The parts tumbler does a good job of cleaning smaller components. Some advantages of parts tumbling are:
- Low maintenance
- Time to clean is short
- Can be used on a wide variety of shapes and material with the correct media.
As with glass beading and the airless blaster, care must be used to avoid damaging machined surfaces.
Parts Tumbling in the Auto Machine Shop
The most common usage of the tumbler in the auto shop is in cleaning valve train parts and smaller engine fasteners. When cleaning these parts, such as valves, you need media that has weight to it. Since you’re looking to abrade larger quantities of baked on carbon you would use Steel Diagonals. (Order No. PTM-20D). As the valves are tumbled, they are bombarded by the heavier media, removing the deposits. In this instance valve stem protection (VSP-16) must be used to prevent damage to polished stems.
Irregularly shaped parts such as valve springs, retainers, etc. clean well with Steel Ballcones (PTM-20BC) These are a lighter weight and clean without damaging valve springs and retainers.
Ceramic Diagonals (PTM-20CR) are our lightest media and used on soft materials such as brass and aluminum. Ceramic Diagonals work well with alternator and distributor housings.
We recommend you use Parts Tumbler Solution (PT-SOL) with all of these media. This solution softens deposits for easier removal and combines with removed deposits to carrying them to the sump area of the tumbler, releasing them there.
Together with the first two parts of this series, we’ve talked briefly about various methods for parts cleaning. As you can imagine, we’ve barely scratched the surface, but this should give you enough information to get started. Don’t forget, we have a full Technical Library that includes more information about parts cleaning. As always, if you have any questions about Parts Tumbler Media or which media to use for which part, contact the Goodson Tech Services Department at 1-800-533-8010 or shoot us an email.