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Dirtchevy841

Tumbling large amounts of brass

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Posted (edited)

What is the best and cheapest way to tumble large amounts of brass. I know about the cement mixer but is there any other ideas out there. 

Edited by Dirtchevy841

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just keep your regular tumbler running, add a new batch a few times a day.
I have seen contraptions made with a  truck tire and an electric motor but seemed like alot of work.. Building the contraption was probably more of the fun than actual using it.
Id say a small cement mixer, probably cheapest and easier to get going.

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Great Idea, anybody using a cement mixer.?

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk

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Great Idea, anybody using a cement mixer.?

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk



I’ve seen several people using the mixer. The best ever was a wet tumbler made from a 55 gallon drum

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Good afternoon Guys.

 

A very long time ago I used a cement mixer to clean many thousands of .45acp brass, ( many )

It worked great.

 

But the one thing to remember with all media tumblers is to ware a mask and gloves when emptying it, the dust will contain things you don't want in your lungs, and the gloves protect against the unknows entering your body through your skin.

 

I hope this helps a bit.

 

J. Russell Bryan

Canadian shooter of what ever is fun.

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22 minutes ago, JRB said:

Good afternoon Guys.

 

A very long time ago I used a cement mixer to clean many thousands of .45acp brass, ( many )

It worked great.

 

But the one thing to remember with all media tumblers is to ware a mask and gloves when emptying it, the dust will contain things you don't want in your lungs, and the gloves protect against the unknows entering your body through your skin.

 

I hope this helps a bit.

 

J. Russell Bryan

Canadian shooter of what ever is fun.

Thinking of going the way of small mixer. What media did you use to tumble the brass and how long. 

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1 hour ago, Steve RA said:

Small, inexpensive cement mixer like the ones at Harbor Freight.

 

https://www.harborfreight.com/3-1-2-half-cubic-ft-cement-mixer-67536.html

Yeah Steve I saw that one probably go with it if no new ideas pop up. Was seeing if someone had s better idea. I am wondering what people use for media and how long do the tumble when using a mixer. 

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15 hours ago, Dirtchevy841 said:

What is the best and cheapest way to tumble large amounts of brass. I know about the cement mixer but is there any other ideas out there. 

 

Wet or dry?

 

I've used the Harbor Freight mini tumblers that are made of rubber containers, using SS Pins, wet. Then I made a container out of PVC. One thing that happens is the rubber/pvc wears down and actually will cause your brass to look dull/green/blackish. All that rubber/pvc attaches to the brass cases. At first it was always bright as can be, but after a year, they came out darker. As long as it was clean inside and out, I really didn't care. Sometimes I would tumble finished rounds with corn cob, just to get that shine back. Sometimes, I don't care. 

 

The Cement Mixer is a great idea. Get all the paint off the inside first. A bare metal SS container is probably my next build. 

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You could do either, some just use water with some sort of acid and soap.  Others us stainless pins.  Or, I guess, you could use the normal dry materials.  Personally, I'd stick to the wet method.

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I’m currently running the STM 40lb rotary tumbler. Love how much brass it can clean but hate the weight of it. If the motor burns out or I need more capacity. I will buy a cement mixer to replace it. The amount of area/time to dry the brass, should be a limiting factor at some point. 

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Posted (edited)

I keep thinking a used front load washer would be good for this.  Maybe it's time to search craigslist for someone giving one away for free.

 

This would be tumbled without pins of course...

Edited by LuvDog

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4 hours ago, LuvDog said:

I keep thinking a used front load washer would be good for this.  Maybe it's time to search craigslist for someone giving one away for free.

 

This would be tumbled without pins of course...

 

They make 5 and 8 gallon steel drums, which wouldn't be a bad idea. 

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8 hours ago, Lastcat said:

 

Wet or dry?

 

I've used the Harbor Freight mini tumblers that are made of rubber containers, using SS Pins, wet. Then I made a container out of PVC. One thing that happens is the rubber/pvc wears down and actually will cause your brass to look dull/green/blackish. All that rubber/pvc attaches to the brass cases. At first it was always bright as can be, but after a year, they came out darker. As long as it was clean inside and out, I really didn't care. Sometimes I would tumble finished rounds with corn cob, just to get that shine back. Sometimes, I don't care. 

 

The Cement Mixer is a great idea. Get all the paint off the inside first. A bare metal SS container is probably my next build. 

That’s a good idea never thought to strip the paint out first. 

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Maybe not the cheapest, but I'm building one of these. Easy to expand it to 2, 3, 4, even 6 tumblers on a single motor. 

 

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I watched a video of Jerry Michelec using a cement mixer to wet tumble his brass.  He dumped a full 5 gal bucket of brass in at a time.  Tumbled for 2 hours with liquid soap.  I looked at a cement mixer in Harbor Freight and it was close tot he same price as the FA tumbler.  If I had more room that is the way I'd process my brass.  I wet tumble now and it gets the brass perfectly clean.  Lay them out on a towel to dry for a couple of days, spray with One Shot and pour into WalMart half gal plastic jugs for storage until needed.

 

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two places i worked at used the Hf cement mixer. they just added water, dish soap and a little white vinegar. air dried on an old screen door held off the ground by saw horses or whatever. you can easily clean a 5gallon bucket of brass at a time doing this. no pins, no dust just a lot of filthy water.

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Posted (edited)

I bought the plastic drum kobalt cement mixer from Lowe’s. They are actually on sale for 300 right now. If you get a 10% off coupon and then buy discount gift cards and you might be able to use a credit card member mall for about 20% total. I like the plastic drum and also cover the blades with rubber hose. It is relatively quiet. I do a 5 gal bucket at a time and still have room

Edited by Novagunner

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I found a used Kushlan 350 concrete mixer on Facebook or Craigslist for $50. I used rubber horse mat/ conveyer belt material and filled inthe gaps to agitate the brass. A little hot water, pinch of dan and a sprinkle of lemi shine and half a 5gal bucket of 9mm comes out looking brand new.

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I have that big dawg tumbler and it works great i have it with one of the mid size drums. I havent used it much lately. But i will be going back to it after I put a sink in my basement.

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Posted (edited)

Picked up a Kobalt Cement mixer on sale for $200 a few years back from Lowes. Full bucket of 9mm at a time.

 

I have a cap I use to keep dust, media, and brass in the unit when running normally.

 

 

Edited by Maximis228

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I read about using a cement mixer for wet tumbling on another forum/thread, could have even been here...

Anyways, the guy was using 22LR cases rather than SS pins for media.

Something free and literally laying around on the floor/ground at most ranges.

The down side is they'll need to be separated after tumbling and the primer pockets won't be clean.

😀

 

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On 6/25/2019 at 12:21 PM, Maximis228 said:

Picked up a Kobalt Cement mixer on sale for $200 a few years back from Lowes. Full bucket of 9mm at a time.

 

I have a cap I use to keep dust, media, and brass in the unit when running normally.

 

 

 

 

What did you use for a cap on your Kobalt?

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42 minutes ago, Novagunner said:

 

 

What did you use for a cap on your Kobalt?

 At first, A towel and 8 clamps to hold it on. Worked great.

 

Then I built a cap with a screen and snap on lid. This is held from 4 locking points I drilling into the edge of the opening. I can tip the mixer forward and sift the majority of the media out before fine sifting the brass. Ill try to remember to post photos of that.

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When tumbling the larger amounts of brass is better to dry tumble or wet tumble? If wet tumbling is better then where would be a good source for getting stainless steel pins?

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