|electric tumblers and polishers||or kilns at electrickilns.co.uk or making jewellery at kitiki.co.uk|
Electric Tumblers is an on-line shop for lapidary tumblers, jewellery tumblers, glass polishers, rock tumblers, stone tumblers, magnetic polishers, drums, stainless-steel shot, cleaning compounds, abrasive grits, polishes, and de-burring media.
Anyone who has found shiny fragments of glass, beautifully rounded pebbles, or highly polished shells on a sandy beach, has seen how continual abrasion and impacts can shape and polish even the roughest surfaces. These beach treasures have probably been in the sea for years. Fortunately, electric tumblers are hundreds of times quicker and a lot more convenient.
Rotary tumblers are ideal for polishing jewellery and silver and smoothing glass, rocks, and stones. They're very popular for putting a lustre on anything made from Art Clay metal clays, bronze clay, copper clay, and PMC silver clays, and adding a matte or gloss finish to beach glass and small pebbles.
You can also create attractive finishes on brass, bronze, castings, coins, copper, fashion accessories, fingerprint keepsakes, glass, gold, jewellery, metals, minerals, model parts, rocks, shells, silver, small treasures, and stones. And there are diverse archeological, engineering, geological, home-hobby, and industrial applications.
Cherry Heaven has made a photo book featuring polished items, some of the popular tumblers and polishers, and a few parts: click the Cherry Heaven TV player above.
To learn more, use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page: the tumblers amd polishers are available as complete kits or separate parts. Then, for prices, use the shop link, top right on every page: UK VAT and UK-mainland delivery are included, so you can start work straight away.
Cherry Heaven is a UK-EU distributor for tumblers, polishers, and accessories, and provides comprehensive advice, free competent technical support, a prompt repair workshop, and telephone time if you have to fit parts: all valuable services. If you need help, use the mail link or call .
|BEFORE STARTING||INTERNET PRICES: ££ OR £££|
The internet is an unchecked resource: everything is the best, the newest, or the cheapest, and it's being sold by the premier dealer. And because there are implied sale offers, special prices, and discounts, net-prices can be misleading:
a motor base with a drum is not the same as a complete kit with shot and cleaner or grits and polish
a beginner's kit might not include sufficient shot or grit: you won't get the expected result
plain-steel shot will soon rust: you need rust-resistant stainless-steel shot
shot comprises balls, planetoids, pins, and rods in different sizes: not just one size of balls and a few pins
a tumbler described as a 3lb tumbler needs 1kg of shot, not 500gms
a getting-started pack of grits might have very small amounts
a complete grit pack needs coarse, medium, fine, and polish, not just coarse and fine
economy plastic drums are noisy, fiddlesome to open, and can leak
if the tumblers aren't UK-made, it might take a long time to get spares
if the tumbler needs repairing, who'll do it?
in that headline price, are UK VAT and UK mainland delivery included?
In November 2015, our stainless-steel shot was 2.44 times more expensive elsewhere. The ST7 tumbler was £43 more expensive because the delivery charge was £30. A similar magnetic polisher was nearly 3.10 times more expensive. Even a pot of 400 grit was 2.2 times more expensive. And, as far as I know, most distributors and re-sellers don't offer technical support, stock spare parts, or do repairs.
|USING THIS RESOURCE||WHAT TO CLICK ON|
Nearly everything is one click away: use a link below the menu bar near the top of the page to learn more, mail questions, or shop on line. To confirm your destination, the link will change colour just before you click.
There are no clickable links in the main text. However, there are lots of mouse-over words that generate context-sensitive pop-ups: a useful, and optional, way of explaining things. Try it here, although pop-ups won't work on a small screen.
|ELECTRIC TUMBLERS: PHOTOS|
To look at the pop-up photos, hold your mouse over the zoom buttons below: you don't need to click.
The Starter Tumbler With One Small Drum.
The Home Tumbler With One Small Drum.
The Studio Tumbler With One Large Drum.
The Professional Tumbler With One Large Drum.
The Professional Tumbler With Two Small Drums.
The Industrial Tumbler With One Large Drum.
The CR1 Tumbler Motor Base.
