The HempList #52: Bladeless Hemp / Cannabis Trimming with Tom’s Tumblers & Python Systems

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In Summary

Thomas Bruggemann, owner and inventor of Tom’s Tumbler & Python Systems joins us on the HempList this week, hosted By Chase Nobles, Founder of

No introduction needed for one of the most well known and popular trimming machine manufactures Tom’s Tumbler! Chase and Tom discuss everything from starting Tom’s Tumblers with a simple idea (fishing net), to the next evolution of trimming technology. Tom dives deep into why bladeless trimming is better in most cases for trimming hemp and cannabis flower, and even gives us a sneak peak into his next project with Python systems (full plant continuous trimming?!).

Tom’s Tumbler has a ton of products for farms of all sizes, and even industrial grade machines with the Python Systems. Don’t miss this quick 25min interview for a deep dive on the subject of Hemp & Cannabis Trimming!

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Transcript (Auto-Generated)

hey everybody chase nobles here founder
over at i’ve got tom brugerman
python systems and tom’s tumble trimmer
somebody that everybody seems to have
heard of somebody that everybody’s had
some kind of experience with their
because they’re just
everywhere tom welcome to the show hey
thank you very much nice to be here
well i didn’t know this until i started
reading through some of the questions
that we sent you but you are um we’ve
got we’ve got a famous hollywood person
on the show today uh former stuntman
one of my favorite movies growing up
gone in 60 seconds so
how’d you get into being a stunt man and
uh was there was there a path that led
to this or is is is starting this
company completely separate what what
what’s the story there
actually there is a connection uh i
actually got a scholarship to usc for
gymnastics in my last year that i was
doing gymnastics the coach asked me i i
was actually training for the 84
olympics and i hurt my knee and then the
coach uh asked me since i missed the
olympic trials he asked me if i wanted
to go to a uh audition for a commercial
and i was like well why not i might as
well try to make some money from my
gymnastics and and i went to it and uh
it was doubling ronald mcdonald uh
promoting the 1984 olympics
and i actually got it and i met a stunt
coordinator and then uh he got me into
the business and then i met more and
more people and and before you knew it i
was a working stunt man learning how to
stunt drive and do high falls and and
fight scenes and and uh explosions and
all kinds of things i had no idea you
were a gymnast i was i was a gymnast at
the air force academy for a couple years
so that’s that’s that’s wild there’s not
too many male gymnasts out there that
you talk to so uh we’ve we’ve got a good
connection going there
yeah i actually almost i i was i was
accepted to west point uh i was one of
the two from new york state that had
gotten a congressional appointment and
was going to be on their gymnastic team
but i was medically disqualified because
i had a hip disease when i was a little
kid so if i had gone there i would have
competed against the air force probably
right on right on no that’s
that’s wild yes the the community is
really small so okay so you go you go
when you audition you to be in a in a
commercial um get the gig meet a stunt
you know end up doing all these great
movies right
i’m sure your body took some damage from
that is it did that was that part of the
play into him and cannabis or um
yeah the word well no actually how i i
how i got into cannabis was i met a
fairly famous actor who was uh like a
big time you know or at least a very
experienced uh uh an expert at growing
and uh
he had back injuries and all kinds of
problems as well and and he was
definitely definitely used to for
medicinal uh um uh use but this was you
know probably 40 years ago is when i met
him and uh right around maybe 38 years
ago or somewhere like that and he taught
me how to grow
and uh and i kind of i took to it um and
uh so i did through stunts i met an
actor who taught me how to grow and
that’s how i got into the cannabis
business okay so okay
yeah and i would imagine you’re sitting
for for any grower and i’ve been there
you’re sitting over a five gallon bucket
just trimming your hands off trying to
figure out how you can go through more
faster better quicker
um higher quality is uh
was that a pain point that you were just
like it was a big drawback from wanting
to grow more
yeah you know i was sitting around with
a bunch of my buddies and and uh you
know we were taking forever to trim up
this product and so i i don’t know why i
did this but i i had a fishing net in my
backyard and and so i i took a couple of
pounds out and threw it into the fishing
net and my my buddies didn’t know i was
doing this and i started kind of shaking
it and agitating it up and down and it
was it was labor intensive to do it but
you know 10 minutes later i walked in
and i had two pounds that was uh
really well trimmed it needed a little
touching up but those guys were blown
