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Big tumbler for big chain maille

Hello All,

I need to purchase a big tumbler for some big chain maille

I want to know if anyone has purchased/used a vibratory tumbler?

Any and all info on this and even rotary tumblers would be

Also, where to purchase? Looking for the best price possible…


I bought a vibratory tumbler from Harbor Freight cheap, soft media is
used with it I got from Rio (red or green), but it’s so loud I can’t
stand to use it. I’ve heard of other people putting this type of
problem tumbler in another room.

I bought a tumbler with steel shot from Aubin & love it. The Craft
Guild of Dallas has this same tumbler. It does a fantastic job of
polishing, chain, cuff bracelets, etc.

Sharon Perdasofpy

Rosanne-Hey there. Just wanted to share that I have used and burned
up tumblers over the last couple of years. Most hobbist tumblers
cannot with stand the weight of the stainless steel shot. I would
burn a small tumbler in a year-overloading it of course-but that is
hard to avoid with just a very small amount of steel. I first bought
a rotary tumbler from thumblers tumblers rated for 30lbs. I love and
use that tumbler still. It costs around 125-150$ and it well worth
it. This year I purchase a Raytech AV-2555 Vibratory tumbler
because I burned up another smaller (5lb) vibratory tumbler-probably
my 3rd one to seize up.

The Raytech Av-2555 is made for stainless steel shot and rated to
50lbs which happens fast with the bowl half full of shot. It works
like a dream and it’s half the price of a commercial vibratory
tumbler for large mass finishing. It is still almost $500. I make
lots of handmade chain which would be similar to chainmaille. I
could not have professionally looking pieces so effortlessly without
my tumblers putting a beautiful white finish on the intricate parts
of the chain. I did look every where for the best price and found
very little price difference- maybe $10 here and there. The shot is
expensive too but I have owned my shot for a very long time and
don’t recall paying what it is now going for. Ialso use the other
polishing mediums in my tumblers too. It’s all good. They work great.
I would say that my rotary tumbler is the very least tumbler you
could purchase for weight. Small 3-5lb tumblers only handle a little
handful of steel and it is not enough unless you are going to tumble
one thing at a time which takes too long. You can purchase “Tumble
Finishing For Handmade Jewelry” book by Judy Hoch and it will give
you more insight too. It is $15 from Rio Grande. Nice little guide
to tumble finishing for a small shop. Hope it helps and happy
making!! :slight_smile:


Kingsley North is the best supplier I’ve found for tumbling
equipment. Their website is

Also look for used tumblers on craig’s list and eBay…

Rick Copeland

I have lots of experience tumbling big chainmail projects. I run
about 6 tumblers from a little 3 lb Tru Square rock tumbler rotary to
a monster Kramer industry vibratory that weighs over 1000 lbs. First
question is why are you tumbling? In other words what are you trying
to accomplish with the tumbling? I’m removing weld discoloration from
machine made welded chainmail. We’ve made panels up to 3000 sq ft
(polished in about 30 pieces then the pieces attached together).

Jon Daniels
The Ring Lord Chainmail

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
this machine.

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.

Judy Hoch

Don’t know how it would work for Chain Maille, but here is a big
homemade model…


There are some great articles on cleaning/polishing chainmaille on
Maille Artisans here’s the link to that section of the articles if
your interested:

As for buying a tumbler, any jewelry/lapidary supply store (Kingsley
North, Rio Grande, The Ring Lord, MonsterSlayer, etc.) is likely to
one. I use a 3lb rotary tumbler I bought at Harbor Freight.