The CR5 With Two Medium 1000gm Rubber Drums.
The Starter Small 700gm Plastic Drum.
The Home Small 510gm Rubber Drum.
The Studio Medium 1150gm Plastic Drum.
The Professional Medium 950gm Rubber Drum.
The Professional Medium 1000gm Rubber Drum With Internal Vanes.
The Industrial Large 2000gm Rubber Drum With Internal Vanes.
The Kitiki Stainless-Steel Balls And Planetoids.
The Kitiki Stainless-Steel Pins And Rods.
The Kitiki Barrel Brite Drum Cleaner.
The Kitiki Abrasive Grits.
The Kitiki Zinc Oxide Polish.
The Kitiki Plastic Pellets.
The Kitiki Ceramic Shapes.
The Kitiki Walnut Shells.
The Kitiki Magnetic Polisher.
The Kitiki Ultrasonic Cleaner.
|A GENERAL INTRODUCTION|
Tumblers and polishers are used to gloss, matte, or refine the surface of brass, bronze, castings, coins, copper, fashion accessories, fingerprint keepsakes. glass, gold, jewellery, metals, minerals, model parts, rocks, shells, silver, small treasures, and stones. And there are diverse archeological, engineering, geological, home-hobby, and industrial applications.
They're very popular for putting a lustre on anything made from Art Clay silver clays, bronze clay, copper clay, and PMC metal clays, and adding a matte or gloss finish to beach glass and small pebbles.
A rotary tumbler for jewellery and silver has a motor base unit, a revolving barrel part-filled with water, mixed stainless steel media, and a chemical cleaner. As the drum rotates, the mixed steel-shapes repeatedly fall onto the material to be polished and their collective tiny impacts gradually burnish and harden the surface.
A rotary tumbler for glass, rocks, and stones has a motor base unit, a revolving barrel part-filled with water and abrasive grit. As the drum rotates, the grit particles repeatedly fall onto the material to be polished and the collective tiny impacts and scratches gradually smooth the surface. It's normal to use several graded grits followed by a polish.
Rotary tumblers are often called barrelling polishers, lapidary tumblers, jewellery tumblers, glass polishers, rock tumblers, and stone tumblers. The practice of cutting and polishing stones, minerals, and gems is called lapidary.
A magnetic polisher for jewellery and silver has a motor base with a stationary pot part-filled with water, mixed stainless steel pins, and a chemical cleaner. A rotating magnetic field under the container makes the pins jump randomly onto the material to be polished and their collective tiny impacts and scratches gradually clean up the surface. Magnetic polishers are sometimes called vibratory polishers or oscillating polishers. They're ideal for polishing low-profile patterns on silver and refreshing small pieces.
An ultrasonic cleaner has a stationary chamber, part-filled with water and cleaner: no shot, no grit. Electronically generated ultrasonic waves create minute bubbles which, during the low pressure part of each wave, grow until, during the high pressure part of the wave, they're compressed and implode. The energy released cleans the objects inside. Ultrasonic cleaners are sometimes called jewellery polishers or jewellery cleaners. They're better suited to small pieces that have just dulled over time: not for creating a polish.
|ROTARY TUMBLER KITS: STARTER, HOME, STUDIO, PROFESSIONAL, OR INDUSTRIAL?|
For jewellery and silver, you need a motor base, a barrel, mixed-size stainless steel shot, and cleaner: for glass, rocks, and stones, a motor base, a barrel, graded grits, polish, and plastic pellets. Either way, you need all the components to begin work, so most people buy a complete kit.
Although you can buy the parts separately, the five kits described below do most things for most people. If you have have other applications, make up your own kit or, if you need help, use the mail link or call .
The Starter is a small simple tumbler kit. For jewellery and silver, it includes an electric motor base, a small 900gm plastic drum, 500gms of mixed shot, and 225cc of barrelling compound. For glass, rocks, and stones it doesn't need shot, so the kit includes a pack of three graded grits and polish.
The Home is a small better-engineered tumbler kit. For jewellery and silver, it includes an electric motor base, a small 510gm rubber drum, 500gms of mixed shot, and 225cc of barrelling compound. For glass, rocks, and stones it doesn't need shot, so the kit includes a pack of three graded grits and polish.
