Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Tumbling jump rings


#1

At a place I used to work we supplied jump rings for a particular
company. We always tumbled our jump rings in steel shot as the
final process before packaging. It made them considerably brighter.

The answer to your question about whether YOU should put the jump
rings into the tumbler may lie in what the jump rings will be used
for. If you are attaching the jump rings to pendants that will
later be polished with a mop it may be easiest to touch the jump
ring to the mop at that stage. If you are making a full length
chain with no delicate links it may be easiest to tumble the entire
chain rather than the separate jump rings. Although we never used
the tumbled jump rings at work, I suspect that after soldering them
closed they would require at least a touch on the mop anyway to
bring them back to the same level of brightness.

If you do decide to tumble the individual jump rings there are a few
great tricks to know. Depending on the size of the jumprings they
may be difficult to find amongst the shot at the end of tumbling.
Medium sized jump rings can be separated from steel shot by
spreading a couple of handfuls of the shot, at a time, onto a tray
and then running a strong magnet over the tray to pick up the shot
and leave the jump rings behind. As some jump rings may tend to get
stuck between the pieces of shot on the magnet, after removing the
jump rings from the tray you should drop the shot back into the tray
and do a second pass with the magnet… sometimes even a third pass.

For fine jump rings you can take a container - an empty plastic flux
jar is recommended, drill holes in the lid that aren’t big enough to
allow the jump rings through, then fill it half to two thirds of the
way with steel shot, add the jump rings and add a teaspoon of the
powdered shot soap. Put the lid on and secure it in place by
wrapping wire from the bottom over to the top of the jar. Place the
jar into the steel shot chamber (set up as usual, with steel shot
and soap) and then run the tumbler as you normally would. To
separate the jump rings from the shot at the end of tumbling use the
magnet method described above - this time there is less shot so
while it’s more fiddly with the fine jump rings, it is still
manageable.

Finally, if you have large jump rings, find a tray with holes, a
woven metal basket or drill holes in a container to make a tray
yourself - the holes should be large enough to let the shot fall
through, but small enough to prevent the jump rings from falling
through. In this way, after tumbling large jump rings you can
simply pour the shot over the tray to separate the jump rings.

Also, we discovered, if you don’t want to run the tumbler and you
only have a small quantity of fine jump rings they can be quickly
brightened by putting them in an old flux jar with no holes in the
lid, with some shot, water and soap and shaking them vigorously by
hand for five to ten minutes.

Hope this helps,
Tina D


#2

Wow, quite a few good responses…Well, the jump rings would be for
a chain, probably Byzentine. I have another question, though: Since
stainless shot is expensive (40+ bucks for 250 grams, and i don’t
even know how much i’ll need), would small ball bearings suffice?


#3

My gut instinct is to say no. If you’ve ever looked at steel shot,
you’ll see that it is comprised of many different very small shapes.
There are rods, cones, saucers and very tiny balls. The reason for
the different shapes is to get into all the various crevices and
surfaces so that the item is polished uniformly.

Question: Do you plan on using the tumbler for more than just one
round of jump rings, or will this be a one-time thing? Carbon steel
shot is less expensive than the stainless steel. It requires a bit
more care in keeping it perfectly dry so that it doesn’t rust. But it
isn’t the monster problem some folks portray it to be. If you get
hooked into chain weaving, you’ll be using your tumbler all the time.

Just food for thought…

Betty
www.thecyrusco.com


#4
    Wow, quite a few good responses...Well, the jump rings would
be for a chain, probably Byzentine. I have another question,
though: Since stainless shot is expensive (40+ bucks for 250 grams,
and i don't even know how much i'll need), would small ball
bearings suffice? 

First off, if you’re using the rings for a chain, finish the chain
first and tumble it whole. The weaving process will do a great job
of scratching up your newly burnished rings otherwise. Secondly,
you will be utterly amazed at how quickly non-stainless steel shot
will go rusty. Five minutes sitting slightly damp will do the job
admirably. I’ve been using common air pistol BBs, which lost their
copper coating quickly. But they’re really a band-aid solution; go
ahead and use them, but make sure you dry them and store them
properly, and plan on spending that $40+ in the near future if you
mean to do a lot of burnishing. If the tumbler is large, I suggest
that you use a small jar to begin with, and just shake it for five
to ten minutes. Where finances fail, be innovative.

-Michael Balls


#5

Hello ogiwan,

Based on personal experience, not all ball bearings are stainless.
Some do rust.

Judy in Kansas


#6

A kind soul on this list advised me to keep my steel shot under
water at all times and I was also advised to make sure both washing
soda (to ensure a slightly alkaline solution) and anti-rust soap was
in the mix as well.

I store the shot I am using in the tumbler itself, and spare unused
shot in a glass jar - in both cases in the solution described above.

To date I have not had a single piece show any signs of rusting.

Much easier than struggling to keep it totally dry.

Pat


#7
    If the tumbler is large, I suggest that you use a small jar to
begin with, and just shake it for five to ten minutes.  Where
finances fail, be innovative. 

I did this with some gold-filled rings I had that were absolutely
filthy. Shook em up for a few minutes with the stainless steel shot,
and they came out beautifully clean. Beats the heck out of getting
out the tumbler and setting it up!

