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Thread: Thumbler Tumbler Model B issue

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


    gmsharps's Avatar
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    Thumbler Tumbler Model B issue

    I have a Thumblers Tumbler Model B I have had and used for about 40 years. About 6 years ago I started using the wet process with stainless pins for polishing my brass. Using 5 lbs of pins and a pinch of lemi-shine along with a tad of Dawn dish washing liquid tumbling for about 2 hours depending on how dirty the brass was, has really worked well until now. I have been on a massive, in my opinion brass cleaning project. I started getting brass not as clean as I thought it should be and the water being poured off was really black. I was changing the water a couple of times during the tumbling process to get the desired results. Now it does not work at all. The water comes out jet black and the brass is worse than when I started. If you run your hands through the pins it puts a really black residue on your hands which is also hard to get off. My thoughts are the rubber is deteriorating similar to when your windshield wipers start going bad and you take a paper towel and wipe the rubber it comes off really black. I have soaked the pins in dawn and water and rinsed a half dozen times so far trying to get the pins clean but still have a way to go. I have ordered a new rubber barrel hoping this takes care of the problem. Have any of you had this type of reaction before?

    Thanks for your thoughts,

    gmsharps

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    No. My thumlers is only a few years old. I’ll bet a steak dinner that you are right though.

    How much did the new rubber cost, if you don’t mind me asking?

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    Your rubber liner needed replaced, you should be good for another 40 years.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry54 View Post
    No. My thumlers is only a few years old. I’ll bet a steak dinner that you are right though.

    How much did the new rubber cost, if you don’t mind me asking?
    They are not cheap. For the Rubber barrel and that rubber gasket on the top is about $80.

    gmsharps

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I had the same issue. I started was able to save mine by doing some rubber research online. I would wash my brass with hot tap water and a dash of dawn dish soap along with a hint of lemi shine. After a run I would dump the brass in a strainer and raise off. Clean out the pins and drum of any left over soap and what not. Then another round of warm water brass and no pins followed by some NU Finish Car Wax. Just a few drops. I would run this for about 5 mins and rinse off the brass and the hopper out again. After a few runs of using the wax my rubber has hydrated itself and no longer rubs off. You can use other car waxes I just had this kind. I thought 80 bucks was a bit much and they offered to give me a deal and drop it to 60 bucks I said no deal. This has been working for me for years now.
    Stop being blinded by your own ignorance.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outer Rondacker View Post
    I had the same issue. I started was able to save mine by doing some rubber research online. I would wash my brass with hot tap water and a dash of dawn dish soap along with a hint of lemi shine. After a run I would dump the brass in a strainer and raise off. Clean out the pins and drum of any left over soap and what not. Then another round of warm water brass and no pins followed by some NU Finish Car Wax. Just a few drops. I would run this for about 5 mins and rinse off the brass and the hopper out again. After a few runs of using the wax my rubber has hydrated itself and no longer rubs off. You can use other car waxes I just had this kind. I thought 80 bucks was a bit much and they offered to give me a deal and drop it to 60 bucks I said no deal. This has been working for me for years now.
    Did you do anything to the barrel to kind of seal it so the black would not rub off. Don't know if my barrel has gone too far to be saved.

    gmsharps

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Mine was so bad I could rub my hand on the black rubber in the barrel and it would put black stuff on my hands. I honestly ran a few cycles with the warm water and wax then started using it again. I have stopped using pins as I find they are not worth the hassle to get out. I am just sharing my story hopefully it will work for you and others as well. Save some money.

    Has your drum been sitting for a while since you last used it? I have also found stories from others of this happening when they start using the tumbler after a long period of sitting. You can always google how to restore hydration to rubber and give it a go. It could not hurt but what is basically happening is your dried rubber is rubbing off in your washes. Might take a few washes to get it all out.
    Stop being blinded by your own ignorance.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outer Rondacker View Post
    Mine was so bad I could rub my hand on the black rubber in the barrel and it would put black stuff on my hands. I honestly ran a few cycles with the warm water and wax then started using it again. I have stopped using pins as I find they are not worth the hassle to get out. I am just sharing my story hopefully it will work for you and others as well. Save some money.

