Oooh! Found out a way to clean media


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GLOOB
February 10, 2012, 12:19 PM
I'm using Lyman tumbling media and a Berry's Tumbler. I have become a bit disappointed in the lifespan of this media, even though I have taken to prewashing the brass before tumbling. The dust just builds up and then the brass no longer comes out shiny.

I found lots of good suggestions on this forum to combat this - adding dryer sheets, cotton balls, or cut up shop towels. I didn't have either, but I did have some scraps of split grain leather. It's the kind that is rough on both sides.

I cut it into little strips. Then added a twist. Soaked them in a bowl of water. Then add to the tumbler with the lid open. As they dry out and coat with green/black dust, pluck them out, rinse in the water, and drop them back in. The bowl of water quickly turned black. The next day, the water evaporated and there was a thick layer of dust on the bottom of the bowl. The tumbler bowl was also nice and clean after this, with little dust.

Then when your media is nice and clean, you can revitalize it by loading the strips with buffing compound. I used the green, chromium compound, which seems like that's what lyman uses to begin with.

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918v
February 10, 2012, 12:25 PM
That's alot of work.

jcwit
February 10, 2012, 01:14 PM
For what I spend on media from DrillSpot and some left over liquid car polish using a teaspoonfull to start with, trying to clean it isn't cost efficient.

YMMV

Gregaw
February 10, 2012, 02:42 PM
I like it. I'm fairly new to reloading and haven't done enough volume to dirty my media up to much yet. But I may just try this soon. If there's one thing I've learned about most who reload it's that efficency (cost or otherwise) isn't normally the goal! (and it's almost never the result) :) YMMV :)

rsrocket1
February 10, 2012, 06:30 PM
You don't have paper towels? They work too. You could also go to the local laundromat and dumpster dive there :).

GLOOB
February 10, 2012, 07:58 PM
Well, I'm not really worried about the cost of this method. All I use up is the water, and that's free. As for time, I don't see it as any more time consuming as putting dryer sheets in there or paper towels. Just that instead of tossing them, I rinse them and put them back in. I bet a cheapo synthetic shammy cloth would last a long time, too. FTR, I tried this, initially, with cotton pads. They worked ok, too, but they sorta just got stuck on the bottom when wet until they thoroughly dried out. The leather strips keep rotating in the tumbler, and they can be snatched out periodically for rinsing if you want to thoroughly clean the media.

For what I spend on media from DrillSpot and some left over liquid car polish using a teaspoonfull to start with, trying to clean it isn't cost efficient.
I make enough garbage, already. Carrying trash bags to the dumpster isn't the best part of my day. Kitty litter is dirt cheap, too. I don't change it every day, but not because I'm cheap. It's because I'm lazy. Carrying bags of litter and media from the store back to my house is also a pain. I suppose I should start having this stuff delivered, but that still doesn't take care of the garbage problem. :)

jcwit
February 10, 2012, 09:26 PM
I'm lucky, we have house to house garbage P/U.

And the media from DrillSpot is shipped to my door w/free shipping. Approx $25.00 for a 40 lb. bag.

I don't expend much effort getting media or getting rid of it either for that matter.

oneounceload
February 10, 2012, 10:02 PM
Just buy a big bag of walnut shells from your big box pet store for about 10 bucks and replenish as necessary - it is real cheap

1SOW
February 10, 2012, 10:44 PM
jcWitt: I'm lucky, we have house to house garbage P/U.

And the media from DrillSpot is shipped to my door w/free shipping. Approx $25.00 for a 40 lb. bag.

I don't expend much effort getting media or getting rid of it either for that matter.

DITTO! I've cleaned a LOT of 9mm cases and still have 2/3 of my 40# left.

codefour
February 11, 2012, 02:42 AM
I am not trying to sound rude. You would rather rinse leather and ring it out rather than just dumping the media and putting fresh in..? drillspot.com media is as cheap as it gets.!

I tumble a TON of DIRTY brass. In the area of 20,000 to 30,000 cases a year. I know when it starts to get that certain, dirty color tone, I know it is time to dump it. I think dumping it would be easier than putting knotted leather strips in and cleaning said strips. A forty pound bag of 20/40 for 26.00 dollars (delivered) per year is not being lazy. And how much does your Berry's tumbler really hold, three or four pounds? I think the Lyman is somewhere aroung three to four dollars a pound? I, and others, are just saying, there may be a better way...

Fishslayer
February 11, 2012, 02:52 AM
For what I spend on media from DrillSpot and some left over liquid car polish using a teaspoonfull to start with, trying to clean it isn't cost efficient.


When the polish starts getting a bit thick throw in a dollop of mineral spirits & shake it up.

GLOOB
February 11, 2012, 03:33 AM
I am not trying to sound rude. You would rather rinse leather and ring it out rather than just dumping the media and putting fresh in..?
Yes?

