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Holy smokes! A tumbling we will go!


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#1 dc-65x

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 12:19 PM

Thank You, Mike Steube!

Mike told me his technique for cleaning up chassis and what equipment he uses. The Thumbler's Tumbler and ceramic media were ordered through: Cabela's.

The tumbler arrived but the media has been back ordered for weeks. Mike came through again with this source: Buffalo Arms.

The media and polishing compound arrived. It was time to test this technique on an engraved chassis of mine before I put Tony P's heavily-engraved "Starship" chassis through the process. :shock: . Here is the candidate:

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Here is the engraving:

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If anyone knows who this builder is. please tell us. :) . Anyway, the tumbler's tub is filled from the bag of ceramic media and filled with water until it just covers the media. A tablespoon of polishing compound and the chassis are added. You can just see the copper tie wire I used to tie the drop arm to the center section so it wouldn't flop around:

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And away we go:

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Six hours later . . . :shock: :shock: :shock: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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Here are some before and after close-ups:

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Amazing, isn't it :up: . Oh, and the engraving:

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Now, where's that Starship chassis?
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#2 edworth

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 01:03 PM

:shock: Does quite the job, doesn't it?

(For those new to the hobby of models / scratchbuilding; suppliers for gunsmiths, jewelers, and clockmakers have the most amazing tools that hobbyists may find useful as well.)
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#3 Junior8

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 01:36 PM

That tumbler did a beautiful job! The Lyman type and other brands of tumblers are the vibration type if I'm not mistaken. I had a Lyman years ago when I reloaded ammunition for target shooting and it vibrated as well as tumbled the casings to a bright clean finish. It took maybe two to three hours to get several hundred casings bright and clean just using the corn cob type media. I'm thinking of buying another one to clean and polish my chassis. Is anyone using the corn cob type media ? I'm not sure if the ceramic stuff will work in the Lyman type tumbler since it doesn't use water as well as the media.
Bill Funderburk

#4 tonyp

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 08:25 PM

The chassis doesn't move around in the tumbler does it? If so does it bend the pans?

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#5 Tex

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 10:24 PM

Amazing results! :shock:
Richard L. Hofer

Remember, two wrongs don't make a right... but three lefts do! Only you're a block over and a block behind.

#6 dc-65x

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 12:04 PM

The chassis doesn't move around in the tumbler does it? If so does it bend the pans?

Hi Tony,

The chassis is tumbling inside a rubber-lined drum a little over half filled with ceramic media and water. I've tumbled half a dozen chassis so far and they are still flat as a pancake. Mike Steube tumbles all his new chassis now and I will be doing that, too :) . That's the good news. The bad news is that tumbling can remove the corrosion but it can't repair the pitted or eroded material left behind. :cry:

So the bottom line is if the chassis has surface rust and corrosion like the one pictured above it will come out like new. If the corrosion has caused deep pitting, the surface crud will be removed but the pitted material beneath will still be there.

Rick Thigpen
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#7 dc-65x

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 12:07 PM

That tumbler did a beautiful job! The Lyman type and other brands of tumblers are the vibration type if I'm not mistaken. I had a Lyman years ago when I reloaded ammunition for target shooting and it vibrated as well as tumbled the casings to a bright clean finish. It took maybe two to three hours to get several hundred casings bright and clean just using the corn cob type media. I'm thinking of buying another one to clean and polish my chassis. Is anyone using the corn cob type media ? I'm not sure if the ceramic stuff will work in the Lyman type tumbler since it doesn't use water as well as the media.

Bill, Mike Steube told me this about the wet vs dry methods, "Wet tumbling is the only way to go. The dry works for polishing if the material being tumbled is really clean. It will blow your mind how well the wet method works and how it reduces the labor involved in cleanup".

Hope this helps :)

Rick Thigpen
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#8 TSR

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 12:10 PM

I think that these chassis of which we have a half dozen are by Dave Fortner.
Tumbling works great and has saved me a lot of time in restorations. :)

Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#9 brucefl

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 02:58 PM

Hey guys

If you want your corroded chassis to come out looking like the shiniest jewelry call and speak to the folks at Rio Grande. They are online and deal with jewelry polishing tumbling. They will tell you what to do exactly depending on the metals you are trying to polish. For example normally to start you would go wet with the smallest particle size available to reach the fine crevices, probably plastic triangles (caution they will say you will probably lose engraving so if that not a problem you will probably be able to remove any pitting. the amount of time will determine how complete the job is.) followed by walnut shell charged with rouge (which is the polishing compound). Also length of time will determine to what degree you will what level of polish (remember jewelry is polished to a high lustre so potentially this is what can be aquired).

