I have used vibratory tumblers at places I worked before. We mainly used them for deburring machined parts. They work really well. Each grit of polishing media takes hours to do what the guy in the video did. The good part is you can just let it run while you're doing something else.
I didn't want to spend the money for one of those for my home shop ($2500-$4000), although I may get one at some point. I got a $300 cement mixer with poly tub and use that with the coarse ceramic media and a small amount of Dawn dishwashing liquid. The Dawn helps keep the media from loading up with metal particles. It does a pretty good job, but takes longer. The finish with the coarse media is similar to a very fine zinc coating look.
Last edited by Toolguy; Nov 28, 2021 at 08:34 AM.
I wonder about work hardening with this process. I made a batch of mounting tabs out of 16 gauge aluminum sheet and decided to run them through my cheap ceramic polisher to clean them up. They all came out with a nice finish, but they were also very brittle from work hardening. Still, surface hardening shouldn't hurt those wheels (and might actually protect them), while it could penetrate all the way through my thinner stock.
schuylergrace (Dec 2, 2021)
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