Author Topic: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler  (Read 564 times)

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Offline Wobbly

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Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« on: May 22, 2019, 04:08:46 PM »
Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler

I've been thinking about "wet tumbling" for a long time. My son had taken the plunge about 2 years earlier with a kit from Stainless Steel Media ( https://stainlesstumblingmedia.com/ ). It was a complete kit and he liked the way it cleaned his 223 brass. I had to admit, the results were very impressive, maybe even making me a little bit jealous. The brass really looked good. But the near $300 price tag put me off. Besides, I already had the large and super large dry vibratory tumblers from Dillon and they were doing just fine.

Then last week he was giving me a run down on how his first 2 years had gone. He was genuinely in favor of the wet tumbling, but said the container that came with the SSM kit was not easy or quick to operate. Apparently, their cover attaches with 6 threaded fasteners. You need to keep track of those 6 nuts and not loose any of them in the backyard when you open the container. Getting equal tightness to prevent leaks was also a short coming. Finally, the ease of entry and sealing was simply not there. It was time consuming. The 6 fasteners meant a wrench had to be located, and each fastener tightened/loosened independently, even if simply to check the cleaning progress.

That's when he mentioned the Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler (FART for short), and talked about the small version called the "Lite", which could hold 300 .223 cases, so it might hold even more pistol cases. And the best news was, the Lite sells for only $99 ! The FART lineup differed from SSM version in that the container's end cap had giant threads and simply screwed-on, like a big jar. Opening and closing was much faster and much easier.

My wife quickly agreed. If I had to FART, then a Lite FART was highly preferential. So with little delay I went to the Graf & Sons web site to see what else I'd be needing. Turns out the Lite FART is comprised of only the canister and the motor unit. I would also need stainless media ($18), a "media separator" ($28), and the Lemishine. So the whole thing totaled for under $150. How could I loose ?



This little unit is very well thought out. The motor unit powers one set of soft rubber wheels, while the other axle spins on ball bearings. The thick, one-piece plastic cover design is sleek, and made to shed water easily. There is a single ON/OFF switch on the front and a 2-prong, 6ft power cord from the rear. Being an all plastic housing, there is no fear of electrical shock.



The ~1 gallon canister is comprised of 4 parts: the canister, a clear plastic window, a thick neoprene gasket for the window, and the threaded cap. The cap incorporates a carry handle which puzzled me until the device was loaded with brass, steel pins, and water. Now I really appreciate the carry handle !

Operation is smooth and without motor noise, but it is a rotary tumbler ! I never saw the motor hesitate or stall, it seems to turn 400-500 38 Super cases with ease from start to finish at about 30 RPM. The canister has no trouble staying water tight, and easily stays in place atop the motor unit. I ran it outside for 4 hours in direct 90?F sunshine under load, and the motor housing was barely warm.


I'll need to report later on the results because the process is still being perfected. And, of course, being a newbie, I purchased the wrong Lemishine product. So it's back to the store on that score. Still early results look promising. Primer pockets are most definitely coming out of the tumbler in a spotless condition. So while I cannot give a conclusive report on the cleaning process, I can give 2 thumbs up on the FART unit itself.

To be continued.


Product links: https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/77903
                     https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/77904
                     https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/5379
« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 08:10:28 PM by Wobbly »
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Offline Earl Keese

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2019, 08:12:56 PM »
I have the larger FART, and love it. I don't even bother with the pins for pistol cases anymore.

Offline lewmed

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2019, 12:38:33 PM »
 I agree with Earl you don't need the pins for pistol brass one more tip if you are in a hurry you can speed things up with DVC brass cleaning concentrate. I have the larger tumbler and clean a 20 lb. batch in 8 to 10 min. using the concentrate any longer than 10 min. may etch the brass. I've also found you can use the concentrate twice before dumping it the total cost for cleaning 40 lbs. of brass is about $2.00   I tumble for 10 min. then rinse in my Dillon media separator 1/2 full of water dump the water and spin dry in the separator before drying for an hour in a large food dehydrator. In an hour and a half I have clean dry brass ready to reload.
 

Offline armoredman

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2019, 04:49:22 AM »
FART...at last I have found a device after my own heart...
Actually I've been using a Frankford Arsenal tumbler for well over 10 years that still works like a charm, good solid equipment.

Offline timetofly

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2019, 07:31:38 AM »
I've used a 1:1 ratio of pins/brass with just a 1/4 tsp of limishine and 1 tablespoon of car wash soap with wax per pound of de-primed brass.  Too much lemishine and it takes off the coating that came on the casings.   Tumble 45 - 60 minutes, rinse twice and the wax gives a coating that stops tarnishing and gives a slight lube during reloading.  One of these days I'm going to omit the pins to see what happens. 

Everyone has their own method, and obtain the results they are happy with.   

Offline Wobbly

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2019, 12:21:28 PM »
I've used a 1:1 ratio of pins/brass with just a 1/4 tsp of Limishine and 1 tablespoon of car wash soap with wax per pound of de-primed brass. 

Got a name for that "car wax soap" ? Is that the NuFinish "Wash & Wax" ??

