Tank Tumbling Made Easy... Eventually!
- I acquired a few USN surplus scuba tanks awhile back and when I got the valves off a couple of them needed tumbling to remove surface rust. I'd been meaning to try a reloading tumbler called the Frankford Arsenal Tumbler. Here's a video I made when I was just getting it set up:
- I got started on this tumbling thing and immediately began to wonder what kind of mess I got myself into. I temporarily broke my tank vise so I couldn't get the big valve bushings off and had to work thru the 1/2" valve opening... That and the flat face of the bushing on the inside made it hard to get the tumbling media out... Quite a lot of physical work shaking the tank, checking it, and re-filling it, etc. And, I was using a strange media made up of stainless steel needles about 1/4" long. Not very aggressive, difficult to get in and out of the tank, and messy.
BUT, I'm happy to say the learning curve took a steep turn upward over the weekend. I fixed the tank vise and the bushing came out pretty easy. Then, I remembered we have some nice ceramic tumbling media over at work and I borrowed some of it. I also added water which had the effect of washing both the tank and the media. This made it so I actually emptied and refilled the water without dumping the media and I could tell the tumbling was done because the water began to come out almost clean.
The final step to all of this was making a high pressure air wand... From plumbing at the hardware store. This is what Luis Heros told me to use to instantly dry the interior of the tank and avoid flash rust. After finally emptying the water and media from the tank, I turned it upside down with the edge resting on my bench, inserted the wand up until it touched the end of the tank... And turned on the high pressure.
I have a mini-Maglite on a string that I use for tank inspections. And, holy cow that tank is clean, dry, and smooth as a baby's butt!