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How To Decontaminate Your Tumbler Barrel

Posted by Michael Wegener on

How To Decontaminate Your Tumbler Barrel

Deburring and polishing can be a messy business. Small tumblers for jewelry polishing use media made of stainless or carbon steel, with water and soap solutions to enhance the finishing process. These can leave residue behind that will mar the appearance of metal and reduce the tumbler’s effectiveness. Here are suggestions on how to decontaminate your tumbler barrel.

Understand Your Barrel

The inside of a small tumbler barrel is usually made of rubber, and lower quality rubber degrades quickly. Run your tumbler with your stainless steel shot and a solution of equal parts water and vinegar for a few 20-minute cycles before your first use, followed by a 20-minute rinse with a solution of water and a few tablespoons of baking soda.

Use only water and mild soap in your tumbler when running it to finish or polish metal pieces, and change the solution when it starts to look dirty or grey. After a time, you may see your pieces yellowing, coming out with a black residue, or looking tarnished. This means your barrel needs decontamination to remove the sludge-like residue that has built up inside. Your shot may also be rusting and need a cleaning. Additionally, if you’ve been using too harsh a solution, you may have damaged the barrel lining.

How To Decontaminate Your Tumbler

Hobbyists swear by flat Coca Cola to decontaminate your tumbler barrel. Coke is very acidic, and you can achieve the same effect with vinegar or lemon juice. Put the liquid and the shot in the tumbler and run it through three 20-minute cycles, using a fresh solution each time. The shot should appear clean and gleaming after these three rounds. Then, rinse the barrel with clean water for a cycle. Remember to use only mild soap, like the shavings of Ivory bar soap, in your tumbler to reduce build-up inside.

AccuBrass can supply an industrial rotary tumbler and vibratory finishing machines to metalworking shops for large jobs and smaller rotary tumblers for jewelry, metal, and rock polishing.

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