Vibratory tumbler setup for small/home shops.

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csspecs
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:38 pm

Vibratory tumbler setup for small/home shops.

Post by csspecs » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:40 pm

So this is not really a normal home shop setup. But it's not a complete industrial setup either.. Basically a larger home shop to small commercial shop.

Just wanted to post a setup for a vibratory tumbler for metal parts. Back when I bought this thing I found nothing but terrible advice, like using gravel and sand in a cement mixer.. Or using mill coolant, or using Kerosene.. Tons of bad advice that was somewhere between complete ignorance and malicious, suggestions that seem possible right until you try them.. I'll try to keep track of this thread for the next few months and answer whatever questions anyone might happen to have.

Tumbler I'm using is the 1.25 cu ft model from northern tool, I have a 420 gph fountain/tile saw pump circulating the water.. The large conical tank is used basically just as a mixing and dumping arrangement which speeds up the process, in small scale I'd imagine it possible to use buckets.. The flocculant is basically the magical element that makes it work, without it the water is a horrible waste product that is nearly impossible to get rid of.
Currently I'm buying it one bag at a time off ebay, but shipping adds $70+ onto the $35 price.

The filter bags can be reused several times. Normally we empty the solids three or four times and then on the last use the bag is emptied and trashed.. You could maybe wash them, but they are not really that expensive and are intended to be disposable.

I'm using vibra finish chemicals bought from CM top line.. So I use the VF-100 which is a detergent which degreases the parts and lets the media work faster and keeps the grit from getting stuck on the parts. The VF-RI-8b is a rust inhibitor.. Only problem is the rust inhibitor is Sodium Nitrate which is basically a fertilizer, so care must be used to prevent mold growth in the solution.. Avoid getting a mold infection, once you get one they are hard to beat back.. We ended up having to boil the media and wash all of the equipment in industrial sanitizer to kill off a mold infection we got in the system.

The video shows the process of cleaning the water reasonable well. It is a little on the long side but I figured it best to show more of the process that way people could learn more and get their setup right the first time.


spro
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Location: mid atlantic

Re: Vibratory tumbler setup for small/home shops.

Post by spro » Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:38 pm

I think that you are on to something and provided information born from experience. Very helpful to others.
Really. This is a different way .

csspecs
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:38 pm

Re: Vibratory tumbler setup for small/home shops.

Post by csspecs » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:38 pm

The setup is basically a scaled down version of what is used industrially, its basically the same function as some of the "machines" sold for around $2500, but you just by the parts for $250-400 and bolt them together and use a drill instead of a mounted mixer. The use of a flocculant is really common in water treatment as it is easier to filter large chunks than sub micron dust.

Burr King sells a couple units that takes a similar filter bag, but without the flocculant I can't see it doing anything.. 25 micron bags are what they use, smallest filter I used was a .5 micron and it ran for 36 hours and was not plugged, and the water was still dirty.. SO not sure how their filter machine is supposed to work since it basically looks like a box with a $2 filter bag in it for a mere $500, or $2700..

Anyway I guess my point was that you can spend a lot of money for filters and none of it really is anything more than a bucket with a pump in it, because the dust is sub micron and can't really be filtered.

RSG
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Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Vibratory tumbler setup for small/home shops.

Post by RSG » Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:54 am

Nice,

I would agree with you regarding misinformation on the topic. I have done a lot of research and experimentation myself and use vib finishers extensively for surface finishing my aluminum fishing reel components . Although contrary to what you mention in your video regarding a high flow rate for your chemistry, not all medias require it or work efficiently with it. My flow rate is around one gallon per hour. Of course I'm using different media than you and that's all it calls for, anything faster actually removes too much slurry which is what carrier the abrasive medium. I bought one from Northern tool as well and built a larger 2.5 cu. ft. unit to run treated cob. One benefit to building my own was being able to adjust the amplitude to get the best frequency for speed and efficiency but not compromise the finish.

As for dealing with waste water, my setup is simple, I had fabric bags sewn at an industrial sewing shop that fit in a cage and as the waste water goes in it filters out leaving the solids in the bag and clean water in the chamber, once full the bag can be thrown in with the garbage. It works awesome.

Keep us posted on your success.....
Vision is not seeing things as they are, but as they will be.

csspecs
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:38 pm

Re: Vibratory tumbler setup for small/home shops.

Post by csspecs » Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:06 pm

We found that no fabric or filter with any reasonable micron rating did anything other than catch what fell out of the water due to settling.
Maybe you are running a media that does not turn into submicron dust.. But I found that fabric filters as fine as 5 micron did not filter the waste water at all, in fact cartridge filters down to .3 micron would not even plug after circulating the waste water for 48 hours..

What media did you run? and what micron rating was the fabric of the bag that it was able to filter the solids out.
Because I have found the cloth bag suggested multiple times, but in testing I have never found it to actually work.. I would love to know what the actual recipe is that can be filtered with a cloth bag because that would be a lot simpler if it is possible.

The video was made some time ago. The setup was first put together 14 months ago, and has run about 3-4 ton of steel parts through.. So fairly high volume for a small setup.. Only thing I really need to do is add some height to the stand, make a holder for the second bag and mount a mixing motor with a controller so I don't have to stand there for five minutes a day holding the trigger on the drill.

RSG
Posts: 1075
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:59 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Vibratory tumbler setup for small/home shops.

Post by RSG » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:42 pm

The media I use is from a local company called Vibra Finish, Synthetic SV cones. Meant for soft metals like aluminum.

I couldn't tell you the micron rating for the bags as the material is not purposed for the job. I used to manage a graphic production house and got the idea to try the fabric used in the dye-sub printer based on watching how water was slow to absorb into it by accident. So I had our seamstress sew up bags to fit a mesh cage I made that sits elevated inside a large pail. I just pour the slurry into the bag and in two days the water drains out almost as clean as it came from the tap. The solids dry up in the bag and I just toss the bag when full. It works awesome and is so simple.
Vision is not seeing things as they are, but as they will be.

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