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Restoration of BringaTrailer 240z - HLS30-35883

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2 hours ago, 7m-gtte said:

Love the attention to detail. Thanks for the videos it helps.

Any tips you've learned that would be helpful? Brand of Sanding block? Paper?

Thanks.  I have learned some things the hard way for sure.

I like this sanding block a lot:


It is comfortable to use with both hands for hours at a time.  Even though it was designed to use non adhesive type paper, I have been using adhesive backed.  The rubber "pad" on the aluminum is hard/tough enough that when you pull the adhesive paper off, it doesn't damage it.  

The sand paper I have been using comes in rolls.  I have been getting most of it from TP tools.  I have also been using some 3M "red" rolls that I get locally at a body supply store.

In general, I have had good experience with epoxy primer on bare metal to start before applying filler.  Light sanding with 80 grit and then applying body filler was done next.  Then I used 80 grit on the body filler to shape it, followed by 120 grit on the body filler to get a smoother finish.  120 grit scratches are a lot easier to cover up with primer (or sprayable polyester) without sanding scratches coming though later.

Then, I recommend you depart from what I did and spray several coats of sprayable polyester filler, and then block sand that with 120 grit until flat.  Then, I'd recommend going over it once with with 240 grit to put a smoother finish on it.  Similar to before, the 240 grit finish will fill better when you spray high build primer over it.  Then you can block again with 240 and repeat primer spray, and sand with again with 240 grit until you have perfection.  Then, you should switch over to 400 to 600 for remaining finish work.  It is widely agreed upon that before you put down color, a minimum of 600 grit should be used.  That should be safe - the color will fill those scratches so they are not visible.  This is true for base coat/clear coat (2 stage), or for single stage paints.  



Edited by inline6
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  • 4 weeks later...

I took about a week and a half off and went to Florida for vacation.  Lots of beach, swimming, and biking.  Felt good to set aside this thing for a while.  I am back on it now with blocking and primer application continuing.  Getting panels near perfect is really a lot of work.  

How do you like my spot "welds"?  🙂

IMG_20201105_193139.jpg  IMG_20201105_193246.jpg  IMG_20201105_193401.jpg


You may recall that I used the Mig welder to attach the cover panels (reused most of the original on right side, and fabricated a new one for the left).  I used rosette welds on the bottom edge (drilled holes and filled them in with weld).  However, I want the original look here on this bottom edge.  Looks pretty good, right?

IMG_20201105_193542.jpg  IMG_20201105_193621.jpg  IMG_20201105_193702.jpg


All of the ones on the bottom edge where the quarter panel attaches to the rocker panel are fake.  In the third picture just above, the two on the left of the visible joint are fake, the two on the right are authentic factory welds.  To create the fake ones, I waited until I had applied many coats of primer as normal part of doing the body work.  Then, in the original factory locations, I used a dremel tool and a round cutter bit to remove a circle of the primer back down to the base metal.  And then I followed that up with another coat or two of primer.  The spot welds on the wheel opening flange are authentic factory ones.  Only the ones along the bottom edge where the quarter panel attaches to the rocker are fake.  Authentic ones pick up again in front of the visible edge where the quarter panel to rocker panel transition occurs.  

The belt line is looking much better now.  I like how they have turned out.  I won't have to give this line much more attention before painting.  This is the case for both sides of the car, from fender, to door, to quarter panel.  

IMG_20201105_193734.jpg  IMG_20201105_193857.jpg  IMG_20201105_193922.jpg

IMG_20201105_194038.jpg  IMG_20201105_194244.jpg  IMG_20201105_194356.jpg

IMG_20201105_194427.jpg  IMG_20201105_194444.jpg  IMG_20201105_194522.jpg


I still have some low spots on the passenger fender and door to eliminate.  After that, I should be able to prep the underneath of the car for undercoating.  The tail light panel hasn't been worked yet because of the interference with the rotisserie.  That will need attention before I can send the body assembly to the paint shop.


Edited by inline6
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  • 4 weeks later...

