As you know that, the hobby of collecting rocks and then turning them into beautiful gemstones, using it for making jewelry, crafts, and decorations, we call this hobby, rock tumbling or polishing. You can enjoy this hobby at home with your family or with your friends or you can start a business, whatever you want, you just need a tumbler, some rocks, and few other inexpensive materials. Rock polishing mostly requires a rubber lined or plastic barrel filled with a consignment of rocks, generally of similar or the same hardness, some coarse grit, and a liquid lubricant.
Water is a universal lubricant and silicon carbide (SiC) grit is usually used. This is just a lapidary technique of rock tumbling. You can also say that it is a procedure for smoothing and polishing a rough surface on comparatively small parts. In this article we are going to talk about best rock tumblers for adults. However, if you are a first timer, we recommend best rock tumblers for beginners.
Rock tumblers are usually the machines that are used to smooth and polish rocks. They are a trendy tools used by many hobbyists of jewelry, craft, and lapidary for producing tumbled gemstones. People who want to discover the hidden beauty of rocks and minerals and are so into nature, mostly they have this rock tumbling machine. That is a very rewarding experience, or it needs patience, starting with a rough piece of rock and then tumbling it into a beautiful jewelry quality stone, in weeks.
Uses of Tumbled rocks
Your imagination is your only limit. These tumbled rocks are used everywhere, you just need a little focus to see the eternal beauty of these rocks turned gemstones. You can use them for jewelry making, most rock tumbler kits features a small jewelry kit that you can use in making a couple gift items from your first batch of tumbled stones like Key chains, pendant, necklaces and other small jewelry gift items.
These tumbled stones can also be used to make various crafts, like use them as accents or maybe ground cover in potted plants, glue them around the edges of picture frames for decoration, use them as game pieces, you can fill your vase with them, place them in a bowl and use as a cosmetic brush holder. You can make magnets as well. There are so many things you can do with these fascinating tumbled stones.
Types of Rock that can be Tumbled
Most rocks are hard to tumble in a rock tumbler, because they are already so soft, smooth and fragile that they can’t accepts any process. However, the rocks which are composed of micro crystalline quartz are the types of rock that can be successfully tumbled. Of course, they are very hard, and tough in nature and are made of durable material that accepts a very bright polish. This list includes agate, jasper, chalcedony, and petrified wood. Rocks you want for tumbling should be free of voids, cavities, and fractures. They must carry a non-granular texture.
Rocks can be collected from streams or beaches or scattered on the surface of the ground. But if do not live near any of this location then good quality rocks can easily be purchased from any rock shop or you can buy them online.
Let’s Check Out best rock tumblers
Every person is most likely be anxious of finding a tumbler that not only produces smooth, brighten and shining stones but is also easy to use. Most of the tumblers are portable, so try to buy the one that fulfills your need. Mostly, the difficulty is not finding the best tumbler, but trying to figure out which of the amongst thousands available is most suitable and reliable. Obviously, that will take time and we know how frustrating it is. So, we have compiled a list of the best rock tumblers for adults, let’s go through it without further waste of time.
Best Rock Tumblers for Adults (Comparison)
Dr. Cool PRO Series Rock Tumbler- Editor’s Choice
Have you ever wondered why the water in river contains some of ordinary rocks and many beautiful gemstones as well? or Have you ever imagined taking any dull, or ordinary rock and magically transforming them into sparkling or dazzling gem? Yes, now you can do this with this professional grade rock tumbler from Dr. Cool, making beautiful gemstones, that you’ve ones imagined, is easy. You just have to fill the barrel with a polishing grit, water, and unpolished stones, set it up and wait. Within a time of few weeks you will see your very own gleaming, beautiful gems. This science kit comes with everything you need to start exploring your exciting hobby of rock tumbling.
The amazing Pro series Rock tumbler by Dr. Cool that turn raw stones into dazzling or splendid gemstones. You can discover the enjoyable hobby of rock tumbling and can transform those rough rocks into beautiful gems with this deluxe rock tumbler, at home. This Pro series rock tumbler features a full rock tumbling kit that includes 1 pound of tumbling stones of 9 different types including amethyst, quartz, jasper, agate, tiger’s eye and more, polishing grit of 4 distant types, some jewelry fastenings, and an instructions booklet. This is an ultimate tumbling machine that features a long lasting motor, and automatic shutoff timer, a leak-proof rubber barrel for quieter tumbling, and speed control settings. This product of Dr. Cool is backed by 100% satisfaction guarantee. This award winning science toy has been chosen by thousands of hobbyist, adults and professionals. This model of Dr. Cool come with two years of manufacturer warranty.
