Building another DYI brass tumbler and want suggestions.

OP
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If I was going that big, I'd use a cement mixer. With a 10# tub, 20# of pins, 1200 or more 5.56 and the water, it's all I can lift. It will hold a full 50 cal ammo can full of brass but again, it becomes about 80+ pounds. I don't often use it to full capacity for that reason, because of the weight. Not getting any younger.
 
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gmerkt

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I made my own first tumbler 40 years ago. It was modeled after a lapidary-type tumbler. The place where I worked was throwing away an old copy machine. I took that home, disassembled it and came up with a very nice motor with reduction gears down to about the proper speed for tumbling. The base work was wooden. I used two rollers made from fiberglass that came from somewhere. I forget what I used for bearings for the rollers, probably some discarded automotive wheel bearings. The drum was a #10 coffee can. It all worked well for a few years, then I decided to get sophisticated and buy a (dry) vibratory tumbler. Which I still have.
 
OP
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I already picked up another treadmill, so as with mine, I have the rollers, DC motor and controller. I'm trying to figure out how to make a portable frame without welding, (since I don't have a welder). I'm also trying to decide if I'm going to create a tracking device or just use another bearing to hold the tub in place as getting the two rollers perfectly parallel without a machine shop isn't easily done. I'm looking for ideas or pictures of what others may have created. Kind of wish I had kept the treadmill frame as it had a way to adjust the tracking but I didn't.
 
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I already picked up another treadmill, so as with mine, I have the rollers, DC motor and controller. I'm trying to figure out how to make a portable frame without welding, (since I don't have a welder). I'm also trying to decide if I'm going to create a tracking device or just use another bearing to hold the tub in place as getting the two rollers perfectly parallel without a machine shop isn't easily done. I'm looking for ideas or pictures of what others may have created. Kind of wish I had kept the treadmill frame as it had a way to adjust the tracking but I didn't.
have you considered using drill stop guides? Link attached. They also go by the name Stop collars.

 
OP
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I haven't considered that. I would have to create something like that to try it though as my rollers are about 3 inches in diameter. Using something like that, I have a concern with the possibility of rubbing a hole in my plastic tub, never tried it. I guess it wouldn't unless my tub was slipping on the roller. I'll give it some thought.

On a different note, since this will tumble a large amount of brass, there is the drying to deal with. I usually split what I've tumbled into 3 or 4 buckets and set an industrial fan I have on the top of the buckets. I do this also in the shed so I don't have to listen to it. I leave it running overnight in the summer or up to 2 days in the winter. It works.

Playing around with treadmill motors all started when thinking of a wind generator science project I heard about. Since they are DC and use magnets, they can be used as a small generator. Not much wind around where I currently live though.
 
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I normally tumble with a cement mixer, but for calibers I shoot in smaller quantities I created a small wet tumbler.

20200426_155931.jpg

Vehicle windshield wiper motor, Kirkland container, couple casters and a 3D printed bracket. Since that pic was taken, I've added a small fan so I can't overload it and a power switch. The container is square so it naturally agitates the brass.
 

BrandonQuixote

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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.
I've been wet tumbling for three years now. Before i used a harbor freight tumbler and tons of stainless pins to get my brass clean. Since then ive upgraded to a lyman cyclone and got rid of the pins. I used to add dish soap or laundry detergent and lemon juice or lemishine to get a good clean and shine on the brass. Ive found a cleaner called Brass Juice and with a dash of apple cider vinegar i get a better clean without having to use and sift out pins. With pins id tumble over night, but now I run the max time, three hours and they're literally golden after that. I used to have issues with brass sitting and getting dingy or too much acid leaching out the zinc and turning the brass pink. Since using brass juice, none of those problems exist.
 

Whisky Tahoe

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@BrandonQuixote The cyclone is shown with pins as part of the process. If you aren't using pins is there something else that makes the cyclone better than other rotary tumblers that require pins?

Is the Brass Juice/Cider vinegar so good it works with out pins?

Short pause while we search the Interweb...

Turns out the folks who make Brass Juice claim exactly that. No pins needed... Who Knew?
Well @BrandonQuixote did.
 
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BrandonQuixote

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@BrandonQuixote The cyclone is shown with pins as part of the process. If you aren't using pins is there something else that makes the cyclone better than other rotary tumblers that require pins?

Is the Brass Juice/Cider vinegar so good it works with out pins?

Short pause while we search the Interweb...

