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View Full Version : Got my Rock Tumbler - now what?



Milomade
08-04-2010, 12:25 PM
Hi All - at last! I managed to get my hands on a National Geographic Rock Tumbler on eBay - it was a very later listing finish [after midnight] and no-one else was bidding on it, so I managed to get myself a bargain!

Anyway it's just arrived and I have no idea what to do next.
Do I need to buy special stuff for it? I guess I don't use the polishing compounds that come with it. What do I use to polish jewellery and where do I get it?

Also tips on how to use this to polish jewellery, how long it takes etc etc etc would be very useful, I'm a total tumbling beginner.

Thanks

E

Lou
08-04-2010, 12:59 PM
I know you need to get some steel shot like this Stainless Steel Mixed Shot 1kg - Cooksongold.com (http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery-Tools/Stainless-Steel-Mixed-Shot-1kg-prcode-998-003B)
and some soap and water. Im not sure on the timings though as I don't actually have a tumbler but I want one! :)

Cathy at the Beach
08-04-2010, 01:49 PM
I use steel pin shot mixture. It has all sorts of little odd shaped pieces of steel.
I fill it about 2/3 full of water and add a lubricant. You can use shavings of ivory soap, dish detergent or the material sold for tumbling- can't remember what its called but frankly ivory soap worked just the same.

I leave my jewellery in for a couple of hours. You want to leave it long enough for the job to be done. I have left stuff in there over night and had no negative results. ( a couple of hours usually works fine though)

Petal
08-04-2010, 03:18 PM
Hi Evie,
You might find some useful comments on this thread http://www.cooksongold.com/forum/need-help-ask-experts/2223-barrel-polishers.html. I know George recommends NOT using general washing up liquid with a tumbler, as there are some nasty additives that will not be kind to jewellery.

Hope that helps.

agent_44
08-04-2010, 03:38 PM
Hi Evie,
You might find some useful comments on this thread http://www.cooksongold.com/forum/need-help-ask-experts/2223-barrel-polishers.html. I know George recommends NOT using general washing up liquid with a tumbler, as there are some nasty additives that will not be kind to jewellery.

Hope that helps.

Ecovers not as bad though, but a kilo of barrelbrite will last forever and then some!

Milomade
08-04-2010, 05:47 PM
Where do you get Ivory Soap from. I looked at Barrelbrite on CG but as it's a hazardous chemical I don't want to use that - I'm trying to limit the toxicty of my studio, so going for a soapy option would be better. Why do you need soap anyway? I've read somewhere that is stops the stainless steel shot from rusting - but stainless steel isn't meant to rust? I'm confused.

mizgeorge
08-04-2010, 06:26 PM
Ivory Soap's a North American product. You can use pure soap flakes (in the detergents aisle at the supermarket). Otherwise burnishing soap B (which isn't hazardous unless inhaled).

Lisa Quinn
08-04-2010, 07:21 PM
Manchester Minerals do a very cost effective mixed steel shot and barrelling soap.

Manchester Minerals Polishing and Setting (http://www.manchesterminerals.co.uk/acatalog/Polishing.html)

Milomade
08-04-2010, 09:53 PM
For a NG tumbler how much shot would I use at one time - is it worth buying 1kg? My tutor at college said that Goulds sell it in 500g bags for about 11 apparently so if I don't need 1kg, I'd think I'd opt for getting less.

Lisa Quinn
08-04-2010, 10:16 PM
For a NG tumbler how much shot would I use at one time - is it worth buying 1kg? My tutor at college said that Goulds sell it in 500g bags for about 11 apparently so if I don't need 1kg, I'd think I'd opt for getting less.

I've just had a look and it has fewer shapes in the mix and it doesn't appear to have any pins,you may want to ring them to find out for sure though x

mizgeorge
08-04-2010, 10:33 PM
I've just had a look and it has fewer shapes in the mix and it doesn't appear to have any pins,you may want to ring them to find out for sure though x

I'm not convinced it's stainless either. You SO do not want regular steel.

