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#1 GuanoLoco

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 09:00 AM

Then a reference to the post where this should have been split to a new thread:
http://www.doodiepro...-10#entry127681

No sense waiting for a mod to split a thread around here so I'm taking matters into my own hands.

Mod Edit: I split your post as requested. http://www.doodiepro...=+brass +monkey

GuanoLoco Edit: Reminder to self: Mentioning demons and evil genies by names tends to summon them and the outcome is never what you wanted or expected. The video in the linked thread above was THE BEST PART of this whole thread, dammit!!!

Ain't no one got time for that!

I could see participating (not winning) in the local tactical long range matches. Challenges include shots to 700 yards, all different size targets, positions, required use of holdovers, etc., especially when they mix in pistol as an equalizer. But not enough free time so USPSA/pistol wins. Bench rest? Even I am not anal retentive/OCD enough for that game.

Brass cleaning is turning out to be a much larger chore than brass processing.

I started swapping my 1050 223 tool head from 223 brass prep to 223 loading last night. Still need to chrono my VV133 load workups. Not sure if/when I will get a chance to accuracy test worked up loads.

You need a cement mixer for the brass cleaning. Makes things easier.

Or build this. Almost 2k .223 capacity between 2 drums.https://youtu.be/S-B7C2urAMo

I like it, but my fabrication-fu and automation-fu skills are weak. More of a [former] software guy reaching out slowly into the universe of such things.

Go with the harbor freight cheapy cement mixer. It cost less than the Thumbler Tumbler.

http://m.harborfreig...ct/not provided

Oh yea, NOW we are talking!!!





$140 + $7 shipping + $14 tax. I can't be bothered to go pick it up for that ... although ... shipping might be awful this time of year and I could use it now.

Finger hovering over the "Confirm" button on the HF web site. Maybe I just need to go for a ride in a little while and go pick one up.

I might need more pins. 7 lbs might be a bit light but worth a shot. 60 lb load - maybe 12 lbs pins - 16 lbs for a couple gallons of water = maybe 30 lbs of brass?


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#2 GuanoLoco

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 09:05 AM

I think you probably want to get closer to a 1:1 Brass-to-Pin ratio - especially if you're dealing with lubed brass. Id start at 2:1 and go from there.

  

In the cement mixer environment the brass rubs on itself aggressively. If the goal is just to get the lube off I would try it without pins first and see how that worked. I get fine results without pins.That is the model I am using as well.

  

The brass I have bought from you is real nice and shiny.  Whatever ToddKS is doing is good to go.

  

Rebooting for system upgrade. All systems are a GO.
Upgraded to a Harbor Freight 1 1/4 Cu Ft. Cement Mixer. Running first batch right now, maybe 2 gals water, 7 lbs SS pins (what I had available), 25 lbs brass, 2 X 380 cases of Lemishine and 2 very brief squirts of dish soap. Foam could easily be an issue.

I got the $139 sale price - 20% +. 2 years replacement plan + exhorbitant 9% local tax, out-the-door for $158. I can handle that. I hope it works.
Now assembly of this fucktarded Chinese device is another thing entirely. The YouTube videos some thoughtful soul posted helped, as did a collection of spare nuts and bolts and whatnot I had on hand. The pile of unused bits and pieces was the most impressive I've seen yet. I have no idea where all the 'extra' stuff could possibly go. And the threaded handle, located in a mostly useless position, is completely the wrong diameter and thread size. And it smells - sort of rubbery/greasy/nasty.
This thing is definitely going to get banished from my little 'rough shop' to the garage. Draining, rinsing and drying all this brass in my little 4-tier dehydrator is something else I need to figure out.
I am also going to need to cut some new indexing slots so I can set this at a less aggressive angle to eliminate water slopping out. For now I just clamped it at a gentle angle.
Probably time to split this device into a separate thread.

  

I should have mentioned the need to cut a new index slot. I forgot about that. Definitely something that has to be done.

