Electric Tumblers
Electric Tumblers
Electric Tumblers
tumbler instructions or kilns at electrickilns.co.uk or making jewellery at kitiki.co.uk
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Kitiki Evans Mini Tumbler Kitiki Kimber Allen Junior Tumbler Beach Lapidary ST7 Barelling Machine Kitiki Magnetic Polisher

The Tumbler And Polisher Instructions.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

Electrical Safety.

All the tumblers and polishers have been engineered and comprehensively tested for the UK, the EU, and most other countries. They're CE Marked and comply with EU safety standards.

The fully-enclosed tumbler motors are rated at 230V 15W-50W, so can use a regular mains socket. They come with a 1.8 metre cable ending in a UK 3-pin plug with a 3A fuse. They cost just a few pence a day to run.

It's normal for tumblers to run hot, so be careful before you pick up one that's been running for several hours.

As with all electrical equipment, don't get your tumbler wet and don't touch it with wet hands. Always unplug it when it's not in use or being serviced. And don't open the drums over the motor base.

MECHANICAL SAFETY

Mechanical Safety.

The drive belt should be loose, providing it doesn't slip. If it's too tight, the motor will strain and overheat. It's supplied correctly set, but the belt tension can be adjusted using the motor fixings.

Once a week, apply a drop of motor-grade oil to the four places where the drum rollers pass through the bearings. Once a month, apply a drop to the motor bearing. Wipe off an excess.

The tumbler body has plastic protectors to stop it creeping across the worktop. However, make sure it's on a stable flat surface, away from the edge.

Although wearing ties is not nearly as common as it was, be careful, if you lean forward, that your tie, or your hair, doesn't get caught round the roller.

UNPACKING

Unpacking.

Although the shot is in strong sachets, be careful. However, if you spill it, it's slightly magnetic so can be picked up. But rinse it in case it now includes any dirt or grit.

The Industrial Kit has a different construction: the rollers drop down into slots. Normally, they will stay in the slots, especially with the weight of the drum. They're held in place for shipping by a few bits of tape which you need to remove. If you turn the tumbler body upside down, they might slip out of their slots, although they're easy to refit. They will not fall out during use.

THE DRUMS

Rotary Tumbler Barrels And Drums.

We sell very few plastic drums. However, the economy plastic drum lids need to stand in hot water to make them easier to push on. To free the lids, the whole drum needs to stand in hot water. There's a slight risk that, as you prise the lid off, you'll spill your work, shot or grit, and soapy water.

It's very important not to try to force the lid on, unless it's been in hot water: it may crack. When the lids are firmly on, give them a gentle end-to-end squeeze to expell any excess air, otherwise the warmth of tumbling will expand the air and water may leak out. The lids must be pushed on as far as they can go.

As you put the lid on, hold the bottom carefully so that the pressure doesn't force the bottom off, spilling all your work.


To reassemble a 510gm or 950gm rubber drum, put the metal lid in first, then tuck in the rubber ring, then fit the top, then the plastic retaining screw-top. Don't overtighten it.

To remove the lid of an industrial 2000gm rubber drum, roll the rubber ring down the barrel, squeeze the drum, and pick out the lid. Don't use anything hard or sharpe as you'll damage the drum. To reassemble, put the rubber lid in first, make sure it's flush all round, then fit the rubber ring into the groove round the upper edge.


If you want to do shot-tumbling and grit-tumbling, you should use two barrels: marked so that you don't mixed them up. One stray grit particle caught in the drum will scratch your shot-tumbled work: the scratches are quite hard to remove.

If you want to tumble a lot of glass and stones, four drums make cleaning and storing easier, especially as the three grits look similar and the polish must be kept grit-free. For frequent use, it might make more sense to use the Professional tumbler which can hold two 510gm rubber drums, or the CR5 tumbler which can hold two 950gm drums, with different abrasives, at the same time.


A silicon lubricant is used during the manufacture of rubber drums. Before use, clean the drum with a scouring pad and some washing-up liquid.

STAINLESS STEEL SHOT

The Kitiki Rotary Tumbler Shot.

The stainless steel shot, included in some of the rotary tumbler kits, is not just round but a selection of shapes, such as pins, planetoids, and spheres, designed to deal with the range of contours on jewellery.

Although the shot is 100% rust-resistant magnetic 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. There are about 110 types of stainless steel. The one we use is not as shiny as cutlery stainless steel.

If you need to replace the shot, don't economise and buy plain or mixed steel: unless you're meticulous about cleaning and drying them every time you use them, they will soon rust, make a mess, and ruin your work.

