I would like to be able to use it mostly for burnishing
with steel shot but also be able to cut down castings and test out
some other applications of the machine.... I'm also worried about
noise because my studio space is small and I would be sleeping
near the machine or working all day even closer to the machine. I
still have some questions that I can't find the answers to... Do
you think that the vibrating tumblers are right for me? Will a
tumbler create a problem for my 26-28 ga sheet cutouts? Am I going
to have a problem dealing with the noise? Do you know of cheaper
uppliers for vibrating tumblers besides Rio and Mettaliferous
Kerri - there are lots of things to think about when you buy a
First - tumblers do different stuff with different media. Cut down
is done with abrasive media, and is best done with a flow thru
system. If you buy a closed system, you can run it wet, but you
need to check it often to assure that the cleaning liquid is still
working. A vibrating tumbler is the best choice for this as your
research shows. An inexpensive small vibrating tumbler can be
readily purchased from a gun supply shop for under $100. It will be
a closed system.
If you want to do burnishing with stainless steel shot, it will not
work with the cheap vibrating tumbler. The least expensive tumbler
that will move steel is a small rotary one. Putting steel shot in a
cheap vibratory tumbler will over heat the motor and it won't roll
the media properly to burnish. A more expensive vibratory tumbler
will do both if it is specifically rated for steel.
If you wish to burnish with ceramic beads, you can make that work in
the vibratory tumbler. Also the vibratory tumbler will do a very
nice final polish with wood chips, wood pegs and chrome oxide or
simichrome paste. Rio sells a good charged media called green buff.
What's more important is to make sure that your work can rotate
freely in the tumbler that you choose. When I started making cuff
bracelets, I went to a TV25 size flow thru tumbler and that has
served me well for 10 years. I use a big rotary for steel.
As to noise - I put the big vibratory tumbler in the garage for
noise and mess reasons. I usually run it at night because the noise
drives me nuts. You could make some kind of baffle box to quiet it,
but it does require air movement for cooling. Maybe you could
convince yourself that it is white noise to help you sleep.
If money was no object, I'd suggest that you look at a magnetic pin
finisher. They are small, quick and not particularly noisy. But
they are expensive. They give a nice sparkly finish on non flat
stuff. They do not do cut down.
Blatant promotion - There is a lot of stuff that might be useful to
you in the book I've written, "Tumble Finishing for Handmade
Jewelry" Rio, Gesswein, and OttoFrei sell it.
Good luck, you have zeroed in on a major time saver, and a healthy
alternative to finishing.
Judy Hoch, G.G.