many elements you need to retrieve. When they are done, put on a
rubber glove and while the vibratory tumbler is running, go fish.
It is a lot quicker than unscrewing the bowl, dumping into the
separator, shaking, replacing the bowl and media, and refastening
I have a question relating to your description (above). Does it
assume that you have a flow-through system? If not, do you just
leave the same water/soap mix in the bowl for long periods of
time, put in "new" elements occasionally, and just rinse each
element separately after you fish it out?
I always run a flow thru system.
The set up works like this: For anything smallish, I either hook
them together with electrical ties, or stainless steel wire. You do
need to force the pieces to separate. Don’t just string them like
beads. For example, string them on wire (stainless for sure), then
give the first one a good twist, move the next one and inch or so
away and twist the wire to hold it. Close the wire carefully so that
you don’t leave a scratchy end out there. Medium sized pieces are
tied together with some kind of tie. I’m still using stuff from a
giant box of assorted ties that I got years ago. 10,000 ties go a
Write down how many strings of stuff you have.
To elaborate on how I end a run -
While the tumbler is still running, I slightly open the flow valve.
This loosens the media so that with my purple plastic glove, I can go
and fish out the pieces in the media. When I’ve found them all, I
count again and dump them in a rinsing bowl. Then I open the flow all
the way by removing the valve entirely. The tumbler is still running.
As it starts to fill because it can’t drain fast enough, I wait til
the last minute and then turn off the pump. I let the tumbler run for
30 seconds to a minute, then shut it down. The media is rinsed and
I’m ready for the next run. I change out the liquid every week in the
summer, and a bit less often in the winter. Or if I forget, when it
gets stinky. I’ve discovered some media generate some organic
compounds in the rinse liquid that get really gross when I leave them
I always rinse off everything (media, elements, bowl) at the end
of a vibratory tumbling session and start anew. If there's a more
time-saving way of doing things, I'm all in favor of it. (I use my
vibratory tumbler with a plastic or ceramic medium for smoothing
off the edges of sawn pieces -- that's a real time-saver, compared
to filing and other abrading methods.)
Judy - if you are running a closed wet system, you are doing it
exactly right. I don’t even save the liquid in a rotary tumbler from
run to run.
While I'm at it, here's another question. Any hints on how to cut
down on the noise that vibratory tumblers make? I have a Gy-Roc
and it's sitting on the floor, on a thick woven door-mat (to keep
it from "walking" around). Presumably, that also muffles a little
of the noise. But I still find the noise irritating.
I’m afraid that the things are noisy. In my old location, I kept a
big vibratory tumbler in the garage because I couldn’t deal with the
racket. I often ran it at night - during the supper hours and turned
it off before I went to bed. When I built my new studio, I made a
separate room with a floor drain (the things do leak sometimes) and a
door. It is the best answer I’ve found.
I have nine tumblers in my dirty, wet, noisy room - that’s it’s
name. Most folks would be sane and only have a couple of them. All
sit on individual benches that are made for each one. They are just
plywood with holes for water in and out and sit over their five
gallon bucket. It is easy to reconfigure the machines when they each
have their own stand. While I think the machines are quieter sitting
on the floor, my old bones don’t like crawling down on the floor,
thus the little stands. I also have an old stainless restaurant sink
that is five feet long, and my wet drum sander and split lap and buff
in that room. It pretty well confines the mess and noise. The room is
crowded, but if it was bigger, I’d put more stuff in it and my studio
work space would be smaller.