How to Make a Drill Powered Rock Tumbler

Rocks look really cool when smoothed to a bright shine, but you won't find many if you don't live near a river or beach. You can tumble rocks smooth, but shaking a jar for weeks is long and boring and a strain on the arms, and commercial rock tumblers aren't really worth it if you only have a few to do. Keep reading to learn how to make a simple drill-mount rock tumbler with things you probably already have at home.

Steps

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    Start with a wide mouth plastic jar, such as the kind mayonnaise or peanut butter comes in.
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    (hint; use a metal, or other material as a spacer, to allow rod to extend the rod through both ends of jar, for a simple support and lining the jar with rubber matting will extend the life of the plastic)
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    Fill the the first inch or two of the jar with equal parts sand and water.
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    Drill a hole in the center of the lid small enough so that your bolt fits but in tightly.
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    Apply super glue or hot glue to the area around the drilled hole,(tip; use rubber washers/o-rings instead) .
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    Pull the bolt though the hole so it sticks out of the top. Tighten bolt right away. Tighten second bolt to lock the firsts position
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    Allow the glue to dry thoroughly.
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    Add rocks, screw on the lid, and tighten the drill chuck tightly around the bolt. Pull the trigger and let the rocks tumble.

Tips

  • Make sure the lid is on tight and the drill spins in the direction to tighten the lid instead if loosening it.
  • Another choice, if the super glue isn't holding things in place, is to use a piece of threaded rod that is longer than the jar is tall and go through both the lid and the bottom of the jar. You may have to apply extra glue around the bottom to seal out leaks.
  • Rock tumblers are commercially available if you plan to tumble a lot of rocks.

Warnings

  • This could damage the drill or walls or carpets. Use a slow speed if your drill is adjustable, and use common sense.

Things You'll Need

  • One bolt
  • Two nuts (one to tighten, one to lock)
  • Super glue
  • Plastic jar and lid
  • Power drill, preferably with adjustable speed
  • sand
  • water
  • rocks to polish

Article Info

Categories: Rock Gem Mineral and Fossil Collecting