Rock Discoveries

Reviving Your Rock Tumbler: Tips And Tricks For Smooth Polished Stones

Rock Tumbler Not Working? Here’s Why And How To Fix It

Rock tumbling is an enjoyable hobby that involves turning rough stones into smooth and shiny ones.

It can be a relaxing and satisfying experience, especially when you finally get that perfect shine on your stones. However, sometimes, things don’t always go as planned, and your rock tumbler may not work as it should.

But don’t worry, in this article, we will discuss the common issues with rock tumblers and how to fix them. Common Issues:

Perhaps the most common issue with rock tumblers is a leaking barrel.

It can be frustrating to watch the liquid you added pour out of the barrel and make a mess all over your work area. Another issue is the lid not seating correctly on the barrel, which can cause leaks or prevent the barrel from turning correctly.

Over tightening the nut that holds the lid in place can also cause issues. Moreover, gas build-up that can cause pressure in the barrel can result from not allowing enough airflow or having a damaged or cracked lid.

Other issues include a worn-out or damaged lid or barrel, the barrel stopping to turn, no power, the barrel being too heavy, not installing the barrel correctly, and the motor running intermittently. Routine Maintenance:

As with any equipment, routine maintenance can help prevent issues from occurring in the first place.

For rock tumblers, regular maintenance includes checking the motor, bearings, drive belt, and giving the inside of the barrel a good cleaning. Cleaning the barrel and other parts will prevent debris from accumulating, which can cause damage and affect the performance of your rock tumbler.

Regularly lubricating the motor and bearings can also ensure they are working at optimal levels, preventing the need for replacements. Subtopic 1.1 – Leaking Barrel:

One of the most common issues with rock tumblers is a leaking barrel.

This can be caused by several factors, including debris stuck on the barrel’s shoulder, over-tightening the nut that holds the lid in place, or gas build-up. To fix this issue, first, clean the shoulder and rim of the barrel, removing any debris that could be causing the leak.

Next, ensure the lid is sitting correctly on the barrel. Finger tightened the nut instead of over-tightening it, allowing a small amount of airflow through the barrel, which prevents gas build-up.

If the lid has cracks or is damaged, sanding the edges might help, or you can purchase a new lid or a new barrel if the issue persists. In conclusion, rock tumbling is a fun and exciting activity that can bring satisfaction and relaxation.

Like any other equipment, rock tumblers require routine maintenance to work correctly and prevent issues, such as a leaking barrel or motor issues. Proper maintenance includes regular cleaning, lubrication, and checking for worn-out parts.

Hopefully, this article provided you with insightful tips and tricks, and now you can enjoy your rock tumbling without worrying about any issues. Subtopic 1.2 – Barrel Stops Turning:

Another common issue with rock tumblers is when the barrel stops turning correctly.

This can be frustrating, especially when you are excited to see how your stones are progressing. A barrel that stops turning could be caused by several factors, including a loose or broken belt, no power, a barrel too heavy, the barrel being installed incorrectly, or a motor that runs intermittently.

Fortunately, there are some solutions to these issues. Adjusting the belt tension is an easy solution to a loose or broken belt.

The belt should be tight enough to prevent slipping but not so tight that it adds extra pressure on the motor. You can adjust the tension by loosening the motor mounts and adjusting the motor’s position to create the necessary tension.

If there is no power to the rock tumbler, first, ensure it is plugged into an outlet that is working correctly. Check the circuit breaker and the fuse if necessary.

A barrel that is too heavy can cause the motor to struggle, and the barrel may stop turning. Reduce the weight in the barrel by removing some of the stones or adding smaller ones to distribute the weight evenly.

If the barrel was installed incorrectly, re-install it correctly and ensure it is aligned with the motor shaft. A motor that runs intermittently may need to be replaced if it can not be fixed.

Subtopic 2.1 – Routine Maintenance – Motor and Bearings:

Routine maintenance of your rock tumbler ensures that it runs smoothly and lasts for a long time. Maintaining your motor and bearings is crucial in keeping your rock tumbler in top condition.

Contrary to popular belief, an electric motor does not require oiling. In fact, oil can be harmful to the motor’s parts.

Instead, keep the motor clean and dry, free from dirt, debris, and moisture, which can cause the motor to fail. Regularly check for wear and tear, especially on its brushes and commutator, and replace them when necessary.

