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Tumbling results with plastic media


#1

Hello all… I have been lurking for about a month now and replying
directly to a few of your questions. Now I need a bit of advice.
After two years of making silver jewelry and hand polishing
everything, I finally was able to invest in a vibratory tumbler. I
have been mostly satisfied with the results - especially since it
saves so much time. My questions are this…

I have a problem with a grey film on pieces after finishing in Shell
Shine Green purchased from Rio Grande. This is not such a big deal
on simple pieces - as it can be polished off by hand. However, I
make a lot of chunky chain and that is another story. I also tried
getting hardwood pegs and charging them myself with the chrome oxide
paste - this was even worse. Is there something I am doing wrong or
something else I can use that will give me a nice clean shine
surface out of the tumbler?

Question #2

How many hours can I tumble with plastic media before it needs to be
replaced? I am using Clean Cut Medium and Fine - also from Rio
Grande.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks
Sharon Jeter
Athena’s Gurrls Jewelry
@Sharon_Jeter


#2

Ms. Jester

   I have a problem with a grey film on pieces after finishing in
Shell Shine Green purchased from Rio Grande. This is not such a big
deal on simple pieces - as it can be polished off by hand. However,
I make a lot of chunky chain and that is another story.  I also
tried getting hardwood pegs and charging them myself with the
chrome oxide paste - this was even worse.  Is there something I am
doing wrong or something else I can use that will give me a nice
clean shine surface out of the tumbler? 

Your on the right track with the shell shine green for a final high
polish. This product will leave a dull hazy finish due to the waxy
nature of the product. When you are finished with the shell shine
green, we recommend running your product in absorbent cob meal for
about 45 minutes to remove the waxy residue left behind by the shell
shine green. This should produce a high shine for you without having
to buff by hand.

   How many hours can I tumble with plastic media before it needs
to be replaced? I am using Clean Cut Medium and Fine - also from
Rio Grande. 

Typically there is not a standard length of time that the product
can be run before it needs to be replaced. When you tumble with the
plastic media there is grit throughout. The media will ware down in
size. You can continually add fresh media to keep the volume at the
same level for optimum performance. If you drain you media through a
separating screen and it falls through the screen, you are probably
better off to discard this media. When it becomes too small it can
become jammed or wedged into your items which could create more work
for you.

If you need further assistance, you can contact Rio Grande and ask
for their technical support department. There is no cost and they
are always willing to help trouble shoot process problems or make
suggestions which may make your life a little easier.

Thanks for your time.

Phillip Scott G.G.
Technical Support & Sales
Rio Grande


#3

You can use the cleancut media until it gets too small and starts
lodging it’s self in your work, just keep extra on hand, and when
you notice the cavitation slowing down on you tumbling, add some more
media, we use a mixture of tri and cone. Every so often we pour it
over a coarse screen I believe it’s called wire cloth open squares
about 3/32 and sift out the real small stuff, when a piece gets
lodged unless it’s a fairly large piece we toss it in the trash, also
we use as a first cycle and only for a few hours the synthetic quartz
media large cones for clearing off the fire scale .


#4

do you have to have plastic pellets or metal shot? My tumbler just
came with the grits and polishes. Where can you get the media/shot?

Thanks,
Shelly


#5
do you have to have plastic pellets or metal shot?  My tumbler just
came with the grits and polishes.  Where can you get the media/shot?

I think that the grits and polishes are for rocks. The
plastic/steel materials are for metal. Try Swest, Rio Grande or do
a google search under tumbling media or some such. I just bought
plastic and stainless (EXPENSIVE!!!) media for use in a vibratory
tumbler on metal. Talk to the tech folks at that ever seller you
decide to deal with and ask them what you need for what you are
doing.

John Dach


#6
I think that the grits and polishes are for rocks.  The
plastic/steel materials are for metal.  

So you wouldn’t use the grit on finished pieces?

Thanks,
Shelly


#7
So you wouldn't use the grit on finished pieces?

Not if they are metal. If you want, toss a “second”, an oops or
reject into the grit and see what it does. You might get a finish
you really like.

Best bet is still to call Swest or Rio or somebody similar and ask
one of their tech people. That is what they are there for…

John Dach


#8

Hello all… I have been lurking for about a month now and replying
directly to a few of your questions. Now I need a bit of advice.
After two years of making silver jewelry and hand polishing
everything, I finally was able to invest in a vibratory tumbler. I
have been mostly satisfied with the results - especially since it
saves so much time. My questions are this…

I have a problem with a grey film on pieces after finishing in Shell
Shine Green. This is not such a big deal on simple pieces - as it
can be polished off by hand. However, I make a lot of chunky chain
and that is another story. I also tried getting hardwood pegs and
charging them myself with the chrome oxide paste - this was even
worse. Is there something I am doing wrong or something else I can
use that will give me a nice clean shine surface out of the tumbler?

