My Rock Shop has a wide variety of tumbled minerals, gemstones and crystals. Almost all the tumbled material was tumbled here on the property starting in 2016. An lot of mistakes were made and I used many different brands of rotary and vibratory tumblers. After trying many different grits, polish and methods I am very satisfied with the results. I make pendants, key chains, and refrigerator magnets with some hand picked rocks from nearly every batch. There are plenty left for you to make anything you desire.
Rotary tumblers that I use are: 10 LB MJR, 12lb Lortone QT12, 15LB Thumlers Model B and a 40LB Diamond Pacific 40T
Vibratory tumblers I use are: Lot “O” tumbler twin 4LB barrels and 18LB Ultra Vibe 18.
Other lapidary equipment used to make other items include a 6″ Cab King cabachon machine, a 12″ Highland Park slab saw, a 6″ Lortone trim saw, a 18″ Covington Vibratory Flat Lap and a small variable speed drill press for drill hole in stones with diamond coated core drills.
Diamond Pacific 40T This Monster is used primarily for Step #1. I tumble mix of rocks of similar hardness, usually jaspers, agates, petrified wood, quartz etc. and it will handle a few large ones too!! I use 1 quart of 36 grit and run for 10 days. I rinse and pull all the rocks that are ready to move onto step#2 and run the ones that need more shaping for another cycle. The only drawback is that the barrel is plastic and I did wear a rather large hole in the bottom which made a huge mess. I was able to repair and it is holding up for now….
10LB MJR Tumbler I used this tumbler for all 4 steps when i first bought it. I now use it for dry polishing fluorite and other soft stones with ground corn cob. This tumbler, as you can see from the picture, is made from PVC fittings and probably can be made at home. I had to modify it because it wouldn’t track well and was wearing the bottom and the cap even being level. I attached a bracket with a shower door roller and position it so it would lean towards the bottom. In my opinion it is a decent tumbler, just a little pricey for it is.
Lortone QT12 12LB Name: Big Blue This tumbler I bought used on Ebay a couple years ago. It is very durable, easy to clean and has only needed a few replacement parts: lid seal and drive belt. I used this for all 4 stages before I had a vibratory tumbler. It is very quiet compared to the DP 40T and the vibe tumblers. Now his primary job is to run stage #2, 120/220 silicon carbide for 7 days. (Yes I should have the belt guard on 🙂 )
Thumlers Model B 15LB Name: Big Red This was my first large tumbler and was when I started getting some material done! Also easy to clean and durable, the only draw back is the way the lid is secured to the barrel. There are 6 thumb screws that take a little more time to get lid on and off ( not a big deal). Before this upgrade I had been using a variety of tumblers with 3lb barrels: Lortone 33B, Lortone 3A, Thumler A-R1 & A-R2. These smaller tumblers have been retired and are going up for sale for other people who are beginning their own rock tumbling.
Lot “O” Twin This Vibratory tumbler was something I should have purchased a very long time ago!! For many reasons….
1) It has given me better results as far a finish polish goes. 2) The Lot “O” uses a lot less grit and polish than a similar sized rotary tumbler. 3) The time is cut down from 2-3 weeks to about 6 days!! and WHOLA!! a beautifully batch of Rocks!!
It is a little noisy but not terrible. I did also have a motor crap out on me, but the company sent me a new one. Highly recommend using both rotary and vibratory tumblers for the absolute best results. Rotary for grinding/shaping Step 1 & 2) vibratory for finishing (step 3,4&5)!
Highland Park 12″ Slab Saw
I use this saw for cutting slabs that I will make cabachons or medallions. I have a dial indicator that I used to ensure consistent thickness of the slabs. This has been a great saw overall. Early on it blew one of the capacitors, but the company sent me a new free of charge. I did buy a different blade, MK301, and have been using it for years. I use mineral oil to lubricate and keep blade cool.
Lortone 6″ Trim Saw
This trim saw is used for trimming a majority of the material around a particular shape I am making. I trace a shape onto the slab with a fine point sharpie. Cutting close to the line, but leaving the line for the next step. This also has been a real nice piece of equipment. I use the same mineral oil to lubricate and keep the blade cool.
18LB Ultra Vibe Model UV18
Now THIS tumbler has been a game changer! Before I purchased the UV18 I always had stones in colanders at various stages of the tumbling process with notes in each reminding me what step they needed next. Well that is not the case any longer. Now the UV18 waits idle for enough rocks to do a batch. I do step #3 (500 silicon carbide), an extra step (1000 aluminum oxide) and Step #4 the a final polish with 1200 Aluminum oxide polish. I also have other polish Rapid Polish, TXP Polish and Cerium Polish depending on what material I am doing. This tumbler is loud, not for the home. Luckily I have a work shop and has a constant hum of running tumblers. 🙂
6″ Cab King Cabachon Machine
Tumbling Grit Cart