It as been a while since I have provided an update.  So, without further delay, here are some pics of the wheels I ordered from Top End Performance.  Steve, if I recall the name correctly, had the best pricing out of 4 or 5 places I checked.  You have to order a set of four though to get the price of  $266 per wheel.  That plus $150 shipping to my zip code...  Oh and they were drop shipped directly from Mas at Panasport.  My quote directly from Mas, by the way was $341.43 plus shipping for each wheel (including 4 lug nuts) - sooooooooo not good a deal. 


IMG_20201130_134706.jpg  IMG_20201130_134755.jpg  IMG_20201130_134924.jpg



Size is 16 X 7.  It will be a while longer before they see actual use!



Edited by inline6
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I picked up the cylinder head from my engine builder.  The head is an E31.  I went with the stage 1 cam from Isky (reground from stock OEM cam), along with a set of their valve springs and retainers.  This cam has slightly more lift than the stock cam but the same duration, so the engine will sound stock from the cam point of view.  Custom modified valve guides were installed because what I was able to source was not up to my engine builders standards.  Valves are stainless SI brand for both intake an exhaust.  The intakes are 1 mm oversize compared to stock.  The old valve seats were removed, and new ones installed, exhaust ports were ported where it matters, and intake ports done (lightly) as well.  Combustion chambers were touched some as well, including mild undercutting of the chamber edges to improve flow around the valves at lower lifts. 

This combination of changes was done to attempt to match the camshaft, to take advantage of the higher lift and larger intake valve. Solid dowels were installed on the intake face after it was trued in order to locate the intake manifold plenums for best port alignment.  He is not done with manifold plenums just yet.  There are some slight improvements being made on those as well.

Here are pics of the head:

IMG_20201201_211752.jpg  IMG_20201201_211852.jpg  IMG_20201201_211909.jpg

IMG_20201201_212009.jpg  IMG_20201201_212013.jpg  IMG_20201201_212109.jpg

IMG_20201201_212131.jpg  IMG_20201201_212145.jpg  IMG_20201201_212156.jpg

IMG_20201201_212212.jpg  IMG_20201201_212257.jpg  

To finish assembly on the head, I have to source some replacement lash pads (on their way to me already) for the exhaust valves which were taller than the intake valves.

Edited by inline6
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Switching back to the unibody... I found another place that needs some dent removal with the stud welding gun and puller:

 IMG_20201206_132120.jpg  IMG_20201206_133752.jpg


A few rounds of welding pins and pulling and tapping with a hammer and punch, and things are flattened out nicely.  I use a touch of body filler to finish it off.

Also, it is time to execute on the plan to address these holes from the factory in the bottom of the rockers:

IMG_20201206_145635.jpg  IMG_20201206_145715.jpg

There are two of these oval holes in each rocker along the bottom, inside edge of where the inner and outer rocker panels are spot welded together - one at the front and one at the back.  It seems the factory wanted these to be there to drain water out of the rockers.  Well, water should never be getting in there!  And that is my plan.  This oval design acts as an entry point for water that blows down the bottom surface of the rocker panel.  It allows entry into the rocker panel and that is not acceptable.

To address that issue, but still allow for drainage in case water finds its way in, I made these and plan to weld them in place:

IMG_20201206_145734.jpg  IMG_20201206_151127.jpg

Held in place with a magnet to keep it from dropping inside, these are little shields that will allow water to drain out, but shield the opening from water running from front to back on the bottom surface of the rocker.


IMG_20201206_173736.jpg  IMG_20201206_173743.jpg

I have other plans that I will implement to eliminate water from getting into the unibody structure.  I will be addressing, with a water proof solution, the emblem attachment holes, door tag rivet holes, door sill screw holes, etc.  The metal surfaces inside this car's rockers will never see moisture again!

Edited by inline6
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19 hours ago, Patcon said:

There are other ways for moisture to get in.

One being condensate

Another being really humid parts of the world. I do like the shielding idea

Yes, I have in mind to shooter primer and paint through certain access holes to cover some of the bare metal, and also plan to utilize cavity wax to coat the hardest to reach areas.  