I also think manchester minerals is a good bet. It may be slightly cheaper on their Hilton Bros site if you open a trade account.

elliboo
09-04-2010, 09:53 AM
I bought my shot for the NG tumbler from ukge (http://www.ukge.co.uk/UK/barrelling.asp) - I bought 650g of the stainless steel shot for ~16 (+P&P) and I've still got quite a lot in the pot - I probably used ~1/2 the pot (although I did manage to drop some down the sink! so I don't have as much left as before! doh!).

ps_bond
09-04-2010, 10:03 AM
I'm not convinced it's stainless either. You SO do not want regular steel.

I have to admit that I can't remember if mine is SS or not... So I treat it as if it is non-stainless (wash, dry carefully then spray with a bit of WD40).
That said, the tumbler isn't something I use all that often.

Milomade
09-04-2010, 10:03 AM
HI there

Thanks for the info and link - nice to hear from another NGRT user - I think I'll got for a 650g pot from them as I agree with previous comments, that the stuff from Goulds doesn't look that great. Off to the supermarket this afternoon, so I'll look out for some pure soap flakes. I really want to do some tumbline this weekend to try it out, but got to wait for the shot to arrive. I might set it up to tumble some stones just to see how noisy it is.

Do you think tumbling uses up a lot of electricity?

emroyjewels
09-04-2010, 11:57 AM
HI there

Thanks for the info and link - nice to hear from another NGRT user - I think I'll got for a 650g pot from them as I agree with previous comments, that the stuff from Goulds doesn't look that great. Off to the supermarket this afternoon, so I'll look out for some pure soap flakes. I really want to do some tumbline this weekend to try it out, but got to wait for the shot to arrive. I might set it up to tumble some stones just to see how noisy it is.

Do you think tumbling uses up a lot of electricity?

Don't use the tumbler for rocks! Keep it nice and clean and only use it for your silver. Otherwise you could end up with some deposits in there from the rock tumbling that will damage your silver.

I have the NG tumbler and it's fairly noisy, but I stick it in the utility room with the tumble dryer going at the same time and I'd say they were about as bad as each other. You just don't want it sitting right next to you in the workshop as you'll get a bit of a headache.

Milomade
09-04-2010, 12:46 PM
Oh dear - not really got anywhere to put the tumbler apart from my studio. It's going to annoy the hell out of my partner especially as he's off work at the moment due to the easter break.
I didn't realise that I shuld keep it just for jewellery. I wanted to experiment by tumbling some of the sea glass I've got and see what happens to it, but maybe I shouldn't do that either.

Gemma
09-04-2010, 01:08 PM
You can get more barrels. I have two barrels for my machine so I can use one for silver and one for stones. Not that I have yet!! This is my tumbler (http://www.ukge.co.uk/UK/product.asp?numRecordPosition=6&P_ID=2084&strPageHistory=&strKeywords=&SearchFor=&PT_ID=382). UKGE do sell spare barrels.

ps_bond
09-04-2010, 01:11 PM
I have a finned barrel for tumbling with shot, but smooth barrels for tumbling stones. No cross-contamination.
As for the noise, you could try sticking a cardboard box over it and see if that dulls it enough, or just run it overnight.

Milomade
09-04-2010, 01:25 PM
I've got a National Geographic tumbler - so don't think I have an option of buying an extra drum for it. I wanted to get a tubler like yours, but couldn't afford it - I've been watching each one that appeared on eBay for the past few months and each one went for more than I could spend...so i grabbed the chance to get a NG one when no-one else was bidding on it as so many people on here said that they were OK.

