School of Hard Rocks

Play Hard. Learn more.™

Rock Tumblers at the School of Hard Rocks
Thinking about a rock tumbler?  Watch these videos.  See and hear rotary rock tumblers of various sizes in action.  My favorite is a Thumler Model B - I have 2 of these.  I also run a Thumler Model A-R12 and a Model A-R2.  I added a Thumler UV - 18i, this is an UltraVibe unit that really works nicely for final polishing or polishing stones where you want to preserve some of their shape.  I built the B1A1 tumbler so that I could process large rocks (greater than 5 pounds) and large batches (around 200 pounds).  See and hear all of these machines in the video playlist below.

Keep these factors in mind as you select a machine:

These rock tumblers run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and to get smooth, shiny rocks you will need to run the machine for 6 to 10 weeks.  You will need a place where the sound doesn't bother you (or your neighbors).

You must start with twice as much rock as you want at the end (if it matters).  You will grind away about half of the rock in the process.  See the mathematical explanation of this here.

A "load" is 1/2 to 5/8 of the tumbler barrel volume.  It takes this much content to make the tumbling smooth.  If you buy a 15 pound tumbler, you will not be doing 1 or 2 pound runs - you might have 1 or 2 pounds of "good" rock mixed with 8 or 10 pounds of quartz rocks you found on the playground, but you will need 1/2 to 5/8 of a barrel for every run.

NEVER, EVER pour the glop out of the barrel down a drain.  It will clog for sure.

Enjoy the videos.  Think about rock tumbling.  It is a fun and rewarding adventure.

Check out some before and after photos of rocks I have polished.