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Old 01-09-2014, 10:30 PM   #1
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Default Need Thumler Rotary Tumbler advice

I took the plunge and ordered a Thumler Model B tumbler (15 lbs capacity). I'm looking for some advice. 1) How much (weight) stainless steel pins do i need? or, is it "proportional" (ex: 60 % pins vs. 40% brass by weight, etc). 2) Which size pins are best? 3) How "full" should the drum be (with water) if it's a small batch? Or, put another way, what is the "consistency" of the brass/pins mixture.....lots of water or just enough to make the batch wet or somewhere in the middle? Finally, what questions (along with your answers) did I forget to ask? Thanks.

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Old 01-09-2014, 10:58 PM   #2
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My setup is smaller, but I think it should be about the same. My tumbler has two 3lb drums. I try to put equal parts media, brass, and water. That makes for about 1lb each media, brass, and water (1 quart).

I got my media from midway, and they sell it in five lb bags.

With that, I use a small bit of Lemishine and some dish soap. Makes for some very clean brass. Down side is drying the brass takes time.

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Old 01-10-2014, 03:00 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Professor View Post
I took the plunge and ordered a Thumler Model B tumbler (15 lbs capacity). I'm looking for some advice. 1) How much (weight) stainless steel pins do i need? or, is it "proportional" (ex: 60 % pins vs. 40% brass by weight, etc). 2) Which size pins are best? 3) How "full" should the drum be (with water) if it's a small batch? Or, put another way, what is the "consistency" of the brass/pins mixture.....lots of water or just enough to make the batch wet or somewhere in the middle? Finally, what questions (along with your answers) did I forget to ask? Thanks.
Professor -

I've been SS wet tumbling for 1 1/2 years, and I love the results. I use the same tumbler - Thumler's Model B, high-speed. I have written extensively on numerous other forums regarding my tumbling experiences. Since you are new to rotary wet tumbling, I'd like to share some of my learned experiences after now having tumbled many thousand brasses:

1. The belts on my Thumler's were breakung all too frequently for no apparent reason - nothing out of alignment, and lubrication is proper. This was getting expensive as replacement belts are $5-$6 a pop. I switched from replacement belts to ethylene propylene o-rings at 80 cents apiece. I measured the dimensions of the belt and determined that a size .343 o-ring is the equivalent size to the replacement belt. Here is the website to the exact belt I ordered and have been successfully using:

http://www.theoringstore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=367_150_152 &products_id=6511

The first o-ring has gone through many tumbling sessions with no visible signs of wear.

2. I have switched detergent from Dawn to auto wash & wax - Armor-All. The wash & wax cleans the same as Dawn but leaves a very slight residual wax on the brass that impedes the return of tarnish. The result is that the brass keeps that bright shine. I use 1 ounce of Armor-All per drum, along with 1/4 teaspoon of Lemi-Shine.

3. I was getting pins stuck side by side in flash holes with the use of standard size SS pins (0.041"). I switched to a larger pin size (0.047") obtained at this website:

http://www.bullseye-reloading.com/

The result is that I no longer have any pins stuck in flash holes - ever. Tumbling time and sparkling results remain the same with this larger pin size as with the smaller.

4. To reduce weight in the tumbler, I use only 3 pounds of pins rather than 5 pounds. I tumble for 4-5 hours per batch, and get impeccably clean brasses - inside, outside and primer pockets. The drum contains 2 pounds of brasses, 3 pounds of pins and a gallon of water which fills the drum to about 1-2 inches from the top rim. The total weight of the drum is 13 pounds which is 2 pounds under max.

Let me know if you have any other questions. I've got other tips if you're interested.

Bayou
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Old 01-11-2014, 12:19 AM   #4
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Wow! Talk about getting some useful info....thank you very much. I also ordered pins at the same time as the tumbler (Midway)....they did not list the size so if I need to (wrong size) I will send them back and order some from Bullseye. As far as giving some more tips, PLEASE do. I'd be very interested, and I'm sure your answers will help anybody in the future who searches for a thread pertaining to rotary tumbers. Thanks again.

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Old 01-11-2014, 01:15 AM   #5
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Glad you made the decision to go stainles media. I did it about 4 years ago and have never been happier.
I've got the smaller tumbler since I only shoot handgun loads.
If you want the belts to last, don't wait until you have a full load, keep it half or a little less than half. I usually use equal parts (weight) of brass to media, shake it level then cover with water. A teaspoon of Lemi-shine is a great idea. I recently switched to dishwasher detergent...just 3-4 drops to lower the sudsing effect. ( I had the lid blow off with regular dish soap, Dawn) If you have the right size media, the primer holes will be cleaned in the wash....no other prep will be needed.

