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Homemade wet tumbler for stainless steel media

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by jmorris, Dec 2, 2011.


  1. jmorris

    jmorris
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    The results using stainless steel media always impressed me; however, being accustom to the large batches my big Dillon tumbler can turn out the idea of only being able to 2 lbs of brass (only 230 rounds of 9mm) at a time just wouldn’t be worth it.

    The Thumler’s tumbler despite costing almost $200 is only good for 15 lbs . Once you add 8 lbs (a gallon) of water and 5 lbs of SS media that only leaves 2 lbs of brass. You can also get a 40 lb tumbler as well but at almost $700...well if I wanted to burn money I would just buy new brass.

    I started out ebaying parts, a 1/3hp 40 rpm gear motor ran $30, 1” pillow block bearings (1500lb load rating) for $8 and a Lovejoy coupling for another $10. I then made a frame out of ¾” to mount the motor and bearing box. Cut a disk out of 3/8” steel and mounted a 100 lb (12.2 gallon) bucket used to hold chlorine onto the disk using 10-32 bolts. I slid another bucket into the first one and cut slots into the outer bucket so the inner bucket would inner lock with it. I then cut 4 ribs 1 5/8” tall out of ½” thick plastic and bolted them in to the inner bucket, using 10-32 counter sink bolts, every 90 degrees to agitate the brass and media.

    The media is pretty expensive at $25 for five pounds so I only bought 10 pounds for initial testing, so if it didn’t work I wouldn’t be out of too much money. So I started out with only a gallon Ziploc bag of .223 and a few hand full’s of 458socom for the trial run.

    The mix was 2 gallons of water, 2 table spoons of Dawn dish washing soap, ½ teaspoon of Lemishine detergent. Even at over twice the capacity of the Thumler’s B model there is still a lot of room for more.

    I ran the mix for 1 hour and separated the media/brass using my Dillon separator, rinsed the brass with clean water and dumped it onto a screen I built for drying dip lubed bullets. It was kind of cool today so I set a heated fan up to help dry them out. In about 15 min they were all dry.

    It’s not much to look at but once I get a few more bags of media I figure it will tumble around 4500-5000 9mm cases at a time and I will have under $180 invested including the 20 lbs of media.



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  2. SJ 40

    SJ 40
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  3. Hogpauls

    Hogpauls
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    Nice job JM! How did those primer pockets come out? Priceless = Good Ole American ingenuity and self satisfaction of a job well done. Not throwing your money a store front that sells all the crap that China can offer.
     
  4. jhoagland

    jhoagland
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    That's right!
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    Hella cool!
     
  5. DoctaGlockta

    DoctaGlockta
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    Shiny. I'll say it again you really need to start your own Jmorris 'Homemade' reloading equipment thread.

    You have a gift mate.

    Thanks.

    Art
     
    #6 DoctaGlockta, Dec 3, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  6. jmorris

    jmorris
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    I have cement mixer down at the farm that's old enough it was made in the good ole US of A; however I figured the stainless media inside the metal drum would beat of all the paint first and rust later to mix in with the brass. I then thought about sticking a bucket inside of it (as I did with the above machine) but figured the duty cycle might not be good enough as it only takes a minute to mix cement vs running for hours at a time. In the end ot was space that put the idea out, I have a lot of "stuff" and floor space is too valuable for a tumbler that takes up that much space.


    The primer pockets and insides are "as new" clean.

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