Cathy at the Beach
09-04-2010, 01:26 PM
My shot is definately stainless steel.
I had no idea Ivory soap was only Northamerican!! Its just pure soap- so any pure soap would work. The burnishing powder is really easier to use. Over herer people swear by Dawn Liquid dishwashing detergent for their tumblers. I don't use it, but a whole lot of peeps do.
I use my tumbler a lot- usually once a day. I just make sure the shot is covered with water and leave it in the barrel when I"m not using it. Same shot for a year and a half now and no problem.
As for the noise- I agree- put a box over it and also put a folded towel under it. A lot of the noise is vibration- that should make a difference.
I had a lot of woes with my tumble when I first got it...leaking and turning jewellery dark. I have all those issue sorted out now and my tumbler is ALMOST my best friend.

Milomade
09-04-2010, 02:01 PM
Cathy - thanks for the top tips - I'm about to order some shot so won't be able to try out my tumbler until that arrives. Will post back when I've given it a go.

Loopy
17-04-2010, 12:22 PM
Fab thread, I got the last one in argos a few weeks back but still haven't even started playing yet!

Milomade
18-04-2010, 06:40 PM
Okay my shot has arrived but I've had no luck getting pure soap flakes - been to Asda and Sainsbury's and the local shop - where can I get it from???

Cathy at the Beach
18-04-2010, 08:23 PM
I wonder if it really matters if its pure soap. What you really need is lubricant. Why not try a bit of dish soap? I really doubt it will hurt the rubber and you can't do much to the stainless steel shot.
The worst that can happen is that the dish soap will leave a film on the silver. You can always re tumble with pure soap when you find it. (or coco cola which in my opinion will remove film and crap from anything- even the inside of your stomach)
Just a thought (if you are half as impatient as I am- you are probably wetting your pants wanting to try it out!! :)

vsilvered
18-04-2010, 08:53 PM
I wonder if it really matters if its pure soap. What you really need is lubricant. Why not try a bit of dish soap? I really doubt it will hurt the rubber and you can't do much to the stainless steel shot.
The worst that can happen is that the dish soap will leave a film on the silver. You can always re tumble with pure soap when you find it. (or coco cola which in my opinion will remove film and crap from anything- even the inside of your stomach)
Just a thought (if you are half as impatient as I am- you are probably wetting your pants wanting to try it out!! :)

I recently read an interesting article (http://www.cooltools.us/articles.asp?id=162) about this. Apparently, some tumblers are more susceptible to break down when exposed to mild chemicals in washing soap due to the type of rubber used in their production. I use Barrelite, which is great for the jewellery and my tumbler :)

mizgeorge
18-04-2010, 09:35 PM
I think you probably mean barrelbrite Vi, I believe Milomade is concerned about the ingredients in this.

I have to confess that I hate Barrelbrite and use type b burnishing compound instead (which smells nicer too!).

Look for 'Granny's Soap Flakes' in the supermarket. They're pure soap.

emroyjewels
18-04-2010, 10:09 PM
Milo - I just use a little bit of washing up liquid in mine. I've got the same NG tumbler as you, and I put in 500g worth of shot (less a few bits that fell in the drain first time I rinsed it!), my bits to be tumbled, and cover it all with water. Then add a little squirt of washing up liquid.

After everything has tumbled, I rinse the goods, then rinse and dry the shot. I store mine dry - have been doing it this way for a few months now and never had any problems. I assume you bought the NG tumbler to keep the whole process cost- effective, so washing up liquid is the cheapest way to go, since I assume you already have some to hand!

The only problem I have with the NG tumbler is that I realised today I can't get the bangle I just made in through the hole at the top as the mouth's not wide enough. But for everything else it's great!!!

Em.

vsilvered
18-04-2010, 10:52 PM
Sorry George, I did mean BarrelBrite #-o

Em/Milo: I understand about wanting to keeping costs down. When I first started cutting my own rings, I got a nasty case of tumbler contamination and was recommended BarrelBrite.

Apologies for talking nonsense...my brain is still cooling down after a day attempting to master Elfweave sheet... and I've done it!

