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Tumbling media questions


#1

I need to replace the ancient plastic tumbling media that came with
my pre-owned vibrating tumbler. Most of the media is worn down to
slivers that don’t do a very good job any more. What’s in there now
is no longer shown in the Rio Grande catalog --it’s small pyramids of
green (medium) and white (fine) plastic. I’m not sure what to replace
it with.

Rio has rounded cone shapes and triangle shapes available now in
their plastic tumbling media. Which shape is better for use when
tumbling sterling silver pendants/charms with an average amount of
detail? (little to no filigree or fine surface etching, etc.)

And I’m also thinking of adding some stainless steel pins to my
stainless shot mix. Which size pins are more effective: 9/32" or
1/2"?

–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Pet Motif Jewelry
http://www.featheredgems.com


#2

Dear Kathy, If you still want the pyramids, Stebgo Metals still sells
them. They are available in three grits. The white is the finest, the
green is medium and the black the coarsest. Their number is
651-451-8888.

Best Regards,
Todd Hawkinson


#3

Kathy, In our shop experience tumbling silver jewelry we use a
centrifugal machine, but the same media would work in your vibe
machine. We found mixing the plastic cones and pyramids was very
effective and started with heavy to medium cut media, and then we
transfer all the parts to a medium to fine cut plastic media, also
pyramid and cone mix, and last to a fine mix of just cones. You will
have to adjust the times your parts stay in each process based on
the pieces you are mass finishing and desired results. Last, we
empty our parts into a rotary tumbler with stainless steel shot and
Rio’s Sunsheen Gold and Silver Deburring Compund. We found the Super
Sunsheen Burnishing compund works best in our pin finisher, and the
yellow deburring works best for the results we desire in the rotary
tumbler, as a final burnishing process.

On another note, we have removed the large pins from our SS shot as
they seem to impindge (sp?) the surface of our smooth parts.

If you have more questions on the process we use, please feel free
to ask. After much research and experimenting, we resolved the best
results in our mass finishing were acheived with a combination of
both, research and experimenting.

Good Luck!
Sara


#4

Dear Kathy, My favorite media is the Clean Cut media. Based on the
description of your pieces having medium detail I would mix cone and
pyramid together in equal proportions of both for the medium cut
(339-408) cone, (339-441) pyramid and the same for the fine cut,
(339-410) cone, (339-443) pyramid.

 And I'm also thinking of adding some stainless steel pins to my
stainless shot mix. Which size pins are more effective: 9/32" or
1/2"? 

As for the stainless steel pins, I don’t think it matters unless you
have very fine detail you need the pins to get into. Remember that
the pins may “ping” your smooth areas on your work. The pins are
designed so the points get into tight nooks and crannies (sp). They
are not designed for smooth surface areas.

e-mail me off list or call me at 1-800-545-6566 if you wish.

I Hope this helps.

Regards,
Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Support


#5
    I need to replace the ancient plastic tumbling media that came
with my pre-owned vibrating tumbler. ... What's in there now is no
longer shown in the Rio Grande catalog..... I'm not sure what to
replace it with. 

The newer media is heavier and far more effective than the old
plastic stuff. The clean cut media is very effective.

    Rio has rounded cone shapes and triangle shapes available now
in their plastic tumbling media. Which shape is better for use when
tumbling sterling silver pendants/charms with an average amount of
detail? (little to no filigree or fine surface etching, etc.) 

Your website shows cast pieces, most of which would finish well with
the cones. Since you are casting, You should probably use the pink
cones first to do initial cut down, then follow with the aqua cones.
However, your celtic crosses would finish far better with the
pyramids since they have a fair amount of detail.

    And I'm also thinking of adding some stainless steel pins to
my stainless shot mix. Which size pins are more effective: 9/32" or
1/2"? 

If you add pins at all, use the 1/2" ones and then only for the
detailed pieces, such as the crosses. Do not use pins for the
pieces that have much plain surface, the pieces will orange peel
from the pins hitting the plain surfaces. You can readily remove
the pins from your stainless shot with a decent magnet, like the
sewing stores sell to pick up pins from the floor. The pins
magnetize just enough when you run them to separate from the rest of
the shot. Use a plastic bag on the magnet for ease in separating
the pins from the magnet.

Judy Hoch
@Judy_Hoch