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  • Vibratory Polishing

    I've been thinking of making something like this................

    https://www.homemadetools.net/forum/...774#post192774

    I've been tossing around a few ideas over the years. I have a few plastic 55 gallon barrels that would make a perfect tub cut down, 12 to 15" deep maybe. I know that there are all kinds of polishing media out there. The stuff in the video looks like styrofoam beads but is some type of ceramic. Not sure what the liquid is, soapy water ?? Does one type of media bring a bead blast finish up to a mirror finish ? or would you have to work your way up through a few different types.

    Biggest issue would be how to adequately vibrate the tub. Any thoughts ?

    JL...............

  • #2
    There is a specific soap that is sold for putting in tumblers. Last batch I got was from a place that sold media and supplies for jewelry making.

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    • #3
      I have a vibratory tumbler for cleaning brass for reloading. I use it for cleaning copper and brass plumbing fittings. Walnut shells and a bit of metal polish will give a nice finish after many hours.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jerrythepilot View Post
        I have a vibratory tumbler for cleaning brass for reloading. I use it for cleaning copper and brass plumbing fittings. Walnut shells and a bit of metal polish will give a nice finish after many hours.
        I also have one of those. It does a great job on the brass casings and I've used it for a few other small things. I use ground walnut shells and a small amount of red jewelers rouge which helps the polishing and reduces the time, but the rouge tends to collect in any scratches and inside edges like the cartridge rim.
        But I was looking for something on a larger scale. Coming up with a way to sufficiently vibrate it was my main question.

        JL.............

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        • #5
          I knew an engineer years ago who mounted a dual action air sander (a body shop DA) upside down to a table frame. The platen where the sand paper would go was attached to a tabletop that was mounted on springs in each corner. He would pour bathroom vanity tops into a mold that was attaches to the tabletop. Starting the DA vibrated the mold enough to remove air bubbles. I imagine something similar would work for your tub.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jerrythepilot View Post
            I knew an engineer years ago who mounted a dual action air sander (a body shop DA) upside down to a table frame. The platen where the sand paper would go was attached to a tabletop that was mounted on springs in each corner. He would pour bathroom vanity tops into a mold that was attaches to the tabletop. Starting the DA vibrated the mold enough to remove air bubbles. I imagine something similar would work for your tub.
            That would do it for a small scale set up but for something the dia. of a 55 gallon drum I think it would take a little more. Due to the length of time it takes to polish something I wouldn't want to use air. The compressor would be running non stop.

            I was thinking of a motor with an off set weight but that would tend to shake rather than vibrate.

            JL..............

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            • #7
              Surely you could find something if you type the term “vibrator” into google.

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              • #8
                Years ago my father was looking for some sort of Real Estate. We stopped to look at one place where the guy was polishing agates and other rocks. He had sandwiched gallon paint cans between two 48 inch plywood discs. Ithink there was at least 6 cans he loaded the cans with rocks and abrasive and water. The thing turned over at a slow rate powered by a1/2 hp motor. He said it took days to get the polish he was looking for. Rube Goldberg would have been proud of the machine. Also no idea how long a can would last.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
                  That would do it for a small scale set up but for something the dia. of a 55 gallon drum I think it would take a little more. Due to the length of time it takes to polish something I wouldn't want to use air. The compressor would be running non stop.

                  I was thinking of a motor with an off set weight but that would tend to shake rather than vibrate.

                  JL..............
                  Smaller weight, faster motor?

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                  • #10
                    I have used those before at places I worked. They work well, but kind of expensive for a home shop. from $2500 - $4000. I bought a cement mixer for $300 that has a poly tub and use that with ceramic media for deburring machined parts. It works well, but takes a little longer than a vibrator one.
                    Kansas City area

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
                      That would do it for a small scale set up but for something the dia. of a 55 gallon drum I think it would take a little more. Due to the length of time it takes to polish something I wouldn't want to use air. The compressor would be running non stop.

                      I was thinking of a motor with an off set weight but that would tend to shake rather than vibrate.

                      JL..............
                      I made a vibratory tumbler that would hold a 5 gallon bucket of brass cartridge casings using a bowl that was from an industrial tumbler. I had seen a similar one made by Lyman and it used a 1/3 hp 3000 rpm motor with an off balance counter weight.
                      I got a deal on a 1/2 hp pump motor and it worked well!
                      The motor must have ball bearings to accommodate the side thrust of the counter weight.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by oxford View Post
                        Surely you could find something if you type the term “vibrator” into google.
                        Have you tried typing in "vibrator" on google ??

                        JL..............

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Toolguy View Post
                          I have used those before at places I worked. They work well, but kind of expensive for a home shop. from $2500 - $4000. I bought a cement mixer for $300 that has a poly tub and use that with ceramic media for deburring machined parts. It works well, but takes a little longer than a vibrator one.
                          Tumbling is a bit slower than vibrating. The cement mixer was a good idea.

                          JL...............

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by RMinMN View Post

                            Smaller weight, faster motor?
                            That would do it, the smaller weight would vibrate more than shake the entire tub. Perhaps three separate motors mounted to the bottom of the tub would work well. It would take some trial and error.

                            JL...............

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                            • #15
                              Interesting project Joe, here's a little bit of info that may help, I hope.

                              Lots of info on this page to give one a general idea regarding media types and their uses.

                              https://shinysmooth.com/mass-finishing/

                              As far as the fundamentals of how to get that thing a'shakin I would assume it would be basically the same as a brass vibrator/polisher, an eccentric weight on the shaft of a motor secured to the bowl which is allowed to oscillate since it would be mounted on springs. The fine tuning would of course revolve largely on the weight of the eccentric and springs calibration. Lots of other factors to consider as well, chiefly the size and and all-up weight of the bowl. Among other things of course would be HP required.

                              I have in the past seen some though roughly the size you are contemplating that used a 1 HP motor.

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