Rock Tumbler Instructions Directions for Turning Rough Rocks into Beautiful Tumbled Stones Working to transform rough rock into beautiful tumbled stones gives most people a great feeling of accomplishment. Rock Tumbling Is Easy Using a rock tumbler to convert rough rock into sparkling tumbled stones is easy if you follow a simple procedure and observe a few rules. We are writing this to share the procedure and rules that we have been using for many years with a number of different rotary tumblers. This procedure works well with the most commonly tumbled materials.
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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph. Updated February 01, The most common type of rock tumbler is a rotary drum tumbler. It polishes rocks by simulating the action of the ocean waves. Rotary tumblers polish rocks much more quickly than the ocean, but it still takes some time to go from rough rocks to polished stones! Expect the process to take at least a month from start to finish. Use these instructions as a starting point for your tumbling.
Use this information to refine your technique for the best results. Just make sure to use those pellets only for coarse polishing and use new pellets for the polishing stages. Add water so that you can see it between the stones but do not completely cover the stones. Add grit see chart below. Make sure your charged barrel falls within the weight allowance for the rotor to be used. Each step runs for at least a week. For the first step, remove the barrel after hours and open it to release any gas buildup.
Resume tumbling. The tumbler should have a uniform tumbling sound, not sound like tennis shoes in a dryer. If the tumbling is not uniform, check the level of the load, formation of slurry, or mixture of rock sizes, to make sure these things are optimal.
Keep notes and have fun! If the stones are not smoothed after 10 days, you will need to repeat the step with fresh grit. After a step has been completed, rinse the stones and the barrel thoroughly to remove all traces of the grit. I use an old toothbrush to get into the hard-to-reach areas. Set aside any stones that are broken or have pits or cracks. You can add them to the first step of the next batch of stones, but they will diminish the quality of all of your stones if you leave them in for the next step.
Add plastic pellets to make up the difference. The keys to success are making certain there is no contamination of steps with grit from the previous step and avoiding the temptation to move on to the next step too early.
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