Inquiring minds and all....  ;)
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Offline timetofly

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2019, 04:18:59 PM »
Got a name for that "car wax soap" ? Is that the NuFinish "Wash & Wax" ??


I used a Meguiars's and it was a gold color.  I would imagine others would work too.  I ran out, but bought another and I'm going to try it this weekend.  I'll post the results during the week or sooner.

https://www.meguiars.com/


[Mods added link]
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 08:45:34 PM by Wobbly »

Offline timetofly

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2019, 07:39:16 AM »
Started out with some outdoor range pickups that here stained pretty good.  Couldn't find the Lemishine and too lazy to go to Walmart and get some more.  All in all they turned out pretty good.  The real test will be to see if they tarnish.  That will take a little time.



Offline Wobbly

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2019, 08:16:55 AM »
The real test will be to see if they tarnish.  That will take a little time.

That's where the car wax comes in. In the English language we still call it "wax" , but in reality modern car waxes are really polymers. Waxes always worked by impeding the flow of oxygen to the protected finish. Oxygen then bonds with the external layer and forms oxides, which we call "tarnish".

Polymers have been supplemented because they are FAR superior to real wax in protecting against oxygen. Polymers do this by forming a single molecule over the entire surface. There are simply no molecular boundaries or cracks which the oxygen can go around or seep through.

 ;)
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Offline timetofly

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2019, 08:46:31 AM »
The real test will be to see if they tarnish.  That will take a little time.

That's where the car wax comes in. In the English language we still call it "wax" , but in reality modern car waxes are really polymers. Waxes always worked by impeding the flow of oxygen to the protected finish. Oxygen then bonds with the external layer and forms oxides, which we call "tarnish".

Polymers have been supplemented because they are FAR superior to real wax in protecting against oxygen. Polymers do this by forming a single molecule over the entire surface. There are simply no molecular boundaries or cracks which the oxygen can go around or seep through.

 ;)

Thank you for the information.  It is always appreciated when I learn something new every day.  And to think people told me that chemistry physics and math were worthless subjects.  I am impressed with the members of this forum and their knowledge base. 

It's the old saying "working together we can get anything done, but working in opposite directions, nothing gets done".   

Offline Wobbly

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2019, 12:05:08 PM »
Yes, so if you really want the shine to stay around, then you need to work some type of car wax into the cleaning process. This is why you see people using NuFinish (and similar products) in their tumblers.

 ;)
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Offline timetofly

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2019, 01:31:38 PM »
Yes, so if you really want the shine to stay around, then you need to work some type of car wax into the cleaning process. This is why you see people using NuFinish (and similar products) in their tumblers.

 ;)

That is my understanding and experience.  I've also heard where a wax/polymer was added at the end when dry tumbling brass.  There are many ways to keep brass shiny. 

Online M1A4ME

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2019, 04:18:25 PM »
I'm on my third FA vibratory cleaner.  The 2nd and 3rd are still running.  Second one required some parts saved off the fist one to get it running again this spring.  They work great.

First one came with the bucket/separator (different than the one  linked to above) that will probably never wear out.

Recently I bought one of those magnets to pick up the stainless steel pins.  It works great.

I've always picked the brass out of the tumbler cans and shaken the pins out before drying the brass.  Now that I've got that big magnet I think I'll start using the separator for the pins, too.  Up to now I've just used it for the crushed walnut shell media and brass.

I have part of one of the Harbor Freight rock tumblers I was using for the water, SS pins, lemishine but the rubber on one of the drums started transferring to the brass (and my fingers when I was handling the brass.  A couple years ago, someone here recommended and linked to a post about using PVC pipe parts/pieces as a drum and I made one of those earlier this year.  Used it twice, worked great both times.

Shiny brass is nice.
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Offline tdogg

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2019, 07:06:07 PM »
Yes, so if you really want the shine to stay around, then you need to work some type of car wax into the cleaning process. This is why you see people using NuFinish (and similar products) in their tumblers.

 ;)

I can attest that you DON'T want to add Turtlewax to a wet tumbler.  It will react with the lemonshine (I'm assuming) and make all the cases come out purple!  I don't think there was any harm done but it required another tumble cycle to remove the purple finish.

I will have to play around with carwash+wax/polymer additive as my compliment to lemonshine.  Possibly to replace the Dawn.

Cheers,
Toby

Offline eastman

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Re: Product Review: Frankford Arsenal "Lite" Rotary Tumbler
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2019, 09:37:40 PM »
Yes, so if you really want the shine to stay around, then you need to work some type of car wax into the cleaning process. This is why you see people using NuFinish (and similar products) in their tumblers.

 ;)

I can attest that you DON'T want to add Turtlewax to a wet tumbler.  It will react with the lemonshine (I'm assuming) and make all the cases come out purple!  I don't think there was any harm done but it required another tumble cycle to remove the purple finish.

I will have to play around with carwash+wax/polymer additive as my compliment to lemonshine.  Possibly to replace the Dawn.

Cheers,
Toby

but that will make it so much easier to find your fired brass in the sea of cases on the range floor
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