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I've got a regular tumbler for jewelry, but my silver knotted chain mail shirt is much too large to fit into it, even if I left out the tumbling media altogether. I came up with this as an alternative, and it works very well. The barrel is a drink cooler which has had the tap removed, and the hole pluged with two-part silicon rubber, and a gasket made for the screw-on lid made with the same material. Source for the cooler, Target; source for the silicone rubber, Rio Grande. It's braced in the barrel of an ordinary clothes dryer with a series of equal-sized cardboard boxes, to hold it in the center.
Tumbler barrel inside clothes dryer.
I run the dryer on the "air" setting, so there is no heat flowing around the cardboard or the plastic. Also, the timer is defective, so it will run all night if I don't stop it. Here's another shot, angled to show a cardboard box jammed in between the barrel and the wall.
Tumbler barrel inside clothes dryer, detail.
My first idea along this path involved stuffing the cooler in with a lot of pillows and other soft stuff, but that let the weight shift around and get off-center. It wore out the dryer's drive belt quickly, twice. Having tried it now with this setup, I'm satisfied that it will work well, but some details can still be improved. The boxes shown are several inches shorter than the cooler, and since it's not supported along its entire length, it's possible for it to shift around a bit, with a risk of "jumping the track" and getting unbalanced. If I could've gotten longer boxes, that would be good, but cardboard is cheap and so is duct-tape -- there's nothing to stop me from making my boxes any dimension or shape I want, to fill in the space and stabilize it. Another consideration is the seal on the cooler. No matter how fancy my gasket and plugs, there's always a chance of a leak, so before I put the tumbler into the barrel, I put it inside a plastic trash bag and seal it up.

(This site last updated on 12-12-2020)

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