I get it. Media is cheap. The problem with media for me is I want super shiny brass. But I don't want to throw away "ok" media after just a couple runs just cuz my brass isn't coming out perfect. I also can't run my tumbler overnight, because I don't have an outlet outside. I have to keep my door cracked, so I have a noise issue and a security issue. So I can't wait around for hours for mediocre media to do its job, cuz I have x number of batches more to go! I also can't stand it when all my brass comes out in slightly different finishes, cuz of how fresh the media was.

So then I start trying to sort my media into grades. I have the "ok" stuff for the initial tumble. Then I keep the good stuff for my final polishing. But I also found that prewashing the brass works even better than an initial "dirty" tumble. So now I have way too much going on in a small space. And I have tons of perfectly ok media building up and going through my good media way too fast. And it's such a pain to do a prewash and two runs, I don't even want to tumble my brass anymore, at all. So I let my brass sit around, and I don't want to deal with it.

So no, it's not an issue for me to sit next to my tumbler for 5 min in a comfortable chair getting some sun and fresh air every once in awhile when my media isn't up to snuff. It's relaxing, picking up strips of leather out of my tumbler, squeezing them in a bowl of water, and then dropping them back in. And it's not a cost thing that I don't use dryer sheets or whatnot. I think the water should clean out the dust faster and better. If you're going to wet it, then cleaning and reusing the same strips makes sense to me. Then I can toss the dirty water on my back patio, put out my cigarette, and go back inside. To me this is a lot more satisfying, somehow, considering it's all happening while my cases are tumbling. Compared to sifting out that batch of brass, cleaning the tumbler, changing the media, and tumbling the same brass, again, it's a win to me. I'm not talking a bowl full of knotted leather strings. Just 8 rectangular 1/2" by 4" patches.

What's the best way to clean anything? WATER. But in this case, the water stays in one bowl, the media in the other. The cleaning strips transfer just the dirt without overwetting the media. The damp strip initially gets stuck all over with media. But if the media is dusty, it only takes once or twice around, and the dust coats it. The media no longer sticks to it, at all. Pluck, dunk, and repeat. This is just so elegant, compared with adding polish to trap the dust. Then more and more dust and polish (abrasives and gunk) gets into the media and doesn't come back out.

I'm not squeezing the very last life out of my media. I'm making it work super well for longer. Hopefully, indefinitely. I ran four full batches that day, with recently changed media. The first came out pretty nice. Each successive run after that was noticeably worse. The last one was perfectly loadable, but esthetically unacceptable. After 5 min of cleaning, it came out better than the first one!

When the polish starts getting a bit thick throw in a dollop of mineral spirits & shake it up.
But once the mineral spirits evaporate, then isn't the stuff still in there? You added more polish cuz the media was getting dusty with primer dust and dirt. Then it got gunky. Now you dissolve the gunk, but you still have all that dust, again.

Bovice
February 11, 2012, 04:06 AM
I've followed the shiny brass rainbow too, but haven't found any glistening pieces of brass yet.

I just settle for "good enough". It isn't filthy and won't rub off on my fingers, but it isn't like a box of rare coins either.

If I want shiny brass to show off, I use nickel-plated. Cheating? So what? Look at that shine!

FROGO207
February 11, 2012, 07:13 AM
GLOOB good find for dust removal.:) I got sick of the dust and lucked onto a used inexpensive Thumlers rotary tumbler after years of using vibrator type units. The total setup cost less than $60 with SS media and Dawn/Lemmyshine included. Slightly more hassle than the other way but the brass looks like new EVERY time inside and out as well as being washed when done. There are those that say that it is too much work but I learned a long time ago that anything worth doing was not a free lunch. Simply stated "More effort = superior results". This is a no brainer IMHO.:D

codefour
February 11, 2012, 09:08 AM
Drillspot.com media (20/40 corncob), a teaspoon of Nu Finish car polish and tumbled for 12 to 24 hours in my Thumlers tumbler. They come out looking like jewelry.

RandyP
February 11, 2012, 09:44 AM
The great thing about this hobby of reloading is that there is a way for everyone to participate at all budget and interest levels. Not to mention levels of attention to minute detail.

Me? I'm a 'plenty close enough' kind of guy and use a mix of corncob/walnut, used dryer sheets and a little bit of liquid car polish in my lamp timer controlled tumbler.

Getting a 'sparkling' shine on my brass holds no interest for me, but different strokes.

johnjr22
February 11, 2012, 09:53 AM
Not finding media here as cheap as being stated??

http://www.drillspot.com/machining/finishing-supplies/pneumatic-blasting-media/?spc=Type%3D40%20Lbs

Glock XIX
February 11, 2012, 10:19 AM
Economics 101 = supply and demand. Word has spread about how well the cob media works , therefor demand has driven up prices. Supply side has gone down because all the tree huggers demand we use Ethanol and wean off the oil teet.

jcwit
February 11, 2012, 11:39 AM
Well it finally went up a few percentage points over the last number of months, it held the $25 dollar range for a number of years. Notice how many percentage points your gas bill has gone up over the last 24 months?

