Tumbler and No More Broken Bands

Greets All,

I bought a rotary tumbler for Harbor&Frieght. The motor is nice and
simple, less parts less headaches, like a big version of the mini slot
cars of olde’

Needless to say that after a while the band breaks. This is nothing
new of course so I remembered that in early factories the belts
weren’t rubber at all but leather.

I took a leather shoe string from an old work boot and cut it to the
size of the rubber band. Instead of using thread I used dental floss,
which will not break at all I tried, cut the ends of the string
together at 45 degree angles so it will lie flat. Put it on the
wheels, adjusted the tension and it worked. To test it I loaded the
barrel to the 3lb. maximum and it worked. So far it’s been running
none stop for 5 hours but hasn’t snapped or stretched yet. The rubber
band snapped at 1.5lbs 60 minutes in.

I think the motor will burn out way before the leather drive belt
wears out. Even so all the money I am saving on bands can go to a new
motor or a new tumbler since it was only $29.00.

My next experiment will be to make gears for it and eliminate the
belt all together. Thinking about making reduction gears so the motor
doesn’t work as hard to achieve the same or faster barrel rotation.

Any suggestions???

Note if you notice any spelling errors I take creative license because it’s
all art!

Hi Guy,

This may not be at all what you are looking for in the way of
suggestions. It sounds like you’ve got a bit of the “tinker bug” in
you. I tend to be more on the “solve the problem” end of things and
time is something I never seem to have enough of. I returned a double
barrel tumbler to Rio Grande last year because its performance was
completely unacceptable. There was no guard on the belt drive and the
barrel would eventually (after several hours on) find a way to hang
up on the drive causing the motor to overheat and shut down.

Anyway, I replaced that tumbler with a Lortone tumbler (Actually
ended up buying 2) and they run flawlessly 24/7. I haven’t had the
time or opportunity to take one apart but I believe they are direct
or gear driven. The double barrel model can be had for about 90-95.00
and the single model goes for about 75.00 I believe.

I have found with my limited experience that buying quality tools (I
always shop for the lowest price I can find) more than pays for
itself in increased efficiency and less lost time re-engineering
someone’s shoddy design.

Having said that…if you just like to play with stuff and figure
out ways to make things work better, go for it! There is a lot of
satisfaction to be had in “resourceful” engineering. I worked several
Latin countries and was amazed at the solutions people (especially in
rural areas) came up with to solve mechanical, electrical and
construction problems. Every once in awhile I surprise myself and
come up with something that qualifies me for “Honorary Mexican”

Good luck,

Mike Dibble
Carmon Deyo
Black Horse Design
10% of retail sales support rescues.

Hello Mike, Yes I have the tinker bug but for me it’s not really about
buying the cheapest tools. The rule hasn’t changed since the first
tools were invented “The right tool for the job”. Also seeing a
problem and fixing it.

I remember one of the remarks in passing when I told a long time
jeweler in my area. He said “you’ll love making your tools be
careful” and he was right. I think I was into making jewelry for a
week when I made a vise to cut jump rings. Two weeks later I bought
the Koil Kutter which works well. A month after that I made a mini
jump ring table saw with height adjustment and variable speed control
so I can cut rings from 32 to 0 gauge in steel to platinum. Not that
I’ll be using steel but I know I can :smiley:

A bit of the “Tim the Tool Man” bug :DD Well the leather belt took
maybe 5 minutes , cost nothing and is still running well at the full
weight capacity.

By the way I figured out that that a 4 to 1 gear not only would
eliminate the belt all together but I could triple the capacity and
reduce the wear on the motor at the same time. I’m thinking of using
hardwood for the gears now that I have the tooth pattern.

Guy Payton… (Doh! took to much time away from the bench to send this)

 My next experiment will be to make gears for it and eliminate the
belt all together. Thinking about making reduction gears so the
motor doesn't work as hard to achieve the same or faster barrel

My suggestion is save your money and purchase a tumbler designed for
the purpose you are using it for. For the cost of some gears and
the machining required to make them work, you can get a couple of
very good Loretone tumblers that will last a life time.

Spend your money and time on something that will give you a return.

Don Rogers