I run mine in the driveway. As for drying I have bus tubs with holes for rough drainage, dump into old towels and sift back and forth, then back in the bus tubs to dry. I allow 24 hours to air dry after the towel.


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#3 GuanoLoco

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 09:13 AM

Not that there is some context established.

So I ran out and bout the HF cement mixer, assembled it, threw in a bunch of stuff and let 'er rip for a while

OK, so now I have about 25 lbs of sort-of clean wet, soapy brass/SS media, not nearly as pristine as the Thumler-B, but better than corn cob/walnut, and it's late and I'm tired and getting cranky and what's next?

Well, drain it all into the large half of my media separator. Couple passes because foam. Rinse soap. Start migrating it to the short half and spinning brass/media in water to separate the pins. Multiple batches. Towel dry. OK, more tired, getting late. 25 lbs wet 9mm brass, primers still in.

Load about 4 X 6+ lbs of brass per tier! Into my little American Harvester dehydrator, literally all that will fit. Turn timer to "On". Go to bed.

AM - brass seems hot and dried. Time to refine this system.
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#4 GuanoLoco

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 07:48 AM

I have a few observations about the challenges of cleaning brass in a cement mixer.

First, I'm interested in wet cleaning, not dry cleaning. I have a giant SS laundry tub, hate dry media and dust. I like pristine shiny brass, even if I promptly muck it up wih lube and Mark 7 preprocessing (see other thread). I can always re-clean it if I like and if it is efficient. Probably not, but I could.

The concrete drum is rather different than a Thumler tumbler, Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler (FART) or equivalent. No lid for starters, which means that the amount of liquid and foam must be carefully managed. It runs on an angle vs flat on its side, and uses blades (or not) vs. a hexagonal inner drum to move brass and media. You tilt and drain it vs. picking it up and handling it.

My 7 lbs of SS media works a little, but using of 7 lbs SS media to 4 lbs brass in a Thumler is very different than using 7 lbs SS pins to 15-25+ lbs PR brass in a cement mixer. Plus the design of the Thumler makes the pins work well, while they tend to sit in the bottom of a cement mixer. And SS pins are quite expensive, on the order of $50 for 5 lbs.

Also drying - I was running a batch in the Thumler and a batch in my dehydrator in parallel. Now I am out of balance and gain generate a lot of wet brass in a hurry, and it takes a comparatively long time to heat and dry that same brass in my food dehydrator.

Wih respect to quality - so far I am not all that impressed. The quality of the output is as good or better than dry media but not nearly what I have been about to do with my Thumler. Unacceptable. Time to put on my thinking cap and do some experimenting. <continued>
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#5 GuanoLoco

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 08:03 AM

I've read some posts here and on the interwebs where some dudes are runnign a cement mixer wet without even using any media, relying on the brass to polish itself. I'm not all that thrilled with the results from 7 lbs SS pins, so that seems to be going in the wrong direction.

The angle of the cement mixer is important and the default indexing slots aren't in the right place. I'll cut new slots with a dremel once I ingest sufficient Scotch but for to a could of vice grips calmed on the indexing disk will hold the drum at the right angle.

My proportions of materials has to be re-established. Max 60 lbs +/-, maybe 1/2-1 gallon of water. Too little and the brass/media doesn't flow right. Too much and it starts slopping out. I have to use MUCH less dish soap or the suds will start slopping out of the drum. Lemishine TBD. Time for cleaning is also unknown. Time for drying much longer than cleaning but this is OK, I want to do fewer yet larger batches.

I really think I need a lot of media to make this work right. But SS pins are pricey. I don't want to drop hundreds on SS pins and I really want to work on it NOW and not wait for Xmas shipping. Brass on brass is reported to work..hmmmm...I have an idea.
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#6 GuanoLoco

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 08:16 AM

I have almost 5 2 quart fruit juice jugs filled with spent primers that I have been saving with intentions of a trip to the recyclers someday. Yellow brass is rumored to get $2 / lb, and these jugs are well over 10 lbs each. Plus all my scrap brass. Easy money - IF I ever got off my ass and went to the recycler. Which I don't, but I have a better idea.

