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Building the Ultimate Dry Washer

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Last year I started a project to build a custom Dry Washer in order to process much larger quantity's of material while also improving efficiency as much as possible to retain all gold fed into it. That project was completed last night except for the final feed hopper that is still in design.

When drawing up plans I identified the following problems with current commercial dry washers I have or have used in the past.

Very slow at processing gravel and the gravel must be pre screened down to 1/4" minus. Material must be run twice or more. Poor riffle design and riffles are poorly sealed against gold migrating to one end and going under and around the riffles while following the sluice side. The method of vibration rotating parallel to the sluice induces a rotational vibration that forces heavies to one side of the sluice where it piles up and starts to walk over the riffles. Steel riffle trays are heavy and poorly fitted to the box allowing paths around or under the riffles for fine gold to be lost. No air control other than motor speed so more vibration also means more air through the cloth which is not always desired. No dead space behind riffles to let the heavies settle out and stay in place. All riffles are made the exact same as well as air flow up through them.

I felt that making my own box that eliminated all those concerns might result in a Dry Washer that equals a dredge in gold recovery.

To make the thing light and strong the entire thing is made of 6061 T6.5 aluminum sheet and plate including the riffles. The punch plate is 3/16" aluminum and machined for air movement in front of each riffle in varying amounts as well as the dead space behind each riffle varies. The height of the riffles vary as do their spacing. In the rear of the box is an air damper that can be adjusted for air flow. The surface of the punch plate is machined flat as is the bottom and sides of the riffle tray for an air tight seal when closed. There are other mods also including a totally different approach to vibration that prevents gold from shaking to one side of the box but I'm not willing to tell how yet in case it has commercial value.

Tried the box out last night with fine and coarse lead mixed into a bucket of actual wash material brought home from the last trip for just this testing purpose with 100% recovery on all 4 runs as well as quite a bit of gold I did not know was in the dirt on the first run. No gold was found in the following runs of the bucket. It runs the material faster than my 151 also.

Here are some pics as I made it, keep in mind it is not finished yet but now operable. Both stand and hopper are borrowed from another machine and will be replaced with improved versions.

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Hey LL......

Looks interesting.....

I'm curious about something, I've been discussing whether or not we can remove materials from the lands, and process them elsewhere, with a friend...

The FS greenie that he ran into says "NO".....

In previous posts of yours, you seem educated in 'their' ways, and I was wondering what you knew, since you said you brought the material home from a wash...

Wasn't taking away from your drywasher Bob, just curious what you knew about this...

thanks.

~wyld~

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Hey LL......

Looks interesting.....

I'm curious about something, I've been discussing whether or not we can remove materials from the lands, and process them elsewhere, with a friend...

The FS greenie that he ran into says "NO".....

In previous posts of yours, you seem educated in 'their' ways, and I was wondering what you knew, since you said you brought the material home from a wash...

Wasn't taking away from your drywasher Bob, just curious what you knew about this...

thanks.

~wyld~

The way I understand it after all these years is that if you hold the valid claim, all minerals contained on it (surface gravels for placer and bedrock materials for hard rock) are yours to remove pursuant to the plan or notice agreements with the governing agency involved. Dry washers are looked at somewhat favorably with FS and BLM as doing minimal disturbances and my contacts with Prescott FS resulted in no plan being required for our intended operations. I know of no rules that says I can't remove the pay gravels and process them at my "facility" of choice. When doing so though I do keep a copy of my claim papers with me to help prove my story of the materials source being legal for me to have in possession.

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Hey LL------

thanks for the reply...

I'm curious about lands that are open to 'exploration, and discovery' of minerals...

Not claimed lands......

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I think your title-"Building the Ultimate Dry Washer, A Dry Washer that equals a dredge in recovery rates" is somewhat misleading. There's simply no way you can build drywasher that will equal the recovery rate of a dredge 100% of the time. It all depends what area you're in, what size gold if found as well the type of ground. It may get 100% in some areas but far less in others.

That's still a great looking drywasher though. Good luck with it.

Steve

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Last year I started a project to build a custom Dry Washer in order to process much larger quantity's of material while also improving efficiency as much as possible to retain all gold fed into it. That project was completed last night except for the final feed hopper that is still in design.