When you open a new packet, always do it over a bowl. The shot is surpringly agile and will easily escape, go on the floor, and roll everywhere. If you do spill it, brush it up, or use a magnet: then wash it.

When you've finished, empty the shot into a cloth-lined sieve, rinse it thoroughly, and spread it on some cloth to dry. Don't accidentally flush away any shot as it will collect in the basin trap and lead to a blockage.


New shot needs to be washed. Put it in a bowl with a few drops of washing-up liquid and warm water. Swish it about to clean the shot and, carefully, empty off the water. Rinse it a few times.

BARRELLING COMPOUND

Barreling Compound.

Barrelling compound, sometimes called barrel brite, burnishing soap, drum cleaner, or gallay compound, is a special soap used to keep the barrel and shot clean, lubricate the tumbling, help the polishing action, and minimise rust. Every few sessions, replace the water and compound. The drum needs about half a level teaspoonful: it's not critical.

GRITS

Rotary Tumbler Abrasives, Grits, And Polish.

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.

Grit sizes are confusing, for example: 400 grit particles are not twice the size or half the size of 200 grit particles. You'll soon learn which grit to use for different materials, shapes, and finishes.


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.


Some specialist applications might need ceramic shapes or crushed walnut shells. Mail or call if you need help.

ZINC OXIDE AND CERIUM OXIDE

Kitiki Polish.

As polishing is the final step in the surfacing process, don't expect to remove marks or scratches made during previous steps shaping or finishing.

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.

INSTRUCTIONS

Using Tumblers And Polishers.

The instructions here are general instructions for guidance. As with so many things, you need to experiment. People are working with a very diverse range of pieces, for example: beach glass, bracelet charms, cartridge cases, geological samples, jewellery, model parts, rocks, and stones. There isn't a set amount of water, cleaner, grits, and shot that works for everything. Nor is there a set time.

USING ROTARY TUMBLERS FOR JEWELLERY, METAL CLAYS, AND METALS

Using The Kitiki Rotary Tumblers.

Although you can use various abrasives to polish your work, a tumbler produces a really even, high-shine, finish, and hardens the surface, whilst you do something else.


Before starting, wash the drum thoroughly using a soft brush and some mild detergent, and rinse it clean. This is particularly important as one particle of grit, tumbling for several hours, will leave scratches that will be very difficult to remove.

Then run the tumbler, with shot and a flat teaspoon of cleaner, for several hours in case there are any stray sharp edges where the pins and rods have been cut. Rinse it out,being careful not to spill the shot


The small 510cc drum needs 500gms of shot, the medium 950cc and 1100cc drums need 1kg of shot, and the large 2000cc drum needs 1.5kgs of shot, although some people use lesss. Put all the shot in the barrel, then your work, then about a flat teaspoon of barrelling compound, and then enough cold water to cover everything. The tumbling action won't work if the barrel is full, so never fill it more than about 40%.
Fit the lid, put the drum on the rollers, and start the tumbler. Try a hour, and then longer if you think that the finish can still be improved.

Take your work out, and rinse it. The liquid can be used several times but, if silver begins to look dirty or tarnished, it will need replacing. If your silver is dirty to start with, try using Hagerty Silver Clean.

Interestingly, one retailer recommends 500gms of shot for a 950cc or 1100cc drum as it keeps the kit-price down. However, in tests, 500gms just wasn't enough, so nearly everyone uses 1000gms.

As with any process, different materials need different abrasives tumbled for different times. It's important to research the subject and experiment with the variables until you get the desired finish. There's no simple formula for getting instant results.

Some of your items might have holes, a low-profile pattern, deliberately sharp edges, or a thread. Do not over-tumble these.

USING ROTARY TUMBLERS FOR GLASS, ROCKS, AND STONES

Using Rotary Tumblers For Glass, Rocks, And Stones.

Anyone who has found shiny fragments of glass, beautifully rounded pebbles, or highly polished shells on a beach, has seen how continual fine random abrasion can shape and polish even the roughest surfaces. These beach treasures have probably been in the sea for years.

Although tumblers provide continuous and distributed abrasion rather than intermittent and scattered abrasion, and the grits are very hard and very sharp, it might take days to smooth off irregular bits of glass, minerals, rocks, or stones.


Before starting, wash the drum thoroughly using a soft brush and some mild detergent, and rinse it clean. This is particularly important as one particle of grit, tumbling for several hours, will leave scratches that will be very difficult to remove.

If the stones have broken edges, you may need to use 50% more 80 grit. If the stones are already fairly smooth, you may be able to skip the 80 grit phase. As with so many things, try it and see.

