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Stuck shot

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[Orchid] Rouge / Zam?

       I use steel shot to polish,(could not afford stainless when
I bought it, but it has held up for 3 years already) . However,
because of the size of the 'heart' in the back, I am getting  the
long striaght shot pieces stuck in my dome.  So, how can I keep
that from occurring without having to make the 'heart' size no
longer look complimentary to the piece? Do I need to purchase
different shot that won't fall in? 


Since you aren’t using stainless steel, try coaxing the shot out
with a strong magnet. When I switched to stainless steel the magnet
trick wouldn’t work. I have almost always had good luck putting the
piece in the ultrasonic cleaner, hole side down. Even tightly stuck
shot falls out within minutes. The hardest ones to remove are the
pin-shaped pieces stuck in a bead. When I switched to stainless I
didn’t get any of that shape-- as I understand it, they are mostly
useful for castings with intricate detail.


If your steel shot comes in assorted shapes, just separate the
straight pieces from the rest of the shot, put them away, and use
the rest of the shot to tumble your pieces.


Actually the school I studied from (New Brunswick College of Craft
and Design) recommends removing those shot pieces, that all they end
up doing is maring (scratching) your pieces.  


The needle ended shot is there for a purpose. If you use plain ball
shot you will find the any internal angles will not get polished, so
for instance, if you try and tumble a design with raised wires with
plain balls then you would get an unpolished halo around each wire.
The bigger the ball you use the wider this halo will be. If, on the
other hand, you use needle or lozenge shot then this halo will be
minimised, but as you say there will be a risk of scratching on flat
surfaces. Commercial shot mixing are a compromise that will work
well enough in most cases.

Bill Bedford

When I run pieces with open space in any mass finishing process,
abrasive or steel, I fill the inside with a bit of mesh - like from a
bag of limes or just mesh fabric. I really shove the mesh inside, and
leave a little tail, about 1/2 inch long sticking out. When I’m done
with the mass finishing, I use a chain nose pliers to pull the mesh
out. It’s a bit time consuming to do but it beats the alternative of
trying to remove the bits of media later. I use this mesh stuff on
spiculums, the swiss cheese beads and pretty much anything that looks
like it would get stuff stuck inside.

Judy Hoch, G.G.

Heidi, you are like many of us who started with carbon steel shot and
didn’t replace it for quite awhile. One thing you’ll notice, as you
use it year after year, is that it will grow smaller and smaller. I
seem to recall another member with the problem you have who said she
separated out all the pin shaped pieces with a magnet! Seems a good
idea. You might keep a batch of that pinless shot aside for the
heart-shaped piece if you continue production with them. Or buy a
new lot of stainless just for that work to try it and enjoy it’s ease
of maintenance and order no pins at all for now. Things will change,
needs will too. Flex and learn and enjoy. And, GO stainless.


Heidi, as far as getting metal shot in your tumbled pieces, I found
that plugging the hole with small wooden toothpicks seems to work.
I wedge however many toothpicks in the hole that is needed to fit
snug. I then break off the ends, leaving approx 1/8 to 1/4" remaining
out so they can be easily removed when the tumbling is finished.

Lisa Hawthorne

I make some earrings from tubing and found the smaller shot pieces
ended up jammed in the shot. So I meticulously separated the largest
round spheres from my shot and use it for these earrings. I keep it
in a separate yogurt container. You might want to try that, if you
don’t want to change the design.