Lyman Turbo 1200 as Rock Tumbler?


January 19, 2013, 02:17 AM
Sorry if this post isn't strictly about reloading. But, it does deal with reloading gear. I'm just wondering if anybody has used their case tumblers to tumble rocks (I have a Lyman Turbo 1200). I ask because I used a regular rock tumbler I picked up at a flea market to clean my brass years ago. My friend's kids are into rocks right now, so I was wondering if it would hurt my Lyman if I threw some rocks and polishing media in there.

Sorry if this post is in the wrong section - or inappropriate.

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January 19, 2013, 03:13 AM
Probably destroy it, and not do diddly to the rocks.

January 19, 2013, 11:19 AM

Rock polishers are generally Drum Tumblers.

You have a vibrator.

And I would not want my case polisher bowl contaminated with ground in Silicon carbide abrasive.


January 19, 2013, 12:30 PM
Polishing rocks requires water. I doubt that your lyman would handle that very well.

January 19, 2013, 12:57 PM
Lots of rock people use vibrators instead of rotary tumblers for rock polishers. They are much, much faster than rotary tumblers, and do not round the rocks as much. You do not need to add water and the residual silica carbide does nothing to the brass later. My only warnings are don't over-fill it. Rocks are heavy.

The downside is your brass cleaner vibrator will wear out, but a base model Lyman 1200 is like $60, which is a deal for polishing rocks or brass.

That said, I use a 40# rotary tumbler for rocks. Will handle a 5 gallon bucket of rocks. The vibrator was too small for the amount of rock we handle and the larger vibrators-deburr systems were too expensive for me.

January 20, 2013, 12:16 AM
If you go to the picture of your bench section you will notice two Thumler's Tumbler Ultra Vibe 18 models. They are vibratory rock tumblers. Back in the day almost all reloaders used these. Most reloading companies didn't have vibratory cleaners. The best.thing about Thumlers are they are bullet proof. Being designed to run for weeks at a time polishing heavy rocks, brass cleaning will never wear them out. One.of mine was purchased in the 1970's and is still running. Sure your brass tumbler will polish rocks but unsure as to durability in that configuration. Anyone remember the RCBS Sidewinder?

January 20, 2013, 06:12 AM
Thanks for the advice, guys. I guess the kids are out of luck, I'll keep my Lyman strictly on brass duty for now. Guess it's time to haunt the flea markets again and find another rotary tumbler.

January 20, 2013, 09:15 AM
fwiw, i only use a Thumler's rotary tumbler for brass now. i started out using it just for wet tumbling with stainless media, but i ran it dry with walnut shell once as an experiment and found that it worked better and faster than the Cabela's vibratory i had at the time. sold the vibratory and never looked back. i only do the stainless thing when the cases are really filthy, like some 5.56 i recently got that looked like it was dug out of a rice paddy in Da Nang. i keep the stock Thumler's drum wet and use improvised drums for the dry tumbling. coffee cans and those plastic containers they sell lysol wipes in work well.

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