Regarding washing the leather strips, be sure to use COLD water to keep your skin pours closed and clean up throughly after. Media is loaded with lead compounds all ready to be absorbed. Might be a good idea to get your lead levels tested to get a base line.

hang fire
February 11, 2012, 11:57 AM
oneounceload: Just buy a big bag of walnut shells from your big box pet store for about 10 bucks and replenish as necessary - it is real cheap

Ditto on that. Local Petsmart wanted to know what kind of snakes I had? They were surprised when told them what I did with it. Told them they should put a "Tumbling Media For Reloaders" sign in the window.

Another use I have found for it is as a flux when casting boolits, works better than sawdust.

jcwit
February 11, 2012, 12:26 PM
Another use I have found for it is as a flux when casting boolits, works better than sawdust.

I wouldn't use the used media for flux tho. To many lead compounds, not metalic lead but compounds, therefore making the fumes from the flux likely hazadous.

Just a heads up.

GLOOB
February 11, 2012, 02:20 PM
Regarding washing the leather strips, be sure to use COLD water to keep your skin pours closed and clean up throughly after. Media is loaded with lead compounds all ready to be absorbed. Might be a good idea to get your lead levels tested to get a base line.
Good point. Some of these lead compounds could be more fat and/or solvent soluble than elemental lead. But contacting this stuff in a bowl of plain water seems like it would be safer than what a lot of people do: vibratory tumble, then reload without gloves. Tumbling doesn't remove all the dust. That's why your fingers turn black when you handle hundreds of cases while reloading. Lead compound buildup mixed in with finger oils should probably be more dangerous (if it IS dangerous) than trace compounds continually washed away in plain water. Our skins are relatively waterproof, compared to oil or solvent absorption.

All that said, I think inhaling the dust is by far and away the most dangerous thing. Skin contact is probably ok, as along as you wash your hands thoroughly. So if I were a betting man, I'd say trapping the dust in a bowl of water is a win, overall.

jcwit
February 11, 2012, 02:24 PM
I'd still suggest a lead test to get a base line number, especially if you have your hands in contaminated water.

I now have my blood tested 3 times a year. But not only for heavy metals.

GLOOB
February 11, 2012, 05:37 PM
I've followed the shiny brass rainbow too, but haven't found any glistening pieces of brass yet.
I'm finding whole tumblers full! I see those pics of the SS tumbler guys, and I wonder what the big deal is.

hogshead
February 11, 2012, 05:46 PM
Anybody tried cornmeal yet?

Bovice
February 11, 2012, 10:10 PM
Drinking causes cancer, smoking causes cancer, shooting causes cancer, reloading causes cancer... Basically, if it's fun, it'll give you cancer.

Alright, so the trick is using soaked pieces of leather? I've heard of wet paper towels before but haven't tried it because I tumble so much brass, it would be a lot of paper towels.

I'll have to try that, as soon as my "bubble boy" ensemble gets delivered!

jcwit
February 11, 2012, 10:17 PM
Drinking causes cancer, smoking causes cancer, shooting causes cancer, reloading causes cancer... Basically, if it's fun, it'll give you cancer.

So the solution is to ADD MORE hazards to your life? OOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooook

Been there, Done that, ain't worth it, believe me. Ever done Chemo?

No, I've never tried cornmeal.

codefour
February 11, 2012, 11:06 PM
U can also pre clean them in IOSSO Case Cleaner. Let em soak for ten mninutes, rinse, dry nad then tumble. It adds to the jewelry effect.

I got a Lyman ustrasonic cleaner for X-mas. I have to admit, it works gooooood.. Especially with a good corn cob tumble afterwards..

1SOW
February 11, 2012, 11:15 PM
Mine come out mighty shiny after 4 hours in corncob after prewasing with soap, water and a little white vinegar in a two gallon bucket.

Any kind of pre-washing will spare your media and make it last much longer doing a better job. Mine lasts a LOT of 4 hr cycles. There are 25K shiny 9mm brass stored on and under my bench. Just my findings. YMMV.

GLOOB
February 12, 2012, 01:43 PM
Alright, so the trick is using soaked pieces of leather?
Leather is kinda stiff, and repeatedly wetting it and drying it out will remove the oils and eventually lead to dry rot. I just used it because I had some lying around. If I were going to do this properly, I think I'd try some pieces of shammy cloth or maybe something synthetic. Maybe felt?

The way I see it, a tumbler puts lots of little things in continual contact with other little things. So just as it's good for transferring dirt from brass to media, it is also good for cleaning the media, too. All you gotta do is put something in there that'll take the dirt from the media and be easily transferred to a bowl of water.

+1 on the prewash. Before the prewash, my brass was just as shiny, but my fingers were jet black after a loading session. With the prewash, it cuts out much of this dust!

blarby
February 13, 2012, 12:03 AM
GLOOB : I like it ! For many reasons !

My observation is this : it isn't the dirt in the tumbler thats causing your cases to take longer, its the fact that the edges of the media have rounded.

There are few other ways out there, but using a 2 stage process has saved me a lot of "sharp" media since I discovered it.

My "clean" media has stayed operationally sharp for about 2500 rifle cases now, and is only now beginning to show any signs of wear.

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