The tumbler will be running 24 hours a day for several weeks at a time and needs to be in a convenient and safe location that will not interfere with family activities. It generates a slight humming sound. The motor becomes hot to the touch. This is normal.
1. Make it accessible. You will need to open it from time to time.
2. Place it near a power outlet. It must be located in an open area that is away from any flammable materials. DO NOT USE THE TUMBLERS OUTDOORS.
3. Do not put the tumbler on a table or other smooth surfaces. The vibration of the unit may cause the tumbler to crawl. A safe location is a concrete floor, such as in the garage or basement.
4. Do not put it in a confined space as it needs air movement for cooling the motor.
5. Do not let it freeze.
6. It is possible for the barrel to break open and spill. Make sure the location is safe for that possibility.
Check the tumbler on a regular basis to make sure the unit is running properly, is not overheating, and that the barrel is not leaking.
Proper amount of material is needed to load the tumbler. Use a variety of sizes of the stones. Your barrel will need to be loaded about ¾ full of rock. A larger size rock may be tumbled but you must have all sizes of rock in the tumbler. About 1/3 of the load needs to be small size (1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter). In small tumblers, a 1 inch stone is considered a large stone. The final output of the tumbler will be 25 to 35 percent less in volume than what it started with.
If you do not have small size stone a filler material can be substituted. This filler material can be broken TEMPERED GLASS. This glass can be found in the side and rear windows of a car. NOT THE WINDSHIELD. This glass can also be found at an auto glass replacement shop.
The amount of silicon carbide abrasive needed will depend on the size of the tumbler you are working with. Weigh the stones (and glass if used) that will fill the barrel to about ¾ full. Then figure the amount of abrasive that is needed.
Rotary Barrel Tumblers use about 1½ to 2 ounces abrasive to 1 pound of material. OR about 1 to 1½ tablespoons of grit per pound.
Economical ungraded grits may be used. They usually are 60-90 coarse, 120-220 medium, and 400-f fine abrasives.
The tumbler grinding steps sometimes produces a “GAS” which at the right conditions will pop the lid off. To eliminate the gas you can add a “Tums” or a teaspoon of baking soda with the grit. (Do not add to the polish)
There are many types of polish that can be used. Generally talk with the rock dealers that sell tumbling supplies and tumble for their recommendations on what polish is the best for the materials being tumbled.