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I Forge Iron

New Tumbler

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Hi All,
Been awhile since I posted anything so I thought I'd share this. Had a weekend to myself this weekend so I scrounged up enough parts, pieces and stuff to make me a tumbler. The body shell is half a 100# propane tank, The end caps are the bottom plate off an old hobart portable welder. The 1 1/4" shaft and the 5:1 gear reduction motor are industrial recycles. The frame is left over tubing from other jobs and the wheels, axles and mounts are from an old set of rolling shelves a guy gave me awhile back. I did buy 2 new pillowblock bearings and some more blue paint though.
Included the shoot of the inside to show the angle iron welded in to make stuff tumble. I put a long cord and the wheels on it so I can roll it outside so I don't have to listen to it in the shop. I'm still trying to scrounge some pipe insulation to cover the outside to deaden the noise.
With the 5:1 gearbox and the 12" pulley It turns about 40 rpm. Plan to try it out this evening.









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Poor people have poor ways....I have alot of extra 3/8 and 5/16 hex nuts so thats what I threw in there tonight. I forged 2 - 2 1/2" drive hooks for a local pub and a heart hook just a little bit ago and threw them in with the nuts and let it roll for about 15 minutes. It's a noisy bugger and it was right at 10pm so 15 minites was all I dared spin it. I can see it's taken the scale of on the edges and started across the flats. The picture really doesn't show to well. I will try more time when I get home from work tomorrow.
I have read of others using fence steeples, ball bearings, old nails and small pieces of scrap steel. If anyone out there has one let me know what works in yours. I have a lot of welding rod stubs I may throw in there also.

I'll let you know how tomorrow goes,



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Looks great. I'm going to build one soon, goin' the old treadmill route. I really like your frame. One thing I have heard is that you need a cleaning system (something like a shop vac) to purge the pulverized scale. Keep us posted as to the functionality please.

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Nice looking tumbler.

Gluing felt to the outside to quiet it down works about the best. You can also paint the inside with bed liner paint to keep it from eroding the tumbler drum, it helps quiet it down too.

A single lifting lug is usually plenty though two or three shouldn't hurt anything. Additional lugs are usually more desirable in larger drums.

35-40 RPM is a good working RPM with 35 closer to the ideal. This changes with diameter but not a lot. Larger wants to turn slower.

You'll get your best cleaning action from a gradation of grits, your nuts are probably good for the large size but look for smaller stuff right down to cuttings from the drill press and swarf from the band saw. It doesn't hurt to throw good old sand in too, though it leaves an abraded finish where steel scrap leaves a burnished finish.

Dust is the second biggest nuisance associated with tumblers and dealing with it can take some creativity.

Lastly pieces coming out of the tumbler will rust just as fast as pieces coming out of the sandblaster. Well, almost.


Edited by Frosty
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