Longing for a workspace of my own,
Mona

PS: Anyone know why my stainless steel shot doesn’t react to a
magnet? It sure was fun picking the rings out of the shot one by one
when the magnet failed to work on the shot. :slight_smile:


#8

Well, i definatly do like making chain, and i wanted to see what
tumbling would do to silver jump rings, and possibly apply it to the
20g 1/8" Byzantine chain that was suggested on this forum. I figure
that the 20g wire needs to be work- hardened, and tumbling is a way
to do this.

In any case, Mr. Kipnis told me that Rio might have some cheap
stainless shot that i can play around with, and since the catalogues
are headed this way and my birthday is on the 12th, hopefully i’ll
be back to making pretties happy grin.

Gonna be 20, by the way.


#9

Dear Pat:

Can you give me an example of what “washing soda” & "anti-rust"
soap to use…

Regards, Audie Beller of Audie’s Images-


#10

I never tumble rings unless I have bound them by some type of wire…
usually scrap silver or some craft wire. Before cutting the rings,
run a piece of wire through the coil. After cutting, twist the wires
closed around the cut jump rings. Then tumble them. This saves you
from having to fish through the shot to find little itty bitty rings.

Helen


#11

Hi Mona,

    Anyone know why my stainless steel shot doesn't react to a
magnet? It sure was fun picking the rings out of the shot one by
one when the magnet failed to work on the shot. : 

True stainless steel is non magnetic, it doesn’t have enough iron in
it to be magnetic. There are several steels available that are
called ‘stainless’, incorrectly, that have iron in them. These will
respond to a magnet.

Dave


#12

The “most” stainless steels are the 300 series which contain over 16
percent chrome and nickel (8-10 percent nickel is common) but are
mostly iron. This material is austienitic and stainless. Austinitic
steels are not magnetic. It does not make good knives and other
grades which are ferritic are used for this and a lot of other lower
cost “stainless” steel products-- these alloys contain 12 -30
percent chrome which make them stainless but do not contain nickel.
These grades are magnetic.

It is iron that makes them steel.

jesse


#13

Hi Audie,

The washing soda (sodium carbonate) I use is what you get from the
supermarket for household use, usually from the laundry shelves, and
it’s the same stuff you put into your sink drain with boiling water
to remove grease. It is a very powerful de-greasant.

I get my anti-rust soap from P.J. Minerals (http://www.beads.co.uk/)
which is where I also bought my tumbler and my steel shot - the soap
is on the same page.

HTH
Pat


#14

Actually, there are several families of stainless steel alloys, some
of which are magnetic, some of which are not. All stainless alloys
contain a high percentage of iron. Your typical 300 series
stainless alloy is normally non magnetic and contains 18-20%
chromium, about 8% nickel, a few percent of other metals, and the
balance is iron. Your typical 400 series stainless alloy(often used
for kitchen knives) is magnetic and starts at around 11.5% chromium,
a couple of percent of other metals, and the balance iron. It is
primarily the addition of nickel that affects if the alloy is
magnetic or not.

Jason


#15
    Anyone know why my stainless steel shot doesn't react to a
magnet? It sure was fun picking the rings out of the shot one by
one when the magnet failed to work on the shot. :) 

Stainless steel is magnetic. My suspicion would be that your shot
aren’t actually stainless steel, but are some sort of carbide. Can
anybody confirm this?

    A kind soul on this list advised me to keep my steel shot
under water at all times and I was also advised to make sure both
washing soda (to ensure a slightly alkaline solution) and anti-rust
soap was in the mix as well. 

I’ve just been mucking around with storing my shot in alcohol. It’s
worked pretty well for two weeks. Storing the shot wet isn’t a
problem as the alcohol helps to drive off the water. You just have
to drain the shot pretty well, so as not to dillute the alcohol too
badly over time.

-Michael Balls


#16
 [snip] Rio might have some cheap stainless shot that i can play
around with... 

Anyone-- I have an extra bag of stainless shot I’d like to get
rid of… I don’t have the catalog right here, but I’ll sell it for
80% of whatever Rio charges (it is the smallest amount they offer…
1or 2 lb) plus shipping cost. It’s a bit heavy. If you are
interested, email me at @Noel_Yovovich and I’ll check the weight
and cost.

Noel


#17

Happy early Birthday, ogiwan (I’m calling you this from your email
address. You didn’t sign with a name.)

I think that it’s wonderful that you have discovered this interest
at such a young age. Since you have a birthday coming up and if you
have family that want to know what to get you, take advantage and
ask for tools and materials. My poor mother got tired of hearing
this from me.

Marilyn Smith


#18

If I remember correctly, there are two types of stainless steel:
austenitic (non-magnetic) and ferritic (magnetic). Whether the shot
is magnetic or not is determined by the type of stainless steel
selected by the manufacturer.

Ray


#19
    True stainless steel is non magnetic, it doesn't have enough
iron in it to be magnetic. There are several steels available that
are called 'stainless', incorrectly, that have iron in them. These
will respond to a magnet. 

Are you absolutely certain this is accurate? Steel is pretty much
definable as iron alloy. You can check facts about stainless steel
heRe:

You can also check compositions heRe:

http://www.hghouston.com/ss_comp.html

Add the percentages up; I believe that the remaining part of 100%
(varying from about 60% to 80%) is implied to be iron.

-Michael Balls


#20
Anyone know why my stainless steel shot doesn't react to a magnet?

G’day High quality stainless steel is NOT magnetic and IS rustless.
Only the poorer quality ‘stainless’ is magnetic and does dust slowly

Cheers for now,
JohnB of Mapua, Nelson NZ