Need Thumler Rotary Tumbler advice

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Professor, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  2. jebsca

    jebsca New Member

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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.
     

  3. Bayou

    Bayou Active Member

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    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
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  4. Professor

    Professor New Member

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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.
     
  5. Missouribound

    Missouribound Active Member

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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.
     
  6. Bayou

    Bayou Active Member

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    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
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  7. Professor

    Professor New Member

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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.
     
  8. Bayou

    Bayou Active Member

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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
     
  9. bradam

    bradam Member

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    magnet

    Was suggested by my college son that a strong magnet may work for seperating the SS pins. What are your thoughts on that?
     
  10. jigs-n-fixture

    jigs-n-fixture Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Most stainless is non magnetic. It depends on the chromium and nickel content. Magnetic separation probably won't work.
     
  11. Bayou

    Bayou Active Member

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    As it happens, the pins that I have are attracted to a magnet. However, using a magnet to separate pins from brass will not work since there will be many pins contained inside the brasses and beyond the field of the magnet. I know of several ways that pins can be separated from the tumbled brasses:

    1. Pins csn be manuallly separated by covering the brasses and pins with water and shaking each brass under the water. The water loosens the pins which fall out of the brasses and to the bottom of the water,

    2. Using a common kitchen collander, the pins and brasses are dumped in the collander and vigorously shaken. This will loosen the pins which fall out of the collander while the brasses remain in the collander. The brasses can then be immersed in water and shaken to assure all of the pins are out,

    3. My preferred method is using a rotary media separator. The pins and brasses are dumped in the squirrel cage, a gallon or so of water is added to the separator housing, and then the squirrel cage is rotated or spun. This spinning action effectively removes the pins from the brass: the brass remains in the squirrel cage, and the pins fall into the separator housing and to the bottom of the separator housing. This is easy and efficient. Only a few seconds of spinning are required, and all of the pins get separated. Here is a link to a rotary media separator that contains a picture:

    http://www.stainlesstumblingmedia.com/media-separator-deluxe.html

    It's common for some pins to escape and fall on the counter or onto the floor while working with the drum or the brasses. That's where a magnet becomes useful - in collecting the "escapees" that go errant. Individual pins lying about are easily collected this way and returned to the "flock".

    I'll be happy to provide more tips on using the rotary media separator to assist in drying the tumbled brasses.

    Bayou
     
  12. bradam

    bradam Member

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    thanks for the info. I have the tumbler, media separator. I am working on the re-loading room. I plan on using all of the forum tips. This is a great site for beginners like myself. Thanks again to all.
     
  13. Bayou

    Bayou Active Member

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    Sure bradam -

    Let me know if you want some tips on using the rotary media separator in the proccess of drying the newly tumbled brasses. There's a good technique for this.

    Bayou
     
  14. bradam

    bradam Member

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    bring the drying tips on.
     
  15. Bayou

    Bayou Active Member

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    Bradam -
    Happy to supply my brass drying technique. I've read whhere guys are using all kinds of devices for drying newly tumbled brass inluding kitchen ovens, clothes dryers, hair dryers, special made ovens, heaters, air compressors, light bulbs, etc., etc.

    Well none of that stuff is really necessary in my experience. The drying technique I use is based around the rotary media separator.

    I use the rotary media separator as a "spin cycle". After the pins are separated and the water removed from the rotary media separator, I leave the wet brasses in the rotary squirrel cage, throw in a dry towel and spin for 20-30 seconds. This removes 90+ % of the dampness.

    I then repeat a second spin with another dry towel.

    These 2 spin cycles will remove almost all remaining dampness. This is because the brasses are decapped, and moisture escapes from both ends of the brasses while spinning. Simply laying the brass out in open air will cause any remaining moisture to evaporate - usually in 10 minutes or so or less.

    No need for any heaters, air blowers, dehydrators, ovens, etc., etc., etc.

    I hope this technique works as good for you as it does for me.

    Bayou
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
  16. Professor

    Professor New Member

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    Is there a substitute for LemiShine? I've been to 3 stores and can't find it. I DID see a couple of products (containing citrus) used for eliminating spots on dishes. Will those work?
     
  17. bradam

    bradam Member

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    thanks for the recipe. Since you decap Pryor to tumbling do you have to re size after drying?
     
  18. Bayou

    Bayou Active Member

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    Yes. The procedure is to first decap, then wet tumble, then full length size after that, then trim, debur and chamfer. Once all of this is finished, the case has been prepared for priming and charging.

    Bayou
     
  19. Bayou

    Bayou Active Member

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    I've never used any other citrus based water softener other than Lemi-Shine. There may be others, but I am unfamiliar with them.

    Here in my area, Walmart keeps hefty supplies of Lemi-Shine on the shelf. Have you checked your local Walmart? Even if it is not on the shelf, you can go to the Walmart website, order the Lemi-Shine on the website, and it will be brought/delivered to your local store for your pickup/purchase.

    Just some ideas..........

    Bayou
     
  20. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member

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    why tumbling instead of vibratory?