DIY Rock Tumbler: A Comprehensive Guide to Making Your Own Rock Tumbler at Home

DIY Rock Tumbler
DIY Rock Tumbler

Are you an avid rock collector but can’t find a reliable rock tumbler in the market? Or maybe you’re just interested in making your own tumbler as a fun and engaging DIY project. Whatever the reason may be, making your own rock tumbler can be an exciting and fulfilling experience. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of creating your own rock tumbler step-by-step.


If you’re not familiar with rock tumbling, it’s a process of polishing rough stones and turning them into smooth and shiny gemstones. Commercial rock tumblers can be expensive and may not fit your specific needs. By making your own rock tumbler, you can customize it to fit your preferences and save some money.

Materials Required

Before we start, let’s gather all the necessary materials:

  • An old plastic container with a lid
  • A motor with a speed control
  • A pulley system
  • Sandpaper
  • Silicon carbide grit
  • Water
  • Rocks

Building the Rock Tumbler

Step 1: Preparing the Container

The first step in building your rock tumbler is to prepare the container. Take an old plastic container and drill a hole in the center of the lid. The hole should be large enough to accommodate the motor shaft.

Step 2: Attaching the Motor

Next, attach the motor to the lid of the container using screws. Make sure the motor shaft fits through the hole in the lid. The motor should be attached in a way that allows it to rotate the container.

Step 3: Adding the Pulley System

Now, attach the pulley system to the motor shaft. This will help in rotating the container. Make sure the pulley system is tight and secure.

Step 4: Preparing the Rocks

Before placing the rocks in the container, make sure they are clean and free of any dirt or debris. You can use sandpaper to remove any rough edges from the rocks.

Step 5: Adding the Grit

Add a tablespoon of silicon carbide grit for every pound of rocks in the container. Add enough water to cover the rocks and grit.

Step 6: Sealing the Container

Seal the container tightly with the lid. Make sure the lid is secure enough to prevent any leaks.

Step 7: Running the Tumbler

Turn on the motor and let the tumbler run for about a week. Check on the rocks every few days to see if they’re smooth and shiny. If they’re not, add more grit and water and let it run for a few more days.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks that can help you in building and using your rock tumbler:

  • Make sure the container is not too large or too small for the rocks. The container should be filled up to two-thirds of its capacity.
  • Use different grit sizes for different stages of polishing. Start with coarse grit and gradually move to finer grits.
  • Always wear protective gear when handling the tumbler or rocks.
  • Don’t overcrowd the container with too many rocks as it can lead to uneven polishing.


Building your own rock tumbler can be a fun and engaging DIY project that can save you some money and allow you to customize it to fit your needs. By following the steps mentioned above and using some tips and tricks, you can create a reliable rock tumbler that will turn rough stones into beautiful gemstones.

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