David - the obvious answer to separating pieces is to use the
various size screens and bucket made for the purpose. But if your
media and your pieces are the same or very similar size, I have
I started using this technique when I had a lot of tiny pieces. Now
I use it all the time. Connect several of your pieces together with
flexible plastic ties - I like the ones that are like fishing line
that have a lock on the end. I can position one piece in the middle
of the string by tying the plastic and then add another and close.
You can stop there or make more modules and interlock the strings.
That way if I’m processing 30 pieces, I would usually have three
distinct strings, each with 10 pieces. If you are doing earrings, use
bits of chain and the stud protectors sold for tumbling to make a
string of earrings. While it seems like a nuisance, the time you save
will make it all worthwhile. I sometimes use small zip ties but they
force you to only put one piece on a tie.
You can either fish the strings of jewelry out of the media or dump
the contents of the tumbler into the largest sieve and the strings of
jewelry will be on top and all the media bits will fall below.
I don’t know the proper name of the flexible plastic ties but I got
them in a big package of zip - electrical- ties from Sams club. Uline
has them as security loops, 5000 9 inch for $36US.