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[Again] thoughts when purchasing a tumbler


#1

Hello- I am thinking of purchasing a tumbler. I know there is alot
out there on vibrating or rotory. I am interested in the tumbler for
2 reasons. The first health- is it better than kicking up all that
buffing compound dust? and 2- Will it “work harden” my pieces. I am
making wire bracelets, and am wondering how to harden them. I am not
really interested in an absolutely even and highly polished surfice.
In fact (gasp) I like a very uneven finsh on alot of my work, and
choose not to polish the insides of rings and etc. Can anyone give
some feedback on this? Cherie


#2

Hi Cherie,

I am thinking of purchasing a tumbler. I know there is alot out
there on vibrating or rotory. I am interested in the tumbler for 2
reasons. The first health- is it better than kicking up all that
buffing compound dust? and 2- Will it "work harden" my pieces 

Go for it!

If I were you I go with a vibratory tumbler. They’re faster & lots
easier to use & care for.

There are 2 kinds of shot available, carbon steel & stainless steel.
While the carbon steel is cheaper, it’s a maintenance headache, go
with the stainless (about $15/lb).

Tumblers ar available in several sizes from ones with a bowl about &
inches wide to big industrial models. For a small shop the small
ones work fine. They require about 5# of shot. When looking for a
tumbler, check out shooting sports stores. They usually sell
tumblers for less than the jewelry suppliers. Reloaders use them to
polish their brass.

Shot comes in various shapes. Get the assrted shape package. The
various shapes will get into nooks & crannies to burnish your items.

While it’s true that items do come out harder than they went in, the
amount of hardening isn’t that great. If you’re counting on a
tumbler to really harden your items, you may be dissappointed. It’s
probably better to either work harden or heat harden the items
before tumbling.

Dave


#3

If you want a tumbler to work harden pieces with steel, a rotary
tumbler is by far the most efficient and economical. A vibratory
tumbler will do a super job of smoothing your pieces with an
abrasive media. But a vibratory tumbler that will actually turn
steel for work hardening pieces is much more expensive than both a
rotary and a vibratory tumbler. Running steel in an under powered
vibratory tumbler is like putting your pieces in a skillet with
steel and shaking them back and forth.

I use tumblers for finishing because I don’t like the buffing
compound dust - even though I have a good vacuum system. And I can
breathe now.

Judy Hoch, G.G. @Judy_Hoch