On the other hand, bearings require oiling every 30 days, especially when you use your rock tumbler frequently. Lubricate the bearings with lightweight oil, typically a turbine or sewing machine oil, a few drops on the top and bottom of each bearing.

Over-oiling can cause bearing failure, so be careful not to overdo it. Before oiling, ensure that the bearings are free from dirt and debris, wiping them down with a clean cloth.

In summary, it is essential to fix the issues as they arise to keep your rock tumbler running smoothly. Checking the belt tension, reducing weight in the barrel, ensuring it is installed correctly, and replacing the motor when it runs intermittently are quick solutions to a barrel that stops turning.

Regular maintenance for your motor and bearing will help ensure optimal performance and longevity for your rock tumbler. No oil should be used for the motor, and bearings require lightweight oil every 30 days, keeping them clean and free from dirt or debris.

By following these tips, you can improve the lifespan and performance of your rock tumbler. Subtopic 2.2 – Routine Maintenance – Drive Belt and Cleaning:

Other important aspects of routine maintenance include checking the drive belt tension and keeping your rock tumbler clean.

A loose, worn, or misaligned drive belt can cause your rock tumbler to stop turning or produce an uneven finish. Checking the drive belt tension is an easy task that can be performed regularly to ensure optimal performance.

First, disconnect the power from your rock tumbler, check the belt condition and make sure it is not worn. If it is worn, it is time to replace it.

Also, check the alignment between the drive pulley and the various idler pulleys to make sure they are adequately aligned. Lastly, adjust the tension by tightening or loosening the belt to the correct level with proper tension.

Cleaning your rock tumbler is essential to prevent debris from building up, extending the lifespan of your equipment. If left uncleaned, dirt can cause components to wear down and snag on the stones, producing an uneven finish.

To clean your rock tumbler, first, unplug it and remove the barrel. Start with the exterior by wiping it down with a clean cloth.

Avoid using solvents or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the plastic or aluminum barrel’s finish. Instead, use soapy water, and when necessary, use a bit of sandpaper or steel wool to roughen up the barrel if you see scratches or residue on it.

This will help make sure the stones tumble evenly and produce a beautiful glossy finish. Once you have finished cleaning the exterior of your rock tumbler, focus on cleaning the interior barrel and its components.

Remember that debris should be removed from the barrel after each tumbling run, so start by emptying the barrel and removing any leftover grit, stones, or residue. Clean any loose debris from the barrel’s interior and components using a soft-bristled brush.

Note that harder brushes can scratch your barrel. Also, avoid using any acidic or highly alkaline cleaners as they can damage the barrel’s finish, affecting the final polish on your rocks.

In summary, proper maintenance including checking the drive belt tension and keeping your rock tumbler clean is essential for optimal performance and longevity of your equipment. Checking the drive belt tension regularly will help identify issues early on and avoid any components wearing out excessively.

Cleaning your rock tumbler regularly and properly will extend its lifespan, preventing debris from building up, and produce even, polished stones. Try to use natural cleaners and abrasive materials to prevent chemical damage and scratches, making sure your rock tumbler remains in top form for years.

By following these simple but essential tips, you can keep your rock tumbler working optimally, providing the desired polished stones to your collection. In conclusion, by regularly performing maintenance on your rock tumbler and addressing common issues such as leaks and barrel stoppages, you can ensure optimal performance and longevity for your equipment.

Remember to check the drive belt tension and clean your rock tumbler properly and avoid using abrasive or chemical-based cleaners to extend its lifespan. By following these tips, you can enjoy this fun and relaxing hobby of making polished rocks for years to come.


-Can I put too many stones in the rock tumbler barrel? Yes, overloading the barrel can cause the motor to struggle and the barrel to stop turning.

-How often should I oil the bearings in my rock tumbler? It is best to oil the bearings every 30 days with lightweight oil.

-What should I use to clean my rock tumbler barrel? Avoid using solvents or abrasive cleaners and use soapy water instead, and if necessary, gently sand the barrel with sandpaper or steel wool.

-Why is my rock tumbler leaking? Leaks can be caused by a cracked or damaged lid, debris, or over tightened nut, among other factors.

-What can I do if my rock tumbler stops turning? Check the drive belt tension, make sure the barrel installed correctly, and reduce the weight of the rocks in the barrel if it is too heavy.

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