Top critical review
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Cheap tumbler but you get what you pay for........
on January 12, 2013
I was looking for something to start my fore into tumbling with and I thought this would fill the bill nicely. I read the many positive reviews on this tumbler before I purchased it on August 31st 2011, and at first it lived up to the reviews.
To give you some history on the use my tumbler received, I tumble small nuts and bolts and usually each load weighs approximately a pound to a pound and a half. After about a month of on and off tumbling I went to turn on the tumbler and the motor just whined, buzzed, and wouldn't budge.
I contacted Battenfeld Sales [firstname.lastname@example.org] on 11/2/11 via a warranty request and on 11/8/11 I received an email asking for the date of manufacture. I replied, and within two weeks I had a replacement in my hand. Thinking the first unit I had was just a dud and my bad luck, I looked forward to getting back to tumbling. I tumbled about 10 or so loads over the next 10 months of a similar size as before and sure enough the unit did the exact same thing. Of course because I didn't use it frequently enough for it to die within the warranty period, I am now out of luck. I took apart the tumbler to try and see why these are so prone to failure and to see if I could possibly fix it.
During disassembly, the first thing that I noticed was that there were severe cracks in the tub where it attached to the base. I have attached pictures to the product section so you can see what I am referring to. These cracks were at all three attachment points to the base and were bad enough for tumbling media to seep through them. Upon inspection "under the hood" you can tell this is a very cheaply made tumbler. The motor and bearings are definitely not engineered to last. I guess that's just what you get for $50 these days. After taking apart the motor assembly I discovered that the top bearing at the shaft had seized. While I could have easily purchased and replaced the bearing, the seized bearing had already burned up the motor by not allowing the shaft to spin freely.
It's obvious to me that these are cheaply made and if they have lasted for you than you are (or have been) lucky and great for you. I am almost always a "buy the quality tool the first time instead of the cheap version over and over again" type of guy but I wasn't sure how much I wanted to invest in a tumbler initially. After further research, in my opinion your much better options are: the Lyman 2500 Pro Magnum (~$85+s&h), the Dillon's CV-2001 ($188+s&h), or (the direction I went) the Thumler's Tumbler Model Ultra Vibe 10 Industrial Grade($205+s&h). The Thumler is an impressive piece of machinery and is available in a non industrial grade for $150 as well. From the design, fit & finish, and heft, this should last many years and is capable of tumbling pretty much anything you can put into it including 10 pounds of rocks.