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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 CERAMIC MEDIA AND POLISH

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:

tumbler007.jpg

tumbler006.jpg

Here is the engraving:

tumbler005.jpg

If anyone knows who this builder is. please tell us. smile.gif . 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:

tumbler010.jpg

And away we go:

tumbler009.jpg

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

tumbler016.jpg

tumbler017.jpg

Here are some before and after close-ups:

tumbler002.jpg

tumbler012.jpg

tumbler003.jpg

tumbler013.jpg

tumbler004.jpg

tumbler014.jpg

tumbler001.jpg

tumbler011.jpg

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

tumbler018.jpg

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. :)

#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:

Posted Image

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:

Posted Image

Posted Image

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:

Posted Image

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:

#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?

Posted Image

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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Dennis Samson
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Life is scratchbuilt

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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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Mike Boemker

#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.

Rick Thigpen
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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





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