Pros and Cons of this kit of Dr. Cool has given below
This Dr. Cool’s Pro series rock tumbling kit is a very durable and literally lasts longer than most of other tumbling machines with higher prices. It’s has small parts, so if you want it for children, don’t prefer it. It is very great if you are a hobbyist. And this rock tumbler is super easy to maintain and clean, as is very convenient to disassemble. Overall, it does not make noise as it features a noise reducing leek proof rubber barrel. In conclusion, it’s a great and perfect rock tumbler for an adult, if you are looking for something durable and the one which will stay for longer.
National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit
This High quality tumbling machine kit of National Geography features a most powerful motor that will last for years. And an outstanding feature of this rock tumbler is an Automatic shutoff timer so you can set it up and forget it. And as it is noticed most of the rock tumblers make a lot of noise, but this National Geographic tumbling machine has a leak proof barrel with stainless steel lid that helps to reduce the noise coming from it. This tumbler suits for an adult because this kit contains half pound of stones and they are of 9 different types.
It also contains four different and best polishing grits. This kit also includes jewelry fastenings for you to create your own unique jewelry. Everyone needs an easy guide so that it would be easy for him to understand the newly bought machine so National geography offers a full color information guide with every bit of detail. National geographic society also provides 2 years warranty of their every product. If you are an adult and want an affordable rock tumbling machine, which will help you making any stone sparkle brighter, either it’s your hobby or your profession, then you are at a right place. This kit has a lot for you.
Following are some of the pros and cons of this Rock Tumbler Kit.
This is an amazing rock tumbling machine. It’s nice, durable and sturdy and you’ll love using it. It is of perfect size. This kit offers various features like an automatic shutoff timer, powerful motor, leak proof barrel with stainless steel lid, and many more, which provides additional functionalities and all these features are very practical. Overall, a great and an affordable product totally recommend it.
Lortone 3A Single Barrel Tumbler
The Lortone is one of the prominent brand and all its products are backed by 1 year warranty. The work and durability of their products are no doubt incomparable. Lortone has a remarkable history of producing outstanding quality, economical lapidary and jewelry equipment’s. It is their tradition of using admirable materials and their workmanship progress, using their proven design, a premium steel.
Lortone 3A tumbler with a capacity of 3 pound single barrel offers the user, economy and achievements. The Lortone 3A rock tumbler is a real workhorse as it is designed for years of trouble free service. The barrel is of hard rubber that helps to minimize the noise, which is the problem of many tumblers. And the durable and powerful motor will last for years. This is just simple or easy to operate and it is approved by UL. This Lortone’s 3A tumbler is quiet, robust, simple to operate, and gives perfect results. It is an excellent jewelry tumbler. Lortone offers 1 year warranty of this model too.
We have mentioned here some of the pros and cons of this Lortone 3A rock tumbler.
Hence, when recommending durable, long-lasting, and versatile tumbler, The Lortone 3A Single Barrel Tumbler is among the best rock tumblers on the market and gets our full recommendation. This single barrel machine has a noise control feature and it is not only durable but has a powerful motor as well. So, if you want a rock tumbler which is easy to use and have a best warranty you are welcome to trust this renowned Best Value rock tumbler.
Types of Rock Tumbler
There are basically two different types of rock tumblers, Rotary and vibratory. The most popular type of rock tumbler is Rotary tumbler, which is not only best for beginners but is also common in professionals. Mostly the people go for a rotary tumbler. Rotary tumbler is common because in this you can do all the four processes, Shaping, Fine Grit, Pre-Polish and Polish.
But in Vibratory tumblers, you can only do fine polishing on those rocks you’ve shaped before. That shows that a vibratory tumbler will not shape your rocks like a rotary tumbler do. You can only use it if you want to polish your rocks with the same shape and angles they already have. It is in demand because it speeds up the tumbling process for stages after your rocks have been shaped that is medium grind, fine grind, and then polish, respectively. So that means all the four stages in a rotary tumbler can take almost a week, stages 2 to 4 can all be cleared in only one week.
Sizes of Rotary Tumblers
The sizes of rock tumblers varies in different types of it. Described below are the three basic categories of rock tumbling.
