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Bullet Banger
Bullet Banger
Posts: 737
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:27 pm
Age: 85
Location: USA, Colorado



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I see where some have trouble with brass cleaning with vibrator type cleaners....I see it as ‘all vibrators are not created equal’...’all vibrator cleaning media is not created equal’...and all vibrator users are not created equal. I think...I THINK, that too many let their self be limited by the limited imagination of others. For example, they may buy a Harbor Freight Vibrator and use ground corn cob media because they have seen where others have done this, and then they find that this doesn’t really do a good job for them as they would like. Like I see where one guy then buys a 175 $ Rotary Tumbler and 50 $ worth of stainless steel media and it works great for him. Well I can see where this just may happen this way. But it may not be of concern for some but I can see that just the neck end of the case may get peen hardened if it is in a tumbler type device too long. Maybe of no concern – that’s okay.

30 or so years ago I bought a Harbor Freight Vibratory type Case Cleaner...didn’t use it much. I found that the media found a place to hide in the case but it did shine the case fairly well after experimenting with various polishing compounds. After maybe 10 or so hours of use the cheaply built motor burnt out – I know it’s made to do that. But dog-gone-it, it still took three hours to shine a case. I found that the main idea of a good vibrator is do it’s thing in less time than this. I figured that to do this I would use more power to vibrate the media with the more aggressive amount of polishing compound. And, do it in maybe three operations in stead of trying to do it in one. With this one using a quarter horse motor I find that 20 minute in each operation I can go from grungy looking cases to nice and shiny in 60 minutes max with the media change taking a few minutes in between. My strapped on bucket makes this changing quick and easy, with my bucket it is simple, with your standard vibrator maybe not so much – your choice.

I made this one 15 years ago but just recently repainted it and changed the bucket. The quarter horse motor does okay for me but for higher volume and maybe quicker results one may use a higher horse power motor. I just checked the power consumption of the motor and I measured this at 5.0 Amps. I am paying 11 cents per Kilowatt Hour, so if my math is correct, this comes out to 6.2 cents per hour of operation.

I don’t really have any more bad looking cases such as’ range-pickup’, but if did, I would do this:

1. Some variation of this....put cases in bucket...take enough hot water to cover and add ‘some Vinegar, Salt and that tablespoon of dish soap....mix and add to cases...let that set for ‘whatever’, an hour maybe...turn on the vibrator and add some pre-soaked saw dust gradually until I get a good agitation in my bucket. In 20 minutes I will have some black nasty looking mixture. 20 years ago I bought a gallon of the standard Muriatic Acid, the commercial grade of Hydrochloric Acid....Instead of vinegar and salt , I may use two or three tablespoons of this – I have tried all kinds of things. I would rinse with water until I have nothing but brass.

2. Now to step two, I would use some of my previously used and washed media. For my polishing compound, I typically use an Aluminum Oxide, some old hand lotion and paint thinner to desired viscosity. I find that hand lotion makes a perfect vehicle for this. My local dollar store has all I would ever need. I have all kids of polishing compounds from my lapidary days but ‘Rottenstone’ or Tripoli is cheap. I have wanted to try some ‘Singing Sand’ or some Coral Beach stuff but haven’t gotten around to it. Also one time in a grocery store I saw short grain rice for one dollar for 10 pound bags and I thought that I would try that but my wife started using it for cooking and I haven’t gotten around to trying that.

3. Step three may not be required but if so I would just let it be with cleaner media and a finer polishing compound.

By the way, there is an almost unlimited amount of available low horse power electric motors in the used Washer and Dryers that are discarded every day.
And I feel so dumb in having to have screwed that bucket on and off for 15 years before I just used Bungee Cords.
After overhauling this one I may get around to making a new one with a half horse motor, a more simple and easy design and maybe getting my nice shiny brass in maybe 15 minutes.
It really makes me feeling so dumb when I catch myself using some old antiquated method....for anything.
Oh, here is another thing that I should be doing but I haven’t so far....keep increasing my off-center weight until the motor current starts increasing and then back off a tad.

Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:18 am
Age: 33
Location: Cornfields, Ohhhhhio


Post by shoot4fun »

I've used rice before. It does work pretty well, but a grain would always find a way to get wedged into the primer pocket requiring some extra time getting it cleaned out for the next step in loading.
I pulse the rice in a food processor or blender to break it down a little and worked better.

I've thought of using some sand for pool filters. It should work pretty well, it is supposed to be sharp edged silica, #20. or a 20/40 mix. prices are right for me to try at 0.05 to 0.50/lb and I can always put the unused stuff to use in the driveway. I've got to get through this bag of rice though.

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