The Studio is a medium simple tumbler kit. For jewellery and silver, it includes an electric motor base, a medium 1100gm plastic drum, 1000gms of mixed shot, and 225cc of barrelling compound. The motor base is longer than the Starter and Home, so it can hold one 1100gm plastic drum or two 700gm plastic drums. For glass, rocks, and stones it doesn't need shot, so the kit includes a pack of three graded grits and polish.
The Professional is a medium better-engineered tumbler kit. For jewellery and silver, it includes an electric motor base, a medium 950gm rubber drum, 1000gms of mixed shot, and 225cc of barrelling compound. The motor base is longer than the Starter and Home, so it can hold one 950gm rubber drum or two 510gm rubber drums. For glass, rocks, and stones it doesn't need shot, so the kit includes a pack of three graded grits and polish.
The Industrial is a large robust well-engineered tumbler kit. For jewellery and silver, it includes an electric motor base with a power switch, a large 2000gm rubber barrel, 2000gms of mixed shot, and 225cc of barrelling compound. For glass, rocks, and stones it doesn't need shot, so the kit includes two packs of three graded grits and polish.
The Starter and Studio are economy kits: they have plastic drums, not rubber, the motor bases don't have roller or wheel barrel-end-stops so the drum is kept on the rollers by the roller support brackets, and they have plain neoprene drive belts, not toothed nylon-reinforced drive belts and cogged drive wheels.
The Starter model is smaller than the Studio. It has a smaller drum with less shot or grit, so tumbling takes longer. The Starter model can only hold one small 900gm plastic drum. The Studio model can either hold one medium 1100gm plastic drum or two small 700gm plastic drums.
The Home and Professional are better engineered than the Starter and Studio: they have rubber drums, not plastic, the motor bases have roller barrel-end-stops and toothed nylon-reinforced drive belts and cogged drive wheels, not plain neoprene belts.
The Home model is smaller than the Professional. It has a smaller drum with less shot or grit, so tumbling takes longer. The Home model can only hold one small 510gm rubber drum. The Professional model can either hold one medium 950gm rubber drum or two small 510gm rubber drums.
If this will be your first tumbler, you should learn more about the drums, shot, cleaner, grits, and polishes before deciding: so read the rest of this page. Then use the links below the menu bar near the top of the page. Although, the Professional Kit is by far the most popular.
Unless you're on a very tight budget, I'd recommend kits with rubber barrels rather than the plastic. I'll explain why further down this page.
Some of the tumblers used to be made by Evans Lapidary and Beach. The businesses have changed ownership, the design and engineering has been improved, and Mr Evans no longer makes tumblers.
|OPTIONS AND UPGRADES|
If you're in a busy studio, you have a lot of work to get through, or you're working with larger pieces, I'd recommend a tumbler with a more powerful motor and a different or larger drum.
The Kitiki CR-1 is a heavy-duty motor base with a powerful 40W motor, a nylon reinforced toothed drive belt, and bronze roller bearings. It's not available as part of a kit, so you'll need to add a 950gm or 1000gm pro rubber drum, and 1000gm of shot and cleaner, or a grit pack. Or you can use two 510gm rubber drums. It's more powerful than the Professional model.
The Kitiki CR-5 is a double-length heavy-duty motor base with a powerful 40W motor, a nylon reinforced toothed drive belt, and bronze roller bearings. It's not available as part of a kit, so you'll need to add two 950gm or 1000gm pro rubber drums, 2000gm of shot and cleaner, or two grit packs. As it's longer, you can use one 950gm drum and two 510gm rubber drums, or one 1000gm pro rubber drum and two 510gm rubber drums, or three 510gm rubber drums.
The pro metalsmiths' 1000gm rubber barrel has two internal vanes. If you're polishing pieces of silver, metals, glass, rocks, or stones larger than about 25-30mm across, the vanes help to turn everything over so that you get even polishing. It has a a push-on rubber lid, not a screw-on lid.
A magnetic polisher has a motor base with a removable stationary drum part-filled with water, mixed stainless-steel pins, and cleaner. A rotating magnetic field makes the pins jump randomly and the collective tiny scratches and impacts gradually polish and burnish the surface.
