I have made a few progressive dies now, and have been struggling with finding the best technique for aligning the punch holder block and the die holder block within the die shoe.
My technique is to fully dowel and screw one of the two (punch holder or die holder) in place, and the other one is only held by screws but no dowels. This way, once assembled, I can adjust the precise location of one of the two blocks to get the punches and dies to mate properly. Once in place, then I lock down the screws, drill through the block and die shoe and dowel the part in place.
Now here's the dilemma: Since the die shoe has slug holes in it which need to match up with the die buttons in the die holder (and I'd prefer not to make the slug holes oversized), it would seem preferable to dowel the die holder first, and let the punch holder float for the adjustment. However, since the punch holder has punches sticking out (which are long), I would need extra-long drills (which are less accurate) to clear the punches when I am ready to dowel the punch holder, and sometimes there just isn't enough clearance for the toolholder to drill dowel holes which may be close to the punches.
So because of this, I have to dowel the punch holder first, and let the die holder float for adjustment, since there are no tall protrusions on the die holder. But like I said, I would prefer if I could do it the other way around...
I'd like to get some of your input on how you get around this issue, or what order you do these things, or I'd like to know if you have a totally different way of handling the alignment.