away i didn’t show them the fishing net
like how the hell did you do that and uh
and so i said wow i’m on to something
and i had invented other things and it
applied for patents and got patents on
other things
different industries before that so i
was always thinking about
ways to uh you know to invent things and
and to make money as an entrepreneur and
and that’s when i came up with the idea
of the putting the fishing net onto the
uh onto the drums and that was the first
tom’s tumblr hand crank was was created
and and tested and and all my buddies
loved it and and it saved them so much
time and so we set up a website and and
with my wife and and we started uh
my girlfriend at the time but my wife
and we started uh uh
selling them i think we sold
one in the first week and then in six
months we sold 500 of the little hand
cranks and all of them
yes and all of them were most of them
were in uh detroit michigan to the uh um
to a community up there they’re iraqi
christians and so i always say that you
know that they’re responsible for really
launching uh my company and then we
started putting motors on them and dust
covers and funnel flows and co2 adapter
kits and uh
and then you know
loved them so much that we we started
they started asking me we need more
volume we’re growing we we you know can
you make bigger batch machines so we
started making the bigger ones that the
2600 then the 3000 and then that wasn’t
enough so that’s when i invented the
pythons which is the they are continuous
feed machines and
and they’re also bladeless and they rely
on setting up an environment where the
flowers can can trim each other so
that’s kind of the evolution of uh you
know tom’s tumbler and the pythons and
and now we have biomass refinement
machines and and de-leafing machines uh
for high volume and i’m working on a
whole plant bucker that’s almost going
to be ready to release
and we have so i want to roll this back
just a little bit tom so yeah yeah sorry
absolutely no no you’re fine i i love
the story but you
you’re shaking some weed in a fishing
your buddies are blown away
you and your girlfriend now wife set up
a a website you sell one in the first
week and then within six months you sold
500 of these
what what what was going through your
head at that point what
how did that how did that feel and and
how did it happen to go from
one machine to 500 so quickly
you know in those early days i was using
parts off the shelf i wasn’t really
making any parts and stuff and so i was
like wow this this is exciting that i
that i’ve got something but it was also
you know intimidating because i had
never been a manufacturer of machinery
before and you know i had to find motors
now and i had to find uh you know the
right pvc company so it was furniture
grade industrial grade and uh and and
and then the
the uh
the aluminum drums that we used were too
so we had to i had to find a
manufacturer that could make them
thicker for me so there was there’s been
all sorts of you know growth and
evolution and
learning and what i’ve done i think
pretty well is i’ve listened to my
after you know when they first started
buying the original model they got back
to me said yeah you know we really would
like to have a dust cover on it so
immediately i was working on a building
a dust cover for it and then they were
like uh
you know
there was what else was next oh they
were like oh these bags are you know
because the original version had a bag
underneath that caught the trim and and
they were like oh this is kind of a pain
in the ass you know you come up with
something else and that’s when i came up
with the funnel flow where they could
just slide their containers in and out
um and so i’ve just been listening to my
customers and and responding to them
even with the python uh uh industrial
trimmers um
they’ve in the last two years uh they’ve
changed a lot
but because i’ve been listening to my
customers and responding uh very quickly
so i’m still just kind of blown away by
how quickly this thing grew for you guys
and and because you’re not selling you
know a knick-knack you’re selling like a
a real machine at this point
and looking behind you you know
pretty sophisticated machines with the
with the covers on them and everything i
mean it looks sharp now well you think
you think this is sophisticated that the
pythons are really sophisticated because
well i mean
not super sophisticated but much more
sophisticated than these i don’t want
you to think it’s a
rocket ship or anything but it’s it’s a
lot more sophisticated than these and
they’re made out of all stainless steel
and they weigh a thousand pounds
the biggest one we have so
you know we
we’ve got
big conveyor belts now and de-leafing
machines so i’ll take a walk back there
with you in a minute and show you some
of the big equipment but
you were you were saying something again
about the uh the quick our company
taking off we’ve been we’ve been
doubling every year since we started in
sales which is amazing and you know when
you go to any of these trade shows or
you look out there in the market there’s
