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Lapidary / Gemstone Community Forum
February 21, 2019, 04:42:02 pm
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Basic tumbler suggestions?

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Author Topic: Basic tumbler suggestions?  (Read 320 times)
Talusman
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« on: May 19, 2015, 07:20:50 am »

Hi all,

My cabbing shop is packed up until I move and unpack - which is likely months away. I've been collecting some cool Jasper and have the itch to polish it!

Can anyone recommend a good basic tumbler (<$200) I could use to polish up the small bits? The easier/lower maintenance the better as time is tight right now.


Thanks!

-Jeremy
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light house jack
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2015, 08:59:11 am »

While teaching recently at William Holland School of Lapidary, I heard two other teachers talking about how much they liked using the less than $40.00 tumbler from Harbor Freight.  They both said that they felt they were better made than similar lapidary brands. I personally use a big rotary tumbler to start my stones and after they are smooth, I switch them into smaller batches and finish with a LOT-O-TUMBLER which is a vibratory tumbler. I order my grits from a company called JESCO which sells in it small and large quantities.
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Trails
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2015, 07:16:27 am »

To my knowledge the HF tumblers are for "dry use only". A buddy from AZ was visiting last year and he bought one to try to shine up some stuff he brought over with him, only to have worn out the drum on his second run with it. At least it was cheap.. cheaper then the mess it caused. But maybe there's a trick to them, as in only using them for 600grit and up.

I know the Lortone 3A is only 120$. I've always liked it for small tumbler...
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Tay
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2015, 10:19:38 am »

I have a Lortone 3A that is 40+ years old. Granted, I put a new motor in it last year but it's a work horse. I also got a double barrel Harbor Freight unit a couple years ago. Other than replacing the drive belt (spares were included,) it's also a reliable unit.
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light house jack
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2015, 10:28:06 am »

I don't own a HF tumbler but folks that do say that they are wet use. 
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johnjsgems
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2015, 10:51:17 am »

HF vibrating tumblers are dry use only.  The rotary tumblers are wet.  I've heard several favorable comments lately about the HF rotary tumblers.  In the past they were very poor quality.  Buy the warranty if you buy one.  Lortone 3 lb or double 3 lb. would be a good choice and American made.  A good discounted source is The Rock Shed.
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Talusman
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2015, 02:44:09 pm »

Great ideas - thanks all. The vibratory units seem a little trickier and I really don't have any time to secure them to a bench, figure out the right grit mix, etc. I just want to "set it and forget it". Sounds like a rotary is the way to go for me. I'll check out the Lortones - I have a combo cabbing unit that I like.

Cheers!

-Jeremy
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peruano
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2015, 04:30:38 pm »

Jeremy,  I hear all of the reasons for sticking with a rotary, but they are subject to re-consideration.

1.  Vibes do not need to be secured.  Although I like to set mine on the floor for safety reasons.
2. You can process things in 1 week instead of 1 - 2 months.  You don't have time.
3.  The adjustment of grit quantities is pretty straight forward (follow the instructions that come with your Raytech Tumble Vibe $140 with starter kit, two bowls and instructions.
Instant gratification - you will see progress on the first change out (24 - 48 hours).  Enjoy whatever you go for, but don't be afraid of the vibes.  Tom 
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Tom
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Talusman
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2015, 07:21:52 am »

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the extra info. I'm tempted by the speed, but concerned about reports of needing to tinker to get the water/grit mix just right for good results. Do you have the Raytech unit you mentioned?

Thanks!

-Jeremy
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Rockoteer
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2015, 09:01:03 am »

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the extra info. I'm tempted by the speed, but concerned about reports of needing to tinker to get the water/grit mix just right for good results. Do you have the Raytech unit you mentioned?

Thanks!

-Jeremy

Actually there is little tinkering.  My problem was I had the wrong basket.  When I discovered that it was very, very easy.
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-Gary

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Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right.
Frantic Tumbler
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2015, 09:13:42 am »

Start with the smallest rotary Lortone. They're well made and you'll get years of service from it. If you find you like tumbling, upgrade to a bigger roller, then a vibe. Vibe is much, much more work than the rollers, and nine times out of ten you need a roller to do the rough grinding for anything you put into a vibe.
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Talusman
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2015, 10:01:53 am »

Ok, Lortone dual-drum rotary tumbler on the way! Thanks for all of the advice.

-Jeremy
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