I think I will be able to plug all sources of "water entry", which will go a long way toward eliminating rust in the future on this car.  And the wax should keep rust away from inner cavities of rockers and frame rails, etc.  But, of course, rust never sleeps.  And this car too will succumb to the elements one day.  


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I used Eastwood internal frame spray instead of cavity wax. It has a long tube so you can coat the inside of pretty much every frame rail and has a chromate type finish and if it gets on any outside surface, won't interfere with finish paint

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For the long runs “frame rails” etc. I used a small section of hangar wire to attach along the hose in order to reach back in to the area being treated. Also comes in handy to make those awkward bends that allow good access to different areas of the car.

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All good advice!

and don't even consider buying it in Quarts and spraying it yourself to save money. I tried and couldn't find anything it would feed through properly...

It is very thin and will run every where. It dries very quickly

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Picked up where I left off on the engine today.  I assembled the valve train.  Lash pads used were .180" on the intakes and stock (~ .120") on the exhausts.   The rockers were reconditioned by Rocker Arms Unlimited in Redding CA.  I have had some done by Delta, but I think this place does a better job.  



With the rocker arms adjusted to the correct clearances to the cam, I was able to inspect a few of the valve seats and bowl area:

IMG_20201213_142544.jpg  IMG_20201213_142613.jpg  IMG_20201213_142941.jpg


Also, light from the combustion chamber side illuminated the ports, so I took a couple more pictures of the port work.  One exhaust and one intake port are shown in that order:

IMG_20201213_142757.jpg  IMG_20201213_142834.jpg


For installation of the head, I referred back to the discussion earlier regarding head gasket thickness.  Stock Nissan thickness measurements provided earlier in the thread indicate about 1.20 mm.  That is about .047".  This is the head gasket that I purchased:


I measured it again today, across each firing ring between bores, as well as in a couple of areas around the outer edge of the gasket.  My measurements were typically between .057" and .058".  1.5 mm is .059".  So, if this gasket compresses to .047", then that is about .012".  That seems reasonable, but I don't know how much it compresses.  My piston, as mentioned a while back, pops up .025" above deck.  So, at the highend, I've got .058" - .025" or .033" (with no gasket compression).  And, at the low end, I've got .047" - .025" or .022" (if the gasket compresses ~ .011" to .012" inches upon installation).  This is not a race engine, so I think this will suffice.  🙂

A few pics of the engine as assembly continues:

IMG_20201213_180014.jpg  IMG_20201213_180040.jpg  IMG_20201213_180051.jpg

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1 hour ago, inline6 said:

The rockers were reconditioned by Rocker Arms Unlimited in Redding CA.  I have had some done by Delta, but I think this place does a better job.

The Rocker Arms Unlimited rockers seem to be more polished than how Delta does them, I wonder if that helps the break in.

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22 hours ago, grannyknot said:

The Rocker Arms Unlimited rockers seem to be more polished than how Delta does them, I wonder if that helps the break in.

Yes, the finish looks a bit more polished.  I had an issue with one rocker in a set of twelve that I sent to Delta.  It came back with the tip end ground out of parallel with the cam wipe pad.  I sent it back, and it came back worse (even more out of parallel).  I sent it back again and they got it right, but the pad was noticeably thinner than the other rockers when all was said and done.  I think their fixture is not as reliable.

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Got some tires mounted on the new wheels today!  YAY!  I have had such a hard time finding a place that can mount and balance wheels without f*[email protected]&^$ing up the wheels!  I did not want to take a chance on the brand new Panasports.  

This place (in Marietta, GA) has the right equipment: https://www.weaverbrakeandtire.com/  

The technician who did the work, Shawn, was nice and very careful.  I forgot that the wheels came with stems, and went with one they offered.  Even after mounting one tire, (when I found the stems taped to the bottom of the box in which two wheels were packed), he broke the bead and replaced that stem with the Panasport supplied one.  

