Anyone using the HF 18 LB vibratory tumbler??

JawJacker

Well-Known Member
Are you getting good results? Are they worth the time? Or did you build your own?

Looking to order one. Looked around YT mostly see the nuts and bolt and brass guys using them. Thanks
 

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
I have one that I've used quite a bit, and am pretty happy with the results. I do need to think about changing out the media though. I bought the green ceramic media from HF along with the tumbler, and while it does a decent job, I think there are probably better options out there, so I will probably go with something else in the future.

Untitled by AR Custom Knives (Andrew Riley), on Flickr

Here's an example of some titanium I finished using the tumbler. It's a little blurry, but you get the idea.
 

JawJacker

Well-Known Member
I have one that I've used quite a bit, and am pretty happy with the results. I do need to think about changing out the media though. I bought the green ceramic media from HF along with the tumbler, and while it does a decent job, I think there are probably better options out there, so I will probably go with something else in the future.

Untitled by AR Custom Knives (Andrew Riley), on Flickr

Here's an example of some titanium I finished using the tumbler. It's a little blurry, but you get the idea.

Looks awesome I did read Felhoelter gets his media from C & M Topline have to look into it
 
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JawJacker

Well-Known Member
J Rosa, love it.
I just cant figure why these Vib tumblers are so expensive.They look so simple.
 

J. ROSA

Well-Known Member
I think they're expensive because people don't know how or don't want to build their own. At the time I bought this it was for a time crunch on an order and I never thought of building one. It was the cheapest commercially available option I could find. I see people spending up to 5k on one. Way too rich for my blood. If I had to do it over I'd learn how to make one to accommodate larger blades.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I own/use one. In fact a week before the Blade show this past summer, my old one went out. Next morning I drove 1 1/2 hours each was to pick up a new one to have knives down in time for the show. I've tried a number of different media in mine, and have come to like the ceramic, triangle media the best. Nothing I've done works better to "smooth out" the action on folders as tumbling the blades.

About the only factor that I think is a drawback to this tumbler is the amount of time it takes. I never realized it until Steve Kelly was showing me his new tumbler http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200439935_200439935 ..... his does in a 1/2 hour what it takes mine all day to do!
 

Travis Fry

Well-Known Member
Ed/Everyone,

How much do you finish blades before tumbling? If I could take them up to a 220 or 400 grit belt finish and then tumble it would save me a lot of time on some of my more basic blades. Is it even necessary to go that fine? The world of blade tumbling is completely new to me.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
That's one of the up sides of a tumbler...... it CAN cut down on a lot of "final finishing". With the prices of materials going up and up, the main reason I went with a tumbler was to cut down labor time on my EBKs...... I was looking for a way that I could prevent having to raise the prices, and the best way for me was to cut down the "hands on" time they required. Rather then hand finishing to 600 grit, then etching, I now go to 220 grit on the belt, a quick few mintues in the etch, and straight into the tumbler......6-8 hours later they are ready for handles. :)
 

Ruger4

Well-Known Member
I just made one , had an old spare 1x42 motor , some pillow blocks , a 14" length of 4" pvc......
no media tumbler in the immediate area so I went to Home Depot and bought a couple 12" sq kitchen ceramic tiles , broke em up into pieces, an acid etch , sprayed the inside with wd40 and it worked very well , including the motor about a $40 investment , will take and post a pic if you like..."
 

J. ROSA

Well-Known Member
Ruger 4, I'd be interested in seeing it if you have pictures to post. It would really help out if others are looking to build one.
 

JawJacker

Well-Known Member
Sounds good, post some up.
I just made one , had an old spare 1x42 motor , some pillow blocks , a 14" length of 4" pvc......
no media tumbler in the immediate area so I went to Home Depot and bought a couple 12" sq kitchen ceramic tiles , broke em up into pieces, an acid etch , sprayed the inside with wd40 and it worked very well , including the motor about a $40 investment , will take and post a pic if you like..."
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
I'd love to see your do-it-yourself tumbler, too. I have a small vibratory case tumbler I use for brass (reloading) but it's not nearly big enough for knives and I'm not sure it would last long with the weight of ceramic media.

Does anyone have an opinion on vibratory tumblers vs rotary tumblers for knives?
 

Les George

Admin - Founding Member
tumblers are 1st and foremost about size, how much media can you put in the bucket to put pressure on the parts.

Then they are about speed of tumble. You can tune the speed and energy in the HF tumbler if you take the bottom off it and adjust the eccentric weight that drives it.

The media obviously plays a huge role. I get all my media from C&M topline. If you call them with a tumbling question or problem, they are also very knowledgeable and helpful.

I ran one of the HF tumblers from a couple years. once I lucked into a used Raytech tumbler, I gave my HF to Ken Brock. He has pretty much wore the bowl out, last I heard it was more fiberglass repairs than original plastic.

I got another one a few months ago so I could run a bunch of pivots in burnishing media without loosing them in my Mr Deburr tumbler. The Mr Deburr is not cheap, but it is build like a brickhouse tank. A guy could build one if he was son inclined, but to make just one, you would not have to value your time much to just buy one. I would buy one again with out a doubt.

What would take 20 hours in a HF, I can do in 2. Easy

bottom line: The HF will get you there if your parts are not big and you have the time to wait for it.
 
I've never used one but have been thinking about getting one. I have one question. If you do small to medium sized full tang blades would the abrasive round the tangs enough to cause problems when fitting the handle scales?
 

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
what are the benefits to a tumbler vs a blast cabinet?

Apples and oranges really. Each with give you a different finish depending on what media you use. A blast cabinet is a little more abrasive generally, and will probably give you a little rougher (but uniform) finish on average. A tumbler will give generally give you a little smoother of a finish.

Think bead blast vs stonewash.
 

Les George

Admin - Founding Member
I've never used one but have been thinking about getting one. I have one question. If you do small to medium sized full tang blades would the abrasive round the tangs enough to cause problems when fitting the handle scales?

It can, if you shadow box the scales a little it works out well. If the scales are G-10 you can also tumble the knife with the scales on
 
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