Ta da..

http://www.turquoisefruit.com/silver/elfweave_2.jpg

palace
19-04-2010, 07:57 PM
I hope this isn't a hijack, but.. I got an NG tumbler recently, & got my shot and BarrelBrite from UKGE. I tumbled a small piece as a test, and it came out covered in what I can only describe as crud! The water looked like manky dishwater, too. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

I tried it out with no BarrelBrite and the water remained unmuddied and the piece came out uncrudded.

I found soap flakes in the supermarket (Waitrose - with the delicate washing liquids and stain removers and such), but I didn't buy 'em cos I wanted to ask here if I'm doing something else wrong first. Surely Barrelbrite isn't supposed to do this?! :)

Milomade
19-04-2010, 09:02 PM
I use ecover washing up liquid, so maybe I should give that a go. I've searched all over for soap flakes and can't find them anywhere, so going to try online.

carole h
19-04-2010, 09:45 PM
hi milo, been using ecover in my ng tumbler for the past 3 months, all fine!

AlexandraBuckle
19-04-2010, 09:55 PM
me too, I've had no problems as yet.

palace
20-04-2010, 09:21 AM
I also use Ecover (for the washing up), so I'll give that a go in the tumbler too. I don't know what's up with my Barrelbrite, though.

wheely
20-04-2010, 12:11 PM
(although I did manage to drop some down the sink! so I don't have as much left as before! doh!).

Might already have been suggested, but I got an old stocking and put trhe open end over the tumbler when I empty mine, and it collects all the shot, and allows you to rinse. Once rinsed reverse the process to put the shot back, fish out the silver, et voila. Never lost any shot yet!

snow_imp
20-04-2010, 02:48 PM
I use a seive to catch the contents of my tumbler - but sometimes it bounces so I might try the stocking suggestion instead!

amazingbabe
21-04-2010, 04:25 PM
Well i've been tumbling for over a yr now and i use fairy liquid,,,, shoul i not do this ?? and if not then why ?? I would hate to think that it would do damage further down the road.... I also use a sieve to get my items out and to rinse the steel shot...... I then return the shot to the barrel and cover with clean water, have had no probs .... Mine is a NG too......Noisy enough, but what a lovely noise !!!!!!!!!!!!

Di Sandland
21-04-2010, 05:34 PM
Might already have been suggested, but I got an old stocking and put trhe open end over the tumbler when I empty mine, and it collects all the shot, and allows you to rinse. Once rinsed reverse the process to put the shot back, fish out the silver, et voila. Never lost any shot yet!

Wish somebody had suggested that to me 6 months ago! I only emptied it the once and we were treading on ball bearings - albeit tiny ones - for ages. Now I just put the barrel under running water till it runs clear then leave the shot under the clean water.

Jayne
21-04-2010, 07:46 PM
Ooh, I might be a bit of a tumble sl*t.
I decant the gunky water into a cup, fish the shinies out with a crochet hook and pour the gunky water back in. Job done.
I'll get my coat.......

Lisa Quinn
21-04-2010, 08:35 PM
Ooh, I might be a bit of a tumble sl*t.
I decant the gunky water into a cup, fish the shinies out with a crochet hook and pour the gunky water back in. Job done.
I'll get my coat.......

Me too, I was keeping a low profile because I didn't want to be known as a slovenly troll on this forum ! I only chuck the solution when it has started to go grey xx

arian
21-04-2010, 08:38 PM
Ooh, I might be a bit of a tumble sl*t.
I decant the gunky water into a cup, fish the shinies out with a crochet hook and pour the gunky water back in. Job done.
I'll get my coat.......

Eurgh :)

arian

Cathy at the Beach
22-04-2010, 03:29 PM
I do what Di does. run water into the barrel of shot until it runs clear. I leave the shot covered with water inbetween uses. I've been doing this with the same shot for 2 years.