Building another DYI brass tumbler and want suggestions.

Messages
81
Reactions
83
701962-817d37d26dea27c07ac4073d1200d191.jpg 701963-3a4c7cbbd84327a15338d93f9d71555c.jpg
701964-99dae92cb58244946d703ee8f4b4a7bb.jpg

So one of my friends who collects a lot of brass and is my supplier for range brass, saw my post on a different thread and asked me to help him build a brass tumbler for him to use.

I built this, just got a used tread mill for free off of Craig's list. Looked for a larger one so it had plenty of power. Bolted a couple of 2x4s to my bench, ran some lag bolts through the rollers from the tread mill, used the motor and controller, also screwed to the bench and had what i needed for the price of the 8" sewer pipe an end cap, adapter and rubber cap. It didn't run perfectly true so I put a bearing on a dowel to keep the tumbler from running off the rollers. still need a cover for the controller and the motor fan. It's not OHSA approved and it's not pretty but I've run 14-3-1/2 gallon buckets of brass through it and it works great. I bought 20# of over-sized pins, (don't remember where). I can tumble as much as I want to lift, up to about 2 gallons of brass. I built it in my shed so I can keep the noise away from where i'm reloading.
I forgot, I also had to add fins to the inside of the tub, just some 2" pipe cut in 4 ths length wise and bolted to the tub before the caps were glued into place. A Goggle search for DIY brass tumbler will get you most of the info. This is not an original idea. I just used the tread mill to get my parts from so I could build it on the cheap and make it easy.

Since I have only done it one way, I was wondering if others have experience that might make my next build better. His would need to to be portable, unlike mine. I've looked a lot online but am asking for personal experience. Either first hand or through interactions with friends.
Thank you!
 
Last edited:
OP
T
Messages
81
Reactions
83
Mostly I build what I can because I like to but I also like to do a good job of it if I have the time. The one I built was a quick and dirty project and it has worked very well but it's not portable. At the time I just wanted to tumble a large batch of brass that I had purchased. Like so many other things, you can usually buy one that is already perfected.
I reload because I like to, I built my own out buildings because I wanted to, etc.... Why make anything that someone else already manufactures? Because I like the challenge of learning and creating. By the way, I'm not offended by your comment, just going a different way. I don't work on cars, don't try to make electronics, etc... This is, for the most part a pretty simple machine. So in this case, I'm asking my fellow tinkerers for their thoughts. All of this is just a hobby for me.
 
Last edited:

oldcorpgunny

Messages
1,160
Reactions
2,881
Mostly I build what I can because I like to but I also like to do a good job of it if I have the time. The one I built was a quick and dirty project and it has worked very well but it's not portable. At the time I just wanted to tumble a large batch of brass that I had purchased. Like so many other things, you can usually buy one that is already perfected.
I reload because I like to, I built my own out buildings because I wanted to, etc.... Why make anything that someone else already manufactures? Because I like the challenge of learning and creating. By the way, I'm not offended by your comment, just going a different way. I don't work on cars, don't try to make electronics, etc... This is, for the most part a pretty simple machine.
I have used a rock tumbler from Harbor Freight. It was cheap and got the job done. However, I don't save my brass anymore so it's a moot point with me. I too like to build things rather than buy them. You should see my car!
 
Messages
32
Reactions
43
I like the idea of DIY projects, especially if you already have the parts to build something and there are many ways to make a bucket/container slowly spin...
Maybe it's just me, but I can not view the pictures you have attached.
 

Whisky Tahoe

Messages
427
Reactions
606
I don't wet tumble yet but am keeping an open mind. One of my friends who does wet tumble says it is really important to limit the time and never let the brass sit. He has everything on timers and makes sure he's home to empty the drum.

Does anyone have experience with how long is too long and any other downsides to wet tumbling?

For range brass that is super dirty, this seems like a great way to get to clean brass.
 

RVTECH

Messages
8,907
Reactions
14,424
Does anyone have experience with how long is too long and any other downsides to wet tumbling?
I recently tumbled some 50 + year old brass that was black!

A little over two hours with Dawn & lemon juice and it required sunglasses to look at it!