I put 10 lbs of spent primers in the Thumler and cleaned them just like I would clean brass cases. Nasty. Cleaned again. Shiny nice.

Primers vs. pins? Pros - free if you have been saving them. Passes through slots in media separator just fine. Cons - not magnetic so harder to pick up. Will get nasty if not dried. Whatever, I'll deal with it.

I ran a 15 lb batch of fivebyfive's 9mm brass with the 10 lbs of cleaned primers as media. Plus I used one of those dissolving cascade/dawn dishwasher soap packs vs. dish soap as it is a lower suds int formulation. Plus more Lemishine. Result: Meh, maybe a little better that the 25 lb batch with 7 lbs stainless pins. I put that on the dehydrator, time to try again.

I cleaned 10 more lbs of primers.

I'm down to my last 13 lbs of fivebyfive's dirty range brass. 20 lbs cleaned primers. 3 X 380 cases of Lemishine (I normally use 1 case per 4+ lbs brass). 1/2 gallon+ of water. A couple short drips of disk soap - mindful of form overflow.

Wow....this is looking good and it is looking good quickly! I poured off the foam so it is easier to see the action. This definitely works best when you can get the media/brass/water mix right so it flows well.

Apologies for the vertical video, I know it is the work of the devil.


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#7 TMReich

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 09:40 AM

In order to reduce foam, could you use detergent for a dishwashing machine?

#8 GuanoLoco

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 10:56 AM

I tried that in the above post with 15 lbs brass and 10 lbs primers, no joy.
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#9 peterthefish

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 12:38 PM

l
I'm down to my last 13 lbs of fivebyfive's dirty range brass. 20 lbs cleaned primers. 3 X 380 cases of Lemishine (I normally use 1 case per 4+ lbs brass). 1/2 gallon+ of water. A couple short drips of disk soap - mindful of form overflow.

Wow....this is looking good and it is looking good quickly!

So 1+:1 Media : Brass - who'd have thought?

🤔

I'm guessing that primers will probably lose efficacy relatively quickly as the edges dull. You can buy in bulk at http://www.bullseye-...ling-Media.html.

#10 GuanoLoco

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Posted 26 December 2015 - 11:43 AM

So the mixer has been running great with my improvised 20 lbs-of-spent-primers-as-media for 9mm range brass. 30-60 minutes and I get a full load of nice shiny brass. Not quite as good as the Thumler with SS pins, but plenty good enough.

But I also have a large quantity of Lanolin lubed rifle brass to clean. I've been getting great results in the Thumler with 7 lbs SS pins, 4 lbs lubed 223 brass, 3/4 fill hot tap water, 1 380 case Lemishine-shine, 2 sec squirt dish soap.

If 20 lbs of primers is good, 30 lbs is better, right? I throw in 10 more lbs or cleaned spent primers.

Then, I toss in 20 lbs of lubed, fully processed 223 brass. Plus maybe a gallon of room temp water, 4 X 380 cases Lemi-shine, brief squirt of dish soap (suds can be an issue).

It starts out looking well, all shiny and whatnot but in 30 minutes turns into a total train wreck. All the brass, including the primers becomes coated with a layer or brown sticky/waxy dirty lanolin lube. Even worse, a good 1/3 of the cases not have primers partially or fully stuck in the empty primer holes. I figured there was little the primers that had to be forced out would get back in but the cement mixer has a more vigorous action and I was clearly wrong.

So, I need some combination of heat and a lot more soap or equivalent degreaser that works in a cooler environment. No way can I keep a cement mixer hot like I can a rubber-insulated Thumler, too much surface area.

So...I get to hand sort 1500 223 cases. 12.5 lbs are still decapped. They go into the Thumler with the mix above and come out lookign pristine. Now I have 7.5 lbs of waxy/dirty 223 cases to decap - and at least some of them have the primers sticking partially out and will need to be processed by hand. Ugh. Plus I'm going to to need to hot-wash the primers again as they are undoubtedly fouled with Lanolin lube as well.