Generally, magnetic polishers are used for small, delicate, intricate shapes that don't need a lot of finishing: jewellery, brass, bronze, copper, gold, silver, model parts, small treasures, and low-profile fingerprint keepsakes. They hold less than rotary tumblers, but are quieter, quicker, and simpler to fill and empty.
The Kitiki Magnetic Polisher Kit 1 is ideal for Art Clay, bronze clay, copper clay, and PMC metal clays, copper, gold, jewellery, and silver. It consists of a magnetic motor base, a lift-off acrylic drum, a plastic lid, and 25gms of tiny stainless steel pins.
An ultrasonic cleaner has a fixed stationary chamber, and a removable plastic basket part-filled with water and cleaner: no shot, no grit. Electronically generated ultrasonic waves create minute bubbles which, during the low pressure part of each wave, grow until, during the high pressure part of the wave, they're compressed and implode. The energy released cleans the objects inside.
The Kitiki Ultrasonic Cleaner is ideal for cleaning jewellery and other objects, restoring their sparkle. It won't put a shine on a rough surface. However, they're inexpensive and very quick. It consists of a container base and a lift-out basket.
Tumblers use a rotating drum, or barrel, which contains mixed shot and cleaner or graded grits and polish. The kits include drums which are the right size for the tumbler motor base.
It's generally assumed that a 3.0lb drum can hold 3.0lbs of stones, but what kind of stones? Especially as, for most tumbling, the drum should only be about 40% full. Similarly, a 510gm drum holds 510gms of something: but what?
The usual way to measure any container's capacity is by its volume, in cubic centimetres or litres. However, since 1cc of pure water weighs 1gm, the weight of water could be used instead: weigh the drum, fill it with water, and measure the change.
Plastic drums are an economy option. Unfortunately, they're fiddlesome to open and close, noisy in use, and sometimes leak. And, if the end caps aren't pushed on all the way, the drum doesn't turn properly and can fall off the rollers.
Plastic drum lids need to stand in hot water to make them easier to push on. When they are on, the whole drum needs to be squeezed to expel as much air as possible because, during prolonged tumbling, the air warms up and expands and can cause the drum to leak.
To free the lids. the whole drum has to stand in hot water. Prising them off is a good way to break your nails and there's a slight risk that, as you pull the lid off, you'll spill your work, shot or grit, and soapy water.
Plastic drums are noisy, if you have to work in the same room: especially as rough glass and stones might need to tumble for several days.
Rubber drums are better, quieter, don't leak, and are simpler to fill and empty than plastic drums.. They're simpler to fill and empty than plastic drums as they use a different lid mechanism: at one end there's an inner metal lid, a rubber sealing ring, an outer metal lid, and a retaining wing-nut.
Professional rubber drums have internal vanes which, as the drum rotates, scoop up the shot and your pieces, increasing the tumbling action and reducing the tumbling time. They're better, quieter, and simpler to fill and empty than plastic drums. They should be about 60% to 75% full to maximise the tumbling action.
If you want to do shot-tumbling and grit-tumbling, use two barrels: marked so that you don't mix them up. One stray grit particle caught in the shot-drum will scratch your work: and the scratches are quite hard to remove.
Ideally, and budget constraints aside, use four drums for the three grit grades and the polish: marked so that you don't mix them up. Four drums make cleaning and storing easier, especially as the three grits look similar and the polish must be kept grit-free. It also makes more sense to use the larger Studio or Professional tumbler so that you can use two smaller drums, with different abrasives, at the same time.
|SHOT BALLS, PLANETOIDS, PINS, AND RODS|
Shot is the generic name for the small metal shapes used to polish and burnish. Ours is made of rust-resistant stainless steel, not plain steel, as a mix of differenty-sized balls, planetoids, pins, and rods.
As the drum rotates, the shot repeatedly falls onto the material to be polished and the collective tiny impacts gradually harden, polish, and burnish the surface.
