My Rock Tumbler!

Hello Friends!

What a boring name for a title, or so it may seem.

Chemistry was required to hear the shot heard around the world in the Battle of Concord on April 19th, 1775 leading to the American Revolutionary War.

Today, I will demonstrate a technique I use for such chemistry, the manufacturing of black powder. Like many good things out there, many chemical manufacturing processes are lengthy and it is my intention to make several posts about them. As it is a national holiday for those that engage in dulling thier senses with substances, I find writing about the manufacture of USEFUL products fitting. You are welcome to argue with me in the comments below.

Don’t do drugs. You will blow out your brain.

Yesterday, I was gifted a Harbor Freight Rock Tumbler ITEM 67631 for my birthday and I was really excited.

I will use it to prepare airfloat charcoal for an upcoming science project I have planned.

The tumbler is relatively simple to operate. Fill the drum with the product and the media necessary to either polish or pulverize.

The Unboxed Tumbler!

I use several different media for mechanically pulverizing raw materials. The ones I primarily use are lead shot, steel bbs, and glass marbles. Lead is the heaviest and the most practical but is unhealthy to handle without gloves and ventilation.

The charcoal will come from the World Renowned Campfire!

And you thought I was just relaxing. I am dutifully manufacturing.
Leftover Charcoal

The pieces need to be smaller so I use a cutting board and a wood or rubber mallet to break them up.

I never thought about it. Could I sell charcoal to Santa for the naughty ones?

After the peices are managable,

Around .5 inches or smaller works for me

I put them in the barrel or container and weight the heavy media and the soft charcoal. It is important to be aware of the weight as you do not want to burn your motor out or break a pully belt.

3 LB weight limit on this one.

Using the machine is easy. Flip the on switch and away it spins. I like to check on mine every couple of hours and sift the smaller particles by unscrewing the lid and pouring the contents into a strainer.

I add additional charcoal and repeat. This is the product I have so far.

This is not airfloat, but it is pretty small. Additional time would be necessary to make smaller particles.

Well, that is all today for my nifty Birthday present! I look forward to continuing these little projects in the future!

Author: The Storyteller

Benjamin Thiel is a husband, father, correctional professional and author of The Ongoing Tale at Brothers Campfire. His favorite quote is "Don't count the lions. It will make you afraid and slow you down."

32 thoughts on “My Rock Tumbler!”

  1. Better make sure the Alchemist doesn’t find out about this. Fortunately he can’t find you in the Book of Faces. I suppose Theodore knows or at least has the concepts down.

    1. Oh, several things. 4/20 is unofficially a day to smoke controlled substances. I manufacture black powder using a rock tumbler and there is some contol in that substance as well.

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