I'm looking for a source for relativly inexpensive tumbler media to finish brass & steel parts. Got a tumbler from ebay, but it holds 20 to 50 lbs of media and at the prices on MSC it will cost too much to have several grades on hand.. I have about 30 lbs of 1/4" diam. zirconia bead mill media from another project which I tried, but they are not agressive enough, and can't reach narrow recesses etc. Anyone know if grit mixed with the beads would be helful...or would it just make a mess?
I myself bought an old Dillon CV-500 Vibratory Case Tumbler for the same purpose (deburring, de-rusting, cleaning, and finishing) small parts. I tried filling it with aluminum oxide blasting media, but that was too fine a grit to do anything. I've been hunting around, and Eastwood seems to have the ideal media for small vibratory tumblers: a small plastic pyramid shaped media embedded with an abrasive. The pyramid shape allows the media to get into small corners. They have two grades, simply labeled by color "brown" (more aggressive) and "green" (less aggressive):
But at $80 for a 15-lbs bag of "brown" and $53 for an 8-lbs bag of "green", it's been too pricey for me to buy and try.
Does anyone know of a less expensive source for this type of media?
Try Ebay, same place you got your tumbler. Also try googling tumbling media suplus. I got some pretty good stuff in the $.50 a pound range. I was needing about 150 lbs so it worked out well, better than MSC's $2.00 per lb. Russ
Naturally, I looked there first, and have had an active search on it for a looong time. But the only tumbling media I've been able to find on Ebay is either very large industrial media (like ceramic chips 1/2" or larger) or the fine abrasive media used for rotary rock tumbling. I've never seen anything like small abrasive plastic pyramids on Ebay. But if you've seen them, please let me know!
Thank Martin, but did you see the dimensions of that stuff? It's all in the
1/2" or larger range, which is fine for big industrial tumblers tumbling large parts, but won't work for my applications. (This type of ceramic media, btw, is what I come across on Ebay every so often.)
Eastwood doesn't give the dimensions of their plastic pyramid media, but from the photos (with the nut and bolt surrounded by the media), I'd estimate the largest dimension to be 1/4" or less.
First, Randy is right. The tumbler rating is the total of part plus media plus filler. The tumbler doesn't have to be completely filled with abrasive, the best action occurrs when the abrasive powder is pushed against the parts by another material. I do alot of rock and metal polishing work in a 12 lb rotary tumber, and if I filled the entire thing with the silicon carbide grit I use it would cost me $30 per grit size, per load. Instead I use about 1 lb of grit, 5 lbs of rock or metal, and 5 lbs of gravel or landscaping stone. For the finer grits I add 5 lbs of plastic pellets that have no abrasive but serve to cushion the material from getting scratched by other rocks or parts. The silicon carbide grit is a really good abrasive, I buy 120, 200,
350, and 600 grit 5 lbs at a time. About $5/lb. With a filler to push the abrasive against the parts, it seems to work great on both metal and polishing stones.
As noted earlier, do a Google search and you will get lots of hits. I almost laughed when seeing the Eastwood price. Only a fool would pay that much. You might try asking some local machine shops if they have any media which is worn too much for their use, might be just the ticket for your needs, maybe free or nearly so.
Some things to keep in mind: Use the largest media which will do the job, it will wear and it will do the job more quickly. The tradeoff is you don't want the parts banging each other, so don't put too many into the mix.
Ceramic media generates less residue than plastic. (Think disposal here.)
Ceramic will work better for your steel parts. Will also work for brass and aluminum, but there could be an issue with grit embedding into your parts. It could be a problem with plating or application. I have had no problems in that area, YMMV.
Shape & size can be very important. It must access all areas of parts that you need deburred. Also, some shapes are more active rhan others. Delicate parts may need a less active media to give more support/flotation and a slower pace.
You need a proper solution to keep parts and media from packing particles into each other. Simple Green, dish soap, etc., won't do it. You need a proper product such as VF-77 to keep things clean. There are other brands, but this may be the most commonly used, at least among those people I know.
One poster said he paid 50 cents per pound. That is a steal. You probably won't get that lucky. I believe somewhere from $1 to $1.75 will be what to expect. The small quantity you want may drive the price to the higher range. As I said, ask around at some shops. Some common beverages can have wonderous purchasing power. email me if you have any questions
the phone number and talk to (or email) RICK SEEMAN. He is very helpful, and his prices and service was the BEST I have ever found for media. The product is drop shipped from a warehouse in California.
ABSOLUTELY NO affiliation, just a satisfied customer, ron