TOY ROCK TUMBLERS
Toy tumblers are the smallest and cheapest tumblers with a plastic body and barrel. You can purchase them from any local toy and craft shop. Toy tumbler carries only a few ounces of very small rocks. There life span is very short. Noise is the most common complaint of these toy tumbler; however, you can buy them in very low prices.
HOBBYIST ROCK TUMBLERS
Hobbyist tumbler’s prices varies depending mainly upon their size. Instead of being formed with plastic, hobbyist tumblers are mostly made from metal and other durable materials. They features a quality motor designed to operate for years, and they operate quietly because of their rubber barrel or a metal barrel lined with rubber. They tumble between two and ten pounds of rocks in it.
COMMERCIAL ROCK TUMBLERS
Commercial or professional tumblers are very large machines that can tumble a few dozen to a few thousand pounds of rock meanwhile. These are exclusively used by people and companies who are in the business of producing tumbled stones, and their prices varies from several hundred to many thousands of dollars.
Rock Tumbling Process
All the tumblers have barrels either they are made up of plastic or any metal. Those barrels are loaded with rocks, water, and abrasive grit. The abrasive grit is basically a granular material, they are like grains glued onto sandpaper. The grit is often marked as coarse, medium, and fine, varies from different grades of sandpaper.
To start tumbling the barrel containing rocks, grit, and water is placed on its motorized machine that rotates the barrel containing rocks that are inside. As the rocks start tumbling, they chore against one another with particles of the abrasive grit caught between them. This stage wears sharp edges off of the rocks and soften their surfaces. The tumbler that works this way are mostly rotary tumbler.
The rocks are usually tumbled for one or two weeks in coarse grit, almost one week in medium grit, and a week in fine grit, with an intense cleaning of the rocks and the barrel. Then those rocks are tumbled for almost one final week with water and a rock polish. And there comes your brightly polished stones.
Some of the rocks are so hard that they need extra time or extra process to go through, so that their brightness will be enlightened. For that you just need to fill your barrel with these soap or any powdered laundry detergent and rocks. This process will remove any left out haze from your rocks and will make your rock more shining and will brighten them up. For this you can use whatever soap you want to use but be sure there isn’t any additive in the soap that will damage your rocks.
How to maintain a Rock Tumbler?
As rock tumblers runs 24 hours every day for weeks at a time, it’s necessary to maintain your machine properly. Always follow the instructions that have been mentioned in the manual of your tumbler. Few general rules are here for you to remember:
- Outside of barrel must be properly cleaned.
- Apply a very little amount of lubricating oil to the bearings every 30 days of operation.
- Make sure the drive belt is not too tight and not too loose, as it has the proper level of tension.
- Like anything else, the more you will take care of your tumbler, the longer it will last.
No one wants the poor quality tumbler or machine that has a higher chance of breaking soon after you have bought it so there is no point buying a cheap tumbler as you can find most of the tumblers cheap, in the market currently. Below are our suggestions for the best value rock tumblers that still maintain the reliability and results of some more expensive tumbler.
HOW TO CHOOSE BEST ROCK TUMBLERS FOR ADULTS
If you are an adult and looking for best rock tumbler in the market check out following guide to help you.
Make sure the rock tumbler’s size you are choosing suits your need. There is either one barreled tumbler or two, now it depends upon your space and your need.
For whatever you are buying your tumbler make sure your machine shouldn’t be too heavy.
Your rock tumbler should have an auto shut-off feature. Direct switching is little dangerous.
Type of tumbler
What type of rock tumbler is yours on? Mentioned above, there are 2 types of tumblers, rotary tumbler or vibratory tumbler, both have their own importance and uses, you can go for both as well.
Try to find the one with best warranty, as many companies usually offer warranties on tumblers to protect against flaws.
Many tumbler kit includes some other useful things, some gems, polishing grit or maybe a guide.
Rock tumbling gives a great opportunity to do something fun and educational. One should take full advantage of that. Investing your time in your hobby can be the most important gift you can give to yourself.
There are hundreds of different rock tumblers in the market, you just get lost in finding the best one. If you are searching for the one, then you will find out that each one of them has its own unique features and options, some have best speed, some of them offers automatic shut off and many others. The prices of rock tumblers varies, it depends on your need, some of the expensive rock tumbler are also on display, while some are less than $100, just go for the one that suits you. You are highly suggested to review your options before making your final decision on anything.