Jump to content
I Forge Iron



Recommended Posts

A friend of mine build one out of a 50 gallon drum with a removable head. Uses 2x boards to line the drum for quietness, positive mixing, and prevention of puncture, and fitted a wooden head inside the steel heads. The drum rolled on casters. He said they would load it up and let it run overnight since it was still rather loud.

Another option using casters is to use 2 auto or truck rims for the casters to ride on, then build a wooden drum between the rims. Line with a "sacrificial" layer of wood and use a door that fits from the inside out and is braced tight. I have seen this general idea used a number of times, and even as industrial tumblers in old plants.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the tumbler I built. The shaft runs through all the way through the middle of the old 100# propane tank.

I use fence stables for matrix and they seem to work fine.

I cut a bunch of holes around the tank with my plasma to let out dust, but really should have larger (at least 1/8 inch) holes.


post-5371-061507200 1285177991_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made mine from a 55gl drum with removable lid and an old barrel stand. I put rollers so the drum rolls, hung the motor on a hinged board underneath and just run the belt over the barrel. It works quite well with a final RPM of around 34-35.

For noise I painted the inside with Pickup truck Bed liner I got for really cheap at a yard sale. It has two 2" lift lugs to keep the load stirred and moving.

I use gravel, sand, metal bits and whatever for abrasive and it works pretty well. If duse were a serious problem I'd lube it with water soluable oil and hope to minimize rusting.

Frosty the Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made mine by using 2 octagonal plates and welding shaft sections on plillow blocks to each end. then weld plate sections between the plates(ends) to form a drum! octagonal helps with the "tumble efect" one plate is hinged to create a door! I lined mine with pieces of conveyor belt to reduce wear and noise but any rubber mat works!
I used a motor gearbox combo I found in a scrapyard for power. Using belts and pulleys to reduce to speed further I have been quite happy with my results. We can get hold of nutshells(macadamia) but I suppose most will work and this as a final polishing medium gives great results.
All the best Ian.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I fabricated my tumbler out of six pieces of 12" x 48" sheet metal (14 ga =.075") with a hex on each end. A plate with a 1" welded peg bolts to each end and goes into a pillow block. A piano (strap) hinge was welded on one of the panels down both long sides. The pivot rod was removed from one of the strap hinges and replaced with a smaller diameter removable one. This seals up well enough for media of small metal pieces of the bottle cap size like fence staples.

The easiest way I found to drive this rotating tank at a slow usable speed is the motor off a portable cement mixer. Since I sometimes need a concrete mixer, I bought one from Lowes ~$300.00. Many decent quality concrete mixers will have the muscle to turn a decent size tumbler. I connected the motor to the rod that goes through one of the pillow blocks with a Lovejoy coupling. These can be bought anywhere in numerous shaft (bore) sizes from places like ENCO. The Lovejoy coupling will take up any angular misalignment you may have after fabricating your frame that holds the motor eliminating the need for a U-joint.

Carpeting or rubber could be installed in the inside panels to quiet it down. I didn't and mine is pretty loud. I run the thing for 1/2 hour while I'm not in the shop. The hexagon shape creates a natural "tumble" decent enough to even out the finish of small iron forgings. I hope some of this was helpful and good luck in your quest for a tumbler. Spears.
post-9545-081314400 1285350957_thumb.jpg post-9545-047477600 1285350970_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The tumblers we had at the dental metals foundry had 1" thick urethane cast inside of them, they were dead quiet.

You don't say how big of an item that you need to polish up. For smaller items I would use a large tire for the barrel, like a 33-12.5-15, or even an ATV tire would work for some stuff. Bolt some paddles inside to mix things up, and make some plywood end caps with a through bolt holding them together. Tire=free, scrap plywood, and a double pipe roller setup to set the tire on to rotate it.

As far as polishing goes we use the vibratory bowl type at work, much faster. We also have a new unit that uses stainless pins. They are spun inside of a plastic tub by strong magnets that rotate under the table top that the tub is set on. Slick.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At work we occasionally need to tumble some stuff. We just use our concrete mixer, but we did buy some commercial media and a soap with a rust inhibitor. We did try sand and gravel at first but the media is faster. But it is very noisy and we don't have close neighbours.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...