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If you have a variable speed grinder, it would be fairly easy to use a smooth belt to drive the contact wheel, and the wheel to turn the tumbler. All you would need is something it can sit on that spins freely (a bunch of washers on rods through a wooden frame?) and a container for the parts/media. A coffee can would probably work for that, although rubber interior would be better. If the belt sander is a no go, a rod chucked into a drill would effectively make the same thing as a commercial tumbler if the other support axle is still free spinning. Just a few ideas...

 

John

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I designed a simple tumbler with a 5 gallon bucket for the chamber and an old washing machine motor to run it. Have all the parts, just haven't actually put them together. Might need to get to that and post a WIP if it works. ;)

James

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Sam - Is there something specific you are looking for with your own build? Meaning something that makes it impractical to buy one?

 

I build my own tools for two main reasons: Either I can't buy what I want (nobody makes it commercially) or I can't afford it when it is available. I built my belt grinder because it was insanely cheaper to do so, I plan on building a rolling mill because nobody makes one with the features I want. I suspect you want some really cool feature in a tumbler and I'm interested to know what it is. :)

 

On the rare occasion I'll build something rather than buy just for the fun/cool factor.

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Sam - Is there something specific you are looking for with your own build? Meaning something that makes it impractical to buy one?

 

I build my own tools for two main reasons: Either I can't buy what I want (nobody makes it commercially) or I can't afford it when it is available. I built my belt grinder because it was insanely cheaper to do so, I plan on building a rolling mill because nobody makes one with the features I want. I suspect you want some really cool feature in a tumbler and I'm interested to know what it is. :)

 

On the rare occasion I'll build something rather than buy just for the fun/cool factor.

 

:P Sam, this one fits at least one of Jerrod's criteria for a home build!

 

http://www.hayneedle.com/product/diamondpacific36t3theavydutycommercialrotaryrocktumbler.cfm?redirect=false&source=pla&kwid=RockTumblers%20High&tid=DPT041-1&adtype=pla&kw=&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=DPT041-1&gclid=CJSz082LlcQCFdcegQod7BMArw

 

Looking at I would be willing to bet knowing you Sam, you already got 90% of the components laying around, and 1 good day should complete the build!!! :lol:

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Mike, thanks.

 

John, i dont have a VS sadly, but will soon. I have alot of motors for it. When I say tumbler I mean really a rotating descaler, a tumbler is usually used to tumble with specific media for a specific level of finish, i aim to just descale and clean things completely.

 

I have a design already, just interested to see others' builds.

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Sam, I have never made a tumbler, but I have used them quite a bit. Most I have used were the vibrating kind. The big thing is the media that is used, usually ceramic or smooth stone. Water is also important, so as to continually rinse the piece being worked. Where I used to work, we used a tumbler to smooth out machined pieces, and we usually ran the machine for a couple of hours. I would be interested to see what you could come up with, I would like to do some stone wash finishes myself. good luck

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Matt thats the thing, the experience ive had with a tumbler has been completely different. used dry, heavy steel media (punchouts from the ironworker), and it was to descale and smooth forged parts. it ran also for a couple hours. The scale would add to the abrasive properties, and would act totally different when it got rained on (tumbler was outside) it would make this sort of mud which would polish things a bit more. it was rotary.

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If I were to make one I'd probably make something like a hot-dog rotisserie (like in a convenience store). A couple tires on a couple parallel axles (4 total tires), one axle would be driven. Then a drum on top of that (where the hot dog would go). Easy access to the drum, and easy to change out drums of different sizes.

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This is what we got, Sam it's like what you said, we just use slugs outta the punch and there's alot of metal dust thats built up inside. It's got a motor to a gear reducer and then a chain drive to the barrel.

 

Make sure to post your's when your done!

 

2015-03-11 09.10.37.jpg

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If I were to make one I'd probably make something like a hot-dog rotisserie (like in a convenience store). A couple tires on a couple parallel axles (4 total tires), one axle would be driven. Then a drum on top of that (where the hot dog would go). Easy access to the drum, and easy to change out drums of different sizes.

There's one of those weiner roasters on Craigslist near me lol. I found it while lookin for other stuff and then see this post and couldn't help but chuckle a little.

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Here's a guy using a cement mixer to tumble brass:

 

 

You might find a deal on one of the old steel ones and try it.

 

http://baltimore.craigslist.org/tls/4907285510.html

http://baltimore.craigslist.org/grd/4922993393.html

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/for/4925527984.html

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/tls/4924309001.html

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/tls/4924257480.html

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/tls/4891241813.html

 

Might be limited on the length of the pieces you can tumble compared to the one Michael posted.

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I would imagine there are several different types of tumblers out there to use. I can only speak to my experience. Like I said, the media we used was a triangular ceramic. This was used to smooth and deburr stainless steel aluminum and titanium. I'm guessing you are looking to create a stone wash finish on you blades. You may just want to go with sand/media blasting, its easier and cheaper than a tumbler.

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This is what we got, Sam it's like what you said, we just use slugs outta the punch and there's alot of metal dust thats built up inside. It's got a motor to a gear reducer and then a chain drive to the barrel.

 

Make sure to post your's when your done!

 

attachicon.gif2015-03-11 09.10.37.jpg

 

Mike thats the ticket! going with that but sadly no big octagon/hex barrel, cant source one but can source a 40 pounder propane tank. Ill add angle iron baffles though for the tumblin.

 

Not for blades really, unless its to descale forgings, which is what ill use it for. i'd rather pile things in the tumbler then sit wire wheeling. Same goes for sandblaster, not really wanting that finish or having to stand there doing it.

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  • 4 years later...

........revives a very old thread to prove his google-fu is strong......

:D

A friend recently started using his home-built brass tumbler to clean up his blades.  We do things a bit differently, he mostly goes for a near mirror polish on his knives.....not my thing at all.

It might be a bit of laziness, but my personal experience using my knives convinced me anything more than a 400 grit finish is a waste of time on a user leafspring ( & such) knife.

In fact, on larger knives I would like to stop at 220 grit.  Polished 220 grit looks pretty good already, except if it's a close-up photo or you have good, young eyes! :P

I need some advice and don't spare your opinions, would a stone-washed 220 grit look good?

Do you think it's an acceptable finish? 

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