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aligoth

stupid tumbler...

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so after a lot of reading around on here I finally made the investment and got the 9# tumbler from TRL and a 3# drum to go with it. I got some mixed SS shot from rio grande, and threw it all together with some water and blue dawn dish soap...everything's good so far. I decided to tumble a few things, a bunch of SS 18G 3/16 rings, as well as a few strips of scrap AA...mostly to clean up the SS and see what effect it has on the AA.

Well this morning after tumbling it all over night I go open it up and the SS is sparkly as can be, but it still has some burs....the other thing is that the AA looks just as colored and pretty as when I put it in. Now, when I was reading around on here, and a few other places prior to buying the tumbler I had read that you can't throw AA in for any period of time because it will eat the anodize right off...so now I think i'm doing something wrong...what do you guys think? am I somehow doing all this wrong? The other question is, does anyone have a decent way of sorting out loose rings from the shot? i'm sitting here with a Tupperware container full of mixed shot and rings plucking them out 1 by 1 and it's more time consuming than I anticipated lol.

Any thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated :-)

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First off, I know nothing 'bout tumbling AA--never worked with it yet, but I've heard the same thing you have, and I'm stumped.

I have a tumbler from Rio (the Durabull, with the clear plastic drums), and the same mixed shot they sell as well. VERY happy with my results, overall. But when you are tumbling stainless rings(to de-burr), I've found you have to go the extra mile... I have found that you have to actually pre-open all your stainless rings to really get a good deburring action going on. Seems that the shot, and/or the rings themselves sometimes can't knock off that little squib that's holding on, maybe because the space is too tight. It's a pain in the butt, but I think it's worth the results. And I don't bother pre-polishing/tumbling any other metal, because they just don't seem to need it. If you have enough rings, you shouldn't even need any media, the rings themselves should do the trick--which might solve your sorting issue. Also, I'd give your deburring a full 24 hrs, with minimal soap--like literally a single drop, and just enough water to cover.

One thing that you may find is a bit troublesome as well, is that the rings, after pre-opening, will tend to tangle together. Not a real big deal for me, but I've heard others complain.

Sorting is another story, for a while I found myself doing the same thing, and I didn't enjoy it at all...but some of my family members actually LIKE doing it--my wife likens it to sorting through nails, screws, nuts & bolts etc. that she did in her father's garage as a kid...and some of my other kids get involved, too--they think it's a game, and I'm quick to pull the old Tom Sawyer thing on anybody who comes around while I'm doing it (My, look at how fun this is!) Hopefully, my solution is to buy some of the magnetic shot from TRL, and use it specifically for de-burring my stainless. I haven't tried it yet (waiting to make another order), but seeing as most all stainless is non-magnetic, sorting should then be a snap.

Another idea, if you decide not to pre-open (I read about this somewhere, but have not tried it), is to thread your rings together with a needle and string, and tie it off in a loop before tumbling. This might still take a little time, but I'm thinking probably less time than sorting.

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I don't know enough about tumbling to know the answer to your question about the AA, but as for sorting... I thread my rings on a piece of scrap wire and twist it to lock a ring on each end so they can't fall off. Then I make the whole thing into a spiral so it fits nicely in the tumbler. Leave enough space on the wire so that the rings can move around and the shot can get between them.

There's no way I'd have the patience to sit there and sort all the rings from the shot. Good luck! :blink:

Cat

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so its not really a stupid tumbler, that seemed to do its job rather well its the sorting issues? I heard some people use a strainer , with holes that are small enough to let the media through but still catch the rings. which I guess would only work if you rings were larger then your media though, did you say what size rings were using? I have only tried to tumble (in my tumbler at least) finished projects. I clean/tumble small batches of rings in my washer/dryer, but with out media just inside a pillowcase with a load of towels usually.

Edited by calisandra

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Regarding the AA, doesn't aluminum oxide (aka sapphire) have a mohs hardness of 9? The layer is thin, but a tumbler shouldn't be trying to do anything but burnish the surface.

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Regarding the AA, doesn't aluminum oxide (aka sapphire) have a mohs hardness of 9? The layer is thin, but a tumbler shouldn't be trying to do anything but burnish the surface.

