I’m not sure how much chain maille you need to tumble but usually a
rotary tumbler is a better choice for burnishing. You can get better
action, shorter run times and use a lot less steel. Stainless steel
shot runs about $15 to $16US per pound. Loretone makes a model C40
that will turn 40 pounds of steel and parts. I have this model and
have used it for about 15 years. I run it with about 30 pounds of
I also have the AV25SS and have a love/hate relationship with it.
The machine is tough and holds up for big loads. I hate, hate, hate
the bowl with the plug for steel. It often leaks at the plug. I
normally use an older bowl without a plug when running abrasive in
In any case, running either of these machines will be an exercise in
weight lifting. The real difference is how big is the space for your
work to move. The vibratory tumbler will handle things about 3 to a
maximum of 4 inches in its largest dimension. The rotary tumbler has
a 9 inch inside dimension and you can use most of that space and
still have your pieces turn freely.
If you are running links prior to assembly, you can pretty much use
any rotary tumbler. You might have to run multiple loads. The AV25SS
is the smallest vibratory tumbler that is rated to turn steel. For
any size vibratory tumbler to actually turn the media, not just
jiggle it, it needs to be loaded to at least 60 percent of volume.
Running a vibratory tumbler with steel that is not filling the
tumbler results in a jiggling motion that marks the work with little
snake like patterns.