DIY rock tumbler pulley

 

 

 

Long lasting Rock Tumbler Belts

tumbler_belts

Long lasting Rock Tumbler Belts

For the past 5 years, the only part of the rock tumbling setup that feels uncontrollably delicate is the belt. The tumbler has a steel frame with rollerblade ball bearings for every motion point, but the belt still remains a weak point. Short of a direct drive, I've tried every brand of rock tumbling belt (for this class of tumbler), plumbing o-rings, rubber bands, hair ties, auto radiator cap gaskets... seemed like heat and months of strain through the small pulleys took its toll. Wish the system was as robust as a vacuum cleaner drive system..... AAAAAHHH HAAAAA!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY rock tumbler pulley

Long lasting Rock Tumbler Belts

Out with the round and v-shaped belts and in with the nylon-reinforced flat rubber vacuum cleaner belts! Oh, crap - outfitting the Fasco motor and the tumbler's 1/4" shafts with pulleys that match the shape and diameters that I need will be impossible. I could reconfigure the drive distances to retrofit stock pulleys from McMaster Carr or Grainger ($30 a piece!) but that would require rewelding the frame a little. Pass.

I thought if I had a lath, I think I could make exactly the pulleys I needed to run with stock vacuum cleaner belts... then I remembered I hadn't run a lath since 1981. Let's start the in-shop improvisation. Start cutting, and the hope solutions follow. I knew scroll sawing perfect circles was out, decided to try a set of drill-mounted hole saws.

 

 

 

Cutting perfect disks

I DIY rock tumbler pulley needed decent plywood (hardwood with a high ply count) and a hole saw set that had larger dies, 3" or larger. Know that a tight pulley diameter contributed with belt wear - I wanted pulleys of 3" for the smallest one, then calculate out the needed diameter to maintain the correct rpm that I had been using. 

 

 

 

 

 

As with a lot of Harbor Freight items - the tools usually work as advertised but wouldn't last in the hands of a general contractor. The Harbor Freight hole saw set does the trick for this. 

DIY rock tumbler pulley
Good good. Now what? Same as 30mins ago, I still don't have a lathe. I'll "chuck" this ro ugh cut disk ontop a 1/2 20 screw and ... do something with it on a drill, best guess would be to drag a square file across it to create the flat channel. Doh! No small flat file! Shift to trying a zaw saw blade, glovelessly hand-held of course.

 

 

 

 

 

DIY rock tumbler pulley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


It worked!

 
 
 

DIY rock tumbler pulley

DIY rock tumbler pulley

DIY rock tumbler pulley

 

 

 

Feel free to contact me with questions or to add your feedback:

info.jonathansantos.com@gmail.com