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Step-By-Step Guide: How To Properly Oil Your Rock Tumbler

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Rock tumblers are enjoyable and may be used to create a wide range of stones for various applications, including decorations and jewelry. However, rock tumblers require maintenance, such as regularly oiling them to keep them working properly. So, how do you oil your rock tumbler properly?

Identify the bearings and the oil ports on the motor. Clean the bearings and motor with a clean rag. Place one drop of oil on the drive shaft adjacent to the bearing and then move the shaft through the bearing; do this for each bearing. Then, place one drop of oil into each oil port on the motor. 

What is the best oil to use on your rock tumbler? Can you use WD40 to lubricate your rock tumblers’ moving parts? How do you ensure you oil your rock tumbler correctly? Let’s find out!

How To Properly Oil Your Rock Tumbler
How To Properly Oil Your Rock Tumbler

If you want to check out the best oil for rock tumblers, you can find it here (Amazon link).

What Oil Do I Use On My Rock Tumbler

Rock tumbling is a fun activity that may also be used for business, as you can create beautiful rocks for handicrafts, jewelry, and decorations. This is a simple activity that can be done at home without the need for costly equipment or other expenses.

Rock tumbling is a family-friendly hobby that requires only a tumbler, a few other things such as water and grit, and, of course, some stones.

Even though rock tumblers are essential devices with a motor that merely turns the barrel in a circular motion, you must maintain them to guarantee that they last as long as possible and function properly.

You’ll need to oil your rock tumbler regularly. To ensure that your rock tumbler operates properly, apply lubricating oil to its various parts every 30 days.

Some lubricating oils are better than others for lubricating your rock tumbler. For rock tumblers, use a high-quality light motor or machine oil that may be applied to metal and plastic parts without producing difficulties.

You must ensure that the oil is of high quality, as low-quality oil will accumulate on your tumbler’s bearings and other components. This can cause your rock tumbler to malfunction or break.

Using too much oil can cause “gum” to form on the moving parts of your rock tumbler, causing it to break if left on for an extended amount of time.

Can I Use WD40 On My Rock Tumbler?

When you own a rock tumbler, purchasing high-quality lubricating oil for your machine can quickly become expensive, especially since you must oil your tumbler every 30 days. As a result, some rock tumbler enthusiasts may seek alternatives to these very pricey lubricants.

Many rock tumbler hobbyists are interested in trying WD-40 as an alternative. After all, WD40 is utilized in various sorts of machinery, so why not use it in your rock tumbler? Is this a brilliant idea, or could it cause problems in the future with your rock tumbler?

Well, WD40 is not intended to be a lubricant. WD40 is cleaning and will not lubricate your rock tumbler’s moving parts as effectively as you had thought. When extra oil or dust accumulates on the moving parts of your rock tumbler, WD40 is the right solution.

The WD40 will remove these from your tumbler. However, do not use WD 40 to lubricate your rock tumbler. This will not thoroughly lubricate your rock tumbler and will wear out faster than an adequately greased tumbler.

TIP: There are two different types of rock tumblers and one of them is the vibratory rock tumbler. Find out how vibratory rock tumblers work in the article below:
Vibratory Rock Tumblers: How They Work & Which One Is Best?

How To Oil Rock Tumbler

Oiling your rock tumbler is a simple task that requires minimal effort.

Rock tumblers require oil in two locations: the bearings and the motors. Oiling the bearings keeps them from squeaking and extending their life.

Bearings in older motors must be oiled, whereas bearings in modern motors are factory-sealed and do not need lubrication to function correctly.

Let’s go over how to lubricate your rock tumblers’ bearings and motors so they perform correctly for years.

Here’s how to lubricate the bearings in your rock tumbler.

Step 1 – identify the location of the bearings. There will be one bearing on each side of the drive shaft. There will also be one bearing on each side of the idler shaft. 

Step 2 – use a rag or paper towel to remove any dirt or excess oil from the bearings. Make sure you rotate the shaft with your free hand to remove all the dirt or oil from the bearings. If you do not clean the bearings properly, the excess oil will attract and collect dirt, grit, and dust, which will damage your bearings. 

Step 3 – Open the oil you have chosen to buy and carefully apply one drop of the oil to the drive shaft adjacent to the bearing. Once done, you must rotate the driveshaft and slide the shaft back and forth through the bearing. Then wipe off any excess oil, and your bearings are ready. Repeat this process every 30 days. 

Here is how to oil your rock tumbler motor:

Step 1 – locate the two oil ports on your motor. One port on both ends of the motor should be above the driveshaft.

Step 2 – use a clean, dry cloth or rag and clean the motor to ensure no dirt or dust is present. If you don’t do this, dirt and dust could enter the motor with the oil and cause problems. 

Step 3 – Place one drop of oil inside each oil port on the motor. Wipe off any excess oil, and your motor is now oiled. Repeat this process every 30 days.

TIP: Once you have tumbled your rocks and have loads of gorgeously polished gemstones, you may wonder what you can do with them. Check out simple and clever ideas in the article below:
What Can You Do with Tumbled Rocks? 10 Simple & Clever Ideas

Best Oil For Rock Tumblers

Now that we’ve covered how to oil your rock tumbler properly let’s look at the best oil to use. The most recommended oil for rock tumblers is 3-in-1-10045 motor oil (Amazon link).

This oil is ideal for rock tumblers because it is lightweight and lubricates small electric motors. This oil is a high-quality oil blend with an SAE 20 oil rating, which is outstanding. This oil also provides extended wear protection, so using it will ensure you get the most out of your rock tumbler.

BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):


Rock tumblers are a wonderful activity for individuals of all ages. However, rock tumblers need to be maintained to function properly.

One type of maintenance is oiling the machine. Fortunately, this is a basic task that is easily completed. Just make sure you use the correct, high-quality oil!

TIP: You need some key supplies and equipment to ensure your tumbled rocks come out looking smooth and shiny. Check them out in the article below:
GUIDE: Rock Tumbler Accessories, Equipment & Supplies