Basalt Crushing Technique 4

This is the fourth attempt to crush basalt gravel into usable particle sizes for the SPORE Pressure Experiment 1 and the first to use a power tool (electric drill).

I saw a guy on YouTube grinding down rocks to pan the powder for gold ( It seemed to work pretty well for him so I decided to give it a shot. And it wouldn’t be too expensive since I already had most of the gear.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for me. Maybe because basalt is much tougher than the stuff he was crushing. Or maybe because of something else. Whatever the reason, this technique is a no-go.

Electric drill, concrete grinding wheel, metal utensil holder, and a wood frame.


  • To make enough basalt particles of the correct sizes to start running the SPORE Pressure Experiment 1.
    • 2000 microns (#10 sieve)
    • 63 microns (#230 sieve)


  • 0.5″-1″ basalt gravel
  • Electric drill
  • 5/8″ x 12″ threaded steel rod
    • one end ground down to fit a 1/2″ chuck drill
  • 5/8″ nuts (2), washers (1), and lock washers (1)
  • SUNJOYCO 4″ Diamond Cup Grinding Wheel (2 different configurations) bought off Amazon
  • Stainless steel utensil holder 4 3/4″ (Internal Diameter) x 6 1/2″ tall
  • Plywood 24″ x 24″ x 3/4″
  • Wood board 4″ x 24″ x 1″
  • Weather stripping (I tossed the packaging so I don’t know the type)
    • Used to secure the utensil holder
  • A small paint brush
  • Geology screen sieve set
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) Gloves
  • Impact resistant goggles
  • Dust mask (not needed)
  • Ear plugs (not needed for this experiment but would definitely be necessary if I continued for much longer).
  • Plastic bags for each particle size.


  • It’s pretty simple.
  • Put a small handful of basalt gravel in the utensil holder.
  • Put the drill/threaded rod/concrete grinding wheel/wood dust shield assembly into the utensil holder.
  • Move the drill assembly up and down while drill is engaged.
  • Be disappointed with the results.


  • The wood frame to hold the utensil holder worked great. No movement at all. The holder worked fine as well
  • The wood dust cap worked well.
  • The modified threaded rods worked well also.
  • The cement grinders did NOT work very well. The drill would get caught and stop. Some of the gravel would break up but not a lot. It took a couple of minutes to break up just a few pieces of gravel.


  • Failure. This technique was probably the slower and less efficient than technique 3.
  • I figure I have 3 options:
    • Abandon the experiment.
      • It was really just a proof of concept anyway. It’s not really necessary.
      • I could look for research into gas permeability through other soil types. It might be just as good as doing the experiment. I looked a while ago when I first thought of this experiment but I can try again.
      • This option should be much less expensive. It will also be less interesting than doing an actual experiment.
    • Buy an expensive piece of equipment.
      • I can buy an impact crusher that attaches to my angle grinder. I don’t have the setup to build one. This will cost around $400.
      • I can buy a hand operated jaw crusher for around $400.
      • Ball mills are still off the table. One manufacturer told me that the material should be no larger than 1/8″ and if I can’t grind it with a mortar and pestle it will be too hard for the ball mill.
      • This doesn’t change the facts that I don’t have the correct workspace to do this efficiently.
    • Use material with the correct particle size that isn’t basalt.
      • This is assuming that I can find such material to buy on the Internet in the first place.
      • Again, I don’t really have room to store it or to really build the experiment anyway.


Balcony workspace. The definition of sub-optimal.
Container and framework to secure it
Close up of container and framework
Cement grinding wheels
Parts for drill grinder
Completed assembly
Wrenched on tight
Basalt gravel in utensil holder
Ready to grind
Disappointing results

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