Uses of Vibratory Tumbler Machine

Posted: October 29, 2020 By: MattM

Vibratory Tumblers can clean, smooth and refine items with basically no labor on your part. They work very similar to how a rock or stone gets perfectly smooth in a river or ocean. By constantly moving against an abrasive (other rocks, sand, etc.) they are slowly polished. A vibratory tumbler takes the same idea and puts it to work in your home. Tumblers usually use an electric motor with springs and dampers to shake or oscillate a bowl filled with your choice of abrasive. Tumblers have specific uses in some niches but can be used for a wide variety of items just by changing the media or additives in the tumbler bowl. Below we list our top 5 uses.

  1. Polishing and Smoothing Rocks and Gems- A vibratory tumbler is much quicker than a conventional rotary rock tumbler as it shakes at a much higher speed which allows the stones and media to rotate more quickly and become polished. A rotary tumbler tends to spin the entire bowl around and the rocks fall as they get to the top of the cycle and are in essence only being polished every half a rotation. A vibratory tumbler keeps the rocks in the media moving around the stones at all times creating a polished stone overnight or in a day versus a week or two with a rotary tumbler. Since rocks and gems are usually quite hard and sharp we suggest using multiple grits of media to take an “as-found” stone all the way to smooth and fully polished.
  2. Clean and Degrease Mechanical Items– The great thing about a tumbler is all of the different types of items you can put in them. If you get a tumbler with a drain in the bowl you can use a liquid degreaser additive into the bowl with your media to clean parts easier, and more efficiently than doing it by hand with a parts cleaner. Our favorite is to add a cup or two of Oil Eater in with the media to degrease parts. This vibration of the tumbler will get the oil eater into cracks and crevices you couldn’t get to even with fine bristle brush. After a rinse the parts will come out looking almost good as new!
  3. Polishing Tarnished Silverware- Were you recently gifted your great grandmas nicer silverware? Does it have a tarnished finish that is hard to get off by hand? Sure you can use elbow grease, metal polish, and a rag to clean up old silverware but it can take a LONG time to clean it all up and even then it’s almost impossible to get into every little crevice with your hands. A vibratory tumbler can make things easy. Simply put some dri-shine fine media into the tumbler with your silverware and let it run overnight. The result will be polished and ultra clean silverware. Run them through the dishwasher after tumbling and you have grandmas silverware ready and fit for a king!
  4. Jewelry Cleaning- Jewelry that you wear or even your special occasion jewelry can get dirty and be extremely difficult to clean. Some jewelers offer cleaning services but they can be expensive and stressful to let your precious jewelry out of your sight. A small vibratory tumbler with fine media can work well to clean your jewelry and have it looking as good as new. We suggest letting it run a few hours at the least or even better overnight or the best results with fine media.
  5. Gunsmithing and Reloading- If you’re a gunsmith or ammo aficionado then you may run into an instance where you need to get items surgically clean even in areas the eyes can’t reach. This is where a tumbler can help. Use a vibratory tumbler to clean and polish empty shells, clean vintage gun parts, or prep parts for assembling a custom firearm. We suggest our larger tumblers for tumbling larger gun parts or high volume of shells for reloading.

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