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jbolt

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#1
I'm looking to pickup a vibratory tumbler to post process some aluminum parts. Parts need to have a mat finish. Those of you using tumblers what tumbler / media / solution(s) are you using?
 

Boswell

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#2
I use a drum tumbler and not a vibratory tumbler and I have no idea if this will transfer to a vibratory tumbler or not but it might still might give you a place to start

here is the BOM of Media and solutions
1543344585326.png

I typically run 4 steps
Step1: 4 hours with Deburring compound and Green Fine Cut

Step 2: 4 hours with deburring compound and Aluminum Oxide

Step 3: 4 hours with Deburring compound and Mixed Polishing Media

Step 4: 5 hours with Descaler and Stainless steel mixed shot


This gives a more polished result so for a more Matt finish you might leave out step 4. Bottom line is to experiment. Also depending on the shape of the part you are making you may need to adjust the size and shape of the Media so they don't get stuck in hard to get places.

Again, experiment with times and media to get the finish that you are looking for.
 

JimDawson

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#3

benmychree

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#4
For a matt finish, why not bead blast?
 

jbolt

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#5
For a matt finish, why not bead blast?
It's on my list for when we move and I have a shop with more space. Currently I don't have room at this time for a blast cabinet. I can squeeze in a tumbler.
 

jbolt

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#6
I use a drum tumbler and not a vibratory tumbler and I have no idea if this will transfer to a vibratory tumbler or not but it might still might give you a place to start

here is the BOM of Media and solutions
View attachment 280873

I typically run 4 steps
Step1: 4 hours with Deburring compound and Green Fine Cut

Step 2: 4 hours with deburring compound and Aluminum Oxide

Step 3: 4 hours with Deburring compound and Mixed Polishing Media

Step 4: 5 hours with Descaler and Stainless steel mixed shot


This gives a more polished result so for a more Matt finish you might leave out step 4. Bottom line is to experiment. Also depending on the shape of the part you are making you may need to adjust the size and shape of the Media so they don't get stuck in hard to get places.

Again, experiment with times and media to get the finish that you are looking for.
What does the duburring compound do that a detergent wouldn't?
 

jbolt

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#7

Boswell

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What does the duburring compound do that a detergent wouldn't?
the short answer is that "I don't know" This process was handed down to me and I have not tried to fix what is not broke. I have thought from time to time about what the difference in the two different SunSheen liquids are. They both feel like dishwashing soap :) and could be just expensive soap. I mix just a small amount (couple of tablespoons) to 3/4 gallon of water so what ever they are, there is not much of it.
 

jbolt

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the short answer is that "I don't know" This process was handed down to me and I have not tried to fix what is not broke. I have thought from time to time about what the difference in the two different SunSheen liquids are. They both feel like dishwashing soap :) and could be just expensive soap. I mix just a small amount (couple of tablespoons) to 3/4 gallon of water so what ever they are, there is not much of it.
Okay thanks. Back in my machine shop days we used Palmolive as a detergent in the drum tumbler. I' can't recall what we used for media other than getting chewed out for running it too long. Ahh the days when employers could yell at, threaten and berate their employees.
 

tjb

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#11
https://www.harborfreight.com/catal...e,f,EAFeatured+Weight,f,Sale+Rank,f&q=tumbler
This is what you want for aluminum, the little green pyramids. You must run it wet or it will turn black and glaze over. I use water and ivory dish soap in a recirculating pump.
I use the same system but got it from Eastwood about ten years ago (mine's the 5 lb. size). About $20 more than Harbor Freight, but it's lasted a long time. No complaints. Does a great job. Throw in the parts, turn it on, go do something else, come back, and it's done. The only issue might be size capacity. They make larger sizes, but for my purposes (mainly nuts/bolts/small parts when dismantling an old car) the size I bought was fine.

Regards,
Terry
 

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#12
Is the ceramic media harsh on aluminum? Do you run wet with soap or detergent?
It leaves a nice matt finish. I run it wet, no soap. I rigged up a water supply with a needle valve on it that connects to the garden hose. Drilled & tapped a 1/8 NPT hole near the top of the drum and used a push on tube connector. Just dribble in a bit of water. and let it run out the drain.
 

jbolt

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#13

rwm

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#14
While we are on the subject- what other cheap (read free...) sources of media do you use with success? I have heard about using broken ceramic tile? Any other ideas?
Robert
 

derf

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#15
Basically the recirculating pump is just a Harbor Freight pond pump (like 15 bucks). The bowl has an inlet towards the top that is a 1/4 pipe thread, and a drain hole of the same size. The water is pumped through the top inlet regulated by a petcock and it drains out the bottom hose into a 5 gal. bucket. The bucket has an overflow tube about 2" from the top. The overflow runs back into the originating bucket where the pump is. By draining into a separate bucket first, the solids will fall to the bottom, and the cleaner liquid overflows to the pump bucket.
 

jbolt

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#16
Basically the recirculating pump is just a Harbor Freight pond pump (like 15 bucks). The bowl has an inlet towards the top that is a 1/4 pipe thread, and a drain hole of the same size. The water is pumped through the top inlet regulated by a petcock and it drains out the bottom hose into a 5 gal. bucket. The bucket has an overflow tube about 2" from the top. The overflow runs back into the originating bucket where the pump is. By draining into a separate bucket first, the solids will fall to the bottom, and the cleaner liquid overflows to the pump bucket.
Thanks for the explanation.
 

KBeitz

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#17
I use a drum tumbler and broken carbide saw blade chips for my media .
 

jbolt

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#18
I ended up getting the HF 18 lb unit using a 25% off coupon. Pleasantly surprised on how quiet it is. It didn't burn to the ground in under two hours of use like some of the reviews suggest so it appears to be a decent tool. I tried their green plastic media and the ceramic media. The ceramic media is too large for the size of the parts. The green seems to be working okay. I'm not sure what to expect on time but it took about 16 hours to get close to the finish I'm looking for. I'll have to explore some higher quality media in the future. I will say it did a fantastic job of deburing the edges.
 
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