Are you interested in the lapidary business or picking it up as a hobby? There are many different things to learn about and many nuances to consider. The choices can be daunting. You should dive deep into the type of equipment you’ll be using. Rock tumblers come in many different shapes and sizes, and some are more beginner-friendly than others. So what are the two kinds of rock tumblers? Which one is best for you? Read on to find out.
Rotary tumblers are incredibly easy to use, and as a beginner, this is a boon. It also boasts a simple and clean design at a low cost. It can smooth raw and rough gems into a more pleasing and refined shape. It’s also a more “set and forget” device, where you can leave it unsupervised for a while. Plus, it’s incredibly quiet. However, it isn’t a perfect choice. It’s slower than its vibratory counterpart, requires more “grit,” and can cause leakage in the barrel. While it works with many of the commonly used gemstones, it’s clear that rotary tumblers are best for beginner hobbyists.
Vibratory tumblers can be more expensive than rotary tumblers. However, they’re far faster than rotary tumblers. They can also polish exceptionally fragile or delicate gems. This is important because some gems will break if you improperly handle them. Not all of them have the same structural integrity. A vibratory tumbler also uses less grit overall. However, it requires more supervision and isn’t as easy to use as rotary tumblers. It’s also noisier.
Which Is Best for You?
So out of the two kinds of tumblers, which is the right one for you? It depends. They both have advantages and disadvantages, but rotary tumblers will win every time if you’re a beginner. If you want to get more gemstones out of your batch or you’re more advanced, you can probably forgo the rotary altogether.
In short, there’s no wrong answer here. Some tumblers are better than others, depending on your needs. It’s a matter of your experience level and what you hope to get out of your tumbler. Overall, both of these options have something to offer you.