The tires I went with are CONTI-PROCONTACT - SIZE: P195/55R16 (rim width range 5.5-7").  I chose this size as it is the closest to stock diameter as I could possibly get with a 16" diameter wheel.  Additionally, it was of critical importance to me not to modify the stock sheet metal in any way.  I have read various posts from others about tire sizes.  Sometimes people would say that the tires would rub on the stock lips and sometimes not.  I decided to go as conservatively as possible on tire width because of those posts.  The tire here is maxed out on a 7" width rim, and I am ok with the final look.  The tread width is approximately 6.5" wide.  It is what it is.  I wanted to err on the side of not rubbing, as the car will utilize ST (Suspension Techniques) springs which will lower it a tad.  

A few pics from different angles which show the profile:

IMG_20201214_182204.jpg  IMG_20201214_182222.jpg

IMG_20201214_182237.jpg  IMG_20201214_182307.jpg


I didn't quite get as much video as I wanted here, but it was hilarious to watch Shawn mount the tires.  He had to use a special "tool" to get the bead to seat:



The tool is a "Bead Bazooka".  It's use was necessary to get my P195/55R16 (rim width range 5.5-7 inches) to inflate properly on the 7 inch wide rims.  This tool shoots a quick blast of air at the tire/bead area which assists with pressurizing the tire enough to get it to seat fully on the rim.

I'm a long way from mounting the tires on the finished car to check the final look.  I am curious how much clearance I will have between the outside face of the tire and the lip around the circumference of the rear wheel well.  

My suspension plans include Koni inserts inside unmodified struts with Suspension Techniques (ST) springs and ST front and rear anti-roll bars (a set up recommended by the late John Coffey).   Everything will be reversible.  That is, if I, or someone after me wants to return this car to pristine stock condition, it is something that will be possible with 1 afternoon of work.  😎







Edited by inline6
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  • 3 weeks later...

I am getting closer to sending all of my hardware to be re-plated.  I am going to try to do it all in one shipment, so I needed to disassemble some parts which up to this point, have not been.  The rear struts and arms were the focus today.  The pictures I took reveal some interesting details.  For example, the condition of this rubber washer suggests that the spindle pins have not been out since assembly at the factory.  



Yet the pins actually look good enough to make me think they were replaced:



The rear brake shoes look like replacements.  I believe they were installed by the prior owner of the car as part of the work he did to "restore" the car.  I note the word "MINTEX" printed on the edge of the brake material.  I think these are aftermarket, but will do some searching on the internet to try to determine.  Also of interest is the pink (I think) paint mark on the factory rear springs.  As a relatively rust free car, it is reasonable to assume these are original factory markings.

IMG_20201229_115145.jpg  IMG_20201229_115234.jpg


Additionally, the right strut shows evidence of a rectangular label that was adhered to the outside surface of the tube.  This could be an indication that the black paint visible is actually the factory applied black enamel.

IMG_20201229_115242.jpg  IMG_20201229_115253.jpg


Rear brake cylinders are Tokico units and appear to have been new replacements installed by a prior owner.  The previous owner acquired the car in February of 1989 according the Bring a Trailer listing.  However, the stamp on the shoes (June of 1982) seems to indicate the brake work was done prior to his ownership.

IMG_20201229_115815.jpg  IMG_20201229_115826.jpg


Black overspray on the cylinder and the handbrake lever indicate an attempt to respray some black on the right rear strut backing plate.



However, the bolts that secure the plate to the strut do not have black on them.  This seems to suggest the black paint on the backing plated is at least in part, original.  Removing the axles, it was plain to see that the rear bearings were original.

IMG_20201229_130556.jpg  IMG_20201229_130425.jpg

IMG_20201229_130608.jpg  IMG_20201229_151309.jpg


The brake hoses also have the appearance of being replaced at the time the cylinders were installed as evidenced by the part number (46202-H7025) - the correct replacement part number for the prior part number (46202-N4500).

IMG_20201229_162418.jpg  IMG_20201229_162443.jpg


New replacement KYB strut inserts had also been inserted by a previous owner.  Also, the black paint on the upper spring perch was protected by the upper strut mount.  Interesting to see the lack of gloss here.  I will clean the parts and examine them more closely.

