Thumler's tumbler questions


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solman
November 9, 2012, 09:36 AM
I was thinking of getting one of these as I woud like to clean the primer pockets as well as the rest of the brass. Also I have heard with the stainless media you need not bother with the removing the burr after trimming as the stainless pins help in this as well. Can anyone who has one of these tumblers confirm this? Also how many .223 cases will fit in one batch? I guess you need just fresh water to use wet. Is tap water ok or is distilled water needed?
Thanks for the advice.

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cfullgraf
November 9, 2012, 10:04 AM
I deburr my trimmed cases. I doubt the pins will remove the the burrs but I have not bothered to try.

The tumber is rated for 15 pounds in the drum. There is 5 pounds of pins, 8 pounds of water (1 gallon) and that leaves 2 pounds for cases.

Tap water works fine. I suppose that if your water is super hard, it may leave spots when drying. Then demineralized water, distilled water, or softened water might be desireable.

thump_rrr
November 9, 2012, 10:27 AM
I wet tumble my brass before trimming so I can't tell you if it will help in deburring.
I use the Dillon rapid trim 1200 which leaves a minimal burr which I don't bother removing since I use boat tail 55gr bullets for .223 used in my AR15.

If I had a bolt action .223 for precision work I'd probably deburr.

As far as how much brass you can place in the tumbler at once I don't follow the recommended 15lb max. I fill the tumbler till I reach the maximum amperage of the motor which brings me somewhere over 6lbs of brass.
I've been doing this for over a year with no negative results.
The brass still comes out of the tumbler looking like new.

The 1/4 tsp of Lemishine powder helps in preventing spotting so tap water can be used with excellent results.

My vibratory tumbler has been relegated to giving a quick 15min. polish to loaded rounds.
I'll never go back to walnut media for cleaning since SS pins and wet tumbling make no dust whatsoever.

jaguarxk120
November 9, 2012, 11:34 AM
As far as 223 brass about 150 cases weigh 2 pounds.

I just weigh out 2 pounds on my utility scale and into the tumbler they go.

justsoIcanupvotethis
November 9, 2012, 11:50 AM
Well I look at it this way. I went ahead and got the Thumler's Tumbler and stainless steel pins for cleaning because it seemed like the best way. When I was getting a trimmer for .223 I went ahead and got the RCBS 3 way cutter so it would deburr as it trims for the same reason. Buy once, cry once.

solman
November 9, 2012, 02:39 PM
OK thanks for the info. I think I will take the plunge on the thumler's since it gets rave reviews. It cleans well without all the dust and gets the primer pocket clean which is mostly what I was looking for. If it helps with debur so much the better, if not it's no big deal.

KevinR
November 10, 2012, 04:06 PM
I use a Thumler's. I like it but, I recommend you get a couple of spare belts. I brake about one per year. Also the motor gets very hot during use. Thumler tells me this is normal. I only run it outside of the house and never near my powder.

Hacker15E
November 10, 2012, 04:46 PM
I have wet tumbled after trimming -- the pins do remove the burrs very well, on both brass and steel cases.

bob4
November 10, 2012, 05:56 PM
This is pretty neat. Even as a new loader I've always hated the inside of the brass dirty. C'mon Santa!

Clark
November 10, 2012, 07:32 PM
If you live in suburbia, there are several Thumblers tumblers on your street that have not been used in decades. They were purchased for polishing rocks. These can be had very easily [free if you are slick talker].

Thumblers tumblers are made by true square metal products in Auburn WA.
http://www.thumlerstumbler.com/
There is more info about the different Model B TT140's at Buffalo Arms [where I got mine]:
http://www.buffaloarms.com/ManufacturersProducts.aspx?MANF=1139

You can see there are 20 rpm drum speed model Bs and 40 rpm drum speed models.
I think you want the 40 rpm, and the ones in basements and garages in your neighborhood I am guessing are 20 rpm.

I have been using mine for Moly coating bullets.
I bought the Lyman Kit with vibrator, ceramic media, separator, and moly powder.
I still use the moly powder.
I now clean bullets, dry them, and put them in a plastic container, typically 8 ounce size, put some duck tape around the lid, and rotate for an hour in the Thumber.