As far as downsides I have only one - I WISH I had switched to liquid tumbling much longer ago!. It is important to make sure no pins remain in smaller caliber, bottleneck brass but that is easy to do.

I started with the Harbor Freight double tank tumbler as well and I discovered psyllium/protein powder containers fit the tumbler perfectly and as soon as I glue something inside to 'upset' the brass & pins to provide the 'action' these will become my 'larger capacity' tanks!

My tumbler 'lives' on top of my dryer in my laundry room for easy access & use.

IMG_2243[1].JPG
 
Last edited:
Messages
3,837
Reactions
3,716
I recently tumbled some 50 + year old brass that was black!

A little over two hours with Dawn & lemon juice and it required sunglasses to look at it!

As far as downsides I have none to report. It is important to make sure no pins remain in smaller caliber, bottleneck brass but that is easy to do.
How much lemon juice do you use?

I usually use lemishine or the Frankfort Arsenal packets.
 
Messages
3,837
Reactions
3,716
I recently tumbled some 50 + year old brass that was black!

A little over two hours with Dawn & lemon juice and it required sunglasses to look at it!

As far as downsides I have only one - I WISH I had switched to liquid tumbling much longer ago!. It is important to make sure no pins remain in smaller caliber, bottleneck brass but that is easy to do.

I started with the Harbor Freight double tank tumbler as well and I discovered psyllium/protein powder containers fit the tumbler perfectly and as soon as I glue something inside to 'upset' the brass & pins to provide the 'action' these will become my 'larger capacity tanks!

My tumbler 'lives' on top of my dryer in my laundry room for easy access & use.

View attachment 751296

View attachment 751296
What did you place around the outside of the container and where did you get it?

Btw, it appears you must now be "regular" :D
 

RVTECH

Messages
8,907
Reactions
14,424
What did you place around the outside of the container and where did you get it?
That is just black electrical tape I wrapped around the container to help 'grab' the rollers to turn smoothly.

Chances are once filled with brass & water it would have been fine.

it doesn't have to be dawn,
True - However I discovered Dawn cleans the cases MUCH better than 'cheaper' liquid detergent, and rinses off much better without leaving any residue.
 
Looks good!

No gonna lie when you said “treadmill” I honestly thought it was going to be the size of a mini keg and got all excited.

still looks to be plenty big and definitely looks to be sufficiently stout for long term use
 

Whisky Tahoe

Messages
427
Reactions
606
Looks good!

No gonna lie when you said “treadmill” I honestly thought it was going to be the size of a mini keg and got all excited.

still looks to be plenty big and definitely looks to be sufficiently stout for long term use
I know right?!! I imagined the drum from a washing machine with a hatch welded on....
 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Free Firearms Safety Course (I-1639 Compliant)
Virtual Webinar (Zoom). Registration Link in the course description.
Seattle, WA, USA
Arms Collectors of SW Washington Gun Show
Battleground Community Center
912 E Main St, Battle Ground, WA 98604, USA
Albany Rifle & Pistol Club (ARPC) Gun Show
Linn County Expo Center
3700 Knox Butte Rd E, Albany, OR 97322, USA

LATEST RESOURCE REVIEWS

  • Sportsman's Warehouse - Albany
    5.00 star(s)
    Good products at good prices with friendly and knowledgeable staff!
    We like to visit the Albany location as it's closer but have been to several others and they have all been great!:D
  • Umpqua Survival
    4.00 star(s)
    Easy NFA transfer
    I had a silencer transferred through their shop. The paperwork was quick and the staff helpful and friendly. Whilst waiting, I did see a nice...
  • MK Tactical
    5.00 star(s)
    Awesome staff
    Being new to the area and having just made an online purchase of an AR lower, I opted to use MK Tactical as my FFL, without knowing anything about...
  • J&B Firearm Sales
    5.00 star(s)
    Good local shop
    Picked up a rifle yesterday from J&B. This was the second or third gun purchase over the last few years from them. I always enjoy stopping by...
  • H&K Gun Shop
    5.00 star(s)
    The only place I have found 9mm in stock
    I’ll admit I didn’t even know this place existed, as I don’t tend to go into Forest Grove often. But it’s a giant (looks bigger from the...
Top Bottom