2lb studio quality plastic barrel - the inside of the studio barrel has vanes, like little tabs, which helps to keep your jewellery moving about so it gets polished faster and more evenly. Having vanes is especially important if you tumble flat shapes, like charms and flat pendants.
Plastic drums are the easiest barrels to care for, and also the most economical option.
Compared to a rubber barrel they can be a little fiddlesome to open and close, and a little noisier. But despite what some sellers claim, they do not leak, and they don't jump off your tumbler, unless you are using them incorrectly.
To open and close the barrel you must to warm up one end with hot water, or it will eventually crack and/or leak. When you push on the lid, ensure there is no shot stuck in the lid or along the edge of the barrel, as this could pierce or crack the lid. It's important that the lids are pushed on as far as they can go. Once the lid is pressed on it needs "burping", so you press it with the palm of your hand, whilst lifting the edge slightly to expel as much air as possible. During prolonged tumbling, the air warms up and expands - if you haven't "burped" it, this can push the lid and cause it to leak.
"Burping" the barrel can be difficult if you have long nails or not full hand strength. Have a look at the rubber barrel instead.
Don't know which barrel to choose? Call us for advice!
- Vanes speed up polishing
- Excellent value for money
- Easier to keep clean than rubber!
NOT SO GOOD POINTS
- Not suitable if you have long nails
- A little noisier than rubber
- End caps must be warmed when opening or closing
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This is the best option for capacity, professionally looking results and lowest possible price. Of course there are some minor inconveniences coming with low price, but bellow I'm giving some workarounds. First of all, to understand where I’m using the barrel, a few words about my tumbler. It is not the commercial made ones, but is made by me and is one that is so powerful and good, that probable a commercial one of its caliber could cost 300 USD, or more. Mind you, it can run 2 barrels of 2LB simultaneously, both barrel being loaded at their max. It’s producing a steady and consistent rotation, with full loaded barrel at 1.8Kg, in between 39 and 41 RPM (rotations per minute). This is in the range recommended for these steel shots rotating , between 35 and 45 RPM. A few words the anomalies people faced when using the plastic barrel. For a smooth and problem free usage of this barrel, you need to do some minor issues. 1. General: Taking the lids off and putting on the barrel ========================================================= The lids are made of semi hard plastic, that are very tight on the barrel cylindrical body, in order to avoid leakage. Generally, when want to remove the lid off the barrel, keep the barrel with the lid, in the sink under hot running water, for a couple of minutes. This will make it more workable and bit more easy to pull or to put on. If the barrel is loaded, before you try to open it, put the barrel into a big plastic bowl, which can accommodate the barrel completely inside. Then, gently remove the lid, by drawing by one side, then draw by the opposite side, repeatedly, until lid is removed. Do not jerk nor force the lid, especially when it's full with jewelry and steel shots, if you don't want to spray around your tiny small steel shots. This is the reason I suggest to keep the barrel into a bowl, while you open. Moreover, the foam made inside the barrel, could suspend some small steel shots, so be careful to pour that foam into the plastic bowl to recoup those steel shots. Now, have a sift near you, dedicated for tumbler. Pour gently the content of the barrel through the sift, while collecting the barrel liquid in the plastic bowl. Move away the sift from the bowl to the sink and then Wash the mixture under water, until is foamless. If the desired sheen if is not yet achieved, place the mix from the sift inside of tumbler barrel and add, all the cleaning liquid together with possible rebel steel shots you collected in the bowl. Again, keep the plastic lid under hot water and then take it out when warm, wipe it dry on the inside of the edge as well wipe dry, the barrel rim and then press the lid on top of barrel, gently. Press in one side, then move opposite and press again. It reaches a moment, when it accumulates pressure, which you have to release, by pulling the lateral of the plastic lid, away from the cylindrical body of the barrel until you hear a hiss: it’s releasing the pressure. Then you can continue to push down the lid until is closing firmly. 2. Before first use: Smoothing the rims of the barrel body with abrasive =========================================================================== As you get the plastic barrel is good to tune a little bit to reduce the spillage and get rid of other annoyances. So, remove both caps after you kept the barrel in hot water for a while. Then dry al the parts with paper towel. Take the body of the barrel, which seems to be roughly cut from PVC plumbing pipe and then gently, pass it on an abrasive sheet placed on a flat surface (220 grit), doing 8 figure motion until the margin is perfectly flush without any imperfections, at both openings. Then take some abrasive paper of an abrasive sponge, pass it few times, on the rim, at 45° direction, on both sides, just to round the rim edge, a bit. Take care to not scratch the lateral side of the barrel body cylinder, where the lids are pressed on, as it will make more difficult for you to put on or remove the lid, not even mentioning that if you deep scratch it, could be a conduit for the liquid inside to spill out. By doing so, you remove any possible imperfections of the barrel body, which could make spillage possible, as well, you can remove the lids more easy. 3. Before first use: clean the barrel with the shots only (w/o jewelry) =========================================================================== 1. Open the barrel after keep in hot water 5 min 2. Pour in the steel shots (0.5 - 1Kg shots for a 2-3LB barrel) 3. Cover with water, just a half cm over the steel shots level 4. Wipe dry the barrel edge and the inner part of lid before press it to close 5. Put the barrel on the tumbler 6. Start the motor and Leave it to tumble for 30 min. 7. Stop the tumble, sift the shots, wash under water jet 8. Put the shots to dry on a paper towel; wash the barrel with water & dry it 9. Store away the tumbler barrel w/ steel media inside after completely dried 4. Solving the issues related with barrel not spinning, or spinning erratically ====================================================================== I also face some issues, which some people complained, that sometimes the barrel is rotating erratically, with uneven speed, or not rotating at all, or the barrel needed to be manually "help" to start spinning, then rotates OK. This could be cause by some issues, not necessarily a fault of the barrel itself. Before jumping to any conclusion, please read the recommendation from your tumbler, referring to the maximum weight of the loaded barrel supported by the tumbler (as every tumbler has it own limits). If the tumbler is too loaded, the motor doesn't have enough power to spin the barrel, or it spin it with an uneven speed. Another cause for this phenomenon, could be caused by the fact, that the shaft gets wet from some liquid oozed from the barrel; then the contact between the driving shaft of the tumbler and the barrel orange lid, it's not good anymore, and it will slip, thus it will lead the barrel to spin inconsistently. It's obvious, in this case, you have to assure that the lids are tightly closed (by the methods written above), then wipe dry the axles and the barrel lids. Most of the time, it works perfectly. Now, even after that, still there is not constant rotation, then you could do the below: With the barrel loaded and on the tumbler running, wipe the orange lids, in contact with the rotary driving shaft, with a piece of abrasive sponge of 1000 grit, left and right, few times. The orange plastic lid, is made more rough on the contact area , which will increase the friction between the motor driving shaft and the barrel. Do this to both lids and it will dramatically improve the adherence, leading to a constant circular motion, not hops and other anomalies. So, by doing so, hopefully, you won't have any problems with those barrels for long period of time.