Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rock Tumbler a.k.a. Time Killer

Yesterday at 6:00pm I decided to make a rock tumbler. We found those Petoskey Stones when we went camping, and I thought it'd be cool (nerdy-cool, folks) to polish them up. Unfortunately, it would take years - literally - to polish the volume of stones I have using one of those teeny rock polishers. Those teeny ones also cost $50-$60. The larger ones like I would need are way more expensive. I wanted to do it for under $40, which is a significant portion of the allowance I have saved up. That's right - Wife and I operate under a self-mandated $30/month spending allowance. It makes you get creative, as you're about to see.

Using the above materials ($12 for wheels, $0.79 for scrap wood, $15 for a drill, and $8 for the cooler for a total of $35.79) and random scraps and screws from my toolbox, I set about making a rock tumbler. After two hours, I had come up with this:

Unfortunately, with the added resistance of rocks, sand, and water tumbling around in the barrel, the drill couldn't turn the full barrel when arranged like this - at least, not at low speeds. I had sort of expected this, thinking that I would need to choose between being able to fully load the barrel (leaving an appropriate amount of space for air and tumbling action) and doing things the simple way. I chose the difficult option, reconfiguring the motor placement like this:

It worked great for a while - until the rubber belt snapped. I think I'm going to have to either find a chain of some sort, or... I don't know, we'll just have to see. Regardless, I polished some rocks for about an hour...

In case you can't tell, I don't have much trouble keeping myself entertained while not in school.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Pretty funny! Pretty ingenious, too. That tumbler was running fast!

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