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Tumbler question

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"...I don't want to be exposed to the dust of traditional tumbling..."

Maybe not perfect, but it helps to use the dryer cloth trick, change out the media regularly (in new media the dust from the original milling is clean. It's the ground off bits that get coated with lead containing contaminants from extended media use that might be hazardous to breathe), and wear a particle filtering mask like those used by painters or fiberglass workers.

Edited by kevin c
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Excellent tips, Kevin, and I've tried some of them.

My reloading room is in my basement and is my 'regular' workshop and is adjacent to our living room. While the dust mask might help during processing, I am concerned about where else that dust may go, such as into carpeting if it blows into the next room. I am concerned for myself, but also for my small kids who still play on the floor in the adjacent room.

Ideally, I'd process brass in an outbuilding, but that is not currently an option.

Plus I can change solution and toss gun parts in the ultrasonic cleaner.

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I bought as Lyman 1200 Tumbler and loaded it with Walnut media. I put some pretty grungy brass through it at first and noticed a lot of big particles of gritty dust deposited on the lid and just around the workbench top where it sits. I had used Dillon Polishing additive.

I changed he media and went to a NuFinish car polish as an additive which is quite liquid compared to the Dillon product.

The brass got cleaned faster and with NO NO NO dust or dirty grit anywhere.

I conclude the trick is to keep the media moist while tumbling but not so moist that you are tumbling lumps rather than fluidly moving media.

Hope this helps as it solved my concerns.


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I've tried both types of cleaning brass and for me tumbling is the way to go. It's a issue of time for me (drying time). I also noticed that when I sonic cleaned 223 brass that the bullets would gall when seating them since the carbon was gone. never tried it with pistol brass though. I don't think that anyone answered the question in the very first post but my answer would be call the manufacturer and let them know what's going on. hope this helps

Edited by 314shane
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I clean my brass in a solution of hot water and vinegar (3:1 solution). I also add salt and Dawn dishwashing detergent to the solution and run it in my Harbor Freight ultrasonic (3 or 4 heated cycles).

After thoroughly rinsing and then drying brass, it's into the tumbler with a bit of NuFinish. Never had any dust issues and I figure the "brass bath" cuts down on most of the bad stuff.

The OP asked whether or not to purchase to regular or the industrial version the Thumler vibratory tumbler.... I wondered the same thing. In most pictures/videos relating to processing brass, I see the industrial version. If you're spending that kind of money on a tumbler, I'd go for the industrial version but my opinion holds zero weight as I have never used a Thumler.

The main thing I have learned is that a Dillon Precision case/media separator is the ONLY way to go... everything else is a toy by comparison.

Edited by razorfish
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