A Peach of a Homemade Parts Tumbler

[Chris] finds the average price of rock tumblers insulting. Almost as insulting, in fact, as prepackaged fruit salad made with Chinese peaches. While there may be little he can do about the peaches, he has given the finger to lapidary pricing by making his own tumbler on the very cheap.

Simply put, he drilled a hole in bottom of the peach vessel and then stuck a threaded rod through it. He held the rod in place with a nut and a washer. After securing the proper permits to source sand and water from his property, he put both in the jar along with some old nails that had paint and crud on them. [Chris] put the rod in the chuck of his drill and clamped the drill in his bench vise. Half an hour later, he had some nice, shiny nails. Make the jump to be amazed and entertained. If you prefer using balls, check out this homemade mill.

32 thoughts on “A Peach of a Homemade Parts Tumbler

  1. “After securing the proper permits to source sand and water from his property”

    A little confused by that statement. I’m not in a position to watch the video right now, but surely for non-commercial use (and particularly just to clean up some nails on a very small scale) there aren’t permits involved just to dig up a bit of sand and get some water?

        1. Hang on a second, #Kemp only had time to watch 1 minute of a 1:28 video, so he takes the time and effort to post a question about a statement that confused him, to Hackaday readers that have watched the whole video, because he suspects the answer might be contained in the remaining 30 seconds, and will come back later to check and read any replies to his query?

          With time management skills like that, he must hold a very high ranking government position.

          BTW the nails came out great! I will give this technique a go. Thanks Chris.

          1. It had nothing to do with time, I couldn’t watch *any* of the video. Asking the question was quicker than waiting ~5 hours. Maybe you consider that to be lazy, but I’m not sure how it affects you.

          2. I was in the same position yesterday- didn’t have my headphones so was reduced to watching Youtube videos with the automatic captions. Turns out their speech recognition doesn’t really like either his accent (“250 box?”) or his tendency to make up words like “insmerted”.

      1. That makes more sense. In hindsight it should be obvious, but you never know what crazy bureaucracy might pop up. He might have had to dig especially deep, or be on protected land of some kind.

        1. It’s 20 – 30% phosphoric acid and a few thickening (thixotropic) agents so it holds to vertical surfaces as more of a gel. A bit of pink colorant and a few other mostly fillers as well. The phosphoric is what does the work.

  2. ” If you prefer using balls …”
    Why I’l never put my balls in a drill rotated peach jar with some crusty nails, mind you!

  3. I was excited when I saw the still image here, and how clean the nails looked in it. So I went and watched the video. Turns out those are the before nails. The after nails seemed to have a bit more of a matte finish to them, but they did not look appreciably shinier to me really. I still might give a gypsy tumbler a spin here, just to see what results I get. I won’t use a cordless drill though, I’ll probably use one of my lathes to turn the drum. If I dig down a bit I hit acres of sand on my property so I got that aspect of this project covered good.

  4. Go with a brushless furnace motor for longevity, reduce speed with rubber belts and use rollers with bearings, then you can use many other round containers simply by placing them on the rollers. More of a ball mill than a parts washer depending on what you put in it.

    1. PET/LDPE, etc are fairly abrasion resistant but not at the thickness of these containers if the desired outcome is long term use.

    2. Rubber belts, rollers, and bearings is considerably more involved than what is shown here. Granted you will end up with a far nicer setup, but you’ll also have invested far more into it too.

    1. Or cheap. Which I don’t hold against him. A person can save a lot of money by cleaning up nails (and screws, nuts, etc.) for reuse.

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