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Vortex mixers: how fast, how furious?


ManvsMini
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9 hours ago, R2ED said:

@billeecatsas far as the sound and vibration, how does that typhoon compare to the itellilabs?  My biggest concern with the larger one was how it would shake everything on my desk and picked up on the nearest richter station. 

Yknow, I think the Typhoon is almost quieter. I used them on my window sill, and the vibrations from the Typhoon are almost like there's some kind of damping mechanism in that body. 

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So.... I got the Intllab vortex mixer for Christmas.

 

I started shaking the heck out of my paint collection. Amazing! So good! Until....

 

Was going great. I think I may have worn out the motor ~50% of the way through the top rack of paint 😞 The motor got *really* weak, barely jiggling anymore. Started off great, but now it is erm... sad.

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This is the one I got about a year ago.  Really love it.  Mixes very well; solid and heavy.  Mixed my entire paint collection (about 300-350 bottles) in a single afternoon, and still kicking a year later.

 

Mini Vortex Mixer - Four E's Scientific Lab Vortex Shaker, 5600rpm

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I find it funny that the mixer for acrylic paint gave out after 1 day.

 

When I used enamels I burned through two motors on the strap-it-in sort of shakers, but those had to go for like 20mins/bottle it seemed like, and it was 20 years ago, using shakers that had to have been ancient.

 

Hopefully gift-giver can contact Amazon about sending a new one. Seems like they probably would. I'm not the only one who has had issues with it according to the reviews.

 

I kinda wonder if some is the design of the things; we press down on a moving part. Probably pretty easy to over-push the wrong way and screw it up. Unfortunately while I can take the cover part off, there isn't a way to truly disassemble it to attempt my own repairs or troubleshooting. No screws on the bottom to undo and open it up, and the top cover does not allow any work space or visibility. If it was just a loose piece such that it wasn't getting power properly, I'd probably be able to fix that sort of thing if I could get to it!

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@CyradisI really doubt it was how you used it that burned it out.  I have noted on mine that if you apply just a little bit of pressure it can make the motor sound like it's working harder (determined by the amount of vibration coming through my desk).  I've treated it like my Sonicare toothbrush that gives you a little 'beep' when you push too hard with it.  I've also found my best means of getting a good mix is not pushing it from the top down, but starting the mix by holding the bottle horizontal, then tip-down.  Finding the sweet spot was a bit frustrating in the beginning because of the bottle shape/size compared to a vial that it's built for.  

 

When I first bought this thing I fully intended to do my entire paint rack, but I saw those same reviews you refer to and saw how people burned this little guy out.  I think I mostly do 15 to 20 second shakes when I need them and only really when I need them.  Like most of us, we have a ton of paints that hardly get touched (I use probably 15% of my total paints with any frequency).  

 

Another thing that I noticed made a HUGE difference in paint consistency and mix was using these little hemmitite beads that I just drop in.  Most of my paints are Vallejo, which I use the most.  Then 2nd are Reaper, which are a bit more watery and don't require as much shaking.  Lastly are the GW paints I put into bottles, added flow improver, matte medium, and 2 mixing balls - because those stupid paints have the WORST shelf life.  By putting in the additives I don't need to do as much to it going into the airbrush or having to mess with the chunky pigments.  I also noticed that different sized bottles really mess with it - especially slightly heavier glass.  Like my Daler Rowley inks...those don't seem to do too well on there.  Or more appropriately, the vortex mixer doesn't seem to do too well with the inks.  They're just a bit too heavy for it.  Even my Vallejo metal color bottles, that are only slightly bigger have a more difficult time on this vortex.

 

I think I've just been pretty gentle to this mixer since I was worried about the exact situation you mentioned.  I use it sparingly when painting, but it has changed my life for saving time, getting good paint mix, and making my arm a hell of a lot less sore.  

 

I hope you get a new one and can give it another go.  I've kind of got to the point of enjoying rattling the paints around on it because it's like the sound and feel of me knowing I'm about to enjoy my hobby.  Good luck, Cyradis.  

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Some of the bottles were in pretty dire need of it. And the Kimera paint benefits greatly. I have metal balls in the ones that need it, sometimes two. Not going to put additives in the paint though, since I want to have consistency control out of the bottle.

 

I did check for overheating, and that wasn't what did it. The temperature did not seem particularly problematic. Hence wondering if it was mechanical stuckness. I did experiment with different bottle orientations. Tip-down was not working particularly well for me, but bottom or side did. The motor does still try.... but half-heartedly. Wobbles at about 10% of the time I press it, and not enough to get a buzzing going. Seemed unfortunately easy to mis-align the bottles on there such that it would push the button off-kilter.

 

Will see if a new one can be arranged; the Kimera and Scale 75 paints in particular could use it on a regular basis, and my older Reaper paints need to get re-mixed fully at least once before going to hand-shaking.

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@Cyradis I honestly love mixing the Reapers up.  They make a 'whooshing' noise when you hit the ideal vortex on them.  The viscous content of them really does well on this thing.  

 

I should have been clearer on additives: I DO NOT recommend them for any other paints.  It's just those damn GW's that seemed to get gunked in their previous pots and when I swapped them to new droppers, they needed that additives to rehydrate, breakdown, and make possible to pour.  I use them so rarely that a little extra in their content wouldn't hurt them.  Totally agree that others are meant to be AS THEY ARE.  I haven't used the other paints you mentioned, but some Kimera paints do have my interest peaked.  I just ordered some of the Monument Hobbies Transparent line, and will probably end up trying those Speed Paints from Army Painter when they release.  

 

As for that motor...what a drag.  Why can't things just work?  If it turns out they will get you a new one, you should try some stress tests on the old one and see how much it can handle before burning out.  Another thing that I ended up doing was putting a heavy rubberized coaster under the unit, which I'm not sure why it helps, but it seems to keep it in place better, and has less of that rattling when I'm in the thick of mixing paints.  

 

If worse comes to worse, there's always going with the Office Space route like they did with the Printer from the office...

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Looks like I can do a gift return for a refund, and then re-purchase it. I'll have to get to a printer, and then the post office, but it'll work. Hopefully I can do that without too much hassle and a new one won't burn out.

 

The only GW paint I still have is a Blood for the Blood God, Nuln Oil, and Agrax Earthshade. I hate their pots and I'm not a fan of their paint consistency in the first place. Just bad deals all around imo. I had a few bottles of Army Painter, but also found that they were pretty poor. So I gave away all my TAP and most GW paint, lol.

 

The Reaper paint was satisfying on the mixer. It was pretty cool seeing the old settled bottles swirl up and merge colors. The Monument Transparents are super useful - the Transparent White most of all. That's *amazing*. The Kimera paint are really thick and need a ton of shaking, and have a steep learning curve. But damn they are useful when you get the hang of them. So good. Monument stuff shakes up relatively easily; it is on the flowy side like Reaper is. Kimera... once it gets going, sure. But while settled? DENSE. I've had to stir the goop just to get the ball out and rolling so it can do its job because otherwise it can get completely stuck.

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