Instructions for Tumbling with the Lot-O-Tumbler

Operating Instructions:  This is the basic operating Instructions for the quick removal and polish of agate or other rock.

1. Fill barrel with rock - about 4 1/2 pounds of stone.  They can be mixed sizes.  It is important to keep the barrel full of rock.  If after grinding it is not full, add some rock to keep it full or add
back past unfinished rock which has not ground enough yet.

2. To Start the tumbler, rinse or get the rock wet by filling the barrel with water, drain the water off and add back 1/2 capful of water and 2 tablespoons of 180-220 grit. (We use 120-220 Grit).

3. Place the barrel in the frame firmly and run the tumbler.  Add water when needed to keep a creamy consistency.  The fastest agate removal is achieved if you remove the barrel at 12 to 24 hour intervals, submerge it in a container of water, remove shake and drain off the water to clean the rock.  Add fresh 180-220 grit and run. Note:  Learn to tell by the feel of the slurry when the grit is worn out and you need to rinse the rock and add fresh grit.  Add water as needed to keep the mixture wet so as not to dry out. Repeat this step until the desired amount of agate has been removed.  The Average time could be 5 to 7 days or more depending on the hardness of the rock and the shape of the stone you desire.

4. When the desired shape has been accomplished rinse the rock thoroughly and add 1/2 teaspoon of 600 Grit (We use 500F Grit) and run for 24 hours.

5. Again rinse the rock carefully, it should be removed from the barrel and both the rock and the barrel cleaned.  Add back the rock and 1/2 teaspoon of  Tin Oxide, Rapid Polish, or Lusterite Polish.   (We use both Tin Oxide and our Aluminum Oxide Polish with great results)  Run for 24 hours to achieve the polish,  rinse thoroughly and enjoy.

6. TIP: If you add a little water and a couple of drops of liquid detergent 15 minutes before cleaning out each time the rock will wash off sparkling clean.

7. An Important TIP:  Never dispose of the sludge from the tumbler down the drain as the grinding compound is very heavy and will settle out and plug your drain.  We found out the hard way of course : ^ ). 

Final Note:  After a few batches everyone will discover their own special tricks that they like to use to tumble rock. The instruction book has lots of tips and tricks to help you out along the way.

Click here for More Detailed Operating Instructions for the Lot-O-Tumbler

Mounting the Lot-O-Tumbler

Mounting the single Lot-O-Tumbler:  Coat the top of a Solid 40 lb Cement Block with any Latex Base Paint.  Allow the paint to Dry, remove the covering on the Double Sticky Tape on the bottom of the board on the tumbler and apply firmly to the Cement Block or It can also be applied directly to any cement floor.

Mounting the Double Lot-O-Tumbler: Coat the top of a solid cement block with any latex Base Paint(12" x 12" x 12" or 100 lb minimum) or on a cement floor.

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Instructions for the Ultra-Vibe Industrial UV-10 and UV-18
Polishing rocks in the ultra Vibe-10 and UV-18

When selecting rocks to tumble, remember, the finished product is determined by the quality of rocks with which you start.  The rocks you use should be sorted by hardness and roughness.  Your rocks may vary in size to include a few up to 1 1/2" in diameter.  Vibratory tumblers are most successful on rocks where the shape does not have to be changed a great deal or on rock which have been previously sawed or shaped.  Agates and other hard stones should not be tumbled with soft materials such as opal.  If you are planning to tumble beach-worn rocks, don't complicate the process by mixing them with hammer-broken rocks.

The industrial Ultra-Vibe should be placed on a firm, smooth, level surface - preferably on uncarpeted  floor with ample clearance around it.  This allows proper air flow to the motor.  DO NOT cover unit with anything to dampen noise as this may block air flow and cause the motor to overheat, or possibly create a fire hazard.

Place your tumbler where it will not be in the way because tumbling takes a number of days of continuous operation and there is a constant sound of rolling rocks connected with rock polishing.

The following are only general guidelines for polishing rocks as most people make modifications in the methods to fit their specific needs.

1.  Fill Industrial Ultra-Vibe barrel with enough rocks to fill up past the centerline - approximately 3/4 full.  Tighten wing nut in center of barrel securely.

2. Add GRIT (Check chart below for quantity needed for the various size vibratory barrels.)  Turn on Tumbler.

3.  Begin adding water, a little at a time until the grit starts to cling to the stones which is what sit should do.  (Too much water will tend to rinse the grit back off the stones.)

4.  Replace tumbler lid to prevent the water from splashing and evaporating.  This will also reduce some of the noise connected with rock polishing.

5.  The GRIND (120-220 grit) will be the longest and will vary with the roughness and hardness of the stones - from 2 to 7 days.  The rocks should be checked two to three times daily because the build-up of "mud" (ground up rock, grit and water) will cause the action in the tumbler to slow down.  A small amount of water may be added to restore the action. This is critical because if the action stops significantly, the barrel could be damaged.

6.  When desired results in the GRIND (120-220 grit) are attained, the rocks and barrel should be rinsed thoroughly.  DO NOT wash grit into sink or drain pipe.  Make sure all traces of FINE grit are rinsed from the rocks and barrel.  The rocks can then be replaced in the barrel, ready for the next phase of polishing.

7.  Follow Steps 2 - 6 for each of the next two phases - PREPOLISH, and finally, POLISH.  Use  chart below for correct amount of grit for each barrel. These grinds will take only 2 - 3 days each.  The stones and barrel should be washed thoroughly between grit changes.