Question #2

How many hours can I tumble with plastic media before it needs to be
replaced? I am using Clean Cut Medium and Fine

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks
Sharon


#9

Try washing jewelry and beads with mild warm soap solution after
tumbling to clean both. Just don’t rinse the sludge down your drains
or they will plug up eventually. I’ve used Ivory lquid-a few drops
with warm water in the tumbler to clean the beads. You can use them
until they don’t do the job any longer!


#10

Hi,

I would be very wary of using chrome oxide polish as it is very
toxic. I have tried rouge, polishing soap and various other things
but nothing works well for me with plastic pellets or corn husks. The
best tumbling media for a vibratory polisher seems to be walnut
shells, they seem to have the right combination of hardness and shape
variation. Rouge can still leave a bit of a pink bloom though.

Nick Royall


#11
How many hours can I tumble with plastic media before it needs to
be replaced? I am using Clean Cut Medium and Fine 

Try a different soap. Wash and rinse the media from time to time.
(like every time you use it)

I use plastic media until it is gone. Finer finish at the end of its
life but the stuff is expensive. I just add new media as the old
stuff gets worn away. Cheap bastard here.

jeffD
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#12

I too have had the problem of finding sort of a light glaze on
tumbled fabricated ring shanks and bracelets, which needs to be
polished through and away on a tripoli wheel, or run through the
tumbler again. My sequence sounds close to yours - medium then fine
cones, porcelain burnishing with Sunsheen, then wood pegs with
Metaglos polishing cream (probably something over 1000 grit).
Noticing that some batches were worse than others, I tried cutting
down on the number of pieces tumbled in the batch, and this improved
things greatly. I have a monster tumbler, an old Viking Vibrasonic,
two big lined aluminum hoppers, very aggressive. I think what was
happening was that on the last cycle (or maybe on the burnishing
cycle as well) that metal on metal contact of the tumbled pieces
hitting on each other was producing the glaze, even as the medium
was working to remove it. Putting fewer pieces into each batch was
the only solution I could come up with. Also, the wood pegs are best
replaced every 4 or 5 cycles after which they get too gummy and lose
effectiveness. As to your last question, the cut down media can be
used until it disappears, just add a few new pieces to each batch.

dale repp


#13
Is there something I am doing wrong or something else I can use
that will give me a nice clean shine surface out of the tumbler? 

Answer #1 - A normal slightly oily film is found on pieces after
finishing in a charged dry buff. It is easily removed with warm soapy
water. Alternately you can remove it by machine by running your
pieces in plain cob meal. Hardwood pegs are best used as 25 percent
of the charged media mix.

How many hours can I tumble with plastic media before it needs to
be replaced? I am using Clean Cut Medium and Fine 

Answer #2 - the Clean Cut media abrasive is all the way thru, not
just on the surface. I dispose of it as driveway gravel when the
media gets too small and starts to lodge in crevices. Some folks
never sieve the little stuff out. It depends on how many places the
stuff can get stuck.

Judy Hoch


#14

Sharon,

First, a disclaimer: I’m not a jeweler, but I do use a vibratory
tumbler to polish some decorative brass rings. So, this may not
apply to your case, but here’s what I’ve learned:

I get good results with a two step process: plastic media, then
walnut shell.

As far as I know, the abrasive particles are distributed throughout
the plastic media, so you can use it indefinitely, but since it will
wear down to a smaller size you will need to add some fresh media
periodically to keep the volume up. Also, unless your tumbler
incorporates a through-flow of water, you need to rinse the gunk off
the media after every use (or perhaps even midway through the first
step).

Hopefully your parts and media are “rolling” nicely when the tumbler
is operating–if you don’t have that top-to-bottom circulation then
it won’t work right. Sometimes the wrong mixture of water and soap
can cause a foamy gunk to adhere to everything–for this reason I
often wonder if dry tumbling might not be better for the first step.
The plastic media I use is a relatively fine grit, to allow going
straight to polishing in the second step.

After the first step I rinse and dry the pieces–I do that by hand,
but I would imagine an ultrasonic cleaner would be great for
removing residue.

You should have two barrels/bowls, one for coarse and one for fine
media to avoid contamination.

My second step after the plastic media is to tumble with dry media:
walnut shell fragments (available very cheaply as pet bedding) with
some dry aluminum oxide polish (not paste).

I run the tumbler for about 24 hours for each step.

Rob


#15

Try stainless steel shot in your tumbler with a splash of Sunsheen
and a little water.