2012 - Volume #BFS, Issue #12, Page #79[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story ]
"Tumbler" Dresses Up MetalworkWhen blacksmith Brian Johnson finishes a custom metalworking job, he likes to soften edges and polish the steel. His homemade parts tumbler filled with waste from a metal punch press does just that.
“It gives the pieces I make a nice burnished appearance before I clear coat them,” he says. “I made some pot and pan hangers out of steel strap and square stock for clients recently. The tumbler took the sharp edges off and added eye appeal.”
The tumbler drum, which rotates at about 42 rpm’s, is fashioned from a 30-lb. propane tank. Johnson cut one end off – after first purging all gas from the tank – and remounted it with hinges and a latch. It rides on steel bearings mounted at the ends of four arms made from square tubing. A fifth bearing mounted to a rear arm rides against the tapered end of the barrel.
“That fifth bearing helps to keep the tumbler from walking as it rotates,” says Johnson. “I covered the bearings with rubber hose material. I think that along with the drive belt, it helps hold down the noise.”
Power to rotate the tumbler is supplied by a 1/2 hp electric motor. A worm drive gear reducer transfers the power with more than enough torque to the drive belt.
“I picked up a 20-in. pressed steel pulley and cut out a hole roughly the size of the tank,” says Johnson. “I pounded it in place over the tank and it fit tight. I’ve never had to weld it or secure it in any way.”
A 3/4-in. belt runs from the pulley on the gear reduction pulley and around the tank pulley. Belt tension is maintained automatically.
“I mounted the motor and the gear reduction case on a steel plate and hinged one end of it to the frame,” says Johnson. “The weight is enough to keep the belt tight.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Brian Johnson, 16777 County Rd. 75 N.W., Clearwater, Minn. 55320 (ph 320 558-6898).
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