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Vibratory vs. magnetic tumblers


#1

I’ve always done all polishing by hand and have long thought of
getting a small polisher. Since there seem to be effective, good
quality, small vibratory and magnetic ones which have been highly
recommended on Orchid, I was wondering if someone could compare the
relative advantages and disadvantages. I want it for small pierced
work (mostly pendants of intricate, cut-out quotes) but have gotten
the impression that all the mass polishing systems are not so good
on flat, shiny objects…

Janet in Jerusalem


#2

Janet, I am a very big fan of vibratory tumblers. Most of the chain
making instructors I know use them. At UCSD where I am taking
classes and using studio time, the only tumbler is a rotating two
barrel unit. I will put a piece of reticulation or fabricated silver
in there for perhaps a couple of hours. The results are excellent.

I know a person or two who not having a tumbler on hand, place the
media, liquid and piece in a heavy glass or plastic container and
let it sit on top of the laundry wash machine and then the dryer
while doing their laundry. works for them.

Shalom,
Teresa


#3
I was wondering if someone could compare the relative advantages
and disadvantages. I want it for small pierced work (mostly
pendants of intricate, cut-out quotes) but have gotten the
impression that all the mass polishing systems are not so good on
flat, shiny objects.... 

Janet,

You’re right, all mass finishing equipment is not created equal.

CMF’s use very fine magnetized stainless steel pins that are
violently circulated around the bowl. This process is excellent for
high detail pieces and stubborn investment removal after casting.
However they are not so great for smooth objects as the ends of the
fine pins leave “ping” marks. Other mass finishing equipment is not
so violent. They are currently only used for burnishing***.

Vibratory finishers are twice as fast on abrasive steps as rotary
barrels but not as capable of running steel shot. However porcelain
media is an excellent alternative to steel shot and is easily run in
a vibratory finisher. The biggest drawback here is it requires a
break in period, usually 10 days continuous, flushing every 2 days.

Disc finishers are approximately 8-10 times faster than vibratory
finishers and can run abrasive media, porcelain burnishing media and
dry media. However they are expensive and can be too much for fine
or highly detailed pieces.

I’d be happy to discuss this in more detail with anyone, just e-mail
me off list.

Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Support.

Oh yeah one more thing. Look for some exciting new developments with
the Raytech CMF’s coming soon. Here’s a hint, little disc finishers
that have the capabilities of many other mass finishing steps. Very
cool!


#4

Dear Thackeray,

As a dedicated porcelain media user ( 25 years ) I would point out a
couple of other advantages for using same. First it may be said that
you don’t have to spend much time cleaning the media…I clean
mine once every week or ten days. Second, porcelain media lasts
forever…I get about ten years use out of a typical batch. Third,
it isn’t necessary to use expensive solutions…ordinary liquid
detergent will do nicely. Fourth, a cheap under one hundred dollar
vibratory will serve you well and last years.

Yes…porcelain media have to be broken in. Have you at Rio ever
considered processing prepared media ?..you would sell more of
it in the long run once people discovered the advantages. Too many
people get turned off by the prepping aspect of it. As a matter of
fact, I don’t ever recall having seen even a rudimentary protocol
accompanying the raw media.

Ron MIlls, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#5
I want it for small pierced work (mostly pendants of intricate,
cut-out quotes) but have gotten the impression that all the mass
polishing systems are not so good on flat, shiny objects.... 

Any object can be polished to perfection with mass polishing system
techniques. However it is not a one size fits all answer.

When polishing flat objects, it is important to get a very smooth
finish prior to burnishing. You can get a pretty smooth finish
with a one step abrasive such as Rio’s aqua cones, or for a better
finish, use a two step abrasive process such as the grey hone,
followed by green hone, also Rios stuff. Then - you burnish with
either stainless steel shot or ceramic beads. If you use the
stainless steel shot, you follow with a dry vibratory buff of wood
pegs and chips charged with simichrome. The steel runs in an hour
or less, the ceramic beads take 12 to 18 hours and are kind of a
nuisance to handle. My rule of thumb is that flat surfaces require
24 to 48 hours to finish to a perfect shine.

None of this is particularly fast, but the machines do the work, not
you, and you don’t have to stand and breathe the junk from the
buff. You can go faster with machines such as the disc finisher,
but they are relatively expensive. A magnetic tumbler would be
very poor for your application because they cause tiny sparkles on
flat surfaces.

For more see my website for “the book” on tumble
finishing or order it from Rio, Gesswein, or Ottofrei. I haven’t
put it out to the general public on Amazon etc because it is so
specific to our industry. I would love to have Orchid list it.

Judy Hoch, G.G.
@Judy_Hoch
www.marstal.com


#6
 Yes....porcelain media have to be broken in. Have you at Rio ever
considered processing prepared media ?......you would sell more of
it in the long run once people discovered the advantages. Too many
people get turned off by the prepping aspect of it. As a matter of
fact, I don't ever recall having seen even a rudimentary protocol
accompanying the raw media. 

Ron,

Thanks for the input and suggestions. I don’t think it’s feasible
for us to set up a large mass finishing area just for that purpose
however I will be happy to share your feedback with the appropriate
product manager.

Below is a recommendation for breaking in porcelain media keeping in
mind many people have other methods that probably work as well too.
And yes, porcelain media only gets better the more it is used.

10 days (24 hrs) running changing the solution out every 2 days. Use
two cups of water with Strat-0-Sheen compound and some scrap metal
in the AV-25. The AV-25 has a 7 quart volume and in my experience is
the most common size used.

Hope this helps.
Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Support