by Dale Curry
(Rockford IL US)
All I have (and all I can afford right now) is a "Rolling Stones" red plastic toy tumbler. I think it has maybe a 1/2 pound capacity. About how much shot should I use, and what is the maximum number of ear wires I can tumble at one time?
You may want to read other questions and answers to your similar question here on my website. Tumbler's do not have to be expensive to work well. Do you have a Harbor Freight by you? They have a decent tumbler (opinions vary on this, but many of my students and myself have been using them for years with success) for around $35. Plus, you can get a 20% off coupon for Harbor Freight from the coupon section in the Sunday paper making it very reasonable. It's a three pound capacity tumbler. The downside to this machine?
The belts do not last very long. But no problem! You can use a Lortone model 4C belt in the HF machine. I've never had to replace one of the Lortone belts and they've been going for a very long time. Mama's Minerals in New Mexico and Rio Grande Jeweley Supply both carry the replacement Lortone belts for around $3. The HF model has a 3 pound capacity and uses one pound of Stainless steel shot. Rio Grande has a great price on the shot for about $16- $18 plus shipping.
I've seen some of the inexpensive toy tumblers and not only are they very small, but they don't seem to work very well. Some don't hold water without leaking. If you already own one, experiement with differnt amounts of the shot. 1/2 pound capacity means; shot, water and items to be tumbled can't exceed the machine's weight limit. If you don't use very much shot, you won't get good results from the tumbling. I am not familar with your model of rock tumbler.
As to, "...what is the maximum number of ear wires I can tumble at one time?" I have no idea.:) Try 50 pairs and see what happens! You won't ruin them. Perhaps, they just won't turn out very polished and you'll have to tumble smallers amounts to get a nice finish on them.