Stonecho 3LB Rock Tumbler review – turn rocks into “gems” if you have patience

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REVIEW – As a child of the 70s, my sister and I would pour over the Sears and JCPenney Christmas catalogs each year. I can remember wanting a rock tumbler for several years and unfortunately,  Santa never brought me one… So when I was offered the Stonecho 3LB Rock Tumbler for review, I said heck yeah! Let’s see if my childhood dreams have finally been realized.

What is it?

The Stonecho 3LB Rock Tumbler is a machine that is used to smooth and polish rocks by tumbling them for days, and weeks at a time.

What’s in the box?

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  • Tumbler
  • Tumber barrel with lid
  • Power cord

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  • Strainer
  • Screwdrivers
  • Brush
  • Belt

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  • Grit packets
  • TPE plastic bead packet
  • Unpolished rocks
  • Manual

Design and features

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The Stonecho 3LB Rock Tumbler is a relatively small machine that is comprised of a base and a tumbling barrel. The machine is designed to sit on a table while it runs. You’re not going to want to run this in your home though unless you have a really large house. I’ll explain why in a bit.

The front of the machine has a basic user interface that includes a power button, pause/resume button, day selector, speed selector, and two status LCD displays that show the day countdown and speed selection.

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The top of the Stonecho 3LB Rock Tumbler has two rollers.

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The included tumbling barrel has two lids. There’s the outside lid which is secured with a plastic knob that you can tighten down.

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There’s also an internal lid with a rubber covering. This lid fits securely into the top of the rubber barrel and the outer lid fits on top so that water won’t leak out during the tumbling process.

Let’s tumble some rocks!

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Thankfully, Stonecho includes a bag of assorted untumbled/unpolished rocks with the tumbler. These rocks have jagged edges and are rough in appearance.

At this point, I should really point out that tumbling rocks is not a quick process. Don’t expect to put a handful of unpolished rocks in the tumbler and have a pile of shiny smooth rocks in a few hours. The process of polishing rocks with the Stonecho 3LB Rock Tumbler will take a minimum of 16 days up to a maximum of 24 days. I wanted to make sure to have the best results, so I went with a 24 day process.

Cycle 1:

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Rinse the included bag of rocks in the water, and place them in the tumbler.

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Pour in the first pouch of grit that is conveniently marked as step 1.

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Then fill the barrel with enough water to just cover the tops of the rocks. Secure the lids and place the barrel on the tumbler.

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Then using the cycle guide in the manual set the number of days and speed for Cycle 1. The manual says you can choose 3-5 days for the time and the speed needs to be speed 3. I went with the maximum number of days.

Now back to why you won’t want to run the Stonecho 3LB Rock Tumbler in your home… It makes a lot of noise while it’s running and it runs 24/7. Check out the video below to hear what it sounds like. I ended up setting up the tumbler in my detached garage.

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After 5 days, I opened the lid of the tumbling barrel and was greeted with brown sludge.

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But a quick rinse revealed tumbled rocks! I was amazed and excited because this was just the first cycle and there were 3 more cycles to go!

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I couldn’t figure out why I needed to do two more cycles, but then as the rocks dried, I realized that they weren’t polished. Once dry I could see that they were not shiny and there were still some jagged edges. So on to…

Cycle 2:

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With the rocks thoroughly rinsed and the barrel also cleaned, the rocks were put back inside along with the step 2 pouch of grit.

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Also, this time, the pouch of TPE plastic beads was added. These beads help to prevent the rocks from colliding with each other and as a result, improve the polishing process. With the grit and TPE beads in the barrel, water is added and the lid is secured.

For this cycle, the time can be set to 5-7 days and the speed is decreased to 2. I went with 7 days.

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After 7 days, I was greeted with a barrel full of rocks, TPE beads, and brown sludge.

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Rinsing the rocks revealed that they were smaller with smoother edges.

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Does this one remind you of a shark’s tooth?

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Ooooh pretty!

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Is this tiger eye? If not, it’s still one of my favorites.

It’s important to remember not to discard the TPE beads because you need to use them for the final 2 cycles.

Cycle 3:

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With the rocks, barrel, and TPE beads thoroughly rinsed, they all go back into the barrel along with the pouch of step 3 grit and back on the Stonecho 3LB Rock Tumbler for another 7 days.

Cycle 4:

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Seven days later, the rocks and TPE beads are again rinsed and placed back in the barrel for the last cycle. This time the grit looks more like flour than fine grey sand.

The final results!

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After the final 5-day cycle on the Stonecho 3LB Rock Tumbler, I washed the rocks and was delighted by the results which you can see above.

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The end result is a pile of shiny, smooth, rocks that actually seem to glow.

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It would be nice to know what type of rocks they actually are 🙂

See and hear it in action

What I like

  • A bag of sample rocks is included
  • Easy process (although long)
  • Results are impressive

What I’d change

  • Make it quieter
  • Takes a long time to complete all the steps
  • Include more TPE beads and grit packs

Final thoughts

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While I enjoyed reviewing the Stonecho 3LB Rock Tumbler, it’s still important to remember that tumbling rocks will not bring you instant gratification. If I’d actually received a rock tumbler when I was a kid like I had wanted, I would not have had the patience to wait 24 days for the results. I think this is the kind of thing that is fun to do once, but the idea of doing it again and again doesn’t really appeal to me. Maybe if I planned to make jewelry or something else with the rocks, I’d feel different. You will also need to buy more grit and TPE beads for subsequent tumbling sessions as well as more unpolished rocks. Stonecho does sell extra sets of grit for 3 lbs of rocks for $19.99 as well as 1 lbs of unpolished rocks also for $19.99.

Price: $99.99
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Stonecho.

2 thoughts on “Stonecho 3LB Rock Tumbler review – turn rocks into “gems” if you have patience”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. This is called a 3LB tumbler, but they gave you 1 lb of rocks? And the extra grit set is for doing 3 lbs? I’m wondering if it does actually have an up to 3-pound capacity? If you wanted a lot of polished rocks that would cut down on the total time – but would probably be even noisier!

  3. Great review!
    I love the tumbling process.
    As a result I’ve made several tumblers myself (only run a few hours at a time)
    I would love to take that tumbler off your hands if you no longer want it!

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