Does anyone have a rock tumbler? My 11 year old son has developed a passion for rock hunting, agates, etc. It seems I can get a tumbler for around $120. Just wondering if they actually work and any other comments. thanks.
I don't know how good they are but I saw some rock tumblers at Hobby Lobby in the kiddie crafts section for between $30 and $50. You might check out EBay..you might get a good deal on a used one. My 6yo DD is big into rock collecting as well LOL I find rocks and pebbles all over the darn place
Harbor Freight has rock tumblers really inepensive if you want to just give it a try. harborfreight.com
I've seen the tumblers...they do work, altho they're not GREAT quality. (hence...cheap) but all a tumbler really is, is a rubber drum rotating slowly. The grit inside the drum polishes the rocks. (grit + water ) You add sucessively smaller grit to get a finer polish. It's great fun.
It take a LONG time to get a full polish tho...so be prepared to say "just another day...." a LOT.
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i wonder what type of grit is used for the polishing medium. i have a new job in a stone grit plant and i always wanted to try polishing stones. i think we mine a meta-basalt. it is used for shingles. i shovel tons of stuff everyday that is the size of shingle grit and goes all the way down to rock dust and is like flour.
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I just hope he's patient! Tumbling is the easiest but longest process. I would love to learn how to cut gems. I have lots of amythest, emerald, garnet, opal and other stones that I'd love to put into jewelry!
i want to buy one from harbor freight. it takes about a week, but it is amazing taking ugly sharp rock and turning them into something beautiful. I dropped mine and plan on getting another. i keep watching the ones on ebay for a big one. i want to make some western ties with cool rocks.
Buy a tumbling drum and the rest is easy enough to make
a old washing machine motor a large pully two 1/2 in shafts covered with heater hose. and four pillow blocks . heck in a pinch you can use an old golf cart tire for the tumbling drum but you would still need to close the wheel hole.
To tumble broken colored glass bottles into those fancy frosted aquarium jewels a 30 gallon plastic barrel a bag of fine blasters sand and parts of an old riding lawn mower will make a fine large tumbler
What I was told by a person who did it for a bit of extra money after retiring was that you need a different barrel for each stage of tumbling and use some Bon Ami cleanser in the polish stage. The different barrels are because the grit can get stuck in the rubber and scratch during the next stage. We did a batch of stones once for ds's science class and it took about a month. I'm now wondering if the used grit (not the polish, polish can be reused) could be added to the garden to help the soil. That needs checking.
I've used rock tumblers for years, and always just used one barrel, but carefully washed it out between cycles. I second the idea of putting it far away, because it runs for a month pretty much non-stop, and the noise can get a tad irritating.
We have a "thumblers tumbler" and it works great! Its small and cheap, but for all that, the rocks turn out nice! Unless you put in "soft" rocks.... then you get a big pile of sand... . But you already knew that.
anyway, I'd definitly get one if I was you.
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