I’ve used a vibratory tumbler for burnishing metal, but not for
I’d imagine that the various abrasive grits used in rock
polishing would work similar to used for burnishing, except
they’d be cutting rather than burnishing. A vibratory tumbler
should work faster than the typical rotary barrel tumbler.
In a barrel tumbler, the media & rocks take on the shape of the
barrel except for the side that slopes from the top to the
bottom as the barrel turns. The only portion of the contents that
are actively polishing at any given time is the relatively thin
layer (about 1 in. thick) that’s sliding form the top to the
bottom. The remainder of the media & rocks are just being
positioned for there slide down the hill.
In a vibratory tumbler, everything is constantly in motion,
bumping into its’ neighbor. The cutting/polishing action is
taking place throughout the entire mixture. This full time
action greatly reduces the time required to cut/polish a rock.
Gesswein, Rio Grande & Swest all have various sized vibratory
tumblers listed in their catalogs. Another co. that makes good
vibratory tumblers is Gemstone Equipment Mfg., 750 Easy St., Simi
Valley CA 93065, 800-235-3375.
The type & size of unit needed will be determined by your
requirements. If you’re going into rock polishing in a commercial
way as opposed to a once in a while thing, the equipment
requirements would be completely different.
Basically though, a vibratory tumbler is faster than a barrel