Finally, something really cool to do with old tires, wear them from the inside out, too. These tires will give many more miles on this tumbler set up.
This tumbler has been on a back burner for a few months now, waiting on parts, the bearings were the hardest for me to scrounge, I found them on worn out machines and they were still good enough for this duty. I also found that taking a little extra time allowed me to really think things through; assembly went well. No hurries, no worries. The entire unit is made from salvaged materials, reconstructed. Ehhhhhhh ....Stimulating.
The RR ties were cut in half and about 2 feet are buried in the ground to make good long term posts. Notice the radiator hose sheathing on the long shaft, the tires run better that way. This is a key point really, and I got my hose out of a junked schoolbus, there was 80 feet of it running to the various heaters in the back. The only real problem I have is adjusting the water levels of each tire load, because splash will wet the heater hose sheathing on the shaft and there is slippage of the tire. On some of the loads I keep an almost muddy consistency in the slurry to avoid a lot of splash.
This version of my latest tumbler ran fine before being fastened down even, and I am kind of proud of the balance. I could turn the shaft with tires on it easily with my fingers. My 1" steel shaft was half of a drive shaft from a junked windmill dumped in the desert. It was cut with an angle grinder fitted with a metal blade. It took some sanding to get it smooth enough to accept the bearings and other hardware, but it worked.
The motor got strapped to the ground after it was balanced a bit more. Stakes and kevlar, yum. The motor is a 115vac 1/3hp 1725 rpm which is a good strong motor. The shaft speed is stepped down with a large pulley, and a very small pulley on the motor. 30-60 RPM max. Slower is better. I am using a 10" pulley on the shaft and am searching for a 12" now to slow my rotation down a little more. The pulley at the motor is a 1&1/2", and could be slightly smaller too.
The bearings were only lightly nailed to the top of the posts, Just to eep them from moving, because I will need to get at the tires and do maintenance on occassion. Ease of maintenance is worth planning for, these large machines really produce but also take a beating over time. Everything needs to be adjustable, and balance is what lasts....once something wears and the system gets out of balance it starts to lose efficiency, leading to break down if not addressed. The more quickly a problem is addressed the easier it is to remedy, and the less adverse wear on the parts around it. A good shop tool is the laser type temperature pistol which has come down in price a lot. You aim it about 8" away from whatever you want a temp measurement on, and it does it very accurately. A hot spot detector. Invaluable when working on machinery of all types.
This is the third of these tumblers I have built, the other two were single tire experiments and for materials like glass and shell, and even metals (WORKS VERY WELL FOR METALS), they are really aggressive. For agates and quartz things they work well too but require harder grits than quartz sand, and it takes longer of course. To actually polish materials different tumblers need to be made and dedicated to different grits, because grit contamination is a sure thing with these unless care is taken to avoid it. There is usually a fair amount of splash and I constantly add water to my loads during their tumbling processes.
These tire tumblers are also great for cleaning most kinds of mine run materials used in lapidary endeavors, and they can be employed as ball mills to pulverise rock. I only run my tumbler when I can be there to supervise, and this rig will grind about 60-80 pounds fully charged, which means around 10-15 pounds per tire.
Thanks for checking this out. Good Luck.