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Posted: 11/24/2012 1:04:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/1/2012 1:41:15 PM EDT by BEANC0UNTER]
Who needs exercise when you can get a work out tumbling brass.  I have this dusty treadmill and thought it might be a good idea to convert it to a tumbler.  I do not have a welder but do have some mechanical skills even though I am an accountant!

My thought was to keep the frame in tact for the most part.  I would want to cut the arms off of the control panel and lower it down.  I thought I might be able to shorten the treadmill part of the platform.  I am not quite sure how it would work.  The rollers seem like they would be nice to use but it seems like I would have to make a new way to hold them in place as I think the way it is it pulls the belt tight but when I cut the metal beams it will not work.

I thought others may have some good ideas.

In regards to the motor I think it is overkill.  It is 2.5hp with 6700rpm but it does have a control dial to limit the rpm.  If my brass is not getting enough workout I can increase the elevation

Maybe it would be easier to tear it all apart, build a wood platform and attach it.  I am not sure how all of it would work if I did not bring all of the pieces over such as the elevation motor, etc.  I could get some bearings and insert the existing roller bars as well.  I appreciate any thoughts you may have.

Link Posted: 11/24/2012 1:44:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/24/2012 1:46:11 PM EDT by FrontyOwner]
ditch the belt and platform.
move the back roller closer to the drive roller
set that gap to the size of your drum.
you should be able to do this with a drill to make new holes to set the back roller.
from here it would just be cleanup, shortening the left over parts, etc.

and the accountants I deal with have no mechanical ability. they know numbers and can barely articulate what they want from the engineers.
Link Posted: 11/24/2012 1:49:42 PM EDT
Please keep us updated on your project. Good idea and treadmills are easy to come by on CL.
Link Posted: 11/24/2012 7:51:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/25/2012 2:05:01 PM EDT by BEANC0UNTER]

Control panel mounted.  I drilled a hole in the 2X4 and hooked the roller bar to it.  I am holding the wood blocks in place with clamps until I get my drum built so that I make sure the spacing is correct.

Cut off the upper braces level with control panel

Not sure I will leave this functional but I cut off the back legs of the tread mill and they fold up for compact storage.

Link for video but I am not sure it is working.  I do not know how to get it to embed.


Just need to build my drum and ask Santa for some ss media.

Let me know if you have any recommendations for improvement.

Link Posted: 11/25/2012 12:25:32 AM EDT
Link Posted: 11/25/2012 11:19:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/25/2012 1:58:43 PM EDT by BEANC0UNTER]

Link Posted: 11/25/2012 12:27:21 PM EDT
From imageshack, copy the "Direct" link.  Then on AR15, click the image icon in "insert tags", and paste in your picture link.

Like this:

Nice job on your tumbler, am looking forward to seeing how it works out.
Link Posted: 11/25/2012 1:37:04 PM EDT
Made a little more progress today.  I used a couple of extra pieces from the treadmill deck rails as spacers.  I then took the bracket that held the wheels on the bottom of the treadmill and drilled the hole larger so that the roller bar will fit into it.  Easier to see in the second picture.  I just need to drill a hole through all of the pieces so that it can be mounted securely.  I am going to try and find some sewer pipe this week.  I did not really want to have to buy a 10 foot section.  I may try a plumbing business and see if they have a small 12 inch section.

If I am using 6" pvc should I space the roller bars about 5 inches apart?  Maybe I should just wait until I build the drum...

Thanks for the help on posting the images.
Link Posted: 11/25/2012 10:38:35 PM EDT
Link Posted: 11/26/2012 11:08:16 AM EDT
Now this is a good idea.  I have been bitching about the wifes old tread mill out in the shop that is in the way all the time, plus I have been wanting to make a tumbler like this.

Please keep going with this, I am really interested in how this turns out.
Link Posted: 11/27/2012 9:13:42 PM EDT
Treadmill has been turned into a brass tumbler for exercising your fat brass.  Maybe someone can help me embed this video instead of the link?

Youtube treadmill link

Another video


Here are some more pictures.  I still need to clean up the drum and glue it.  The pvc was free from the local plumbing supply as the end was cracked.  I need to decide how long to cut it.

I need to shorten it just a bit and maybe install some type of wheel or bearing to keep it from hitting the metal piece just to the bottom right of the sticker.  

Need to reinstall the back cover for the wiring and anchor the ground wire

Need to trim off all of the ends of the support bars even.  I left them plenty long for any adjustments needed.  This thing could hold  a small drum considering it usually has people running on it.

I reinstalled the motor cover

I probably will not update this anymore unless someone has questions or wants some other pictures.  I ordered 25 pounds of ss pins today.  I am going to sell what I decide not to use.  I was not sure how much to use in the drum.