For cleaning 150 pieces of brass, 5 pounds of stainless steel media [ round rods .041" dia, .255" long] with an ounce of Ivory dish washing liquid and a tablespoon of Lemishine, with hot water to the top.

Here is a video of me cleaning brass. It is 12 minutes long and the average view is 3 minutes. It is a VERY boring video. But for the Thumbers Tumber, skip 5 minutes in:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou9kKhlXcJk&feature=plcp

If you tumble for 24 hours, the brass will look just like new, and need case mouth chamfering, just like new.
It becomes obvious that brass manufacturers are tumbling the brass with some hard media [not corn or Walnut].

Krogen
November 10, 2012, 08:43 PM
I bought a Thumler's tumbler and stainless pins from Midway. I dumped about 400 deprimed 5.56 cases into it, two good squirts of Dawn and a .45 case full of lemishine, filled with tap water and ran it for 4 hrs. Found this recipe on the net and thought it would be a good starting point. Man was I surprised! The cases looked like new. They were spotless inside and out. The primer pockets were cleaner than I can get them manually with conventional tools. Sure was a lot of crud in and on the cases. The black liquid "slurry" left in the tumbler showed just how much came loose.

One batch and I was sold.

Grumulkin
November 11, 2012, 06:06 AM
Be a little careful on the Lemishine. If you use too much and/or don't get it all off the brass, it will discolor the brass.

Hacker15E
November 11, 2012, 06:43 AM
The color comes off with an additional tumbling or a simple swipe with steel wool.

GW Staar
November 11, 2012, 11:29 PM
I bought a Thumler's tumbler and stainless pins from Midway. I dumped about 400 deprimed 5.56 cases into it, two good squirts of Dawn and a .45 case full of lemishine, filled with tap water and ran it for 4 hrs. Found this recipe on the net and thought it would be a good starting point. Man was I surprised! The cases looked like new. They were spotless inside and out. The primer pockets were cleaner than I can get them manually with conventional tools. Sure was a lot of crud in and on the cases. The black liquid "slurry" left in the tumbler showed just how much came loose.

One batch and I was sold.
I recently had the same exact experience. That recipe came from Dryflash2, a moderator over at AR15.com's reloading forum. What can I say...works as advertised. The only negative is the limitation on batch size.

jmorris built an impressive giant sized homemade one...jmorris case tumbler (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=628974)....but I have too many other projects in line first to entertain that notion, so the Thumlers will have to do for a while. In fact, A variation on his jmorris's annealer is next....I bought his annealer blade.:)

Hamish
November 12, 2012, 12:34 AM
I just started using a Thumler's Tumbler Model B high speed, and I'm very impressed with how clean it gets the brass. I have a baby in the house and wanted to eliminate or at least drastically reduce the possibility of lead dust, and this does the trick.

I made myself a little chart that shows how much brass I can put in the tumbler to hit the 15 lbs limit. The directions call for 1 gallon of water, but I started tumbling with 3 liters of water and get equally good results, plus I can fit more brass in and still make weight. I tumble for 3-4 hours with a squirt of Dawn dish detergent and a .45 ACP case full of lemishine. I use cold water as well. It really does look like new brass. I just have to be sure to check the flash holes to remove any pins that get stuck in there - it has happened a few times.

The chart is below. The first number is with 1 gallon of water, the second number is with 3 liters of water. 1 gallon = 8.345 lbs, 3 liters = 6.613 lbs.

9mm = 193 / 395
.38 Special = 168 / 344
.357 magnum = 157 / 320
.40 S&W = 163 / 334
.45 ACP = 129 / 263
.223 / 5.56 = 121 / 247

I used some average case weight figures. 9mm = 60gr, .38 special = 69gr, .357 Mag = 74gr, .40 S&W = 71 gr, .45 ACP = 90 gr, .223 = 96gr.

solman
November 12, 2012, 08:30 AM
I placed my order for one with Cabela's. They Have it on sale now for $159.00 and also have a $20 coupon code online as well. Yesterday morning they where in stock now I believe they are backordered a week or so. Still the best price I have found for this and with the $20.00 coupon its a steal.
Is the weight capacity of the tumbler etched in stone or do some of you push that up a little bit with no problems? Seems that with a four hour cycle the more you can fit the more you will get done on a loading day.

cfullgraf
November 12, 2012, 09:10 AM
Like anything, there is always a factor of safety built in so if you load the drum with 15.1 pounds, it will not blow up.

