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Thread: Tumbler died. Move to Ultrasonic?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Tumbler died. Move to Ultrasonic?

    Yup, my cheapo Franklin armory tumbler died. Motor burnt up. My cheap side says try to fix/replace the motor, but the spender in me says “get that ultrasonic you’ve been thinking about!”.

    What brand of ultrasonic are you running and how do you like it?
    WTB wood stock for remington 788 in 222. Trigger guard too.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    This is the perfect reason why you need new power tools.
    Get yourself a new one for Christmas.

    Or, if ya dare, get a really nice and fancy one, then give it to the Mrs. for Christmas.
    A buddy's father in law gave his wife the big, high end battery charger he'd always wanted one year.

    Sure: There was a lot of 'yakaty-yak', but once the dust settled, he still had the new battery charger.
    FAIR WARNING:
    As often as not, I offer sarcasm rather than advice.

    OK people. Enough of this idle chit-chat. This ain't your Grandma's sewing circle.
    EVERYONE!! Get back to your oars. The Captain wants to water ski.

    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    Chainsaw: Just my opinion BUT, unless your looking at one of the better upper end sonic cleaners you'll be better served with a new vibrating tumbler. The best choice, again my opinion is the S.S. pin wet tumbler. I own the Lyman Cyclone wet tumbler, the RCBS vibrating tumbler and the Lyman sonic cleaner. The sonic cleaner does better on steel parts than brass, again my opinion. The sonics that can be had in the $100 range just aren't up to much. Gp

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I would fix the old one if easy enough to do. If not buy a another Frankland Armoury. And be happy. You might be able to use your tub on the new one do you'd have two.

    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I have all three types; media, pin and Ultrasonic. Hands down, pin tumbler.

    Fast

    Cleans inside

    Low cost for consumables.

    Get a food dehydrator at the thrift store and call it done but I only use the dehydrator occassionally.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    I agree with gpidaho. I don’t know how much a good ultrasonic cleaner goes for but don’t think you’ll be tickled with one of the lower end models. On a whim I purchased a low end ultrasonic, gave it to my wife after trying it. It IS great for cleaning jewelry!
    Did you try to call FA? Doubt they make their own motors, probably MSC or Grainger sells a replacement for way less than a new tumbler. My FA is 2 years old and has cleaned north of 60K pistol brass running 3 to 3 1/2 hours per batch. Clean primer pockets and like new shiny. What more could a guy ask for?

  7. #7
    Boolit Master



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    I don’t tumble my brass. My qualities are low so a quick rinse in dish detergent and shot of a bore brush, rinse, then soak in citrus acid, rinse and good to go. I have used an ultrasound cleaner on other things besides brass. I wasn’t impressed. It always took too long and I never get things as clean as I wanted. I’ve been paying attention, for along time to what comments there are about brass cleaners, as well as watching some videos. I am convinced, with out a doubt, wet tumbling with SS pins is the to go.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy engineer401's Avatar
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    I have a Hornady magnum ultra sonic cleaner and have been very happy with it. It does a great job cleaning out the primer pockets and inside of the cases. I like it a lot better than my vibratory cleaner. Fact is, I got rid of the vibratory.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    If your talking about a rotary tumbler, I have the F.A.R.T but I made another one cheap & easy using things I had hanging around. Wiper motor, punched angle, 12v -18V power supply (I used a battery charger but also have a computer power cord), 2 stationary casters, a paint can or pail with sealable lid, an extension nut the same thread as the wiper motor, 2 washers, bolt the same thread as the nut and a 3 position switch, piece of wood & a few bolts & screws to put the frame work together.

    It's like these

    https://youtu.be/MchjmCIvzlY

    https://youtu.be/_0A4bBK8siA

    https://youtu.be/TAOju0CJWFo

    Using a thermos as a container https://youtu.be/dOQDZn74nGI

    Use a drill for a small easy tumbler https://youtu.be/4tjO_RM4-I8

  10. #10
    Boolit Master slim1836's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg S View Post
    I have all three types; media, pin and Ultrasonic. Hands down, pin tumbler.

    Fast

    Cleans inside

    Low cost for consumables.

    Get a food dehydrator at the thrift store and call it done but I only use the dehydrator occassionally.
    ^^^^DITTO^^^^

    Slim
    RETIRED
    NOT MY PROBLEM ANYMORE

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    I was in your place a month ago, I searched and fretted with what i wanted to do.
    Best deal out is from cabelas vib. tumbler with sifter, media, case polish bought one works great, 69.00 i think.
    I dump my brass in a 5 gal. bucket with a little dawn, citric acid.
    Let em soak 20-30 min. stir by hand several times as i walk by, rinse dump on towel in sun to dry.
    Throw in tumbler, with nu finish, case polish whatever is handy come out great.
    I spend enough time as it is casting and reloading, this is quickest for me and brass is plenty clean.
    My 2 cents
    Dan

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy

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    I am really starting to love wet tumbling method. I wish the correct info was more widely proclaimed. Here it is. Armor-All Wash & Wax and LemiShine. The Citric acid Lemishine cuts really nasty corrosion and tarnish, and the Wash'n Wax cleans and leaves a beautiful polished shine. This is what turned me off to wet tumbling. With just Dawn and Lemi, cases would be super clean, but dull and not that high polish you get from dry tumbling.

