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The Finished Part Blog

The Finished Part Blog

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cartridge Brass - Study (Part II)

Dirty Cartridge Brass Casings
In the last post we discussed the differences in performance between vibratory tumbling and barrel tumbling to clean brass cartridge casings. A wet process using a polishing media is a much quicker method to clean brass than dry processes using Walnut Shell Grit or Corn Cob Grit. The test results indicated very similar results in both types of wet tumbling systems.

This post will focus on three different media options for cleaning the dirt and oxidation off the brass. In all three cases, the same solution of Kramco 1030 Mild Acid Cleaner was used and all tests were conducted in a barrel tumbler with a tumble time of 15 minutes.

Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel
The first test compared the differences between Carbon Steel Tumbling Media and Stainless Steel Tumbling Media. It is pretty clear from the picture above that the Stainless Steel was much more effective at cleaning the brass. While this difference would not be expected initially, the reason may have something to do with the characteristic of the Carbon Steel Media to oxidize and possibly the transfer of iron to the brass casings. This reason will be more clear after reviewing the results of the second test.

Polishing Ceramic vs Stainless Steel
Once the Stainless Steel Media was declared the winner in the first test, the next step was to compare this heavy, burninshing media with a less dense (and less expensive) media. The above pictures compares the results of a K-Polish Precision Ceramic Media to the same Stainless Steel Media used in the first test. The K-Polish Precision Ceramic Media is a high-alumina, porcelain-type media used commonly in many different tumble polishing applications. Both of these media types are extremely long lasting with the capability for 1,000+ operating hours.

As the results for the Stainless Steel Media and the Precision Ceramic Media are very similar, the decision on which media to use will hinge on the type of equipment being used (many vibratory systems can't handle the weight of steel media), the available budget and the overall desired process.

In conclusion, these tests would seem to indicate that excellent results can be obtained in very short cycle times using either a Stainless Steel Tumbling Media or a K-Polish Precision Ceramic Tumbling Media in either a barrel tumbler or vibratory tumbler.

1 comments:

Josh Oertle said...

Thanks for this Article, reloading is something I've just started to do. The down side of being new is that you learn that the vibratory cleaner you just bought doesn't work as well as a tumbler for super shinny brass... On that note, I would appreciate some tests to see how the different medias you have on hand would perform in a vibratory cleaner. I currently use corn cob media and ordered some aluminum oxide to add for a test but at 45 dollars a lb, it is a gamble at best.

 
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