    Has your drum been sitting for a while since you last used it? I have also found stories from others of this happening when they start using the tumbler after a long period of sitting. You can always google how to restore hydration to rubber and give it a go. It could not hurt but what is basically happening is your dried rubber it started out with the water is rubbing off in your washes. Might take a few washes to get it all out.
    I have been using this straight during the day for over a month. It started slowly with the water getting darker then almost black. If you run your fingers through the pins your hands would be black. The brass would be covered with gunk. I’ll give your process a try. Sounds like a plan.

    Gmsharps

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    One other person I know had this same issue and had to clean the pins with a heavy degreaser. He also no longer uses pins.
    Stop being blinded by your own ignorance.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I stopped using Pins years ago for that reason. There are additives to mix with water that will Clean inside and Out and Polish in One application . Now strictly Fine walnut Shells + 2 Cap full Mineral Spirts
    Work good for Me.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    We use these types of drums where I work to tumble metal parts and I can confirm the rubber liners do break down over time - we typically just bite the bullet and buy new ones.

  12. #12
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    I find it strange the pins wont rinse clean ...
    Are you rinising them out of the barrel or in the barrel ?
    Look carefully at the inside of the rubber lining ... you should be able to see if the rubber is breaking down ... mine is 50 years old but I went back to Treated Walnut Shell media ... pins and water was messy ... I like dry .

    If it isn't the Rubber liner ... Change the pins ... and if that doesn't work ...
    Treated Walnut Shell media still works .

    Another thought ... dark stuff like pond scum will grow in untreated water ... if I don't put Chlorox Toilet Bowl Cleaning Tablets in the toilet water tank ... the water turns black with a pond scum looking stuff ... it grows darker so my thought about it being scum .
    Do you leave water in the barrel or change the water each time ... ?
    Gary
    Last edited by gwpercle; 04-16-2024 at 02:48 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
    I find it strange the pins wont rinse clean ...
    Are you rinising them out of the barrel or in the barrel ?
    Look carefully at the inside of the rubber lining ... you should be able to see if the rubber is breaking down ... mine is 50 years old but I went back to Treated Walnut Shell media ... pins and water was messy ... I like dry .

    If it isn't the Rubber liner ... Change the pins ... and if that doesn't work ...
    Treated Walnut Shell media still works .

    Another thought ... dark stuff like pond scum will grow in untreated water ... if I don't put Chlorox Toilet Bowl Cleaning Tablets in the water tank ... the water turns black with a pond scum looking stuff .
    Do you leave water in the barrel or change the water each time ... ?
    Gary
    I use a rcbs separator to separate the pins from the brass. I then pour the water off the pins. There is nothing left in the barrel and the pins are still wet to the touch. If you run your hands through the pins it will turn your hand black. I have just put the pins in a container with a degreaser and that has taken about 5 applications of swishing it around and pouring the liquid off rinsing with water and reapplying the degreaser and rinsing again. I got most of the black off of them. I ran the relatively clean pins with dawn and lemi-shine along with water and no brass for 2 hours and again poured black water out of the barrel. I am rerunning it again with no brass for 2 hours .
    I talked to the thumbler tumbler guy and he thinks it’s just a build up of gunk and try to run it several times with no brass until the water comes out clean. I do have a new barrel on the way but would sure like to not have to go through this any more.

  14. #14
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    My Thumbler Tumbler is going on 50 years old. Got it used in the 1980's.

    In the early days we used Walnut and red jeweler's rouge - not the best but got the job done.
    Wet cleaning is better. all the crud gets removed with each cycle.

    I have tried pins and ceramic. I gave up on the pins. They do a good job but too hard to get them all out of the brass. The ceramic may be easier on the rubber liner. Ceramic sure is easier to remove from the brass. Both pins and ceramic clean well. I choose the easy way out.
    Chill Wills

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I also have a Model B that’s ancient. I generally put my brass in a gallon zip loc bag with warm water; a little dish washing liquid; and some lemi shine. I tape the mouth of the bag with duct tape and tumble without pins or ceramics. It takes about 3 hours but cleans up well after rinsing. I use a garden hose to rinse it off after laying the brass on some wire mesh.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I have a B also. I run mine for 20 mins at a rip. I found if the speed is correct it works fast.
    Stop being blinded by your own ignorance.

  17. #17
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    I use stainless pins and when they get dirty I run them with a dose of Simple Green and that cleans them up nicely.

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