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  #1  
Old 09-13-2007, 05:27 PM
hartkem
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Default Cleaning Parts---Building a parts tumbler

Hello everybody!!! I have asked some questions on this site before and have had great success. Thanks to everybody who has helped me. Anyway, I run a small buissness on the side rebuilding small rear differentials from ATV's(fourwheelers) and I am looking at a way to avoid sandblasting every single alluminum case that I need to clean up. Now these cases are sometimes very nasty and I have to clean the mud/grease out before I can even sandblast. I usually take the big stuff out with a knife and then set in a parts washer for a few days to loosen it all up. I then sandblast which takes me about an hour. I would like to avoid the sandblasting all together because I am tired of doing it. I have been very curious about a parts tumbler. I assume they use these at starter and alternator rebuilding shops. Does anyone have any ideas or any information about building one. What materials used, etc. The part that I am sandblasting is about the size of a football. I will post a picture of a new part that I rebuild and also of a home made tubler and hopefully can get some ideas flowing here. This is a start of a new project, hopefully I can make it a successfull. I am looking to use a little space in my shop as possible and power it with its own motor. The differential pic that you see is of a new differential. To rebuild I would split the case in half and remove/replace bearings and gears. Cleaning them is the most time consuming. I am not sure if a tumbler would even be able to get at all the tiny areas inside? Thanks everybody.
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Old 09-13-2007, 05:38 PM
triptester triptester is offline
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Two ideas that might help. A small cement mixer to use as a tumbler, harbor freight has one for about $120.00, or a pressure washer.
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  #3  
Old 09-13-2007, 05:48 PM
hartkem
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The cement tumbler is a good idea. After spending some time reading about this it seems as if a vibrator type might suit my needs better because my parts have a lot of small hard to get areas in them. I don't know how I would build a vibrating one. I know I could build the barrel type. Anyone work in a parts rebuilding shop that could shed some light on this.
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  #4  
Old 09-13-2007, 07:12 PM
Walter Svandrlik Walter Svandrlik is offline
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Default Tumbler

Could you use an old washing machine. The drum is designed to move around. You could attach your holding tank or whatever to the mechanism that holds the drum or even use the drum itself. Remove the agitator and line the drum with screen or whatever you need to keep your media inside. You can then attach a small motor with an cam( just a pulley with an eccentric weight) to the drum to provide your vibration.


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Originally Posted by hartkem View Post
After spending some time reading about this it seems as if a vibrator type might suit my needs better because my parts have a lot of small hard to get areas in them. I don't know how I would build a vibrating one..
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:44 PM
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Walker Walker is offline
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A tumbler might be a bit hard on the machined surfaces. I use the cement mixer with AB in it to tumble steel parts.
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:01 PM
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cwgrizz cwgrizz is offline
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Not sure that a vibrating tumbler (or any tumbler) is the way to go. From experience I had access to a factory built vibrating tumbler. I use it to clean up horseshoe art projects before painting them. It did clean them up good, but it also smoothed out the welds, corners, etc. Not sure how much this would do to your aluminum housings which IMHO would be softer material. I'm not sure, but I think alternator/starter rebuild shops use a heated solvent circulating bath of some kind. We used an Ultra sonic heated chemical system that would clean carburetors, starters, alternators, etc and did not harm any plastic, rubber or neoprene. It would clean an item depending on how dirty it was in 15 minutes to an hour. The system cost about $15,000 and the chemical which was eco friendly was about $100/5gal. It also had filters which took the gunk out of the solvent as it was circulated. Probably more than you want to spend for your projects, but it sure made things look new.

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  #7  
Old 09-13-2007, 10:00 PM
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midmosandblasting midmosandblasting is offline
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Any auto machine shops around et up to hot wash al blocks and heads ?May be cheap to get them to make a extra run or through your parts in with a head or block.
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  #8  
Old 09-13-2007, 10:15 PM
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84ZMike 84ZMike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midmosandblasting View Post
Any auto machine shops around et up to hot wash al blocks and heads ?May be cheap to get them to make a extra run or through your parts in with a head or block.
That's what I'd do.....cheap and just like having your close dry cleaned drop off come back later pay up and your stuff is all nice and clean.
Mike
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  #9  
Old 09-14-2007, 12:09 PM
LeonS LeonS is offline
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A couple of yrs back I designed and built a roller for agitating bedliner product. Initially it had straight casters that the side/body of the 55 gal. drum rolled on, but w/the inconsistent of roundness(dents) of the drum was no good, so I changed to sys that the drum rested on it's roll seal at each end, shafts are elevated so as to force the drum to ride toward the drive end and rides against the sidewise caster and will not roll off the machine. It is drive w/a 1/6 or 1/15 hp w/1140 or 850 rpm, I don't remember the final drive rpm but is fairly low. If your interested I could measure the shives and check the wiring and get the final rpm if you like. Food for thought.
BTW, I think azcoyote(I think) built a tumbler as well, uses a plastic drum and was a nice setup.
Good luck
L*S
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  #10  
Old 09-14-2007, 04:38 PM
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Check this one out....
http://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums/...ad.php?t=12406
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