Ugh.
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#11 GuanoLoco

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 06:16 PM

Lanolin lubed cases respond really well to hot water and the Thumler, so I finished up that batch the old way.  Sadly I have a LO more to do.

 

I've got a couple 5 gallon buckets on 9mm to clean and I'm taking the room temperature process for another spin with 30 lbs of cleaned primers.

 

Last night - 16 lbs of 9mm brass to 30 lbs primers - ran like a champ.   Pristine brass in 10-30 minutes, insides mostly clean.  All night to dry the batch on 8 tiers of a dehydrator - no worries.

 

Today - increased capacity briefly to 30 lbs of 9mm brass.  It didn't seem like it was mixing right so I backed it off to 24 lbs.  This is working like a champ.  I let it run for an hour, but truthfully I think it was good in 15-30 minutes and maybe just cleaning the inside of the cases a little better after that.  If you over-clean, at least with SS pins, the brass develops a duller satin finish.  Next batch - 30 minutes tops.


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#12 ZackJones

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 06:50 PM

Once you get this perfected we'll be able to send you all of our brass for cleaning, right?
Not to be confused with ZachJ

#13 TrannyOakley

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 07:45 PM

Have you tried a sulfate-free soap? You might try Dr Bronners or any other SLS-free soap. The sulfates are what cause the suds but you don't need bubbles to get stuff clean.



#14 GuanoLoco

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Posted 29 December 2015 - 12:21 AM

Once you get this perfected we'll be able to send you all of our brass for cleaning, right?


I'm already working on brass for a couple friends. It's cool to be able to process in bulk but still takes a lot of effort.

Have you tried a sulfate-free soap? You might try Dr Bronners or any other SLS-free soap. The sulfates are what cause the suds but you don't need bubbles to get stuff clean.


Interesting, I think I have a big bottle around here somewhere. Dr. Bronners is a castile soap (whatever that is).

--------------

I ran 2 more 24 lb (~3200 9mm cases) cleaning batches this evening, last batch is drying. About 30 minutes is good for cleaning, 30 minutes to separate brass/primers and rinse, maybe 2 hours to dry. Running the batches back to back is the trick.

An intermittent issue manifested with pre-processing this 9mm brass. For the occasional case that doesn't have a primer, it tends to pick up spent primers that I'm using for media, which then stick out from the case head. If not detected these partially seated primers do a nice job of causing jams. I was pulling the primers and tossing the cases back in to be processed, but later it dawned on me that maybe these cases have loose primer pockets and should be tossed.
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#15 GuanoLoco

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 08:55 AM

Have you tried a sulfate-free soap? You might try Dr Bronners or any other SLS-free soap. The sulfates are what cause the suds but you don't need bubbles to get stuff clean.


I tried the Dr. Bronners + Lemishine + Dish soap + Hot water + 54 lbs cold brass/primers. Smells nice. Kills even existing foam like a champ. BUT the mix seems to fume peppermint vapor which makes me nervous. And the brass disn't come out nice at all. I rinsed and replaced with water + Lemishine + a little dish soap and it cleaned back up nice.

I ran 3 batches last night. There is an art/science to this as my results are all over the place. Best practice so far seems to be to clean the primers with soap/Lemishine and drain before a set of batches. 24 lbs brass + 30 lbs primers + 1 gal+ water (too much and foam gets out of hand) + sprinkle Lemishine + dash dish soap. Run 15 minutes. Rinse/drain. Run 15 more minutes. More may or may not help, less isn't good. With an (I think) 400 watt dehydrator I can dry a 24 lb batch (~3200 cases) of 9mm with primers in, in about 2 hours.
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#16 TrannyOakley

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 05:56 PM

I'm not familiar with Lemishine but it looks like it has a pH somewhere between 2 and 3 (according to some googling) which is pretty acidic. Using Castile soap with acids will tend to leave pretty gnarly soap scum / white residue on surfaces. Or maybe Dr. Bronners just sucks at cleaning brass.



