(Topic ID: 10052)

Tumbler Size?

By Slaymetender

12 years ago

Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 15 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 9 years ago by thedefog
  • Topic is favorited by 10 Pinsiders


Linked Games

No games have been linked to this topic.

    Topic Gallery

    View topic image gallery

    #1 12 years ago

    Hello, I'd like to get a tumbler to clean off the parts in my machine and polish them up. Can you guy recommend a make/model? It seems like there are all different sizes, and I'm looking for the 'pinball' size, which I doubt they list!

    Do you use walnut chips to polish too? What do you polish with?


    #2 12 years ago

    I just picked this one up from Cabela's it is the model 400 and runs about 50 bucks. It has good reviews and have heard of others using it. Also some around the same price at Harbor Freight. This is my first one and have yet to test it out but have heard walnut with A little Flitz or Novus 2 works well.

    #3 12 years ago

    Size is not the only thing to take into consideration.

    I own a few tumblers.

    The first one I ever bought is the Berry 400 tumbler. It's done the most work in my shop, and it's my favorite! It's my favorite, because it has the best performance. The 'action' of the tumbler is more aggressive. Parts polish much quicker. The Berry 400 is $65.99 + shipping.

    It's about big enough to put a manual shooter rod in, if that gives you an idea. Bowl is sized for 4 quarts of media.


    My other commonly used tumbler is my Lyman CV-2001 is the biggest tumbler I've ever seen, short of 'industrial' sized ones, and it holds a lot. 12.5 quarts, to be precise. It's probably the best built out of any of my tumblers, but its action isn't as 'aggressive' as my Berry tumbler. While the tumbler is built pretty solidly, I do have one complaint - the bowl gouges up VERY easily. It started gouging on the first load of parts.

    Lyman CV-2001:

    My Berry tumbler is around 10 years old. I've been collecting for awhile. I've read that newer ones aren't as robust as mine.

    I've never had to use it, but I've heard Berry has been very good about honoring the warranty. They are made for cleaning ammunition shells - I've been told that if you have to use the warranty, just don't tell them what you're polishing in the tumblers.

    Another alternative is the Cabelas 400 tumbler, which appears to be a re-branded Berry tumbler, with a green bowl instead of blue. It's $52.99, a little cheaper than the Berry.

    Media is your next consideration. There are 2 types of media that are commonly used, crushed walnut shells, and ground corn cobs.

    Walnut shells are more aggressive than corn cob, and provide a pretty dang nice shine.

    Corn cob is not as aggressive, I've heard of some using it for more of a 'show' or 'final' finish, after initial polishing. I would like to get some of this and give it a try sometime.


    Tumbling goes faster and better if you use an additive. For years, the additive of choice has been Flitz Tumbler Media Additive.


    When I put fresh media in my tumbler, I put 2 'rings' of flitz around the middle of the bowl. When I change loads out, I put 1 ring around the media, and eventually, the media starts to look like coffee grounds - and that's when you dump it and start off fresh.

    I'll attach a photo of new media vs old media - this one is pretty extreme, I never should've run the media that long!

    Other additives that are worth a look

    Kit Scratch Out - a product that is used for polishing clearcoat as well as headlights on cars. Relatively inexpensive when compared to Flitz; Flitz is $15.99 for 7.6 oz, or $2.11 per oz. The Kit Scratch Out is about $7 for a 14 oz bottle, or .50 per oz. I've started testing this at the suggestion of some other collectors who have used it. It seems to work OK, but I've not benchmarked it - whether it works any better or faster than Flitz. It's cheaper, so even if it took the same amount of time, it'd likely be a great choice. But again, I need to do some more in-depth testing.

    A mixture of Novus 2 and Novus 3 - I have tested this, and am not real impressed with it. Some people swear by it - but I'm not as impressed with it as I am Flitz.

    Brasso - I've heard of people using this, but it contains ammonia, which may attack some sorts of metal or plating. Not recommended.

    So, it's a lot to digest. I have tried a lot of different things, and have had good results from many of them. What's the most important to you? Speed is interesting, but I've not found it to be super important - if you nail the 'order of operations' for shopping/restoring pins, you can get things lined up and take 4-5 days to tumble parts while you're doing other things you have to do. So, if the additive that is 50 cents per oz works as well as the 2 dollar per oz stuff, but it takes twice as long, is it truly an issue when you consider the cost savings?

