Tumbler Advice

I hope that some of you out there can help me in my search for
an appropriate tumbler. I would like to purchase a vibratory
tumbler to run with steel shot. In looking through numerous
catalogs, I have noticed that most of the lower priced tumblers
are not recommended for use with steel shot. Most of these
companies offer one or more tumblers rated for use with steel
shot, but those are invariably much too large for my needs (over
6 qts, holding 50 lbs. of shot), not to mention much to expensive
(approx. $425).

I will not be running the machine everyday.  I will most likely

run it about 10 hours/week maximum. So what I am wondering is,
when the jewelry supply companies say the tumblers shouldn’t be
run with steel shot, is that based on the assumption that the
machine will be running all day, every day of the year? (ie.,
would moderate use with steel shot be ok?). Can anyone suggest
a reasonably priced (under $200), relatively small (3 qt. or
smaller) vibratory tumbler that I can use successfully with steel

Also, based on previously posted on the list, I got

Midway’s catalog. They have a tumbler for approx. $50.00 (Model
1292). I love the price, but I have no idea whether it can be
run with steel shot (it is intended for use with corn cob or
walnut media). Moreover, it’s not clear whether it must be run
dry or not. Some of you have said that you’ve used tumblers from
Midway without any problems – has anyone used it with steel
shot? If so, have you had any problems?

I would appreciate any and all advice you could give me on this


Thanks in advance,
Neda Morvillo

You might check into a unit made by Gy-Roc. I paid a little over
$100.00 for mine. Its the model b and I have been using steel
shot in it and it seems to be holding up very well. Has 2 speeds
and will also use any of the other tumbling compounds.

     Can anyone suggest a reasonably priced (under $200),
relatively small (3 qt. or smaller) vibratory tumbler that I
can use successfully with steel shot? 

Hi Neda,

Is there any particular reason you’ve chosen to go with a
vibratory tumbler?

I have a vibratory tumbler (about $300) that I use mostly for the
most agressive cut down media, but, it’s too small to use with
the steel shot. It’s something about the size of the motor (needs
to be pretty powerful to handle the load) and the design of the
barrel (needs to have angled sides to push the steel around) that
would make it compatible with the shot. In my (limited)
experience, my rotary tumbler (about $75.00) gives a fantastic
shine with stainless steel shot and burnishing compound in just
about 3 - 4 hours. I have a Lortone tumbler,
(http://www.lortone.com) and I’ve found it to be extremely
useful in the finishing process.

Good luck!
Marlo M.

Hi Neda, I agree with Marlo M. I have used a Loretone rotary
tumbler for about 25 years (the same one) for my steel shot. 20
years ago I tried vibrating and ultrasonic and they took longer
than the rotary. I tumble my casting for about four hours, but I
need a new tumbler. I have used this one almost every week day
for those 25 years for about four hours, so I got my monies
worth! I use a burnishing coumpound from Rio Grande. I also have
a drum set up with regular ole aquarium gravel to tumble all my
castings, about 200 day, after I cut them off the sprue button.
The gravel removes 99% of all investment, with out any work from
me. I simply throw the casting in with the gravel, sprue buttons
and wires, too, cover them with water and tumble for about 1/2
hour. I use an old basket out of a deep fat fryer as a screen to
seperate the gravel and the steel shot from the casting after