some pretty stiff competition um oh yeah
and and you see you know one of the big
ones that the twisters right right a lot
of people use the twister machines now
what makes yours different than what
else is out there on the market
well generally speaking the machines
that are on the market
they utilize much smaller cylinders and
they have blades so when the flowers are
rolling in their blades actually cut
them and ours is a is a bladeless
technology where we use much much much
bigger cylinders as you can see here in
the 3000 it’s a 30 inch
and and i think the
the twisters are much smaller they’re
getting bigger since they they’ve seen
mine but generally they’ve been smaller
and they’ve they all use blades uh for
the most part uh and ours has been
differentiated because um we use this
the soft mesh on our batch machines and
that we have interchangeable meshes you
can use it as a keep
machine to extract keep you can use it
to sort uh different size flowers and
you can use it to trim
and that’s the same thing with with the
pythons except we use stainless steel
screens because the flowers traveling
through so fast and we needed it to be a
tiny bit more aggressive than the uh
the nylon uh mesh
yeah it kind of blows me away to trim
without a blade it’s still there’s still
something fuzzy up here that doesn’t
quite line up
what is actually taking the small
leaves off of the bud if it’s not a
so that was one of the hardest things of
our marketing is you know we had to
convince people that uh a bladeless
trimmer could actually work better or at
least as good if not better and you know
i think all of our customers say that it
works better than the bladed machines
because it’s faster
and it’s gentler because there’s nothing
cutting the structure of the flowers the
you can do it you can trim wet or dry
and when
but wet you have to use uh liquid
nitrogen or liquid co2 to crust freeze
the sugar leaves so that when the
flowers are tumbling they emulate being
and so when they rub against each other
that gentle friction of them rolling
against each other is actually what does
the trimming where it actually kind of
the flowers trim each other
got it that’s pretty amazing now um
keef and trim can be really valuable
especially in the recreational market
for extraction right it’s it’s a it’s a
really valuable byproduct of growing
flower for a lot of farmers how do your
you know manage the trim in the kiev to
make it so you’re not
having a lot of loss there because
that’s um you know it’s kind of a little
happy bonus at the end of every harvest
that you get to you know sell off to a
processor or wherever it goes
yes so
what i tell my customers is
so they have a minimal loss of trichomes
and crystals or teeth as it’s called
they they can watch
what’s coming out the bottom of the
funnel flow and they in the beginning uh
for the first couple of minutes you’re
gonna see
mostly 99
trim coming out the bottom and then as
it gets to the end of the trim then they
you start seeing a little keep uh coming
out and and right as it starts to be
keep that’s when i tell them to stop and
that’s usually between three and four
minutes uh um but they can visually see
that the keep is starting to come off
and that’s when you stop so there’s a
very minimal loss of of your trichomes
and crystals if you watch it if you let
it tumble for 10 minutes or eight
minutes you’re gonna have a large loss
of trichomes and crystals but uh if if
you stay with it and watch it uh uh you
can you can
uh minimize your loss of trichomes uh in
crystals um and with with the bladed
machines it’s it’s pretty difficult
because you haven’t they’re cutting it
all the time
you know but
there’s there’s a use for
for the bladed machines too because when
it’s semi wet you know or wet uh you our
machines don’t work unless you’re using
a cryo trimmer
i mean the cryo the nitrogen spray into
it or the co2 into it which does the
crust freezing um but i’m not a big
advocate of wet trimming whether it’s
with uh cryo trimming or with blades
i think that the flower oxidizes and it
it gets discolored it gets darker and
then the uh
the terpenes get affected they get
oxygen something happens with the
oxidation with the terpenes and then the
flowers end up smelling more like hay
than cannabis or marijuana
so i always tell my customers you know
if if you have to wet trim you know i’ll
sell you the co2 adapter but
i don’t recommend it
i don’t you know i could i could tell
you you know here buy a co2 adapter you
can wet trim but i i tell them the truth
it’s not the best way to go but if you
insist on it like you don’t have any
area to dry or you have other
circumstances then we’ll sell you the
co2 adapter but other than that
um dry trimming is is the best way where
you hang your plant
uh a full plant and then get it down to
about 70 percent dry then buck it down
and then dry it a little bit more until
it’s 10 to 12
and then put them into our machines
and you’ll get a beautiful trim you have
to touch up get the crow’s feet out and
throw it in a bag you don’t have to dry
it anymore it’s ready to go to sail it’s
not gonna it’s not gonna have any uh