#17 GuanoLoco

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 09:29 PM

I think Lemishine is a non-food grade citric acid.

It definitely added a layer of scum to the brass, which fortunately cleaned off. The fuming part was weird tho.

Great anti-foaming agent, I'll have to keep that in my memory banks.
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#18 GuanoLoco

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 10:17 AM

Mark 7 optical decapping sensor arrived yesterday; installed it but had no capped brass to test it with!

I'd accumulated another could gallons of mixed range brass so I decided to take the new rig for a spin.

Sort - hand pick out rifle brass, use shell plates on top of a couple stacked 5 gal buckets with a lid. Makes process much easier.
Ended up with 16 lbs 9mm, a short batch as I can do 24 lbs, but good enough.

Wash 30 lbs wet primer media - 10 mins with Lemishine and a tad of soap, Rinse out green oxidation

Wet clean - heated water/brass/primers becaus garage is cold, 30 minute run, changed water 1-2X.

Rinse/separate/spin dry, 3 X 5-6 lb batches. Took maybe 20-30 minutes dawdling around.

Towel dry, lay on 8 X dehydrator sheets, set timer to excessive 4 hours and go to bed.

I didn't get a good time check as I was distracted with a phone call, but I'd say that was less effort and less time to 16 lbs clean/dry batch than anything I did in the past.
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#19 GuanoLoco

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 08:03 AM

More learning on using the Harbor Freight Cement Mixer:

The mixer runs best at a 45 degree angle. I can't remember if I mentioned it but I used a Dremel to cut a new slot in the indexing plate so that it would sit at just the right angle without screwing around with vise grips and whatnot.

Concrete mixers make water changes fairly fast and painless. A stack of 4-5 2 gallon buckets makes this even more painless. The trick is to use this information and not to use the exact same process as you would with a horizontal tumbler.

You can't use spent primers as a media on decapped brass - I learned this the hard way. I am reluctant to spent $150 or so on SS pins or the mixer. So, while it pains me to agree with LC, I'll have to agree that cleaning sans media (SS pins or primers) works surprisingly well.

Lemishine isn't that expensive at $8 for 12 ounces and it goes a long way if used sparingly. For the mixer I am changing water a lot and using a lot more of it on each water change, so I picked up a 5 lb bag of dry Citric Acid from Amazon for $16: http://www.amazon.co...ailpage_o00_s00

Cleaning 30 lbs decapped brass that has been excessively lubed with OneShot, basically a wax: Heat and dish soap is the trick. For heat, pre-heat both the brass and the mixer with hot tap water. On the first pass slowly add dish soap until the max level of suds without overflowing is reached. Add Citric Acid. Run for 10 minutes and do a water change. Repeat 1-2 times, re-adding Citric Acid and maybe jsut a bit of dish soap. When you are happy with the results do about 4 quick water changes to rinse. This is easy if you stage 4 buckets of water and 1 empty bucket. No media separation, no spinning required.

Pour the wet brass into a container, drain well, towel dry and put on the [400+ watt] dehydrator. 30 pound batches take hours to dry but I don't care - I spend maybe an hour with the process above, load up the dehydrator and go to bed. The dehydrator is the current limiting actor on my batch size. Slower drying in a warm moist environment also means the brass doesn't finish quite as pretty. I might re-examine this in the future, but for now this is adequate.

Last night I ran a short batch of 20 lbs of range pickup 9mm brass. At least half the batch had been rained on and was covered with dried on gravel bits, dust and nastiness. I ran the same process as above and it worked well. Not as nice as 4 lb batches in a Thumler Tumbler with 7 lbs of SS media and a LOT more soap, but more than good enough and IMHO still better than nasty dry tumbling.
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#20 SomeGuy

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 03:00 PM

Attached File  uploadfromtaptalk1455829206486.jpg   65.53KB   24 downloads

Sonofa...




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