The technical support can give you specific times and quantities of material and they will guarantee your results and satisfaction with the materials or your money back! And no, I am not trying to drum up business for the company, just trying to solve this problem.

I have used corn cob media with polishing compound and gotten a mirror finish but the time was so extreme that it just doesnt pay (three days tumbling). Now Thumler the tumbler manufacturer sells a charged corn cob media they say is better than what Cabelas sells. I don't know since I haven't used it. The supplies from Rio Grande will cost around $100, so it's not cheap although thats many uses.

Happy tumbling.

PS: Rio Grande will send you a catalogue and there are innumerous polishing items you may have never even thought about which will save much effort/time.
Bruce Schwartz

#10 gascarnut

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 07:47 PM

Based on the info in this thread, and with a bit of web surfing, I got this tumbler:

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Got it from Lock Stock & Barrel

It's about the same size as the Model B, but about $30 or so cheaper. Tried it out this week for the first time and I'm very pleased with the results. I used the same media and compound that Rick got from Buffalo arms.

This is obviously a new chassis, after about three hours of tumbling:

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Dennis Samson
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#11 dc-65x

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 08:43 PM

That chassis looks great, Dennis. I'm glad the tumbler is working out for you. I received my media that was back ordered from Cabela's. It is a different size than the media from Buffalo arms which is pictured below on the left with the Cabela's on the right:

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I've used the new Cabela's media and polish on several chassis now and I think both types work just fine.
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#12 Foamy

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 12:39 AM

Will an 8 or 9 inch long drag racing chassis fit in this thing?
There is a builder from Texas that is tumbling his cars, and then clear coats them.

Dennis Hill
 
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preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason."

 


#13 dc-65x

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Posted 19 May 2007 - 11:10 AM

Hi Dennis,

My drum in only 8" deep but it is quite wide. A 9" would easily fit in at an angle. I'm not sure how the tumbling action would be affected. If you'd like me to try one of your drag chassis in my setup let me know.

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#14 Junior8

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 02:12 PM

My boss gave me a tumbler that he used for polishing rocks, stones etc. I was going to buy the Lyman or another brand when he brought this thing in for me to repair. I repair power tools as part of my job so I replaced the power cord which was all that it needed. I mentioned to him that I had thought of buying one and he told me to keep it and put it to some use, his wife was going to sell it at their church yard sale anyway.

It is almost identical to the Lyman type tumbler but it is not as well made but it works very well. I bought a box of the Lyman Tufnut media and it really cleans and puts a good polish on my chassis after only an hour. Not bad for a freebie! I didn't need one to restore any vintage chassis with. I just use it to do the cleaning that I used to do with $8 per tube polishing paste and a lot of rubbing and buffing.

Before I put a chassis in the tumbler I wash it with soap and Comet cleanser, dry it off, and rub a little of the polishing paste all over the chassis. This produces a very clean and shiny chassis.
Bill Funderburk

#15 mazur50

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 04:33 PM

Has anyone used a rock vibrator instead of the tumber? So you're not spinning the chassis around.

#16 TSR

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 04:53 PM

Are batteries included? :mrgreen:

Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#17 mazur50

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 04:56 PM

I meant has anyone used a rock vibrator like this one from Harbor Freight?

Posted Image

#18 Junior8

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 05:43 PM

This one looks similar to the one that my boss gave me but appears to be of better quality. Myfreebie , I must admit is not one of the highest quality. I was considering buying one of the Lymans or the Thumblers when he brought it in and gave it to me. It does however do a great job after only an hours tumbling. This is just cleaning dirty chassis not the restoring type of work that you see posted here. In general I would say that for cleaning purposes any of the "Brand name" tumblers should do nicely. For restoration of the old vintage classics it will require a top of the line polisher and the prope rmedia as posted here by the guy's that are doing this.
Bill Funderburk

#19 mazur50

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 11:17 AM

Is the one you have a vibrator or a tumbler?
Michael Mazur

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#20 gascarnut

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 11:25 AM

I meant has anyone used a rock vibrator like this one from Harbor Freight?

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I have one like that, along with a Thumler's rotary tumbler.

The vibratory units are only good for dry tumbling, and with certain media they can be very noisy. I have some resin media that works quite well in them for de-rusting or getting crud off of old frames, but I have not tried any polishing. I have read that crushed walnut shells with a dry polishing powder works.