mold inside or anything but there’s not
enough moisture
now i want to go back to your story a
little bit so you sell 500 of these
machines you start refining the product
making it better and better and better
and somehow i’m not sure how but you’re
building and scaling up the building you
must have had to
you know take a lot of steps get a
facility get a big warehouse and start
really cranking up you know with people
helping you out with that many orders
what was that what was that like as an
entrepreneur just
you know somebody that was
just started a business a year prior to
have to you know go through all these
growing pains and these changes and get
a facility like that
how did you how did you seem to manage
that kind of growth
well that’s a really good question so
like a lot of businesses uh when you
first start out because you don’t know
where it’s going to go really
i started out in my garage in my dining
room and then i got two containers
to put in my backyard and so for a while
we were working out of that situation
until we grew out of that and then we
got a uh what did we get like 3 000
square feet and um and we moved
everything over there uh and we did that
for a couple years and then we grew out
of that and now we’re in like a 10 000
square foot facility here in chatsworth
california and uh and we’re growing out
of that quickly um you know
matter of fact half not half but you
know maybe
a third of my pythons are under a 30 by
30 carport at my house right now which
is some stock that we have
and we’re almost out of those uh um and
you know we’re entering this season uh
and we’ve sold most of our our pipelines
that we had in inventory which was
probably 30 of them 30 or 40 of them
now you you’ve mentioned the python and
python systems and you’ve mentioned you
know some of the other inventions that
you have coming up what’s on the horizon
uh tom stumble trimmer in the python
systems what what what what gets you
excited as an inventor to come out with
as a product
what gets me excited if i can develop
something that i know
will save the farmers the processors a
lot of money
in a high volume like for the python you
know we have a machine that can trim up
to 1200 pounds an hour you know that got
me excited because i knew it would do a
great job for them but they could do it
in high
in large scale so they could get their
their price down uh instead of paying
hand trimmers or doing it with other
slower machines
and this the leafing machine that i’m
i’ve just come out with
that is also a high volume so that they
don’t have to when they’re bucking it
down they don’t have to manually
separate the water leaves this will
automatically separate the water leaves
from the flowers as it’s being fed into
the python without hurting the uh
without hurting the flowers and so any
time that you can
save manual labor
uh i get excited and then with this
biomass refinement system
you know there’s a lot of farmers out
there that have a lot of biomass just
sitting around sticks and stems and
branches and little flowers and and and
keep and uh it’s they’re going to use it
for compost where they can throw it into
our biomass refinement machine and they
can it’ll separate the keef and the uh
the good trim from the the rest of the
sticks and stems and water leaves and
crap and they’ll have sellable keith and
sellable uh uh trim uh and and that’s
with the biomass now right now the only
bucking machines that are on the market
are one branch at a time and i’ve been
working on uh
different concepts and different
prototypes uh for a whole plant bucker
or semi-whole plant [ _ ] and i we we finally came up with one that that works really well so we’re working on getting it into the stage of a production model and that excites me because instead of having to cut all the branches into sections and put them in one by one to buck down their uh their flowers this will be able to do it in maybe a half to three-quarter plant to a whole plant depending on the size of the plant so that that’s got me really excited because the industry is really needs a good uh whole plant bucket or semi-whole plant bucket now i hemp was legalized federally in 2018 and you know most cannabis farms that i’ve been to there are there’s a couple exceptions here don’t necessarily need a system to to trim 1200 pounds in an hour because that’s a lot that’s a lot of cannabis right um how did him how did the hip market change the direction of you know tom stumble trimmer and the company that you started um so that’s that’s a good question because when when i started building the uh the pythons it was actually because i was speculating that like marijuana the thc flowers would uh would the farms would be you know getting to go really big and it just as luck hit it marijuana did not grow as fast you know didn’t get big farms as fast as they wanted to but yes hemp became federally legal and smokeable flowers became very popular and so we did we sold we were the only large-scale option for for um you know uh first smokeable hemp flowers uh to trim them so we sold a lot of those but then the market