IMG_20201229_211838.jpg  IMG_20201229_211900.jpg


Also, the axle flanges have very little wear where the seal rides.  Interesting for a car that had ~ 130k miles - 5 times the distance around the world.  Also, it is interesting to notes remnants of original black paint on these:

IMG_20201229_212001.jpg  IMG_20201229_212016.jpg


Anyway, though interesting, I now have more of the hardware in hand to send to be re-plated.

Edited by inline6
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I am still working to round up the fasteners and send them off to be plated.  I find myself bead blasting some of them like these.  I wish I knew if it was necessary... From a comment by @motorman7 in "the Orange" rebuild thread, I think the plater he uses (and I plan to use) might prep the fasteners, and so my bead blasting may not be necessary.  I just don't want to take the chance that they aren't prepped properly?

Another nice thing about working with a car that spent its entire life in the southwest/in storage, the fasteners, even ones is "wet" locations like the front valence, are nearly corrosion free:




After bead blasting, they look really nice:





After bead blasting:



Here is a little tip to pass along:  I have found that it is possible to "fix" phillips head fasteners that have had slight displacement of the metal by the screwdriver.  Oftentimes the fasteners are slightly rusted and hard to break loose.  And the screwdriver slips causing miner cosmetic damage, like on this one:




I have found that placing the screw on solid metal surface (like a vice) and tapping on the phillips area with a hammer an restore or nearly restore the factor fresh appearance.  It only takes a couple of seconds and will make the re-plated part look a lot nicer.





This bolt came from the front anti-roll bar brackets to the frame of the car.  Note that the yellow paint used by assembly like workers on this car was a gloss yellow.



I think I'd like to replicate the yellow on the fasteners underneath the car during final assembly.  We'll see.

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Your pre-plating prep will be rewarded handsomely irregardless of what the plater might do. Your prep work is outstanding.

Nice tip on the screw heads.

Did you ever find another one of the early style clamp you were looking for?? (LMK)

I want to express a word of caution about your choice of a plater. I used Sav-On Plating and overall I was not very happy with the results.Your mileage may vary, --- just saying---no slam on Rich or his beautiful results on Bob Russell's blue 73 that he did before the Orange.

Your restoration is way beyond nice. Not a time for "screw-ups" and disappointment now. I would look for a plater closer to home so that I could oversee the results more easily and communicate my expectations directly. Shipping and "batch" minimum charges get to be expensive when done "cross country".  I know now.

I have thought of contacting Jeff Palya at http://paltech1.com/  and inquiring if he would agree to having his plater do future work for me. I've had him do flat top and round top carbs for me in the past and the plate-work was awesome. Might be a path for you to explore.


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Posted (edited)
On 12/31/2020 at 11:16 AM, Zup said:

Did you ever find another one of the early style clamp you were looking for?? (LMK)


I found another, yes.  I have about 20 lbs of Datsun hardware leftover mainly from 510's I went through years ago.  I found the correct hose clamp amongst that hardware.  

Heard on plating.  I guess it is worth spending my time on prep work.  I think I will try utilizing my parts vibratory tumbler on some of the parts that I have already blasted with glass beads.  The beads I am using are not very aggressive, but get to areas of the fastener that wire brushes have difficulty reaching.  I am hoping that the type of media (or mixture) in the tumbler can be "adjusted" to give a "shiny" finish to the fasteners.  Then the prep work should mostly be done, and hopefully, I can get great results.  

I loved the plating done by Jeff Palya at Paltech.  When I had my carbs done by him, he agreed to let me send a few parts just for plating by his plater.  I'd like to find a plater to work with directly that I know is good.  I did try looking online for platers near by to me, but all I have to go by as to whether they are good or not is online reviews.  

I posted these pics once before, but these were the extra parts I had plated by Jeff:

IMG_20200227_204916.jpg  IMG_20200227_204954.jpg

Edited by inline6
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Posted (edited)

Further disassembly of the suspension components was undertaken yesterday.  With the front crossmember bare, I turned by attention to addressing the dents in the bottom that had occurred over the cars time on the road.  A few pics after grinding surface gunk off:

IMG_20201231_140224.jpg  IMG_20201231_140245.jpg  IMG_20201231_140254.jpg

Where possible, I use different sizes of sturdy C clamps and some 1/4" thick steel plate pieces to straighten dents such as these.  Putting the plates (small rectangular ones) on the inside and outside of the metal to be straightened and then clamping very tightly with the clamps pulls the metal back where it was originally.  I also used the stud welder and puller tool on a few small spots.  Finished with a light sanding by the DA sander and 80 grit.  