I prefer the rotary - primarily because it is a lot quieter and I think a bit more gentle on the parts that are being cleaned. I have had broken solder joints on old frames coming out of the vibratory tumbler.
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#21 idare2bdul

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 11:38 AM

I've never had a joint break and can't figure out how it could happen. I just use the medium walnut shell media that has a polishing compound in it and it comes out shiny. I take the worst crud off with a dremel wire brush or sanding disc or both then throw it in. It is noisy. I put mine out in the garage and just let it go.

I've never used the Harbor Freight Brand X machine but it should work.
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#22 gascarnut

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 11:42 AM

I've never had a joint break and can't figure out how it could happen.


Try using resin media on a 30-something year old jaildoor frame..... :)

Dennis Samson
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#23 Foamy

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 11:44 PM

How much tumbling media and fluid should go in the unit?

Just doing one chassis at a time for now... well, at least when the little tumbling bits get here.

Dennis Hill
 
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preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason."

 


#24 dc-65x

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 12:29 PM

If you're going to use the Thumblers tumbler and Cabela's media like Mike and I are using, you just dump all the media in and fill the tub with water even with the media.

I've been adding a cap full of the Cabela's liquid polishing compound also.

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#25 Pablo

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 11:44 AM

What does one do with the media in between jobs? Does it need to be removed and dried, or ?
Paul Wolcott

#26 Tex

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 12:21 PM

Did you ever wonder where "Grape Nuts" cereal comes from? ;)
Richard L. Hofer

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#27 gascarnut

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 01:16 PM

What does one do with the media in between jobs? Does it need to be removed and dried, or ?

If you have only tumbled one or two frames, then there's no need to do anything - just leave the media in the tumbler with the water and soap suds. The suds will dissipate after a few hours.

Once the water gets dirty, then just rinse off the media and replace the water and soap. I use a collander so I don't lose media down the sink.

Dennis Samson
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#28 dc-65x

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 07:53 PM

I had a bad feeling the other day. I get lots of foam seeping out when I first loosen up the tumbler lid. The tumbler drum is steel with a rubber liner. Moisture must be getting between the liner and the drum. What does it look like in there? My bad feeling was that it would be a rust bucket :unsure: .

Sure enough, when I tried to remove the rubber liner it was glued to the drum with rust :shok: . I forgot to take pictures as I was panicking to get it cleaned up. What a mess! I used Naval Jelly and a wire brush on the steel and an SOS pad on the rubber liner. After a few hours of work they look like this again:

Posted Image

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I decided to prime and paint the inside of the drum with Rustoleum in the hopes slowing down the corrosion problem:

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We'll see how this works and I'll report back. In the meantime, you Thumblers tumblers guys have been warned... BEWARE. :o

Rick Thigpen
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#29 Pablo

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 08:11 PM

Thanks, Rick T. :)

A clean tool is a happy tool, ;)

Stop using so much soap!!! Or we will have to call you "Foamy" and you don't want that. :tease:
Paul Wolcott

#30 Jairus

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 09:21 PM

Rick,

Do you count the forks when you pull the dishes out of the dishwasher by any chance?

I'm just asking...

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#31 dc-65x

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 10:15 PM

Jairus, so that's what I should be doing.

OK, from now on I'll count the suckers! I'm down to four forks and I started out with eight.

Where the heck do they go. :unsure:
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#32 Pablo

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 10:19 PM

Don't let him fool you, Jairus. He mikes every tine +/- .001 then discards the rejects. ;)
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#33 Dave Larsen

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 03:27 PM

Hi Rick, :wink3:

I would like to say... "Thank you" to you, and Mr. Steube :big_boss: for all of this great infoe here :sun_bespectacled: I have this "Thumbler" and ceramic media on its way :yahoo: I'm going to use this process on these Fly'n "A" chassis...

Posted Image

... And on the Dave Fortner "steel" chassis built for Dan De Bella in 1969, where Dan won his first "Pro" race :victory: at Finish Line Raceway in 1969. This car will be brought back to its glory! :i-m_so_happy:

Posted Image

... and these beautiful chassis built by Chris Burlew...

