Tumbling machines have a wide variety of uses. Tumbling can be used in the home for a variety of hobbies such as rock polishing or used in an industrial setting for tumble deburring and finishing most surfaces that are manufactured.
The tumbling process works on the very basic premise of smoothing and polishing by rubbing a media against the material being refined until you attain the level of finishing required.
Barrel polishing is a very natural process that is frequently seen in streams. Rocks that have spent years in a river become less and less jagged over time. The combination of river grit, water, and a continuous wearing process gives an extremely fine and smooth surface.
Tumbling machines mimic and speed up this natural process by using the right type of grit (media) and the best amount of liquid. This perfecting of nature will speed up the finishing process and what takes nature many years can be accomplished in a barrel tumbler in a very short amount of time.
As the material is tumbled with the grit excess material is knocked loose while the surface becomes smooth and functional.
The industrial setting is where tumble finishing has been perfected. In manufacturing speed is of great importance and the process has to be as efficient as possible in order to fill orders and get the goods sold either to other manufacturers or to a store.
A hobbyist might be able to wait weeks and months to get their item polished but there is no time to be wasted when the money coming in is related to the speed in which the item can get finished and get out.
Tumbler deburring is one of the most common methods of finishing in the industrial setting. There are of course newer, fancier, and more expensive methods being developed all the time but for a smaller business who does not have the cash on hand for cutting edge of technology finishing barrel tumbling will remain a viable option.
Aluminum Oxide grit is commonly used in tumblers but you can find glass, plastic, and even baking soda grit for your needs. All of these types of tumbling media and more can be used in any rotating tumbler. Actually I'm not sure about baking soda in a tumbler but it is used in blasting and there is probably a version available to use with tumblers.
Finding the best tumbling machines for a deburring system is a necessary step for all hobbyists and manufacturing plants.