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Thread: Tumblers?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    288

    Tumblers?

    I am gathering the equipment needed to start making my own bullets and have realized a tumbler will be handy if not an essential tool.

    What tumbler do you all recommend or should i make my own?

    Im also getting the idea that most prefer to tumble in a glass jar over plastic, is there a specific reason for this and is there a prefered size for doing 500 cores or jackets at a time?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Georgetown, Texas
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    548

    Thumbs down Don't tumble into this POS.

    I had one of the early RCBS tumblers. I can not recommend it. It stopped turning the tumbling container despite the motorized shafts turning. Nothing I attempted fixed the problem. Like an idiot I purchased another unit. It too had the same problem. At the time it was one of the few rotary case tumblers on the market. Unless they have improved this unit I would steer clear of it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Surprise, AZ
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    307

    Thumler

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Oltersdorf View Post
    I had one of the early RCBS tumblers. I can not recommend it. It stopped turning the tumbling container despite the motorized shafts turning. Nothing I attempted fixed the problem. Like an idiot I purchased another unit. It too had the same problem. At the time it was one of the few rotary case tumblers on the market. Unless they have improved this unit I would steer clear of it.
    The Thumler rock tumblers are about the best available, and even they have a lot of shortcomings. Mine has evolved to the point that the container is the only original part left - bigger motor (I like to load that container...), bearings (as opposed to bushings), and sturdier shafts (1/2" vs 3/16"). If I had it to do all over again, I'd just order the container as a 'part' and build the rest from scratch. I think I could have done mine with just a drill, so you don't need a full shop to do it.

    If you don't load it heavy, the Thumler will do a good job for a long time. I had mine for ~15 years before upgrading it after I switched to wet tumbling.

    GsT

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Posts
    497
    tim
    if you are talking about their rotary tumbler, the drums sometimes GROW in length.
    tap them on a hard floor to shorten them and then try again.
    i have 6 drums for mine....working fine for many years.
    but i do not make bullets.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Oltersdorf View Post
    I had one of the early RCBS tumblers. I can not recommend it. It stopped turning the tumbling container despite the motorized shafts turning. Nothing I attempted fixed the problem. Like an idiot I purchased another unit. It too had the same problem. At the time it was one of the few rotary case tumblers on the market. Unless they have improved this unit I would steer clear of it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    288
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneT View Post
    The Thumler rock tumblers are about the best available, and even they have a lot of shortcomings. Mine has evolved to the point that the container is the only original part left - bigger motor (I like to load that container...), bearings (as opposed to bushings), and sturdier shafts (1/2" vs 3/16"). If I had it to do all over again, I'd just order the container as a 'part' and build the rest from scratch. I think I could have done mine with just a drill, so you don't need a full shop to do it.

    If you don't load it heavy, the Thumler will do a good job for a long time. I had mine for ~15 years before upgrading it after I switched to wet tumbling.

    GsT
    Ive been thinking about building one and using a windshield wiper motor. They turn about 30 to 40 RPM. Ive also got a couple of old furnace fan motors that are 1/4Hp and either 1340 or 1750RPM but with the right pulleys I could get whatever RPM I need.

    What rpm would you all suggest to turn the drum at? Im thinking around 40rpm ? So I would have to get the 1/2" shaft to turn around 720rpm to turn a 8 or 9 inch drum at 40rpm.
    Last edited by TrxR; 01-19-2021 at 09:59 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    S.E. MI
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    2,350
    Here's what I use. https://www.harborfreight.com/3-lb-r...sugg_q=tumbler
    7 hand fulls of jackets. Is about 500. About 1" from the top.
    0.8-1.1 gns of lube. 5 min MAX!!!!
    Works great. And it's self cleaning. I have never cleaned it.
    Last edited by zippy06; 01-19-2021 at 08:12 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Surprise, AZ
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    307
    Quote Originally Posted by TrxR View Post
    Ive been thinking about building one and using a windshield wiper motor. They turn about 30 to 40 RPM. Ive also got a couple of old furnace fan motors that are 1/4Hp and either 1340 or 1750RPM but with the right pulleys I could get whatever RPM I need.

    What rpm would you all suggest to turn the drum at? Im thinking around 40rpm ? So I would have to get the 1/2" shaft to turn around 720rpm to turn a 8 or 9 inch drum at 40rpm.
    I have a 1750 rpm motor, with a 1.25" pulley on the motor and a 4" pulley on the rotating shaft. The shaft is actually about 1.5" diameter, because I sleeved it with rubber foam for traction. That should be about 550RPM on the roller, which, with the 9.25" diameter container means about 90 rpm of the container. That's fast, but not uncomfortably so. I wouldn't go much faster.

    GsT

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lower Dakota Territory
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    2,090
    I used this Thumler's Tumbler model A-R-12. The barrel is a hexagon rubber with a 12 lb. capacity. Put the jackets or cores into glass jars with the lube on the inside of the jar and let the jar tumble around inside the barrel.

    Like we say here on the Northern Plains...it doesn't never not work. -Al

    Last edited by Al Nyhus; 01-20-2021 at 04:56 PM.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2006
    Location
    Wilcox, PA
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    747

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by al nyhus View Post
    i used this thumler's tumbler model a-r-12. The barrel is a hexagon rubber with a 12 lb. Capacity. Put the jackets or cores into glass jars with the lube of the side of the jar and let the jar tumble around inside the barrel.

    Like we say here on the northern plains...it doesn't never not work. -al

    put jackets in zip locks to lub and tumble works like charm

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    288
    Quote Originally Posted by Al Nyhus View Post
    I used this Thumler's Tumbler model A-R-12. The barrel is a hexagon rubber with a 12 lb. capacity. Put the jackets or cores into glass jars with the lube of the side of the jar and let the jar tumble around inside the barrel.

    Like we say here on the Northern Plains...it doesn't never not work. -Al

    What size glass jar are you using and how many jackets or cores at a time?

    Im going to see if i can find just the drum off one of those . I have everything here to build the rest .

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Surprise, AZ
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    Mine started out like Al's - except my container is rubber-lined steel...

    Here's what it looks like now:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    288
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneT View Post
    Here's what it looks like now:
    I believe Al's whole drum is some sort of rubber

    But that essentially what i have in mind but not as fancy .

    What kind of glass jars do you use inside the drum and how many cores at a time?

    Now i got to find a drum.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    S.E. MI
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    Quote Originally Posted by zippy06 View Post
    Here's what I use. https://www.harborfreight.com/3-lb-r...sugg_q=tumbler
    7 hand fulls of jackets. Is about 500. About 1" from the top.
    0.8-1.1 gns of lube. 5 min MAX!!!!
    Works great. And it's self cleaning. I have never cleaned it.
    Yo! it's all here. $50 doollars US.
    Drum is rubber....I have miss counted and tumbled 700....works great.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by zippy06; 01-20-2021 at 06:53 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Georgetown, Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsmithsr View Post
    tim
    if you are talking about their rotary tumbler, the drums sometimes GROW in length.
    tap them on a hard floor to shorten them and then try again.
    i have 6 drums for mine....working fine for many years.
    but i do not make bullets.
    I wonder if the problem was the semi upright position of the drum. I was unaware of the drums growing in length.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    288
    Quote Originally Posted by zippy06 View Post
    Yo! it's all here. $50 doollars US.
    Drum is rubber....I have miss counted and tumbled 700....works great.
    Dont have harborfreight here. Im on the other side of the border.

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