Posted Image

Along with a host of other chassis by, the Fly'n "A", Lee Gilbert, Russ Boynton, and others. :sun_bespectacled:

Again, Rick :wink3: you have saved me a LOT of time with this thread, and the info that you, Mr. Steube, and others have posted here on this topic. :popcorm1:

A "tumbling" I will go,

Regards,

Dave Posted Image
Dave Larsen ..... AKA "The Vitter"  :diablo:..... Big or Small ..... I build them all   :sun_bespectacled:

#34 dc-65x

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 03:52 PM

Hi Dave,

Mike Steube helped me and I'm glad this post with his info is helping others :) . Watch out for the rust issue I pointed out earlier. Steve Okeefe checked his drum and it was rusted even worse than mine :shok: .

I was looking at your "Dave Fortner "steel" chassis". Does it have the same logo as this chassis I showed at the beginning of this post?

Posted Image

We have several chassis with this logo from the Oakland Speedway collection and we aren't familiar with the builder. Can you help :unsure: ?

Thanks in advance,

Rick Thigpen
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#35 Dave Larsen

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 05:50 PM

You bet it does, Rick!

I took a little wool to it and cleaned it up a bit for you to see...

Posted Image

Rick, speaking of Oakland Speedway :yahoo: (a little off topic) here's a race report from back in the day, the "pros" ...

Posted Image

... The "amateurs"...

Posted Image

I have no idea what happened to me at this race. :scratch_one-s_head: I could have been still at the HO track :yahoo: or I could have been at the counter getting a "REL'S" sandwhich from Les, which were the :bomb: to grub on at the track! Great times and memories for me thats for sure!

I was given a "time capsule" by Dan DeBella and this report was in there. :wub:

As far as Dave Fortner goes, he was a racer and chassis builder from Arizona and was a great chassis innovator, as his "steel" chassis made for Dan back in 1969 shows. Thanks for the "heads up" on the rust propblem, I will get my drum powder-coated and this will put a end to the problem before it starts. I will still just dump the media solution in a container until I need to use it. :wink3:

As always, Rick,

Regards,

Dave Posted Image
Dave Larsen ..... AKA "The Vitter"  :diablo:..... Big or Small ..... I build them all   :sun_bespectacled:

#36 dc-65x

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 06:36 PM

Wow, that race report is like a who's who of '70s Bay Area Pro slot racing! I see Rick Hine's name, I work with him now. I've bugged him about finding his old slot box but so far he says he can't find it :unsure: .

Thanks for solving the mystery of the, as we were calling them, "Bug-I" chassis. They are really nicely made. I have the one pictured and an Iso.

Thanks again,

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#37 Dave Larsen

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 07:13 PM

Rick...

You bet that's a race report of the who's who of "Pro" racing from back in the day. :wink3: I have more...

Rick Hines was a gentleman back when he raced the slot :good: A very polite man :angel: , always helpful to anyone that needed help! I remember his green 610 that was BRE tricked-out, like Freddy's 510. It was a bad little ride, long before the "rice" rides of today!

Let Rick know that there are some of these "Pro"racers on this report, that are building chassis/cars to race in NorCal D3. It would be great to have him come and join some of his "old" racing buddies! I'm sure he will enjoy the time and hanging out with some of his friends from back in the day, :dance3:

As always, Rick,

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#38 Pablo

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 07:57 PM

What does one do with the media in between jobs? Does it need to be removed and dried, or ?
--------------------

Paul Wolcott


Note to self: Rinse, remove, and drip dry the media in a separate container between jobs, remove rubber liner, clean and dry, clean and dry steel tub thoroughly, coat with WD-40 or similar. Ouch, Rick T. , that was painful, thanks for the heads up ;)
Paul Wolcott

#39 dc-65x

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 08:42 PM

Hi Pablo,

Powder coating is probably the ultimate solution. A stainless steel drum sure would be ;) . I've already done the RustOleum primer and paint so I just going to let her go for a month or so and see what happens. A RustOleum torture test!

Rick Thigpen
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#40 Rick

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 08:43 PM

Has anyone ever tried the vibratory WET tumblers? Harbor Freight has a large one, about 15 pounder, and it says in the write-up, that it is faster than tumbler type. I found it in one of their catalogs but is not listed on the web site. Pretty pricey at $200!!!!

They also list ceramic tumbling media for it.

I am thinking about it for not only cleaning chassis' but for deburring larger numbers of parts...............
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#41 Horsepower

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 04:35 PM

Why this one is made of rustable steel and most of the smaller tumblers are made of rubber is beyond me. The rubber drums are much quieter, too.
Gary Stelter

#42 slotbaker

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 08:15 PM

The steel drum has a rubber liner, so it is pretty quiet.

I'm sure with a bit of care, i.e. dry the drum after use, it will last long enough to pass it down to the next generation of builders.

