A Peach of a Homemade Parts Tumbler

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.


  1. Kemp says:

    “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?

    • michael says:

      its was said comically…..blatantly apparent when you watch the video.

      • ERROR_user_unknown says:

        “I’m not in a position to watch the video right now” was said seriously. So cut the guy some slack man.

        • michael says:

          yeah i read that…..i didnt mean to come off as a dick……just wanted to let him know i didnt pull the answer out my ass.

        • citizenjapp says:

          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.

          • Kemp says:

            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.

          • PKM says:

            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”.

      • Kemp says:

        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.

    • PeterF says:

      Seems like someone needs a replacement fuse for his sarcasm detector!

  2. Waterjet says:

    Naval jelly?

  3. bbbbbob says:

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

  4. pcf11 says:

    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.

  5. kim says:

    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.

  6. Rich says:

    How do you get the fingers in there to clean the nails?

  7. Hirudinea says:

    “Keep your stick on the ice.” If the women don’t find you handsome they should at least find you handy.

  8. George says:

    I just use my cement mixer.cleans nails rusty chains etc. cleans the inside out too.

  9. vonskippy says:

    All that effort to clean nails – just a tad anal retentive that guy is.

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