It's in 250gm bags: either mixed balls and planetoids or mixed pins and rods. Kits include the correct amount for the size of the drum: 500gms, 1000gms, or 2000gms. If you see shot sold as a starter pack, you'll probably get a half-portion of poor quality plain steel which will soon corrode and rust.
If your work pieces have a lot of fine detail work, try more pins. However, once you've mixed them you won't be able to un-mix them easily, so you might want to use two drums.
Your work and the shot are immersed in water. However, as water is a poor cleaner, a small amount of special detergent is usually added. It's called barelling compound, gallay compound, drum cleaner, or just tumbler cleaner: it's only for shot, not grits.
Most of the plain steel and stainless steel shot in the UK, and probably the EU, came from several suppliers in India. It used to be adequately made but, over the years, the quality, shapes, and mix of balls, planetoids, pins, and rods, deteriorated, especially as the raw-metal price increased. It's not as corrosion resistant as it was, probably because it's a lower grade steel.
Our shot is made for us: from expensive stain-resistant magnetic steel in four ball sizes, two planetoid sizes, four pin sizes, and two rod sizes. It's a tested and reliable mix designed to deal with the diverse range of contours on jewellery. It's made in the same factory that makes our magnetic polishers, pliers, cutters, and other tools. Also, as it's slightly magnetic, it's easier to pick up if you spill it.
Although it's rust-resistant steel, don't leave it lying around wet: either leave it immersed in the tumbler mix of water and cleaner, or rinse it and dry it carefully. No steel-based products are rust-proof as anyone who's found a bike in a canal will have seen.
If you need to replace the shot, don't economise and buy plain or mixed steel: unless you're meticulous about cleaning and drying it every time, it'll soon rust, make a mess, and ruin your work.
|MAGNETIC POLISHER PINS|
Most of the plain steel and stainless steel pins in the UK, and probably the EU, came from several suppliers in India. They used to be adequately made but, over the years, the quality, cuts, and mix of sizes deteriorated, especially as the raw-metal price increased. In some cases they wwre just plain steel, not stainless, or a mix. Either way, they soon corroded.
Our pins are made for us: from expensive stain-resistant magnetic-steel wire. Cutting thin wire into 5mm lengths needs a precision guillotine with a carefully controlled feed mechanism or the cut will shear leaving a point that will scratch rather than polish your work. The size was chosen, after considerable experiment, to best polish the diverse range of contours on jewellery. They're made in the same factory that makes our pliers, cutters, magnetic polishers, and other tools.
Initially, the stainless steel pins will have straight-cut ends, so it's a good idea to run the polisher with some scrap metal for an hour to begin to round them off slightly. Then, either keep them in the water or take them out and dry them. Some people lift the pot off to keep the pins away from the magnet when not using it.
Although it's rust-resistant steel, don't leave it lying around wet: either leave it immersed in the tumbler mix of water and cleaner, or rinse it and dry it carefully.
If you need to replace the shot, don't economise and buy plain or mixed steel: unless you're meticulous about cleaning and drying it every time, it'll soon rust, make a mess, and ruin your work.
|VIDEO: STAINLESS STEEL|
Cherry Heaven TV provides on-line radio and television programmes using the Cherry Heaven Player. To play, pause, or stop the player, or adjust the volume, click the controls or, whilst it's playing, drag the time-line slider to a new position.
There are over 60 different types of stainless steel, better called stain-resistant steel, It's a versatile, durable, steel alloy, used in familiar domestic and industrial products. Here's a promotional video:
|DRUM AND SHOT CLEANER AND CORROSION INHIBITOR|
Cleaner, sometimes called barrelling compound, barrel brite, or gallay compound, is a special mix of detergents and corrosion inhibitors used to keep the barrel and shot or pins clean, lubricate the tumbling, and help the polishing action.
The cleaner comes in a 225cc white plastic screw-top pot for convenience and safety: not a plastic bag, and not a pot that can't be closed properly once the seal has been broken. It's a special cleaner and corrosion inhibitor not just some general detergent.
Although it's filled to the brim during packing, powders settle and it may not look quite full when you open it. It's plainly much easier to fill a pot with a fixed volume than to measure out a fixed weight every time. Larger 1000cc pots are in the on-line shop.
