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Author Topic: Rock tumbler for case cleaning  (Read 3234 times)

IMerrell

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Rock tumbler for case cleaning
« on: February 05, 2009, 11:41:25 PM »
Its time for me to start cleaning brass. Here is my question, Rather than spending 60-80 bucks for a vibratory case cleaner, I have access to a large rock tumbler that can be had for nothing. I imagine it would do the trick but can anybody think of problems that may come up before I try this?
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Re: Rock tumbler for case cleaning
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2009, 11:54:56 PM »
You need the vibration to get the particles of media to scrub and polish the brass. 
A rock rumbler... might do the same thing.
 :hmm
Give it a shot and see if it works.  Couldn't hurt.
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Thernlund

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Re: Rock tumbler for case cleaning
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2009, 12:18:14 AM »
Certainly would hurt anything.  Worse case: It doesn't work as well.  *shurg*


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gaijin

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Re: Rock tumbler for case cleaning
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2009, 03:04:28 AM »
You need the vibration to get the particles of media to scrub and polish the brass. 
A rock rumbler... might do the same thing.
 :hmm
Give it a shot and see if it works.  Couldn't hurt.

A rock tumbler will work just nicely, but you ABSOLUTELY MUST use the correct tumbling media.  IIRC my father's used ground walnuts with a polishing compound made for brass mixed in.  The media would need to be replenished from time to time, but the results should be fine.

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Re: Rock tumbler for case cleaning
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2009, 07:13:49 AM »
As noted, it will work fine if you use a good media, it'll just be a little slower than a tumbler designed for brass polishing.
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IMerrell

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Re: Rock tumbler for case cleaning
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2009, 09:35:48 AM »
Thanks for the input. Hopefully I will have time to try it this weekend, I'll post the results.
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IMerrell

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Re: Rock tumbler for case cleaning
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2009, 10:11:49 PM »
Got it up and running yesterday. Used corn cob as the media, worked great. Let it go overnight and this morning the brass looked almost factory new. I imagine it really wouldn't take all night but... Why not?

I know both corn cob and walnut shells are used, anybody know the difference?
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Antibubba

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Re: Rock tumbler for case cleaning
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2009, 01:26:52 AM »
I don't tumble at all--I use an ultrasonic cleaner and wash them, in four stages:  Water and Simple Green, Rinse, Water and white vinegar, Rinse.  No lead dust, no noise, no spilled media, and brass clean enough to eat from.  It isn't always shiny though, as if it is a little tarnished, or spotted from air drying.  But that isn't terribly important to me.

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Re: Rock tumbler for case cleaning
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2009, 10:26:28 AM »
Antibubba-
Nothing wrong with your method at all.  I imagine you'll get maximum brass life, and you've got the cleanest primer pockets around.

BTW-
I've done a small batch in one and was really impressed, my problem with it is size/volume the one I played with was fairly small, and the ones that I've seen for sale that are affordable are too small for my needs, and big enough ones are expensive.


Imerrel- Glad it's working well, and sorry for the thread drift. :)
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xsquidgator

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Re: Rock tumbler for case cleaning
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2009, 11:22:49 AM »
Got it up and running yesterday. Used corn cob as the media, worked great. Let it go overnight and this morning the brass looked almost factory new. I imagine it really wouldn't take all night but... Why not?

I know both corn cob and walnut shells are used, anybody know the difference?

Walnut shells are best used for cleaning off dirt.  Corncob is best at polishing.

I buy both and mix them together, maybe 1/2 and 1/2 of each, and run some brass polish through the media for 5-10 minutes before adding brass. 
I also (in an attempt to control the very fine particulates and dust that contain lots of toxic lead) started putting in pieces of used dryer fabric-softener sheet in with the brass when I do a lot.  Helps suck the dirt out of the media.  Add brass polish every two or three months when it seems it's losing it's ability to get the brass shiny.  I haven't had to replace the media in my tumbler in over a year doing these things, maybe it'll last indefinitely.
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Dave R

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Re: Rock tumbler for case cleaning
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2009, 12:20:37 AM »
My only tumbler is a rock polisher.  Works fine.  I use corncob media.


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