8.  After the POLISH you may wish to run the stones for a few hours in a solution of laundry detergent and enough water to make a stiff suds.  This will clean off any remaining polish and do a final burnishing job on the stones.

GRIND(120/220 grit)_______________6 oz
PREPOLISH (500F)_________3 oz
POLISH_____________3 oz

GRIND (120/220 grit)_______________8 oz
PREPOLISH (500F)_________4 oz
POLISH_____________4 oz

Taken from Ultra Vibe Tumbler Instructions
Thumlers Tumbler

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Instructions for the Thumlers Rotary Tumblers
Polishing rocks in the Thumlers Rotary Tumblers to include the Model T, AR1. AR2 Rotary Tumblers and Model B

1. Fill barrel 1/2 to 5/8 full of stones.  Pour in package marked COARSE (60-90) as per chart below.  Add water even with top stones.  Run tumbler with this mixture for approximately 7 days, 24 hours a day, or until smooth.  WASH STONES AND BARREL WELL.  (Kitchen colander is ideal for washing stones, but do not wash into sink drains.)

2.  Place stones back into barrel.  Pour in package marked FINE (120-220) as per chart below.  Add water even with top of stones.  Run tumbler with this mixture for approximately 7 days, 24 hours a day, or until rocks are shiny when wet.  WASH STONES AND BARREL WELL.

3.  Place stones back into barrel.  Pour in package marked PRE-POLISH (500F) as per chart below .  Add water even with top of stones.  Run the tumbler with this mixture approximately 3 days, 24 hours a day, or until rocks show a luster when dry.  WASH STONE AND BARREL WELL.

4.  Place stones back into barrel.  Pour in package marked POLISH as per chart below.  Add water even with top of stones.  Run tumbler with this mixture approximately 7 days, 24 hours a day, or until rocks show a luster when dry.  WASH STONES AND BARREL WELL.

5.  Place stones back into barrel.  Add enough powdered detergent to make a stiff suds.  Add water even with top of stones.  You may also add sawdust or some similar material to cushion the rocks during this clean-up stage.  Run tumbler with this mixture overnight.  WASH STONES AND BARREL WELL.  SPREAD OUT ROCKS ON DRY SURFACE AND INSPECT YOUR FINISHED GEMSTONES.

Model Capacity Amount per Barrel
Model T, A-R1
Model T-2, A-R2
1-qt, barrel, 3 lbs
2-qt, barrels, 6 lbs
Coarse.......................4 oz.
Fine.............................4 oz.
Prepolish.....................2 oz
Polish..........................2 oz
Model A-R6 9 lbs Coarse.......................8 oz.
Fine............................8 oz.
Prepolish.....................4 oz
Polish..........................4 oz
Model A-R12
Model B
12 lbs
15 lbs
Coarse........................1 lb.
Fine.............................1 lb.
Prepolish......................1/2 lb.
Polish...........................1/2 lb

Taken from A Guide for Rock Polishers
1973 Tru-Square Metal Products

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Instructions for Deburring in the Ultra-Vibe Industrial Vibratory Tumblers

The bowl should be filled about 2/3 full with plastic or ceramic media.  Start the tumbler while the media is dry.  Immediately add a small amount of water (a few splashes) until the media pieces are wet, but not saturated.

Add a few drops of soap or detergent until a very light foam begins to form.  If a foam does not form, add a little more water.  On the other hand, if the foam becomes too heavy, the work pieces will be cushioned and the cutting action will be decreased.  A heavy foam means there is too much soap or detergent or too much water in the mixture and the entire mass of media should be rinsed out and started again.

Once the mixture is correct add the work pieces - about 5 parts media to 1 part work pieces.  If  the work pieces are shaped so that they will tend to hook together, make the ratio 10 parts media to 1 part work pieces.  In the initial run, the load should be watched carefully to determine the cycle time for that particular part.  The normal cutting time is between 20 minutes and 6 hours.

For the longer runs, a splash of water should be added every 45 minutes to 1 hour to restore the action as the water will evaporate and the slurry will build up as the work is being done causing the cyclonic action to begin to slow.  This procedure will keep the action going for a while, but eventually the whole mass may have to be rinsed and started again until the desired finish is reached.

To determine the end of the cycle, inspect the work pieces to be sure all of the pits and scratches have been removed and there is a uniform finish over the entire part.  Most of the work will be done on the outside edges of the parts as they are more exposed to the moving media.  The flat surfaces will be scrubbed, but very deep scratches cannot be removed by this method.

Taken from Ultra Vibe Tumbler Instructions
Thumlers Tumbler


Epoxy Deburring Media (Stk # 600 & 601)

3/8" Triangles (#600) & 1/2" Triangles (#601) are medium cut triangular shaped media. This media is used for deburring non-ferrous metal parts.

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Instructions for Polishing Brass in the Ultra-Vibe Industrial Vibratory Tumblers

Fill the bowl with approximately 3 lbs of #518 media for the (UV10) or 6 lbs of  #518 media the (UV18).  While the Ultra Vibe is running, add the brass or metal objects to be cleaned.  Up to 125 rifle or up to 400 pistol cases (depending on caliber) may be added to the Ultra-Vibe 10.  Check the brass or metal objects periodically until the desired finish is attained.


Brass Polish Media (Stk # 518)

Treated crushed Corn Cob for use in a Vibratory Tumbler. This media removes only tarnish and oxidation without scratching. When used in a vibratory tumbler, it will bring metal objects to a gleaming finish in just an hour or two. Media is reusable. When action becomes too slow to be effective, replace 25% of media with new. Also works well in rotary tumblers.

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