    Another thing that I learned after tumbling for a few years - cleaning parts before you tumble them saves HUGE amounts of time. Even just dunking the parts in a 5 gallon bucket full of warm mild degreaser, soaking them for a bit, stirring it around etc and a rinse/dry before tumbling makes a huge difference. And, your media lasts longer as well. I use a cheap citrus degreaser from my local dollar store on big *metal* items that won't fit in my ultrasonic, and in my ultrasonic, I use Alconox - http://www.alconox.com/ - a powdered detergent used to clean medical devices and tattoo guns - but again, as long as it gets things clean before tumbling, it works fine. The degreaser is probably cheaper, but I had to buy a bunch of alconox to get some to try out, and the citrus cleaner has a lot of alcohol in it, which burns my hands with prolonged use. When I'm cleaning a lot of stuff, I have to make sure I use some good lotion or moisturizer on my hands, otherwise they crack/hurt.


    #4 12 years ago

    Thanks I'll order one to match yours tonight!

    #5 12 years ago

    Thanks for the write up. Tons of good info!

    #6 12 years ago

    Anyone have an experience with this 5-lb unit from HF?


    #7 12 years ago

    I would buy the cabelas unit for $2 less. Too many quality problems with tools from HF. If you have a *local* HF store, and this item is in stock, and there's an extended warranty where you can take it in and exchange it if/when it dies, perhaps HF is the way to go for you.

    #8 12 years ago

    For the record, I know someone using one of those HF tumblers, and has used the crap out of it, and it still runs like a top. And he bought a 2nd one, and exchanged it several times, and can't get another 'good' one - I have some drill bits from HF, buy shipping blankets there for shipping pins, straps, etc - but any tool I use regularly, I buy a 'good' one

    2 weeks later
    #9 12 years ago
    Quoted from johnwartjr:

    Size is not the only thing to take into consideration.
    I own a few tumblers....

    Just wanted to say thanks again for the write up, just got around to ordering the Berry 400 tonight.

    #10 12 years ago

    I've learned in this hobby that being a cheap bastard has its advantages, BUT do NOT skimp when it comes tools that help you. All you are doing is wasting time and money. If you want a good tumbler I recommend the Ultra-Vibe 18 from Cabela's. I've never had a problem with it and you can load all kinds of stuff in it. Here's the link: http://www.cabelas.com/product/Thumlers-Tumbler-Ultra-Vibe-18-Tumbler/705689.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch.cmd%3Fform_state%3DsearchForm%26N%3D0%26fsch%3Dtrue%26Ntk%3DAllProducts%26Ntt%3Dtumbler%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts%26x%3D0%26y%3D0&Ntt=tumbler&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products

    As far as medium I use both Walnut (heavy cleaning) and Corn cob (light cleaning) that I get from Petsmart.

    Best metal polish I've found and use is Flitz metal polish.

    I put all metal parts in


    #11 12 years ago

    didn't finish my sentence above.

    I put all metal parts in that will fit, add a cap full of Flitz and turn on for 3 days. Once done, get your dental pick ready for getting all the medium out of the nuts.

    1 year later
    #12 10 years ago

    Bumping an old thread.

    Have you used these tumblers for larger objects, e.g. ramps and how does it work?

    I got interested in this after seeing these shiny ramps on a TAF:



    I would like to do the same for my TAF!

    #13 10 years ago

    those ramps look plated, need a big tumbler for that

    6 months later
    #14 9 years ago

    I do not recomend the harbor freight 5lb tumbler. Mine breaks down all the time. First the bolt holding the hopper snaped. Next it vibrated through the power coard. And today I woke up to dust everywhere after the hopper wore out sending dust fling.

    1 week later
    #15 9 years ago

    I bought this cheap-o deal off eBay for $35. It has been running straight for 3 weeks now tumbling parts and hasn't crapped out on me. Works well, I get brand-newish looking parts in about 24 hrs with fine walnut and a little novus 3. Only drawback is it is small, so you can't drop metal guides in there or anything, but it will hold flipper assembly and mounting plates (barely).

    ebay.com link: itm


    Wanna join the discussion? Please sign in to reply to this topic.

    Hey there! Welcome to Pinside!

    Donate to Pinside

    Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run without any 3rd-party banners or ads, thanks to the support from our visitors? Please consider a donation to Pinside and get anext to your username to show for it! Or better yet, subscribe to Pinside+!

    This page was printed from https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/tumbler-size and we tried optimising it for printing. Some page elements may have been deliberately hidden.

    Scan the QR code on the left to jump to the URL this document was printed from.