I am just getting started and got a vibratory cleaner a couple days ago. It is loaded with walnut from the pet store as recommended in another thread. Just how long does this media last? And is there an obvious sign that it is worn out?
"And is there an obvious sign that it is worn out?"
Media rarely 'wears out', it works by rubbing and we can't wear it down enough to stop that.
Most people seem to add far more metal polish than the media needs so the kernels eventually get a dirty gray look that's really just a thick coat of dried polish. Adding a couple of ounces of mineral spirits softens the dried cake and allows it to work better.
Have to agree with 1hole. My tumbler came with corn, not walnut, but when I replace it I will probably use lizard litter (ground English walnut) from the pet shop. I put polish in the first time I used it, and a tiny bit once since then. I have probably cleaned up 800 bits of brass I have accumulated, and best I can tell it looks just like it did when I put it in. I am not really even convinced that it needs polish, although that might make it faster.
I will take many, many hours and many thousands of cases to render the media so dirty as to be inneffective. When mine does not clean pretty well after a couple of hours, I wash it. I put the media in old gym socks, tie off the top and run it through a good, long, hot cycle in the washing machine (double rinse). I then pour it into old pie pans and heat it in the oven on low heat til dry. I add some sort of chemical additive like Flitz, Midway, IOSSO, Lyman turbo charger, etc. It lasts for many years when you clean it periodocally.
In life, strive to take the high road....It offers a better field of fire.
"Robo is right" Fuzzball
If you happen to live in an area where oil drilling is done you can get it free. NutPlug lost circulation plug is made from ground nut shells. They always have broken bags. Just wash and add your cleaner.