    Wet tumbling avoids all the nasty lead tainted dust, and allows you to recycle your media hundreds of times. Corn cob and walnut gets cruddy after 4-5 tumbles. I have the basic Frankfort model and it holds a surprising number of cases. I ran probably 400 .45 acp's last night with room to spare.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    thumblers tumblers, if going with a new one that you want to last, ive got the one with 6 springs on the bottom and its at least 30 years old still going strong and if motor does ever go bad its a pretty easy find at Grainger..
    cheap no name ultra sonic tanks on amazon are just as good as expensive ones with big brand name. its all a madder of transd=ucers or whatever the electric parts are called, how much input and how much output

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
    DHDeal's Avatar
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    I'd get another tumbler regardless of whether you are looking at an ultrasonic. Heck, I've got all of the types of case cleaners and will not be without an ultrasonic or a vibratory tumbler. I'll use the ultrasonic for other things where it really shines such as parts cleaning. However, having a vibratory tumbler means when I lube cases for sizing, I can just drop them in that wonderful crushed walnut and walk away.

    A suggestion here is spend some extra $$ and look hard at a Thumblers Tumbler vibratory tumbler. The difference is, well it's different. Consider it the Corvette tumbler. It cycles so fast and quietly you'll be surprised. It also is a commercial tumbler (the yellow banded one) and wearing it out is probably not going to happen. If you want to save some money, get the blue banded one but is still going to last who knows how long. I've got the yellow banded medium sized model and never worry about it.

  15. #15
    May Liberty Increase!
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    I have had all three types. My preference is wet tumbling with pins; but I don’t currently have water in the barn so I’ve gone back to using my vibratory tumblers.

    Ultrasonic has its place. I had the larger Lyman unit about 6 years ago. It worked well filled with simple green for removing lube from swaged bullets during the various steps of the swaging process. However, the tub sprung a leak at the weld between the drain port and the bottom of the tub. I don’t remember now how old the unit was when this happened, but it was less than a year. Lyman didn’t return phone calls or emails. I try very hard to avoid buying Lyman products after that experience. The warranty may have been expired because it was an electrical product (I don’t remember) but it wasn’t the electrics that failed. The unit was thrown away when we moved and I didn’t pursue it any further.

    So, if you go the sonic route, my suggestions are:
    1) Avoid Lyman
    2) get one that has a one piece formed tub with no penetrations. It’s easier to dip the fluid out than deal with a leaky unit.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    My heavy duty ultrasonic cleaner was designed to clean diesel engine injectors and will clean even the primer pocket. I use two teaspoons of citric acid (walmart) to about a pint of water but the brass sure dont come out pretty. If I want pretty brass it goes into the Thumblers.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I messed up my ultrasonic by setting stuff directly on the bottom. Stuff has to be suspended. I sucked it up and bought a lortone rotary tumbler. My 66 will do a combo of 6 pounds of media/cleaner and brass times 2 since there's 2 drums. Wet or dry. You can actually be in the room with it while it runs unlike an ultrasonic or vibrating tumbler unless you like hanging around wearing ear muffs.

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
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    I made the mistake of buying the Lyman ultrasonic machine when I was first getting into handloading. I was immediately unimpressed with the finished results. Cases came out dull and grubby. I started tying them up in old socks and throwing them in the dryer to “polish” and dry them. It sort of worked but they ended up with lint stuck way down in the cases and wifey didn’t like the thud-THUMP of a heavy sack of brass bouncing in the drier.

    I still use that stupid sonic cleaner for precleaning deprimed bottle necked cases prior to resizing. It works fine for that. If it kicks the bucket it won’t be replaced. I now wet tumble with the HF double drum tumbler and SS burnishing beads. I know everyone likes the pins but I worry that they’ll end up in a .223 or something. The wet tumbling does a much better job than the sonic cleaner.

    It should also be noted that the Lyman sonic cleaner is the same machine that Harbor Freight sells but with a higher price tag (especially if you buy it at Cabelas like I did...)

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Well then!

    I am certainly hearing you guys. Sounds like the majority consensus is pin tumbling. Never mind the ultrasonic.

    I had hear of the thumblers and the f.a.r.t., but given my horrible memory they didn’t come to mind. I’ll go have a look at those here in a second.

    So are some of you wet tumbling with pins in a traditional tub style tumbler? Am I reading that right?
    WTB wood stock for remington 788 in 222. Trigger guard too.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I have an RCBS Ultrasonic, a couple different tumblers. I find the I use the tumblers more frequently to clean up really dirty or lightly corroded brass, HBN and moly bullet coating. Not a big enthusiast of polishing brass, hoped the ultrasonic would clean primer pockets better, OK but not great. Haven't got into the wet tumbling with pins.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check