softened up and stuff and it got saturated and then uh but now there are getting to be a lot of uh cannabis farms that are larger and larger so the industry has grown into uh my machine like oklahoma those farms are getting huge i mean there’s some california farms canadian canada so the farms are getting bigger and bigger and obviously when it becomes federally legal which i anticipate in the next couple of years then you know will be a great option for these really large-scale farmers in all the states i’m sure the hemp farmers are really appreciative of you being ahead of the curve because you know they’re growing you know 80 100 acres sometimes but even more and that’s just got to be a massive undertaking not you know not just on the trimming but the bucking and and everything that’s involved in that so oh yeah wait way to be ahead of the curve on that one because that’s just i i can’t even imagine having been to what you know people would call a big cannabis farm nothing compared to you know kind of scale of some of these hemp farms that you see out there so it’s pretty exactly now on the uh on the on the next five years the horizon what what what are you looking for and um uh where do you think the company will be what’s what’s the goal for the next you know three to five years for for tom’s double trimmer you know i’m uh i’m 60 years old i was a late bloomer with this company taking off uh um you know i wasn’t in my 20s or 30s i was in my 50s when it took off so you know i i want to get this company uh you know up into the 30 to 50 million dollar range of you know net net value and and then and probably uh you know find a a an ambitious other company to come in and take the reins and then can be on the board and consult but kind of go into retirement in the next uh you know three to five years but but i want to get out as many of my new products as i can before that before that happens you know like this [ _ ] machine is really
important to me um you know we have some
new cleaning products for that are great
resin cleaners that i’ve been working on
formulas there um
you know i’m sure there’s gonna be other
needs uh um you know
we’re we’re working to also do a lot of
networking with um
uh with bigger with big extraction
companies and um
and labeling companies and stuff uh
where we cross promote each other and
you know help each other out that way
but i’m only going to work with
companies that i know are uh
of their products are great but also the
the people that own the company are are
great people and
and that’s one of the things that you
know forget our products working uh well
at a reasonable price uh we have worked
really really hard uh to have a superior
customer service because i think in this
day and age um customer service is
lacking in all industries and so you
know when you call up a company and
you’re on a phone for an hour waiting to
talk to somebody or you or you’re
getting somebody in another country you
can’t understand them and stuff so i you
know we really pride ourselves on on
customer service and it’s i think that’s
been a big part of our growth and our
our credibility in the industry and to
our customers they they tell their
friends listen they’ve got a good
product at a reasonable price but even
better than that you know they have
great customer service and and you can
still talk to the owner on the phone if
if you want to which i really have a lot
of fun talking to customers and giving
information and not only about our
equipment but about you know because i
have a lot of experience with growing
and and post-harvest and stuff i i i
share all of my knowledge with them uh
as because i enjoy it um and and it’s it
builds uh it builds credibility uh it
trust and if you don’t have trust with
your customers then you know
you might as well not be in business
right so for anybody out there listening
if you want to talk to tom just give a
give python systems a call and asked for
tom now i don’t want to blow up your
phones too much over there tom but uh it
is exciting it is exciting to be working
with you all uh and to be you know to
have you all as a part of the network
and to you know see you down at the
trade show it’s always a good time to
see you guys out there and uh best of
luck with everything congratulations on
the success
keep up the keep up the great work
helping farmers out and i’m sure i’m
sure you’re going to be hearing from for
more farmers on kush after doing this
interview so appreciate your time yeah
one more thing so if people go to our
then they can find my number on the
website and they can they can call me
all right there you have it that that’s
a bold move and it’s probably is it tom
at tumble trimmer uh
yeah my email is tom but our website is
um i’m tom
right on well that was a bold move uh i
can’t wait to see can’t wait to hear
from you two weeks from now hopefully uh
your phones blow up but uh good luck
with everything and uh yeah at the texas
him convention in november
all right thanks very much good to see
you bye-bye have a good one

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