I test drove a magnetic tumber a while back and I don't believe that
you can really compare stainless shot tumbling (or high, high
maintenance carbon shot) with the magnetic tumbler system. They are
for two different things. The former compresses & burnishes large
surfaces, usually resulting in an almost finished polish on properly
prepared pieces in one or two hours. You can add very fine pins to
the mix in order to get into small areas, but these areas usually
need hand attention as well.
I will also use the shot tumbler for an hour prior to any finish
work just to compress and burnish the surface a bit before parting
line and casting frost removal - saves a lot of work.
The magnetic tumbling system will not polish exterior surfaces, but
works well to brighten and "burnish" undercuts and interior areas on
very small items. I've only seen them used in charm and small
finding applications, personally, but there certainly would be other
The key phrase in the Lacy & Co. blurb is "even removes firescale",
which is to say, it is more abrasive than compacting (ie.
burnish/polish). Shot won't remove firescale either, but it polishes
when you first get the firescale out of the way. Magnetic tumblers
leave a very fine, matte surface on the larger surfaces.
Both systems could have a place in studios in separate applications,
but if you're looking for a mass polishing system to follow up on
plastic media tumbling, or even as a pre-polish on castings and
handwrought items (we run all of our handmade chain through the shot
before giving it a final on the wheel) steel shot cannot be beat.
I use 5 lb max Loretone rotary tumbler with 4 lbs of steel shot.
Very small, but we only do 3 - 10 pieces at a time usually. The
tumbler new was $85 and the shot (stainless) somewhere around $150 -
$175. Worth every penny, even the postage.
Les Brown L.F.Brown Goldwork, Inc. 17 Second St. East, #101 Kalispell,
MT 59901 406-257-1129 Les Brown L.F.Brown Goldwork, Inc. 17 Second St.
East, #101 Kalispell, MT 59901 406-257-1129