• Press Base Mark I

      Here is a description of how I made myself a solid reloading-press base using a plastic flower pot filled with concrete. I've gone throught the steps in pictures, with comments on each.

      After reading this, you should have a good understanding of how it was done, and you may use this method to create what you need.

      This model stand is not designed to be portable, there is a portable model here.

  • Base Selection

      In this case I picked a plastic planter. The size was 45cm diameter at the top. This one was rimless. As you'll see later, it makes a great base, but it's overkill. A 35cm diameter pot works well, depending of course on the size of the press. With this size, you could mount any press, it's that heavy.

  • Base Preparation, Base Holes

      I drilled holes in the bottom, six equally spaced, you'll see why in the next picture.

  • Base Plate Drilling

      This plate is 250mm diameer in 4mm thick mild steel. The holes are 6mm, and correspond to the holes on the plastic base in the previous picture.

  • Plate and Plastic Base

      This is just the two together with the holes lined up.

  • Reinforcing Insert

      The reinforcing is mild steel threaded rod in 6mm . Length was 1m. Get a lot of 6mm nuts and large diamter flat washers with a 6mm hole, you'll see what for in the next pictures.

  • Base Plate Bolting

      The reinforcing is now bolted from the underside, with a washer and a nut on the end of each rod holding the steel plate to the plastic base.

      Now the nuts have to be run down the threaded bar to hold the washers against the bottom of the plastic base. Bottom being relative to this view. This view is looking at the inside of the plastic pot, the plastic bottom being visible.

      From this angle, there is nut, washer, plastic, steel plate, washer, nut going down the threaded bar. You have to put nuts down from this end to keep the steel plate firmly against the plastic. The steel plate is not visible here, it is underneath.

      On the other side, the threaded bar has one thread past the nut, as you'll see later.

  • Reinforcing Ribs

      What I did next was to put ribs along the length of each threaded bar for additional re-inforcement. On a smaller size pot, it is not necessary to have the washers, just thread extra nuts down the bar at various intervals.

  • Reinforcing Complete

      The reason for long threaded bar is now apparent. I bend the extra length to take up the space inside the pot, for extra reinforcing.

      On a smaller pot, you can use three lengths of mild steel threaded bar cut in half, and get the same effect.

  • Handle Provision

      About one third the way from the ground in this picture, I put 18mm holes in the plastic and pressed two lengths of hosepipe through. This is to make the handles for the base. I expected that it would be quite heavy, and with handles two people could move it easier.

      Turned out well, without the handles it would be very inconvenient to move the base around.

      You'll have noticed this plastic container has holes in the bottom. I used clear tape to close them up from the inside to prevent the concrete from oozing out in the next step. Small, but important point.

  • Concrete

      Now fill it up with concrete. I used ready-mix, comes in bags, and has the cement with it. I did use an extra bit of cement, just to make it a bit stronger.

      By this point, just over two bags of ready-mix was used. It's a big pot.

  • Concrete Full

      Concrete to the top, smooth it off.

      As it sets, water will come off slowly till its dry. Add water to it for the next 2 days, it helps the concrete to set properly.

      Keep it out of the sun, preferably indoors while it cures. If it dries too quickly it might get all cracked up.

      Once it's set, trim the hosepipe flush against the plastic.

      I left mine standing for 4 days before working on it further.

      Once it's set, turn it over, and you'll be looking at a steel plate bolted to a concrete-filled upside-down flower pot. Unbolt the plate and remove it so you can weld the tube to it. DO NOT WELD IT WHILE IT'S ON THE PLASTIC ! Heat + Plastic = SMOKE + FIRE .

      Once the welding, grinding, drilling, etc. are done, coat every visible bit of metal surface with universal undercoat. I repeat, coat every metal surface with universal undercoat.

  • Press Mount

      Welded to the center of the circular plate is a 75mm tube of 3mm wall thickness. I used that because I had a piece lying around. It could have been square or rectangular, it just needs to be rigid enough not to flex during use.

      The length of the tube depends on the distance the ram needs to descend when the lever goes up. This press is a Lee Loadmaster. Make sure the length is right for your press. For example, this length is too short for a Hornady Lock-n-Load.