Grit is the generic name for the abrasive particles used to grind and polish. Generally, it's graded silicon carbide: an angular, hard, sharp, material which fractures into smaller angular particles, making it an effective abrasive.
As the drum rotates, the grit particles repeatedly fall onto the material to be polished and the collective tiny scratches and impacts gradually polish the surface. However, unlike shot, it does need replacing eventually.
A grit pack comprises 450gms of 80 grit, 450gms of 220 grit, and 450gms of 400 grit, 200 gms of zinc oxide polish, and one 250gm pack of plastic pellets to distribute the polish. If you see grits sold as a starter pack, you'll probably get two small pots of grit, not three, and no plastic pellets. It's not enough, and you'll have to buy more once you've experimented.
Grit sizes are confusing, for example: 400 grit particles are not twice the size or half the size of 200 grit particles. 80 grit is classed as medium, 220 as fine, and 400 as very fine. However, most users refer to them as coarse, medium, and fine, and you'll soon learn which grits to use, and for how long, for different materials, shapes, and finishes.
You need three grades of grit for glass and stones, not two: just a coarse and a fine are a false economy as the fine won't remove the scratches from the coarse. The final polish, zinc oxide, needs added plastic pellets to distribute it, otherwise it will just stick to the walls of the barrel.
Grit should be handled and stored carefully to prevent contamination from stray larger particles that will scratch. Keep the tubs sealed until you need to use them. In use, transfer a small amount into a working container, to minimize the risk of contaminating the whole tub. And wash the drums thoroughly before and after use.
When you've finished, empty the grit into a cloth-lined sieve, rinse it thoroughly, and spread it on some cloth to dry. Be careful not to flush away any grit as it may collect in the basin trap.
The grits and polish come in plastic screw-top pots for convenience and safety: not plastic bags, and not pots that can't be closed properly once the seal has been broken.
Ideally, and budget constraints aside, you should use four drums for the three grit grades and the polish: marked so that you don't mixed them up. If you choose to use the same drum, cleaning it out carefully between each phase is vital, as one stray grit particle caught in the drum will scratch your work during the next phase, and the scratches are hard to remove.
|ZINC OXIDE POLISH AND PLASTIC PELLETS|
The final phase for polishing glass and stones uses a very fine zinc oxide paste mixed with small plastic pellets to help distribute it and stop it forming one lump. The powder isn't water soluble so the individual particles keep their integrity.
Although it can produce a highly-polished surface, some glass artists prefer the slighty matte surface that the finer grits produce.
The polish comes in a 200gm screw-top container. It's enough to put in a 950gm rubber drum. If you're comparing prices, some tumbler kits only include a small amount of polish. It's not enough, and you'll have to buy more once you've experimented.
Some polishes use cerium oxide. Cerium belongs to the group of elements known as the rare earth elements. To produce the polishing powder, about 80% of cerium oxide and 20% of other rare earths are used, resulting in a pink-ish powder. Unfortunately, it's more expensive and doesn't work any better unless the stones are very hard.
Polishing is the final step in the process: it won't remove working marks or grit scratches left from previous phases. Although it can produce a highly-polished surface, some glass artists prefer the slighty matte surface that the grits produce.
The screw-top pot in the kits contains about 200gms. Although you can buy zinc oxide and plastic pellets in the on-line shop. it's probably better to replace the whole grit pack, clean out all the drums, and start afresh.
Some processes, such as de-burring metals, work better with different media. The two most popular are ceramic shapes and broken wallnut shells, both of which are in the on-line shop.
I can't recommend one or the other so, as they're not expensive, you'll need to experiment. However, generally, ceramic shapes are used with the harder metals and walnut shells with the softer metals. They can also be used for rocks to help distribute the grits.
This internet resource is provided by Cherry Heaven, an international distributor, on-line shop, and support centre for kilns, accessories, materials, tools, and tumblers. It's not a bead, ceramics, crafts, glass, or metal-clay home-business, selling to a small market niche.
As it's an on-line resource, there isn't a paper catalogue or a price list. However, you can mail or call a technician about kilns, power supplies, public area safety, a special project, business ideas, diagnostics, repairs, or reselling opportunities.