:)

Steve King


#43 gascarnut

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 12:23 PM

Thumler's have another slightly different tumbler too, the AR-12:

Posted Image

The drum is a rubber molding with no steel casing at all, a simple styrene disc to close it, and a large hose clamp to ensure it seals.

I have one - it works great, can take two or three 1/24 frames at a time and no corrosion problems.

Dennis Samson
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#44 Dave Larsen

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 02:04 PM

Shoot, Rick!!! You didn't tell me I had to put the thing together :dash2: ...

Posted Image

.... Just joking around with you, Rick. :wink3: I got the "B" model, I found they made a "H/S" model (Hi-speed) and bought it. I was told that the motor had a little bit more grunt :bb: for extended periods of use. A few things that I have done with this machine when using it: I have marked the top and its rubber gasket so it goes back in the same place every time. :wink3: I tighten the cover nuts as you would do when you tighten up a 1:1 wheel, in a star pattern. :good: ...

Posted Image

Well, Rick, after four hours of tumbling... out comes the Flying "A" chassis. :sun_bespectacled:

Posted Image

Posted Image

:shout: VANTASTIC!!! :sun_bespectacled: is the only word that comes to my mind, Rick! :wink3: Next up will be Dan DeBella's car (Fortner chassis) that he won his first "Pro" race with at Finish Line in '69, against California's best of the time. :victory:

Posted Image

Posted Image

There was a little repair work that had to be done to the back of the chassis. With that being done...

Posted Image

I'm going to bring this car back to its glory :victory: for Dan. Rick, I won't do it here on your thread, I will find some place to post it :scratch_one-s_head: But... I will post pictures of the finished chassis here. :wink2:

Again, Rick and Mr. Steube, :big_boss: thanks for all the great info here. :ok:

As always,

Regards,
Dave Posted Image
Dave Larsen ..... AKA "The Vitter"  :diablo:..... Big or Small ..... I build them all   :sun_bespectacled:

#45 dc-65x

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 08:26 PM

Hi Dave,

Your chassis looks great and I'm glad you're happy with the tumbling process :) . I'm guessing you didn't use any type of liquid polish that Cabela's or others sell. It will make the brass REALLY shiny but we've had problems with the steel corroding after a while. We're not sure but suspect the polish.

Steve Okeefe's latest post shows his chassis tumbled with water and Tide HE low suds liquid detergent for front-loading machines. I have some but haven't yet tried it. I'll report back here when I do.

Tumbling onward, one chassis at a time...

Rick Thigpen
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#46 68Caddy

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 07:56 PM

Vitter :blink: ,

I don't know how you get cars like Dan DeBella's car? :shok: He was one of the best of its time, and still ranks in top 50 best racer list in the world. :o Dip that sucker in the tumbler, can hardly wait to see how it comes out. ;) I wonder how it stands up to time? :rolleyes: Heck, I bet that car still kicks a$$. :laugh2:

Philippe, that would be such a cool car to have in the museum.

Posted Image

Thanks for sharing that car of Dan DeBella's.

Respect (WEI),
Nesta aka 68CaddyPosted Image
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#47 Bob Campbell

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 09:25 PM

Has anyone ever tried the vibratory WET tumblers?

I'm getting ready to build one soon. We have about ten of them in assorted sizes that I can look at and figure out what to do. Very simple in design! Another neat thing is the vibratory tumblers work much faster than the rotarys.

I am also building some barrels for a rotary tumbler that I got for next to nothing. This tumbler is long and will hold about three of the tumbler barrels.
Bob Campbell
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#48 dc-65x

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 10:34 PM

Sounds interesting, Bob. Please share some before and after pictures with us. :)

Rick Thigpen
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#49 gascarnut

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 11:22 AM

I'm guessing you didn't use any type of liquid polish that Cabela's or others sell. It will make the brass REALLY shiny but we've had problems with the steel corroding after a while. We're not sure but suspect the polish.

I use the soap that comes with the ceramic media from Buffalo Arms, and I have not had any problem with the steel corroding. In fact it seems to me that the steel is more rust-resistant after tumbling. Just don't forget to oil the hinges... ;)

Dennis Samson
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#50 dc-65x

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 11:59 AM

Hi Dennis,

We've had real corrosion problems with the Cabela's liquid polish :blink: . I'd love to use the Buffalo Arms polish without fear of corrosion :unsure: .

How long have you been using it with good results: weeks, months, years???

Thanks in advance,

Rick Thigpen
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