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ProShaker - (used as a) Miniature/Hobby Paint Mixer


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The "lab shakers" are usually called vortex mixers.  Vortex Genie is a pretty common one.  I got an old Vortex Genie 2 with the recessed platform and several foam inserts that allows me to shake up to four paint bottles (4 upright, 4 inverted) for like $50 used on ebay.  

The foam tray I use is the 14-29 mm test tube foam insert.


Since they retail new for $350+

eBay is your friend.

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Yeah, but ebay shipping to New Zealand is a PITA and then we have the voltage issues with the majority of the Vortex shakers that I've seen out of the US.  I think I'm going to go for the Proshaker, it's cheap enough & rare enough over here that if it doesn't work for what I need I can probably onsell it pretty easily.

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I would be reluctant to buy a used vortex mixer unless I knew exactly what it had been used for.  Having seen a bunch of students use one in a laboratory, I shudder to think what might have been spilled on it.


I'd love to be able to get my hands on a new one, though, if they weren't so darned expensive.

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OK.  Good news!  The purported 100V-240V power supply actually is autoswitching!  So no burning of the house quite yet!


Here's the packaging it comes in



It's well packaged and survived the trip to New Zealand (wherein it was lost, found, lost again, found again, and then fell off the face of the planet and finally arrived unannounced) completely intact.  This isn't surprising really as this




Is about as close to a solid lump of metal as an applicance can get.  The paint firmly clutched in it's grasp is Vallejo Model Air Copper, chosen for testing as it has a tendancy to seperate as soon as you look at it.  Reaper Master Series bottles fit perfectly as well, and while I don't have any P3 or similar pots, I do have the Tamiya 10ml pots for their Clears available.  These don't fit as snuggly as the dropper bottles, but they DO fit and they WILL stay in place for at least 2 cycles in my testing.


The device is not overly noisy in operation:   I wouldn't use it at night when someone in the house or the nearby apartments is trying to get to sleep, but it's not a jackhammer either.  It uses a reciprocating action to agitate the paint, and the build quality is... well, solid is probably doing it an injustice.  You get the feeling that if the switch holds out, this thing will be agitating paints & talon varnish for the cockroaches once the rest of us are long gone.


  The only questionable build is the power pack.  Here we can see my highly advanced hack to change it from a US style plug to a NZ one




  That was surprisingly easy to do:  normally the pins are a damn slight more rugged than the ones on this unit.


  Results, you ask?  Not bad at all.  Here's the paints as they came out onto the wet pallette, with some stirring from the brush and bubbles removed.  1 is straight from the pot, no shaking, 2 is with 2 minutes of shaking, and 3 is with 4 minutes.




And here's the results on a peice of plain paper.  Left most is no shaking, middle is 2 minutes, right most is 4.




This paint is a woof to shake to a worthwhile consistency normally:  the Proshaker did it efficiently and with good results comparable to vigorous hand shaking.  Is it better?  Probably not:  I've had similar results myself when I've bothered to put in the effort to crank it to a good consistency.  But if I skimp on shaking, the results are a LOT worse than what we've seen here.


So, recommended?


Provisionally, yes.  It's a single pot at a time, which is a pain:  something that handled multiple pots at once would be better.  Against that it's a fraction of the price new of a vortex mixer, assuming you can find them locally (I can't), it's decent quality, and it does a perfectly adequate job.  It's certainly worth $99 US + shipping to me, but then again I'll spend twice that to remove an element of drudgery from my hobbies.

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  OK.  I've gone through and shaken my paints.


  I'll pause for the obligatory sniggering.


  It took about 2.5 hours to shake ~90 paints: I could have got that down by about half an hour or so if I'd been focused on efficiency and if I hadn't shaken the metallics for 2 minutes instead of 1.  No overheating issues at all, on either the power supply or the appliance itself.  I did have an issue with the grub screw holding the flywheel onto the motor shaft:  that wasn't tightened properly and the wheel came forward where the safety cutout wouldn't permit it to spin.  Easily fixed, and I'm rather impressed that it has a safety cutout.  You'll need a 1.5 mm allen key (or similar imperial size) to tighten the grub screw.


  Simple, easy to use, robust.  I'm sold.  I have no doubt whatsoever that a Vortex Mixer that can do multiples at once is a better option if you can find a cheap one, but for my needs this will suffice perfectly.  It's much better than sitting there shaking paints for 2.5 hours. 


  Although, realistically, I wouldn't shake them as long and would do multiple paints at once if doing them by hand.

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Thanks for the review. I would probably try to build something like this since I could not get or find something of the like locally... but the mechanic principle is sound and interesting... plus it is "only" a flywheel, an off-centre peg and an elastic element... mmm...

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Robart Manufacturing makes an AC powered paint shaker


  I actually haven't tried one myself, but I asked about it awhile back somewhere and the response was that reliability and build quality is an issue with the Robart product, although it is substantially cheaper than the ProShaker.


 Everything I've heard is that if you can find one cheap that hasn't had nasty stuff spilled through it, a second hand Vortex test-tube shaker is your best bet for shaking multiple pots at once.  I'm very happy with the ProShaker, as getting a Vortex second hand here in New Zealand is a non-trivial exercise, but there's no denying that the single-pot-at-a-time thing gets a little old.  Still better than shaking by hand : )

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