Not exceeding the rated amps on the motor is a good thing though. If you do exceed the rated amps, you will shorten the motor life and run a safety risk of over heating the motor and possibly causing a fire. (hmmm, I will have to drag out my amp meter next time I use the tumbler and see where it is operating).

The entire wet process takes time versus a dry process. I air dry my cases and that takes several days before they are dry enough to use. I wet tumble my cases occasionally, after several firings. In between, I still use a dry process. For some of the case prep work, I prefer small doses of work that I can do quickly and move on to something else as opposed to a mega-session that I spend hours or all day at. So, small batches work for me.

I would start using the tumbler as designed and as you learn the idiosyncrasies of wet tumbling, you can adjust your process and push the capabilities of the tumbler to suit your needs.

Krogen
November 12, 2012, 10:15 AM
Don't over-analyze the weight thing, IMHO. I run approximately 400 5.56 cases in a batch. Brass and stainless pins are both denser than water; they sink, right? After putting in the pins and brass, just fill with water to 1" of the rim you'll be fine. More brass means less water. Just keep the amount of brass down to the point that the tumbling action works.

Hacker15E
November 12, 2012, 10:32 AM
I use an air compressor on the cases as they come out of the wet tumble, which helps the dry time.

Clark
November 12, 2012, 08:36 PM
...

Clark
November 12, 2012, 08:38 PM
cfullgraf
Like anything, there is always a factor of safety built in so if you load the drum with 15.1 pounds, it will not blow up.

Not exceeding the rated amps on the motor is a good thing though. If you do exceed the rated amps, you will shorten the motor life and run a safety risk of over heating the motor and possibly causing a fire. (hmmm, I will have to drag out my amp meter next time I use the tumbler and see where it is operating).
Back in the 1970s I called Fluke and talked to an application engineer about measuring power going into an AC motor using one of their multi meters to measure AC current.
The guy said that about half the calls they get are this same question.
He said, " ~yada yady ya can't do it."
In 1986 I designed the general aviation computer power supply for the F16 with 3 phase input and sold it to Telledyne. I was testing the supply with a Valhalla power meter that gave all kinds of answers. The guru at Telledyne, Kevin Omeara, said that I would know I was operating a Valhalla correctly when it gave me the right answer. That gave me a ouija board feeling on my big contract.
Now, I think Fluike sells power analyzers
http://www.fluke.com/fluke/usen/products/categorypqttop.htm
The trouble is that once you knew what the input power was, what would you do with that info?

cfullgraf
November 12, 2012, 09:03 PM
Clark,

Right.

i have a clamp on AC amp meter for such occasions. I do not get to use it much so here is an excuse.:)

vegasbillsliv
November 13, 2012, 02:43 PM
I put a Kill-a-Watt meter on my 20yr old Model B. With no barrel on, the motor draws 1.09 amps. With the barrel 1/3 full of corn cob media, the motor draws 1.11 amps. Not a whole lot of difference.

I can't read the specs on my motor. Anyone know max amps or max watts?

Otto
November 13, 2012, 05:03 PM
The motor boiler plate rating is 1.18a @ 115v.
My Kill A Watt says the motor is pulling 1.20 amps. My household voltage is 123v.

If you excessively overload the barrel, the belt will begin to slip on the metal pulley. This causes heat/friction and wears the belt out.

I fill my barrel half-way with brass and cover with water. I add approx. 2 pounds of ceramic media to that. In the past 6 weeks I've cleaned 20,000 pieces. I don't care for stainless steel media.

Fatelvis
November 13, 2012, 05:45 PM
I don't care for stainless steel media.
May I ask why you don't care for stainless Otto?