IMG_20201231_155411.jpg  IMG_20201231_155425.jpg  IMG_20201231_155315.jpg


IMG_20201231_155352.jpg  IMG_20201231_155359.jpg  IMG_20201231_155323.jpg


The scratches and slight imperfections/low spots are easily resolved with just a touch of body filler.  Straightening was only about and our and a half of work.  The final result after sand blasting priming and painting should be really nice.


Edited by inline6
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Posted (edited)

I am still rounding up hardware to prep and have re-plated.  That quest led me to the starter.  I forgot to take pictures of the state it was in, but basically, the plating on the starter and solenoid looked like it was mostly gone, surface rust, light corrosion, etc.  It was functional, as it started the car before I removed it.  

I can find remanufactured starters for around $50 delivered.  However, it is a bit of a guessing game as to whether the starter will come with the same parts plated as the factory did.  And remanufactured starters are not all remanufactured the same way - some are lower quality, some are higher.

After doing some searching, I determined that bushings are available for the front and rear of the commutator.  I took some measurements of my starter components and compared them with the factory specs in the workshop manual.  Still trying to determine which way to go (rebuild mine, or go with a remanufactured unit), my decision came down to the fact that I could not figure out how to get the solenoid case off (to re-
plate it).  I was about to go with remanufactured when I dimly recalled having purchased an OEM solenoid many years before (like more than 30) for my 510 that I never used.  

So, after finding this in one of my 510 parts boxes:

IMG_20210102_141017.jpg  IMG_20210103_124452.jpg  IMG_20210103_124526.jpg

I decided to rebuild my starter. Pics of tear down:

IMG_20210101_152117.jpg  IMG_20210101_152302.jpg  IMG_20210101_152124.jpg


After tear down, I put most of the parts in an ultrasonic cleaner:



The brush holder came out nice:

IMG_20210103_124638.jpg  IMG_20210103_124648.jpg  IMG_20210103_124252.jpg


I glass bead blasted some of the parts (front cover, hardware, rear aluminum housing, steel housing)

  IMG_20210103_124351.jpg  IMG_20210103_124708.jpg  IMG_20210103_124719.jpg

Some slight corrosion on the steel casing where the rubber grommet goes.  Front cover before glass bead blasting:

  IMG_20210103_125310.jpg  IMG_20210103_125414.jpg  IMG_20210103_124318.jpg


Starter drive (gear and clutch) looks pretty good overall and functions properly.  Armature seems ok (measures within spec and shaft ends are within spec)

IMG_20210103_125519.jpg  IMG_20210103_125611.jpg  IMG_20210103_131233.jpg

Further glass beading of the front cover gave a more uniform finish.  In the last picture, in addition to the glass beading, I took a piece of very fine steel wool to put a bit more shine on the surface.

IMG_20210103_134036.jpg  IMG_20210103_134043.jpg  IMG_20210103_134453.jpg


Next, I will have to order the bushings, and do the work to replace the old ones and size them to fit properly.


Edited by inline6
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  • 2 weeks later...

Today, I experimented with my vibrating tumbler.  I chose from parts I had already bead blasted and grabbed one of a few parts.  I ran them in the tumbler for about two hours.  I will post a few pics of my set up and media later.  I did some searching on Youtube before deciding how to proceed.  Following are some pics.  I am not going to resize them like a typically do so the difference is easier to see. 

Glass bead blasted part is on the right (glass bead blasted and tumbled on the left):


Glass bead blasted part is on the right (glass bead blasted and tumbled on the left):


Glass bead blasted part is on the bottom (glass bead blasted and tumbled on the top):


Glass bead blasted part is on the bottom (glass bead blasted and tumbled on the top):


Glass bead blasted part which has been tumbled is on the right in each pair:


For the large bolts in bottom of pic, blasted and tumbled one the top one.


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