Wood Tumbler #2: Working Machine! ...and a problem solved

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Blog entry by dakremer posted 12-31-2011 02:03 AM 5792 reads 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Prepping the motor..... Part 2 of Wood Tumbler series no next part

So I redesigned my whole wood tumbler. The previous motor didnt work. Instead I found an old box fan motor that is working out great. To keep it from overheating, I hooked up a computer fan to the bottom of the wood frame. I got this computer fan for free at our city’s recycling center! Before using this fan I had built a fan out of plywood to run on the shaft to get some air movement. Of course it broke – but I left it on there anyways cause there was still some air movement from it. I had the whole thing running today for about an hour straight – never even came close to over heating. next blog I’ll show you some of the wooden balls I have made, and also gonna try to figure out what I can put in it to buff them out with wax, or apply a stain to them…... again any suggestions would be great.

Here is a pic of the fan blades I made before they broke…...

Here is a video showing you how it works…..

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

11 comments so far

View Sarit's profile


549 posts in 3168 days

#1 posted 12-31-2011 02:39 AM

Do you need to worry about dust collection? I would imagine that the dust will eventually gum up your motor.

If you look at how gumballs are made
you can see that they use spinning kettles tilted at 45 degrees to get the shine on them. I think you could replace the sandpaper with a metal coffee can and just tilt the whole contraption. The rolling action causes the balls to rub against each other so any finish that can be rubbed out should work. I would try shellac or some kind of wax.

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3026 days

#2 posted 12-31-2011 03:10 AM

UNDER the “B 15 !” lol

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3120 days

#3 posted 12-31-2011 03:37 AM

I thought dust would get into the motor, but after an hour of running the motor was completely clean. The two fans around the motor keep the dust away. It goes everywhere else but the motor :).

I thought about putting some buffing pads in the contraption instead of sandpaper. Then putting some wax in with it. Maybe that would do it? How would I stain them though?

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3784 days

#4 posted 12-31-2011 04:11 AM

I was goiing to comment on the first part of your blog but hesitated because I wasn’t sure anything I had to say would be helpful. Now that I see your unit in operation, maybe my experience will add to what you have already made.

As some background, I used to operate a Scuba shop- when Scuba tanks were first made of steel. Due to the environment in which they were used, the tanks had a tendency to rust inside. If left unchecked the integrity of the tank could have been compromised- leading to an explosion. Periodically, the tanks had to be “tumbled” to remove the rust. The process involved partially filling the tank with an abrasive- I used quartz pebbles- and then the tank was placed- horizontally- on a rolling device. This “machine” was actually two old time wringer washing machine rollers connected to a 1/4 hp motor through a gearing train that ended up tumbling (spinning) the tank at about 6 rpms. The action of the sliding/tumbling quartz pebbles cleaned the rust from the steel surface. This could take several hours to a day or two depending on the severity of the rusted tank.

The point of this story is that over a period of time, the quartz pebbles became smooth and no longer cut and needed to be replaced. I later discovered that this was the same principle used to polish stones in the jewelry industry. The key to the polishing/shaping was the slow churning process. I noticed in your video that the wooden pieces were popping around in your machine. I wonder if you would slow down the motor even more and modify the orientation as mentioned by Sarit if it might not improve the shaping. Having the much slower mixing would keep the wooden pieces in more constant contact with each other and this may have the effect of speeding up the rounding process.

As for the finishing/staining- maybe a small sponge soaked in stain then wrapped in some cheese cloth (similar to a French Polish pad) tossed into the running machine may do it.

Just my 2ยข


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3120 days

#5 posted 12-31-2011 04:27 AM

I agree Lew. With the polishing, it probably needs to be slowed down. However for the shaping it needs to be fast because I’m putting cubes into it and knocking the corners off with the sandpaper until they are round. If I slowed the motor down for that it’d take for ever!!! The bouncing around helps knock those corners off. But for the polishing u want a smoother ride, so way slower

Your suggestion for the staining is a great idea!! Maybe this contraption I made will have to be just for knocking off all the corners and turning them into spheres. Maybe like a hand cranked one at a 45 degree angle for staining/polishing

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3130 days

#6 posted 12-31-2011 09:57 AM

I enjoyed your video. When I saw you hooking up the electrodes I was reminded that this is how Dr. Frankenstein probably started. Don’t give up…...............

-- mike...............

View Brit's profile


7387 posts in 2871 days

#7 posted 12-31-2011 11:41 AM

Very interesting Doug. Looks like you’ve come up with a new machine for choosing lottery numbers. :-)

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3120 days

#8 posted 12-31-2011 09:22 PM

Now if it can just picking the winning numbers!!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View thejaz's profile


40 posts in 2512 days

#9 posted 01-02-2012 06:59 PM

Hey Buddy!
I was wondering… Would an octagonal drum, with 80 grit abrasive on the on the walls, knock the corners off faster ?
Just thinkin’ ;-)

-- Tom Snyder - theJaz

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3120 days

#10 posted 01-03-2012 02:33 AM

yeah that might work! I was thinking about making something that I can attach to the lathe. Instead of having just the bottom turning – make the entire drum turn…..

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 2510 days

#11 posted 05-03-2012 08:02 AM

Hi Dakremer, I am just putting the finishing touches on a wood tumbler which attaches to a lathe. I plan to attach different sand paper grits onto the tumblers inside as well as through small pieces into the tumbling drum loose.

I saw another LJ (retiredcoastie I think) member post some pics of his tumbled wood and inspired me yet again. Thanks to you for sharing.

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

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