Kenneth - first, my sympathies on your trials with your tumblers.
I was unable to find a link to “Gemstones” company in California, so
I can’t comment directly on your machine.
Usually vibratory tumblers are described by volume - 6 quart, for
example - rather than size, so again it’s hard to answer for your
I’ve been using a mid-sized bunch of tumblers for about 16 years.
Lyman industries makes the Raytech brand and they have been solid and
reliable. I recommend them for flow-thru applications. They come in
quite a number of sizes and are sold by most of the jewelry supply
companies. Prices range from $500 to $1000US.
The problem you have experienced with a clogged outlet could be a
number of things - sometimes new media has small pieces in the batch
and they conspire to plug the holes in the drain. For that reason, I
"break in" new media, checking regularly for a problem. Different
tumblers have differing screens on the drain and your new one may
need some modification to drain properly.
I am still using the recirculating aquarium pumps I got when I first
started. However, being an engineer, it seemed an invitation to
trouble to set the pump in the sludge on the bottom of the recycle
bucket. I devised a porous platform that holds the pump about 4
inches above the bottom. The pumps have lasted so far.
The prices seemed high to me when I started this business. Today,
they seem cheap. They largely replace another body in the shop, they
don’t want vacations and don’t “tie one on” on the weekend. I use
them for intermediate deburring, initial cleaning of castings,
special texturing, cleaning, and of course final finishing.
I wrote a small book about the use of tumblers that you might find
useful - “Tumble Finishing for Handmade Jewelry” and several of our
Orchid advertisers can supply you with a copy. It does show how to
make the porous platform for the pump.