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ZeSpectre
August 31, 2009, 09:26 AM
I was looking at some items I had around the house and decided to try and make a DIY tumbling media separator based on the professional ones available (http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=183204) from Frankford Arsenal and other places.

I already had a red 5 gallon "beach bucket", some PVC tubing, and a few other miscl odds-and-ends but I did have to go over to the local dollar store and buy a pair of "matched" plastic colanders to use as the "tumbling chamber".

First I used a drill powered hole saw to make holes in the bucket and then opened up the top of the holes to give me a place to rest the axle.
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b66/zespectre/2009_RebelXSi_3573.jpg

Next I clamped the colanders together and drilled more holes so I could run the axle through it.
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b66/zespectre/2009_RebelXSi_3575.jpg

Then I measured the PVC tube to be an axle, cut to length, and drilled holes for the pins to secure one of the colanders. The other colander was then put in place and two small holes were drilled for the nut/bolt combos that will hold the colander "ball" closed when filled and tumbling.
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b66/zespectre/2009_RebelXSi_3578.jpg

Then came the moment of truth, a good sized load of .38 Special cases and walnut media.
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b66/zespectre/2009_RebelXSi_3579.jpg

Wow, this really works well! The media was sifted out and the mechanical action of the brass clashing around also seemed to knock the vast majority of the walnut media out of the flash holes in the brass!

There are a few flaws in the design though.
1) I need to add a lid. The flat edges of the colanders hold media and fling it around as you spin the "sifter ball". A cover would catch this and keep it from going everywhere.

2) I need to epoxy the screws that seal the "sifter ball" and add wingnuts. The current arrangement of loose nut, bolt, and washer, is far too easy to drop into the bucket (and those small screws are hard to find in walnut media).

3) I need to add a crank handle. I can certainly grab the axle and turn the thing but I think having a crank handle would make things much easier.

So the entire thing cost me about $4 for the two colanders and the rest was all parts and stuff I had laying around. Not too shabby and it's going to be great once I deal with the above mentioned design shortcomings.

emcon5
August 31, 2009, 11:30 AM
I just took some left over metal mesh and formed it into a bowl shape that fits inside a big plastic bucket. I stir it around with the same pasta spoon I use to remove the cases from the tumbler.

Like this one: http://www.oneida.com/resources/oneidaConsumer/images/products/processed/22805.zoom.1.jpg

I am sure the Frankfort/Midway one is faster, but it was free, and doesn't take up any more space than the bucket.

ZeSpectre
September 1, 2009, 12:16 PM
updated and added photos.