Vibratory Tumbler finishing - Brass - Questions - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    I do manual machining and the great majority of it is on a Bridgeport. I make things as demand warrants them, so not always the same product but here are two examples.

    I made this set of hinges. I polished the 'pin' manually and the leaves I worked with abrasives. I am applying paper to a surface place then doing my best impression of hand-lapping to keep the surfaces flat and within tolerance (I generally dont remove more then a couple tenth-thousandths).

    These were glass beaded after lapping (can I call it that rather than sanding since it is done on a plate).



    Here are some brass feet, these are for outdoors and I assumed they'll become green eventually so I left the finish off the machine, which in my opinion is not a bad looking finish but it could use an improvement.

    I'm starting to make an indoor version now so I want them to be more properly polished.



    I also make occasional machinery parts.

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    I want to show my 'lapping' results also, since I think it's relevant here.

    This is the result of those nickel silver hinges as lapped prior to bead blasting.








    Thanks for the advice, greatly appreciated.

  3. #23
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    You really need to get some different types of media and try them. Really fine ceramic media does more of a burnished finish. As others have said it does not really remove machining marks. There are other medias that will be more suited to deburring and are pretty aggressive at knocking sharp edges off. I have not done any brass but a good bit of alu. I have a tub with plastic media in it and in 20 min it will put about a .004 radius on the outside corners.

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    Sounds good, I guess I'll just experiment and see what works best.

  5. #25
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    Default vibratory polishing

    I have been using a pair of Nova 250s for about 25 years and have polished a lot of small pieces ranging in size from small jewelry pieces to hardware components up to about 4.5" long. The metals have been gold, silver, brass and bronze.

    Vibratory finishing is great but it does not do miracles.

    My pieces are finished to nothing coarser than a 120 grit flap wheel finish, that seems to be the limit my tumblers tolerate.
    They spend about 12 hours in the first tumbler with coarse ceramic media. I have slowed the flow of water to a drip so it does not lubricate the parts too much. Sometimes if heavy action is needed I will throw in a little 60 to 120 grit aluminum oxide powder.

    After seperating from media the parts go into the second Nova 250 for another 6 to 8 hours. This tumbler has plastic media, bought from Rio Grande, that has some abrasive in it. Water is set to a drip so there is only a little moisture going through.

    The third process is barrel tumbling in a cheap rock type tumbler. This process uses ceramic burnishing media instead of stainless steel shot or walnut shell and produces a beautiful high polish in about 4 to 8 hours.

    With all the processes I use either Nova's or Rio Grande's vibratory and burnishing compounds, I have seen many recipes for homemade solutions to save a buck and none of them work as well as the ones you can buy.

    Hope this helps some after 40 years of mass finishing I will do anything I can to avoid hand polishing, although for certain pieces it is the best and only way.

  6. #26
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    Thank you! That is very helpful.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHolcombe View Post
    I'm wondering how far to take my finishing routine before the tumbler.
    Get any dimensional machine marks or deep scratches out before you tumble.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkahn View Post
    I have been using a pair of Nova 250s for about 25 years and have polished a lot of small pieces ranging in size from small jewelry pieces to hardware components up to about 4.5" long. The metals have been gold, silver, brass and bronze.

    Vibratory finishing is great but it does not do miracles.

    My pieces are finished to nothing coarser than a 120 grit flap wheel finish, that seems to be the limit my tumblers tolerate.
    They spend about 12 hours in the first tumbler with coarse ceramic media. I have slowed the flow of water to a drip so it does not lubricate the parts too much. Sometimes if heavy action is needed I will throw in a little 60 to 120 grit aluminum oxide powder.

    After seperating from media the parts go into the second Nova 250 for another 6 to 8 hours. This tumbler has plastic media, bought from Rio Grande, that has some abrasive in it. Water is set to a drip so there is only a little moisture going through.

    The third process is barrel tumbling in a cheap rock type tumbler. This process uses ceramic burnishing media instead of stainless steel shot or walnut shell and produces a beautiful high polish in about 4 to 8 hours.

    With all the processes I use either Nova's or Rio Grande's vibratory and burnishing compounds, I have seen many recipes for homemade solutions to save a buck and none of them work as well as the ones you can buy.

    Hope this helps some after 40 years of mass finishing I will do anything I can to avoid hand polishing, although for certain pieces it is the best and only way.
    Thanks for the info. Can you recommend any specific media or compounds for polishing brass?

  9. #29
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    I brought the brass to 1500 grit on a plate prior to tumbling. Nice tumbled finish after 2-3 hours in the tumbler after that work.

    Not thrilled, but I want to minimize how much the corners are rounded in the process of tumbling. I want them evenly rounded but not very rounded.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Ford View Post
    I make batches of small brass parts, some with rope knurling or other decorative bits, and toss them into a small round vibratory tumbler with crushed walnut shells (lizard bedding from the pet store) and squirt in some Flits polish. Overnight they get a nice high shine.
    Frank,

    I've been using walnuts with red rouge as a final finish on various metals for some time and am pleased with results. However I don't recall seeing info on replenishing it, or any walnut + compound. So hopefully you could comment on my questions.

    + How much Flitz (proportion) do you add to new (#?) walnuts?
    + I assume you reuse your walnuts?
    + Do you replenish existing treated compound? Proportion?

    Steve-I, same questions.

    Thanks!


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