I'm running stainless steel shot in a UltraVibe 10, and I'm
having trouble getting the pieces to move properly. They go
round-and-round with the shot, but they (and the shot itself) don't
move toward the middle, then submerge, then appear again on the
surface near the outside of the tumbler again like they should.
They just sit there. The only variables I can think of are 1) the
amount of shot & pieces and, 2) the amount of liquid. Does anybody
know what's proper to get the best action in the tumbler?
The UltraVibe 10 is a 3 quart tumbler with a load limit of 10
pounds. The machine is not rated for use with steel. 10 pounds of
steel shot will occupy about two cups of space. If you have filled
the machine with steel shot, that would be about 80 pound of shot or
8 times the rated load. Your motor will not move the shot. If you
are running 10 pounds of shot, there isn’t enough material to make
the tumbler create the vortex.
The better answer is to purchase an inexpensive rotary tumbler and
use that with your shot for burnishing. Alternately, if you wish to
use only your vibratory tumbler, acquire some ceramic burnishing
beads, break them in for 7 days, and then burnish your pieces for 12
hours in your Ultra Vibe. The rotary tumbler cycle is about 45
minutes with steel.
You might want to get the book I wrote on mass finishing - Tumble
Finishing for Hand made Jewelry - available at many jewelry tool
suppliers - Rio, Frei, Gesswein and others. It gives you much more
detail on the processes and equipment.
Judy Hoch, G.G.