      At the top of the tube, I put two 150mm square plates of 3mm back to back. It was a lot cheaper than using one 6mm plate, and in retrospect, a 4mm plate would have done the job as well. 150mm square is good for most reloading press bases to bolt to.

      Before you weld the square to the end of the tube, make sure the holes for the press mounting bolts are drilled. If a hole is over the mouth of the tube, weld a nut to the underside of the plate for that hole before you weld the square plate to the tube.

      The mounting bolts of the wood to the press are six millimeter. I just use the max size that the press allows.

  • Handles

      I used thick rope, through the hosepipe inserts, and knotted against the plastic to make handles.

      In this view, you can see the 6mm rubber cut to a circle that the base rests on. I put a carpet offcut underneath the rubber, but the rubber alone is good enough.

      Also visible are the ends of the threaded bar protruding past the nuts holding the steel plate against the pot.

  • Overview

      A different angle of the setup. If you're wondering why there's a 38mm block of wood in there, it's because the Loadmaster has a cranky shape underneath, and to work around it I had to first mount it to the wood, and bolt the wood to the square plate. If I had not used the wood, the press bolt holes on the right in this picture would have perforated the edge of the square plate.

      Yes, I know, I could have cut an arc out of the square plate facing the ram, but I never had any tools to do it properly, and the wood was easily done.

      In the Mark II version I've got a more versatile plate-base system going that eliminates the 38mm pine.

      This plastic base is not painted. It came in black, so I left it as it was. To paint it, use universal undercoat, and then either spray paint or enamel.

      See the Press Base Mark II for a more portable version.

  • Alternative Shape

      This is a 30-something centimeter pot. It's close to the ideal shape for this purpose, that is wide at the open end, with convex sides tapering to a flat base. The base of the plastic should be completely flat with no ridges. I can't tell you what will happen if it's not, I just like to see the steel plate mounted flush against the plastic.

      On this press, you can see the ram is a lot longer that the Loadmaster, and so this press cannot be mounted on the base shown previously.

      This size is perfect for this press, as there is no movement whatsoever of the base while reloading.

      Main difference here is that the base is smaller, weighs a lot less, and the plate is octogonal. I never had time to get a circular plate cut, so I took a square and cut it with an angle grinder. It took a review of basic geometry to draw the outline of an octagon inside the square for cutting.

      This base is almost color coded to the press, so if you have an Orange Lyman, for example, you can match the base color to it. One can of spray paint was just enough to complete this. If you want a perfect match to the press color, take the press to a specialist paint shop and get them to mix paint that's the same color for you.

      To paint the plastic, use universal undercoat, and then spray or enamel your color on.

  • Mounting Plate

      This mounting plate is slightly warped from the heat of the welding. I have an old 220AMP arc welder and the heat control is beyond my technical capability. There are some slim, sexy welding inverters on the market now, if you can, get one. A 120AMP inverter does the job of a 220AMP oil cooled, and weighs much less. Been meaning to get one for myself for a few years now, and every time I put it off till the the next project. The inverter also gives a much smoother arc, so it's virtually impossible to deposit a welding bead with it that looks like pigeon droppings.

      Main difference in the construction between this and the larger black base is that I cut the threaded bar in half, so I used three lengths instead of 6. Make sure you have nuts on the threaded bar before you cut it, because removing the nut past the cut fixes the threads. Otherwise you won't be able to get the nut on from the end you cut.

      Also, I never put any fender washers along the threaded bar prior to casting, I just used the 6mm nuts at intervals on the length.

      You could use an 8mm threaded bar for this, it'll look cooler with the bigger nuts. Structurally, the 6mm does the job.

  • Disclaimer

      If you decide to follow this method, there is no guarantee you will get the same result, and I cannot guarantee the instructions here are flawless. I may have forgotten one minor detail that causes your project to collapse in flaming ruins.

      I don't advise attempting this unless

    • you know how to weld
    • you've mixed concrete yourself before, properly and successfully
    • you can cut steel plate with an angle grinder
    • you can drill holes in steel
    • you know the difference between a fender and spring washer

      Work carefully, use appropriate protective gear when cutting , welding, etc. Don't expose yourself to paint fumes, etc.

      If you injure yourself, get to a doctor.

      Have fun. The better you load, the better you shoot.