I bought the cap, reducer and the rubber cap (not pictured) all from Menards for about $20.  I spent about $10 max on nuts, bolts, and washers so the most expensive part for me was the ss pins.  That is a tumbler on a budget!

Thanks to everyone on this site for their detailed work to help me put this together.

Link Posted: 11/27/2012 10:20:28 PM EDT
Excellent idea, great job putting it all together!!!   Let us know how it works!!!!
Link Posted: 11/28/2012 9:27:22 AM EDT
What does the inside of the PVC tube look like??
Link Posted: 11/28/2012 6:37:13 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/1/2012 1:39:52 PM EDT
I received my pins yesterday.  I used one of the small wheels from the treadmill and mounted it to keep the drum in place.  I did not include a picture but I added a wheel to the other side as well.

Up and running now.  Hopefully the brass comes out nice.

Link Posted: 12/1/2012 2:39:46 PM EDT
I'd say you turned out to be a pretty fair engineer, for an accountant.  I wonder if placing the rollers a little close together might allow the drum to "float"  on the rollers a little better.  A couple of vanes attached inside the drum would increase agitation and efficiency. ( Less tumble time.)  If the drum tends to bounce on the rollers, you might try strips if rubber around the rollers at about three locations.  That would cushion the drum and increase friction between the drum and rollers.

Overall  - great effort.
Link Posted: 12/1/2012 3:10:47 PM EDT
I do have 3 veins on the inside of the drum.  I rolls really smooth on the rollers.  The noise is all the pins and brass tumbling as I did not have a full load.  The rollers are about 5" apart and the drum is about 7 inches time you factor in wall thickness of the pipe and cap.
Link Posted: 12/1/2012 4:17:14 PM EDT
With the strength of that motor I would think you could drive multiple rollers and multiple tumbling drums to maximize its use.
Link Posted: 12/1/2012 4:55:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/1/2012 4:56:14 PM EDT by BrdChris]
I was going to mention putting wheels on each end to keep side play down. We have tumblers at work that mix 20,000 pounds but yours seem to cover the basics. Good job op!
Link Posted: 12/1/2012 5:03:37 PM EDT
as a FYI you can do this all with very little effort and not have to tear apart your treadmill.

as long as its a power track, if you lay a 2x4 across just ahead  of your support arms and use a coffee can with a duct taped lid as your barrel.
the coffee can will roll back and stop at the 2x4 and will roll against it.
Ive had to do this in the past for rock tumbling with little to no resources.
Link Posted: 12/1/2012 5:13:57 PM EDT
Before picture

After pictures

Overall I am very happy and would not make any adjustments.  Worth the effort.
Link Posted: 12/1/2012 5:15:12 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ataris121:
as a FYI you can do this all with very little effort and not have to tear apart your treadmill.

as long as its a power track, if you lay a 2x4 across just ahead  of your support arms and use a coffee can with a duct taped lid as your barrel.
the coffee can will roll back and stop at the 2x4 and will roll against it.
Ive had to do this in the past for rock tumbling with little to no resources.

The treadmill was wore out.  The track had a hole in it and it is very old.

Link Posted: 12/1/2012 6:28:29 PM EDT
Hahaha very creative use of a treadmill.  Looks like it works fine.  Good job!  

Nothing like redneck engineering!

Link Posted: 12/1/2012 7:17:30 PM EDT
Im not going to lie, I may or may not have looked on craigslist for a cheap treadmill
Link Posted: 12/2/2012 12:06:37 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/2/2012 10:41:29 AM EDT
Nice work!
Link Posted: 12/2/2012 1:47:39 PM EDT

That tumbler is hauling the mail- does it clean the brass faster (<4hours)?
Link Posted: 12/2/2012 5:01:14 PM EDT
love it

good job re-purposing worn out equipment
Link Posted: 12/2/2012 5:58:56 PM EDT
Nice conversion.
Link Posted: 12/2/2012 7:53:29 PM EDT
I ran it 4 hours the first time and have not tumbled any more.  I will try less.
Link Posted: 12/26/2012 10:36:50 AM EDT
Best use for a treadmill I have ever seen!
Link Posted: 1/23/2013 8:04:30 AM EDT
i got a treadmill that im not using i might have to do this
Link Posted: 1/23/2013 8:32:02 AM EDT
Excellent repurposeing of an old tredmill.
Link Posted: 4/13/2013 9:09:26 PM EDT
Bump for an excellent idea.
Link Posted: 4/13/2013 10:05:22 PM EDT
nice job
Link Posted: 7/11/2014 12:46:43 AM EDT
SONOFA...and I thought I had an original idea...I am going to do the same, but my drum is a homer bucket, with a octagonal insert to mimic a thumblers tumbler and a lid secured at each end to make it "round"


thanks for confirming my idea would work though, even if it was not original!
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