Jim Watson
November 13, 2012, 06:08 PM
I have both.

The Buffalo Arms steel pin + detergent outfit cleans well but does not polish much.
Maybe if I used the Lemishine mix or some of the stuff that came with my ceramic media.
I'll try that next batch of black powder .38-55.
It is easy to separate, just shake the brass to sling the clinging pins off. What you sling on the floor or let run out when you drain the tumbler on the ground (I'm not running that stuff in the sink in the new house.) can be recovered with a magnet in a plastic bag.

I followed recommendations and ran the pins alone before putting in brass. The water was nasty and the first batch of brass still came out with a gray film. It took a while to get the pins clean enough to clean the cases well. A friend had no such trouble, one pass on the pins alone and he was cleaning cases. I don't know what I did differently.

The Dave Maurer ceramic + solution combo polishes the dickens out of the brass, it looks great. The larger ceramic pellets are prone to hang up in cases. Not too bad in .40-65 or larger, awful in .38-55. I am told it will work in smallbores if you use a lot less ceramic than seems adequate, like a cupfull.

I dry my brass in the oven at 225F. Since brass does not anneal until over 400F, I have an ample safety margin. I am too impatient to depend on the sun.

Otto
November 14, 2012, 02:52 AM
May I ask why you don't care for stainless Otto?

For me, ceramic is faster, cheaper, less abrasive, easier to handle and produces an higher shine. My main beef with stainless is that the pins are messy and get everywhere due to their small size. However, stainless steel pins bridge less in bottleneck cases (bridging causes the media to get stuck inside the case).

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v68/Leander/PB190329.jpg

Krogen
November 14, 2012, 10:22 AM
Otto,

Where do you buy your ceramic media? If there are different sizes, which works best?

Clark
November 14, 2012, 07:59 PM
There are zillions of kinds of ceramic media, but those look like the moly coat media from Lyman.

I had a hard time separating .224" bullets from .200" media. That is when I went to BBs a magnetically separated. Now I am not using media for moly.

http://www.kramerindustriesonline.com/tumbling-media.htm

Krogen
November 15, 2012, 12:29 AM
Great site. Thanks, Clark.

solman
November 17, 2012, 08:05 AM
Tumbler arrived two nights ago sooner than I expected. I set it up and tumbled the pins alone for about two hours to clean them up. Did my first load of brass last night about 3 1/2 hours with a squirt of dish soap and a shake of Lemi shine. Results are great, comes out like new brass.
It does knock off some of the burr from trimming but it's not as good as using the the right tools. Still I am very satisfied with the results. Need to come up with a system for separating the pins from brass. I was shaking them out one by one. I wonder if the dillon media separator will work.

Krogen
November 17, 2012, 11:51 AM
You might have a look here:

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_6_42/344832_.html&page=1

That thread is what prompted me to go the stainless pins route. I'm still fishing the cases out by hand, though. That is likely to change soon!

Canuck-IL
November 17, 2012, 02:26 PM
To separate brass/muck/media ... I pour out 90% of the tumbler liquid into a fairly flat bottomed sink with a couple of flat fridge magnets around the drain to catch any pins. Rinse and dump 2-3 times in this manner.

I then dump pns and brass into a spin media separator that's standing in one of the inexpensive, tall storage bins that you can get from Walmart/Target/etc. All the media thrown off by spinning that misses the media bucket ends up inside the bin. You need a fairly large, tall bin to fit in the media spinner and its bucket.

I then rinse very thoroughly through the separator while it's sitting atop another bucket. The better the rinse, the less the tarnish 2 weeks later. A fridge magnet picks up the pins that are loose in the bottom of the large bin.

I use 3/4 gal H2O, a little Dawn and a little Lemishine...3-4 4 hrs. Below is a chart to bring loads to 15#s ... I usually add a little more than that and give the barrel a running start - no issues about 60 loads. 1/2 gal won't do it and I saw no improvement with a full gallon.
http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e346/Canuck-IL/Thumler_brass.jpg

/Bryan

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