The "WalMart" vibratory brass cleaner.

As I'm far too cheap to actually spend $50 on a vibratory case cleaner I figured I'd eventually cobble something together. During a trip to WalMart for few bricks of .22LR I happened to see some very tumbler shaped plastic bowls, for 97 cents each, and in 3 different colors (blue, lime green, red). The bowls claimed a 7 quart capacity and were 12" in diameter. This is roughly similar in size to the larger Lyman tumbler bowls. A stainless steel bowl was located in a different aisle suitable for the base and I was ready to build.

I had something like this in mind.

After attempting to fix a busted attic vent fan motor I decided a visit to Harbor Freight was in order to see what inexpensive motor powered tools might be retasked for spinning an eccentric weight.

I found one of these --->

Disassembly revealed a single phase direct drive induction motor that already had an eccentric weight.

I liberated an old cutting board from the kitchen and cut out a 6" circle which would be the base the bowl rested on and the motor and springs attached to.

Threaded rod is used to secure the lid and bowl against the top base. The bowl has a 5" piece of conduit flared and enlarged to fit over the nut on the top side of the base. The conduit acts as a spacer for the lid and allows the threaded rod to pass through the bowl without allowing media to escape. The conduit is fixed to the bowl from the inside using epoxy putty.

The lip of the bowl has split rubber hose fitted to function as a gasket which prevents the escape of dust and insures that the bowl and lid are vibrating in phase.

The lid is a circle of brown fiberboard. I had intended to use Plexiglass or Lexan but was unable to locate any thick enough to bear the load and cheap enough for my wallet.

I deviated somewhat from the plans as I had plastic bits available that simplified the motor mount, but will probably not do so on successive builds to allow shorter springs and lower mass.

A stop at Petco produced 10lbs of crushed walnut shells for $8. WalMart provided a similar volume of ground corn cob for $5 and a bottle of Nu Finish Car Polish.

An old appliance timer provides rudimentary control.

Item Qty. Cost Total
WalMart7 quart plastic bowl3$ 0.97$ 2.91
4 quart stainless bowl1$ 2.50$ 2.50
Ace Hardware2' x 1/2" threaded rod1$ 2.95$ 2.95
1/2" nuts2$ 0.14$ 0.28
1/2" fender washers4$ 0.14$ 0.56
1/2" wing nut1$ 1.50$ 1.50
3' x 3' x 1/4" fiber board 1$ 5.50$ 5.50
springs4$ 1.95$ 7.80
rubber hose 1/4" ID4'$ 0.35$ 1.40
Harbor FreightChicago Electric 6" Car Polisher1$13.50$13.50
On hand1/2" cutting board
3/4" ID conduit
1/4" nuts/bolts/washers8 sets
worm clamp

Another view of the tumbler.
View of the eccentric weight and underside of the base.
Nice clean brass!