move

·     Small with low overall height as it doesn’t extend beyond the powder follower rod

·     Everything mounts on reloader/strong mount so it can be moved as a unit

·     No machine shop work

·     Relatively inexpensive (about $40) if your time is worth little



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Collator – see picture.  Wooden base with the gear motor mounted under.  Shaft extension goes through the base and has a soldered on large drive washer. Next is a large rubber washer and then the collator plate. On top of the collator plate is a washer, spring and bolt to squeeze the plate to the rubber washer.  If there is a jam, the plate slips relative to the rubber washer.    Tried collator plates with large slots for case to be laying down vs narrow slots for cases standing up.  No real advantage one way or the other so went with standing up.  Hard to epoxy ribs on the collator plate (Delrin material) so inserted some roll pins to “stir the pot” and move the cases around. Motor speed is adjustable by changing the DC voltage and it is running about 3 RPM. Basket is made from formica sheet scrap heated to 350F and then formed. Motor purchased from ebay for $7.98 DC 12V 3.5RPM Metal 370 Turbo Worm Gear Motor Slow Speed Large Torque. Blue drop tube is a portion of a funnel.  Inside guide is made from sprinkler fittings.

Collator  Disassembly.jpg

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Before I go further, I want to be clear that this was a one off build for myself.  Thus I won't be building any for others.  Just posting the details for your personal use and/or enjoyment. It is not for commercialization. Will do posts on the different components and attach the relevant pictures if possible.

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Shuttle– see pictures. Original diecast loading platform and primer catcher removed.  Fabricated steel support plate and primer catcher. Tried just Delrin shuttle sliding on Delrin and although quite slippery, could not get long term consistency.  There is a Delrin chute to guide the case.  The ram is steel and runs on ball bearings.  The ram was bought from auction site for $11.49 MR9MN CNC Router Miniature Linear Guide Support Rail W/ MGN9 Bearing Slide Block. The shiny mounting plate on top is aluminum (not magnetic) and mounts the rod follower bearing and magnet. Magnet is encased in copper.

1Shuttle Top.jpg

2Under of Shuttle.jpg

4Bearing End.jpg

5Shuttle Rt.jpg

6Case Release.jpg

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Drop tube and case release– see pictures. Drop tube is brass tubing from Ace that just passes a 357 case. At the bottom, there is a hole that will not allow the ball bearing to fully pass through but does allow it to extend into the tube to prevent the rim of the case from passing (roll the ball bearing out of the way and the case will pass). The collar (tubing coupling) is a sliding fit over the brass and has a hole drilled that will allow the ball bearing to pass.  This collar is the bearing carrier and moves up slightly, when contacted by the Delrin shuttle at the top of the stroke,  to roll the bearing out of the brass to allow the case to drop to the shuttle. Spring steel wrapped around the collar, like a “C”, with a small hole for the bearing to locate on pushes the ball bearing back into the brass tubing to keep the other cases in the tube from dropping.  Brass drop tube is supported by the primer tube.

1Tube Overall.jpg

2Top Limit & Support.jpg

3Bottom Limit & Support.jpg

4Collar, brg, Spring Clip.jpg

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Electronics – see pictures.  The wall wart was from a thrift store and puts out about 14 v DC.  Auction site for the following:

·     $0.74 ea LM2596 DC-DC Adjustable Step Down Power Module 7V-35V to 1.25V-30V 3A DC-DC. There are two of these one set for 12v and the other 5v.

·     $2.11 ea 5V Photoswitch Light Sensor Switch LDR Photoresistor Relay Module Detect Board. There are two of these, one for high limit and one for low limit.

·     $2.42 Relay LY2NJ Small relay 10A 8PIN Coil DPDT 12V DC YG. This is the “Power Relay” that turns the collator motor on and off.

There are through holes drilled at the low limit and high limit positions in the brass tube. On one side is mounted an LED and opposite it is a photoresistor. When a case blocks the LED light from shining on the photoresistor, it causes the appropriate relay (high or low) to cycle. When cases block both the high and low positions, the collator motor stops. When the high limit is uncovered, nothing happens with the Power Relay until the low limit is also uncovered, at which time the power relay cycles and the motor starts and fills the tube. The motor shuts off when both low and high positions are blocked by cases. A capacitor is added for time delay to the photoresistor circuit for the high limit to prevent its relay from cycling as a case drops past it. LED’s on the high and low relays show its status.

1Board Layout.jpg



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51 minutes ago, AlaskaBill said:

Thanks for the kind words.  Being retired, means I have time.  Was a fun project, keeping the skills from eroding and grey matter stimulated.

I can relate to that 🤣. I tore down and remodeled our kitchen after I retired 8 years ago since I have a lot of time in my hands. Learned how to build kitchen cabinets from scratch using hardwood plywood instead of the cheap particle board cabinets they sell at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

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16 hours ago, AlaskaBill said:

Thanks for the kind words.  Being retired, means I have time.  Was a fun project, keeping the skills from eroding and grey matter stimulated.

Well now we know what happens when a mad scientist retires! 🤣

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/25/2019 at 1:12 AM, AlaskaBill said:

Tool head removed for clarity in the video.


Short video of the press cycling.  No spoken audio

Hi AlaskaBill!!

Just joined to say thank you for sharing.

I have done some thing similar using 3d printer.

looking at your design, it will most suitable for the rifle cases, which Double Alfa  is about to release..... using your upper (no sensing) and my type of lower.

I will try to modify mine to use your upper design.


I don't have tons of time, but I enjoy debugging and overcome problems by tinkering here there.

it took me 10mins to figure out your collar case release mechanism. 🙂 not that you did not explain it, but I had to "see it" (like in X ray) how it works....


My design is posted in youtube

hopefully, it won't take me another 6 month to do the design modification... lol


Again, really glad to see an awesome work and design for RL550.

Thank you for sharing!!



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  • 3 months later...

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