Very hard crystals also have a habit of being very brittle. They stand up to pressure well, but sudden shocks will break them easily.

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Pretty sure tumblers shouldn't apply shock when operating properly? As far as I know, the ideal operation is having the media sliding across the surface of the piece.

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...why not make an auger drill a bunch of holes shot size in a tray and shake?

I heard some people use a strainer , with holes that are small enough to let the media through but still catch the rings. which I guess would only work if you rings were larger then your media though, did you say what size rings were using?

A sieve for sorting rings from media would work/should work great (like a grate!) for any rings larger than the media itself, approximately, say, anything with an ID of about 5/32 or so for closed rings. You run into a problem with pre-opened rings, as the wire diameter is actually smaller than the media, and they wind up sticking in and slipping/curly-cueing through your sieve. I know, it was the first thing I tried, and man, what a pain in the a**.

I never thought to pay any attention to what size rings the OP was working with (I of course, being me, thought about my own frustrations first) Looking back, it was 18g 3/16. They should be relatively easy (one would think?) to strain with some sort of sieve. My own experiences involve some fairly tiny rings, e.g. 22g 3/32-20g 9/64, which are, at best, the same size as my media--and also, the aforementioned pre-opened rings.

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Pretty sure tumblers shouldn't apply shock when operating properly? As far as I know, the ideal operation is having the media sliding across the surface of the piece.

That is the ideal operation, but you will get some drop as things move in the barrel. It isn't a serious issue, and you can put things like AA in a tumbler, but it is one reason why a surface so hard can be worn away.

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I do a lot of my tumbling in rice and I just use a collander for shaking out the media when using bigger rings...but for smaller rings I still haven't found a good alternative to picking them out a ring at a time. Yep, it's a drag, but I do it.

As to magnetic media, I do have some of the magnetic disks and it's slightly easier than the shaking out method but I find that you have to a) have a big magnet and b) then pick all of the disks off the magnet...which is also time consuming.

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As to magnetic media, I do have some of the magnetic disks and it's slightly easier than the shaking out method but I find that you have to a) have a big magnet and b) then pick all of the disks off the magnet...which is also time consuming.

Geez, didn't even think that all the way through...I seem to remember doing some sort of an electro-magnetic project back in high school science--I wonder if that might be practical, or how expensive...then you would just turn the magnet on, and turn it off to release...

<edit>...and wow, it looks easy to build your own electro-magnet--all it takes is an iron core, some copper wire, and a battery. If you wire a switch into it you've got easy on/easy off. What remains to be seen is, just how powerful it might be. something to look into...

Edited by madd-vyking

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Yes, electro-magnet would be a lot simpler if it worked correctly. I've just been using one of those disk magnets that are about the size of a hockey puck so that it's strong enough to pull the shot up...but then I gotta get the shot to let go of the strong magnet, which is a bit of a pain.

Edited by Jax25

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I use a "nail finder" magnet, at the bottom or side of a Tupperware container. Grab some of the shot while pouring into another Tupperware container, then move the magnet, the shot falls to the bottom of the container.

As for the magnet, it's normally used to find Nails and screws in the wall, and it's pretty strong, I think I got it at Harbor Freight or Home Depot for a couple of bucks

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Alternately, scrape off the shot with a piece of cardstock.

Yeah...that wouldn't work with mine. The sock idea is a great one though.

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I don't use any metal media for tumbling so that rules out a magnet, and if you are tumbling aluminum.... I have a variety of mesh baskets and metal mesh colanders for sorting rings out of corn cob and walnut. One of the nicer ones I have is actually intended for deep frying,

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Regarding the AA, doesn't aluminum oxide (aka sapphire) have a mohs hardness of 9?

In a crystal structure, yes. Just like graphite in a crystal structure (diamond) is a lot harder than pencil lead. But the anodized layer isn't crystal.

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The AA coating is durable, but not invulnerable. A plier slip on a black ring will almost always result in a shiny silver chunk visible. You can tumble it with shot but I really don't see the point. Corncob, rice, flour, and walnut will do the job just fine. It took me about a day and a half in a rotary tumbler with shot and water to damage the anodized coating with the old process rings. (I was trying to make gunmetal grey) Haven't tried it with the new.

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