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Old 01-11-2014, 01:47 AM   #6
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Wow! Talk about getting some useful info....thank you very much. I also ordered pins at the same time as the tumbler (Midway)....they did not list the size so if I need to (wrong size) I will send them back and order some from Bullseye. As far as giving some more tips, PLEASE do. I'd be very interested, and I'm sure your answers will help anybody in the future who searches for a thread pertaining to rotary tumbers. Thanks again.
Hi, Professor -

I'm happy to share more Thumler's SS rotary wet tumbling tips with you and everyone:

1. It's not clear if you've actually started tumbling yet. If you haven't, or even if you did, I suggest that you remove the thick black rubber drum liner from the drum. It's a stiff fit, but it comes out of the drum with good pressure. Once removed, you will notice that the inside of the drum is not painted. This will soon lead to major rusting of the drum. I suggest that you get some red Rustoleum spray paint and spray paint the inside of the drum to protect it from rusting. Once dry, the drum liner can be re-inserted. Note that it will be a very tight fit, so I suggest you spray silicone luubricant on the outside of the liner to help it slide back into the drum. Please use silicone lubricant and not petroleum based lubricant as silicone lube won't degrade the rubber liner.

2. Tru-Square includes instructions with the Thumler's tumbler that advises use of light oil on each of the 4 axle bushings. Light oil will surely work, but instead, I use a very light grease under each bushing. Specifically, I use Penn fishing reel grease to lube the bushings. This grease is heavier than oil and stays in place under the bushings. Be sure to wipe off any excess.

3. Your main drive shaft has a large black drive pulley with a channel in which the drive belt sets. This pulley is made out of molded plastic. You can see the little line in the channel where the molded pieces are joined. I recommend you run your finger along the inside of the pulley channel and feel for any burs at the molded joints. Mine had significant burs on both mold joints. These burs will damage your belt in time. I removed the burs in the pulley channel using a fine rounded file, and the travel channnel in the pulley is now smooth.

4. From the time of the very first tumble, I noticed the drum had a sidewards sway - swaying side to side. The instructions say to bend the sides of the tumbler base if this happens. Rather than bending the walls of the base, I tightened the retaining clips on the end of each axle to take the play out. I did this by simply putting a small socket over the tip of the axle til it was flush with the round retaining clip and then lightly tapped on the socket to tighten/snug the clip inward. Be careful not to tighten the clips too much as this will impede the axle from freely turning. You just want to remove the excess play. As a result of snugging the retaining clips , the drum no longer sways sideways while turning.

5. I've ditched the wing nuts and washers for the drum lid in favor of single piece anti-vibbration knobs. Much more convenient to use, in my experience. They are inexpensive, and the female fluted anti-vibration knobs can be found here:

https://12.32.176.80/product/JKA-2500/14-20-Female-Fluted-Anti-Vibration-Knob

If you read the reviews for this knob, you'll see many folks using them for their Thumler's tumbler.

All of these tips come from my personal experience. I hope they are helpful to you and others.

I also have other tips regarding media separation and brass drying for anyone who may be interested.

Bayou
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:26 AM   #7
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Wow (again). Please keep posting this stuff. As far as whether I've done any (wet) tumbling, no...haven't even received it yet. Your tumbler "upgrade" ideas make perfect sense. The only thing I had heard before was that the belts were troublesome.

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Old 01-11-2014, 03:47 AM   #8
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Wow (again). Please keep posting this stuff. As far as whether I've done any (wet) tumbling, no...haven't even received it yet. Your tumbler "upgrade" ideas make perfect sense. The only thing I had heard before was that the belts were troublesome.
Professor-

I really like wet tumbling and the results it delivers. I'm happy to share my experiences. My sense is that you've got a lot of info from my posts to digest as you begin your wet tumbling "learning curve". I suggest that when you are getting your new tumbler set up for your first tumble, that you review each of the points contained in my above posts, and you can apply same in real time.

Question - did you buy a rotary media separator for use in separating the SS pins? If not, I suggest it be considered. This device is a time and effort saver, for sure. And when you are at that point, it is highly useful in drying the brass, as well.

I'll be happy to share the drying technique with you. Just let me know when you are at that point.

Bayou
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:22 AM   #9
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Professor-

I really like wet tumbling and the results it delivers. I'm happy to share my experiences. My sense is that you've got a lot of info from my posts to digest as you begin your wet tumbling "learning curve". I suggest that when you are getting your new tumbler set up for your first tumble, that you review each of the points contained in my above posts, and you can apply same in real time.

Question - did you buy a rotary media separator for use in separating the SS pins? If not, I suggest it be considered. This device is a time and effort saver, for sure. And when you are at that point, it is highly useful in drying the brass, as well.

I'll be happy to share the drying technique with you. Just let me know when you are at that point.

Bayou
Was suggested by my college son that a strong magnet may work for seperating the SS pins. What are your thoughts on that?
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Old 01-12-2014, 08:25 AM   #10
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Was suggested by my college son that a strong magnet may work for seperating the SS pins. What are your thoughts on that?
Most stainless is non magnetic. It depends on the chromium and nickel content. Magnetic separation probably won't work.
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