Easy to build parts tumbler you can add to your shop

This parts tumbler was easy to build but it still does a great job of rounding rough edges and polishing the surfaces of parts cut with a CNC machine. You can see that it mounts in a bench vise, and the cooling fans have a magnet which holds the tray in place on the anvil portion of that tool. Since you’re not constantly tumbling parts this makes it very easy to store the unit between uses.

[Neo7CNC] mounted the wooden tumbler plate directly to the motor shaft. This is done with the help of some aluminum stock which bolts to the round wooden plate, and has a hole and set screw for the motor’s keyed shaft. There are four wooden dowels which cradle the plastic coffee jug where the parts go. As a first test he used zinc BB’s that he already had lying around, but has put some steel ball medium on order for future projects.

It’s certainly more robust and powerful than the LEGO ball mill we saw a while ago. Just be careful with motor. Even at a lowly 60 RPM it ended up getting really hot and that’s the reason there’s a heat sink and fan unit included in the build. See it in action after the break.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Comments

  1. meh says:

    whatever happened to tumbling things in sand?

  2. Brett says:

    If you want to build your own model rockets from scratch, this is the standard design for a wet powder mill. Like all fun hobbies involving interesting chemicals, I don’t know if this is something that can be done casually at home anymore. *sigh*

  3. brad says:

    Isn’t that a lot of weight to have hanging directly off of the motor shaft?

  4. Hack Man says:

    but has put some stainless steel ball medium on order for future projects.

    • charles says:

      Shouldn’t it be something else? Stainless is still reactive and can still spark apparently. I have seen cobalt used for chemicals but the most common material to use with steel is corn kob. It is quite popular in industry. Something about it taking away small bits at a time, not leaving dents, and is disposable.

  5. Ren says:

    Nice, but I think maybe he should order some stainless steel media to try in it.

    Seriously, I have a 1/4 HP electric motor that is too weak for most jobs, a belt pulley reduction on it would make a tumbler a reality for me.
    I’ll probably try “sand” for my sand blaster.

  6. russ says:

    Will using stainless steel as a medium affect anodizing?

  7. Sand probably won’t do much in a short time. My father-in-law owns Abrasive Products. They sell everything from steel balls to pecan shells, depending on the finish required. http://www.abrasiveproducts.com/tumbling_vibratory_media/

    • charles says:

      I have seen the “Ceramic Angle-Cut Cylinders” used on stamped parts with lots of small crevices. They tend not to get stuck inside so often. The steel pins get stuck all over the mesh of hot black oxide treatments. Worse, they sometimes fuse to older copper plating equipment that is still made out of metal.

  8. Neo7CNC.com says:

    Version 2 is in the works now. It will be bigger and will use bearings and a belt drive to take the abuse off the motor. Stay tuned.

    • David says:

      If you’re concerned about side loading of the motor, you might also consider a 12 V windshield wiper motor. They run at 60-80 RPM and have enough support on the output shaft to handle a load like this. They’re available and pretty cheap. They’re also designed to run up to 16 volts (continuously) if the car has an overvoltage problem so they won’t overheat easily running at 12 v. (They also have an internal circuit breaker for thermal protection in case they do overheat.)

  9. Oliver Heaviside says:

    This also works with flour, most spices and sugar.

    I can also certify that I am the only guy ever to use a plastic pickle jar in this fashion to marinade tough meat chunks into something truly evil.

    Those tough protein strands didn’t stand a chance! I used four or five large stainless ball bearings to produce the most bizarre jaeger schnitzel hybrid cyborg cutlets ever tasted by mortal man.

    Seriously though – you don’t have to go to a big chain restaurant to eat pink slime – you can easily produce it at home (without the ammonia and chlorine) and make fish sticks and chicken mcNuggets just like the pros!

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