Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

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Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by Flyer » 13 Mar 2018, 1:49 pm

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I know you get what you pay for, but at $68 delivered with a two-year warranty, has anyone tried one of these for tumbling brass?
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by sungazer » 13 Mar 2018, 1:52 pm

Yes and it was too small also broke. Get the 5 kg one, you can get your hand in the top to get the cases out, also more room for the cases and pins this one still working.
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by Flyer » 13 Mar 2018, 1:56 pm

Thanks for the heads-up on the sizing. I mostly load 223, but I was wondering about whether to try the 5kg version.

I've read they mostly break drive belts, but I was also wondering about the integrity of the seal and plastic drum, as most tumblers are rubber lined to protect the drum and reduce noise. Which bit of yours broke?
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by sungazer » 13 Mar 2018, 2:08 pm

The belt broke and then the motor just kept going and burnt out. I did have to seal the barrel on first one with some silicon the second one is glued properly. The lid seal on both of them has been ok. Again the 5kg one is just a bit better. As for noise its outside in the shed and the noise lets me know when its stopped.
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by Stix » 13 Mar 2018, 2:10 pm

I got the 5kg too...

It does the job...need to use somewhere between warm to hot water so the lid seals properly...otherwise it leaks...
Its also noisy--much more so than a dry vibrator... (gee that sounds bad)...
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by Flyer » 13 Mar 2018, 2:44 pm

Did they come with ball bearings or steel pins? Have you guys noticed any damage to the inside of barrel after using it a few times?

Also, are the 3kg and 5kg units the same machine but with different barrels?
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by Stix » 13 Mar 2018, 4:40 pm

Came with pins...

Depends what you constitute damage...the plastic drum will eventually "fog up" from microscopic scratches...i cant see that being an issue unless your hell bent on sitting watching it for hours...

Dont know if 3 n 5 are same...only have the 5kg myself...

Sungazer...?
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by sungazer » 13 Mar 2018, 4:59 pm

They look the same but the 5 is a bigger machine. I had a quick look inside very similar I didnt do a close inspection of the motor. Stix on the 5 at least mine the two pins that you put the lid rod between are not screwed in all the way. I screwed them in 1 ot 2 turns and it puts more pressure on the lid. They are still a long way from being screwed in all the way.
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by Gwion » 13 Mar 2018, 6:14 pm

Being ignorant, lazy and not wanting to have to weight sort my brass all the time: how long does it take to tumble a batch of brass, exactly???
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by sungazer » 13 Mar 2018, 6:21 pm

At a minimum I would say 1 hour. Some people do less than this, i do it for 3 hours. The results are pretty special.
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by juststarting » 13 Mar 2018, 6:40 pm

I have one. It's a workhorse that's just keeps going.

Comes with ball-bearings, not pins; unless you're buying it from someone who repackaged it.

Yes, get the biggest bucket possible.

Gwion, 30 minutes per batch, assuming you get the water+detergent+(most use citric acid) mixture right.
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by Gwion » 13 Mar 2018, 7:28 pm

And then i have to weight sort my brass again... :wtf:

Still tempted at that price, though. I have previously looked at ones from some lapidary store online for a coupl'a hundred $$!
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by juststarting » 13 Mar 2018, 7:30 pm

Mine was AUD150 from AliExpress. +45 for pins :/
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by Gwion » 13 Mar 2018, 7:44 pm

What size is it and how much brass does it take at once, JS?
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by Stix » 13 Mar 2018, 7:48 pm

Sungazer...maybe i should spend more time gazing at the sun ...
I just had a look at my tumble bucket & bugga me...you're right...there is plenty of thread on the pins to tighten down...
How very un-observant of me...!!!
In any case, warm-hot water works to (help) seal it--the water cools & sucks the lid in tight...
Thanks sg... :thumbsup:
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by juststarting » 13 Mar 2018, 9:34 pm

Gwion wrote:What size is it and how much brass does it take at once, JS?


Mine is 3kg and takes around 50 308 cases. To get a very good clean, you want to have a 5cm gap between the lid and cases.

With that in mind, when I get some time - I have an old drill that is no good, but sort of works, so I will be hacking it into DIY tumbler... I'd like to be able to do at least a couple hundred 308 cases at a time.
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by Flyer » 14 Mar 2018, 2:36 am

This 5kg eBay special is $120 with the 20% discount and comes with 1kg of steel pins. I think the pins would probably clean the primer pockets better than ball bearings, which I can't see getting into tight places.

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/5KG-Rotary- ... SwxJlaoH95

For those interested, I've got a Lyman ultrasonic cleaner clone (identical to the one below) that I bought for about $160 and it does the job OK, but doesn't get right into the primer pockets (which I've been cleaning with a Dremel and small brass wire brush). Nor does it really clean the insides of the cases. It's also touchy about where the brass sits in the tank: if it's not right over the ultrasonic cleaning mechanism, it takes a long time to clean, so you have to constantly stir your brass around the tank to get everything evenly clean.

It has a heating element, and is fast, but it doesn't get your brass as sparkly clean as the rotary tumbled brass I've seen. I use hot water, dish detergent and vinegar. I think for all the added work I'm better off with a rotary tumbler (even if the tumbler takes an hour or more, at least it's hands-off).
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Re: Cheap Chinese tumblers - any good?

Post by sungazer » 14 Mar 2018, 7:26 am

I must say that my 3kg one although advertised with pins didnt come with any. I got a part refund. The 5kg one that I bought from the ozzie guy on ebay did come with pins but I am still using the Lyman SS pins I bought. Not sure how good his pins are but better than the Chinese BB or pins probably.
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