Select stones which are of similar hardness. Fill the drum about 70% full with the stones, add two heaped tablespoons of 80 grit, and top up with water to about 10mm above the tops of the stones. Fit the lid, put the drum on the rollers, and start the tumbler. It's OK to stop the tumbler and check the progress, but the stones may need several days, or even weeks. 80 grit breaks down gradually, so the stones might need another couple of days with new grit.

Empty the stones into a cloth-lined sieve, rinse them, remove them, and throw away the grit if it doesn't feel sharp. Don't mix up new and old grits. Don't accidentally flush away any grit as it will collect in the basin trap. Wash the stones, wash the drum, and tidy up.

Before moving to a finer grit, check the stones. Any imperfections that have not been ground away by now will be very hard to remove during subsequent tumbling.


Repeat the filling process, using 220 grit, and tumble for several more days. Again, it's OK to stop the tumbler and check the progress, providing grit doesn't prevent the lid sealing properly. Wash the stones, wash the drum, and tidy up.
Repeat the filling process, using 400 grit, and tumble for several more days. Wash the stones, wash the drum, and tidy up. Any grit remaining will produce scratches during the polishing phase.


Add plastic pellets to about 10mm above the top of the stones, but no water. The pellets buffer the fine cerium oxide polish. Add one tablespoon of cerium oxide that's been mixed with just enough water to make it creamy, and tumble for several more days.

Empty the stones into a cloth-lined sieve and rinse them. The pellets float, so you can skim them off. Wash the stones, wash the drum, and tidy up. Let the stones dry naturally.

Use plastic spoons to transfer the stones, particularly before the final polish, as metal can leave marks which are quite hard to remove.


Gradually, the grit will lose its sharp edges and will need to be replaced. If you know that you'll be doing a lot of stone or glass work, it would be better to buy a second grit pack.

USING THE MAGNETIC POLISHER

Using The Kitiki Magnetic Polisher.

Magnetic polishers used to be really expensive, so we have our own made in the same factory that makes our pliers, cutters, triblets, tumbler shot, scribers, and pin vices. As we order about 50 at a time they're not comparable to, say, toasters, which are made in their thousands. They don't come in retail packaging, or have a product badge, because, in small volumes, it just adds to the price.

The plain box means they can ship directly as they come from the factory. However, the pot of cleaning compound has to be packed into the same box, which involves cutting back the polystyrene and using bubble-wrap. As with the polisher, the pot of cleaner doesn't have a label.

Using the polisher is simple, so there's no manual. Quarter-fill the drum with water, and add the stainless-steel pins and your work. Add a fine sprinkle of cleaning compound, about a quarter of a flat teaspoon, put the lid on, and let it run for 20 minutes. Experiment with the amount of water, the number of pieces, and the running time, until you get the desired finish.

Initially, the stainless steel pins will have straight-cut ends, so it's a good idea to run the polisher with some scrap silver for an hour to begin to round them off slightly. 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 magnets when not using it.

Although it comes with 45gms of pins, try about 35gms first. With some shapes, fewer might be better, so experiment. However, it won't take off scratches and unfinished edges or corners, so you need to make sure your work looks good first.


Like all electric motors, it runs hot. This is normal. If your vacuum cleaner or electric drill motor was in a small metal case, that would feel hot too. Which is why the polishers are usually run for 20 minutes.

SERVICE AND REPAIR

Service And Repair.

A motor base normally requires very little attention: just keep it clean, especially the two rollers, and put a drop of motor oil, not thin general-purpose oil, on the four roller bearings and the two end stops every few weeks. Spin the rollers a few times to make sure they revolve freely, and wipe off any excess oil. And put one drop on the exposed motor bearing.


Having serviced or repaired motor bases, users have sometimes caused a problem. If it's running slowly or straining, take off the drive belt and see if both rollers spin freely. If the roller support brackets have been knocked, the roller bearings might feel tight. Just pressing gently on the bracket one way or the other will show which way it needs to be bent to correct any tightness. Make sure they spin freely, then oil the bearings.

To stop the drum slipping on the rollers, the rollers might need roughing up with some fine sandpaper.


Although tumblers are very robust and normally last for years, service or repair is done here, in the UK, at Cherry Heaven. If you have to return it, only send the part that you think is faulty. It must be carefully protected, so it's a good idea to keep the original box and internal packing. If you don't have the original packing, find something that can be re-used for the return journey as we don't have any empty boxes.

Cherry Heaven can't keep every part for every piece of equipment in stock all the time. Although we always order promptly, there's often a manufacturer's delay, a public holiday, a trainee delivery driver, traffic chaos, a world-wide material shortage, or some other complication.
I know waiting is distressing but, unless you're really competent and have tools and test equipment, don't try to repair electrical equipment at home.


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