Metal tumbling is used to burnish, deburr, clean, radius, de-flash, descale, remove rust, polish, brighten, surface harden, prepare parts for further finishing, and break off die cast runners. The process is fairly simple: a horizontal barrel is filled with the parts which is then rotated. Variations of this process usually include media, water, or other lubricants. As the barrel is rotated the material rises until gravity causes the uppermost layer to landslide down to the other side. The barrel may also have vanes, typically made of rubber, which run along the inside of the barrel. As the barrel turns the vanes catch and lift the parts, which eventually slide down or fall.
In a wet processes a compound, lubricant, or barreling soap is added to aid the finishing process, prevent rusting, and to clean parts. A wide variety of media is available to achieve the desired finished product. Common media materials include: sand, granite chips, slag, steel, ceramics, and synthetics. Moreover, these materials are available in a wide variety of shapes. Usually different shapes are used in the same load to reach into every geometry of the part.
Tumbling is an economical finishing process because large batches of parts can be run with little or no supervision by the operator. A full cycle can take anywhere from 6 to 24 hours with the barrel turning at 20 to 38 RPM. Tumbling is usually most efficient with the barrel half full. We also processes a wather filter system to allow parts or other materials in the cylinder to be separated.