Turns out the folks who make Brass Juice claim exactly that. No pins needed... Who Knew?
Well @BrandonQuixote did.
So the pins wont hurt anything, i also dont think they'll cut down on cleaning time. I don't personally need another "Thing" or step in my brass prep process, so I cut them out. The sheer friction cleans the brass. That being said, the INSIDE of the brass and the primer pockets don't get as clean. I am not a precision shooter, thus the meticulousness of brass vetting and cleaning isn't my jam. Your mileage may vary.
 

Whisky Tahoe

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I am not a precision shooter, thus the meticulousness of brass vetting and cleaning isn't my jam. Your mileage may vary.
Regarding clean, removing all the soot makes the brass potentially TOO clean.
Seating tension can increase with completely clean necks.
One way to mitigate that is to use some form of lube when seating bullets.
Powder and lube don't mix so you want something inert like dry graphite from Imperials Dry Neck Lube.
Others have experimented with using a spray on case lube like Hornady's One shot to "grease" the bullets.
This can work if you let it dry first.

I have seen people clean up to the necks but not immerse them in an attempt to preserve the neck carbon.

There are so many ways to waste "er" "spend" your time with reloading you may never actually shoot if you aren't careful.
 

BrandonQuixote

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Regarding clean, removing all the soot makes the brass potentially TOO clean.
Seating tension can increase with completely clean necks.
One way to mitigate that is to use some form of lube when seating bullets.
Powder and lube don't mix so you want something inert like dry graphite from Imperials Dry Neck Lube.
Others have experimented with using a spray on case lube like Hornady's One shot to "grease" the bullets.
This can work if you let it dry first.

I have seen people clean up to the necks but not immerse them in an attempt to preserve the neck carbon.

There are so many ways to waste "er" "spend" your time with reloading you may never actually shoot if you aren't careful.
I sufficently to lube all bottleneck cases prior to sizing/depriming with Hornady One shot , unique case lube or lanolin/alcohol mixes. I’ve never had an issue. If you need some lubricity, adding some car wash with wax will help, but nothing beats sufficient lubricant when sizing.
 

po18guy

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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 751315
Sadly, nothing on earth will adhere strongly enough to the slick polyethylene that the "bottle" is made of. Labels and velcro? Sure, but those have very little shear load on them. You would either have to mount the vanes with sealed screws from the outside, or...how about two Folger's plastic coffee cans in tandem? The lids only snap on, but the molded in handles upset the brass enough to tumble. They are fine for dry tumbling, but wet is another world. (Don't try this at home) I use therm on very rare occasions when I tumble dirty/vintage live ammo. In the unlikely event that one goes off, the plastic lid pops off and I have only a mess to clean up.
 

RVTECH

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How do you avoid that?
I have previously mentioned using spent primers for wet tumbling but only on brass as my 'pre-cleaning' after shooting or range pickup with the spent primers still intact.

For this it works excellently and I don't have to worry about losing pins for just a quick pre clean procedure.
 

RVTECH

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Sadly, nothing on earth will adhere strongly enough to the slick polyethylene that the "bottle" is made of.
I had already planned on 'roughing' up the area on the inside where the glue will be applied. I have use some plastic epoxies that are pretty dang good so I'll give it a try anyway.

Folgers plastic coffee cans are too wide and would not set on the rollers and they would leak ! - and dry tumbling is a memory for me.
 
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I have previously mentioned using spent primers for wet tumbling but only on brass as my 'pre-cleaning' after shooting or range pickup with the spent primers still intact.

For this it works excellently and I don't have to worry about losing pins for just a quick pre clean procedure.
That makes a lot more sense! Thanks!
 
OP
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I found some good info in these threads. With the rollers from a treadmill, the bearings are inside the roller tube between the shaft and the tube so the shaft just has to be mounted and I'm good to go. They are already set up to turn under heavy loads, (300 lb people). It also already has the pulley, belt and DC motor and controller. So the frame is the only issue. I might have to collaborate with someone here who has a welder. I have an extra set of rollers, motor and controller for yours :D.

I had a time in the past that I was un-employed and being the entrepreneurial type I set up a short term business picking up free or cheap treadmills, disassembling them and selling used parts on E-bay. Sold some motors for the before mentioned science project as well. It paid the bills for my family as well as motivated me to get an easier job.... Anyway, that's the reason for all the treadmill parts. Probably didn't have to explain that but I thought some might think it odd that I have a collection.
 
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