When drawing up plans I identified the following problems with current commercial dry washers I have or have used in the past.

Very slow at processing gravel and the gravel must be pre screened down to 1/4" minus. Material must be run twice or more. Poor riffle design and riffles are poorly sealed against gold migrating to one end and going under and around the riffles while following the sluice side. The method of vibration rotating parallel to the sluice induces a rotational vibration that forces heavies to one side of the sluice where it piles up and starts to walk over the riffles. Steel riffle trays are heavy and poorly fitted to the box allowing paths around or under the riffles for fine gold to be lost. No air control other than motor speed so more vibration also means more air through the cloth which is not always desired. No dead space behind riffles to let the heavies settle out and stay in place. All riffles are made the exact same as well as air flow up through them.

I felt that making my own box that eliminated all those concerns might result in a Dry Washer that equals a dredge in gold recovery.

To make the thing light and strong the entire thing is made of 6061 T6.5 aluminum sheet and plate including the riffles. The punch plate is 3/16" aluminum and machined for air movement in front of each riffle in varying amounts as well as the dead space behind each riffle varies. The height of the riffles vary as do their spacing. In the rear of the box is an air damper that can be adjusted for air flow. The surface of the punch plate is machined flat as is the bottom and sides of the riffle tray for an air tight seal when closed. There are other mods also including a totally different approach to vibration that prevents gold from shaking to one side of the box but I'm not willing to tell how yet in case it has commercial value.

Tried the box out last night with fine and coarse lead mixed into a bucket of actual wash material brought home from the last trip for just this testing purpose with 100% recovery on all 4 runs as well as quite a bit of gold I did not know was in the dirt on the first run. No gold was found in the following runs of the bucket. It runs the material faster than my 151 also.

Here are some pics as I made it, keep in mind it is not finished yet but now operable. Both stand and hopper are borrowed from another machine and will be replaced with improved versions.

Nice welding job! Give me a yell if you need a fat guy with a shovel.

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I think your title-"Building the Ultimate Dry Washer, A Dry Washer that equals a dredge in recovery rates" is somewhat misleading. There's simply no way you can build drywasher that will equal the recovery rate of a dredge 100% of the time. It all depends what area you're in, what size gold if found as well the type of ground. It may get 100% in some areas but far less in others.

That's still a great looking drywasher though. Good luck with it.

Steve

While I agree that it's a pretty tough thing to accomplish I don't agree for a minute that its not possible. The changes in construction done to this unit has vastly improved its efficiency over other I've used. So far, so good and even more testing in real field situations will start this weekend. As it is now it's pretty darn close to a dredge of equal size.

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Nice welding job! Give me a yell if you need a fat guy with a shovel.

Hey Glen, we are going out this weekend for a shake down run at a new spot. I'll give you a call so maybe we can hook up next week and dredge a little. May need to do some road work first.

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cool punchplate. Just wondering how you made it or what type of machine made it. Looks like it would be a lot of work on a manual mill.

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cool punchplate. Just wondering how you made it or what type of machine made it. Looks like it would be a lot of work on a manual mill.

I have a Milltronics CNC mill here at the house that I used. Hit "go baby" and went to bed while it did the work.

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Great idea and machine work. As a former gunsmith, I still wish I had my lathe and other equipment. Sold it all when I moved from Idaho to Arizona. Let us know how it works in the field. I'm betting pretty darn good results !!

John K

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Hi LL,

How did you determine how much airflow for each riffle? Looks like it is well built. Looking forward

to hear about your shake down run.

Rich

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Hi LL,

How did you determine how much airflow for each riffle? Looks like it is well built. Looking forward

to hear about your shake down run.

Rich

Determined that by the SWAG method and after yesterday it looks like it needs more air flow and certainly more vibration. Didn't find much at the spot we had high hopes for but thats prospecting.

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Determined that by the SWAG method and after yesterday it looks like it needs more air flow and certainly more vibration. Didn't find much at the spot we had high hopes for but thats prospecting.

Road work! Last time we went out I had to have my truck frame welded back together! Maybe quads next time. I will be fishing a tourney at roosevelt this weekend but any one after that would work.

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Road work! Last time we went out I had to have my truck frame welded back together! Maybe quads next time. I will be fishing a tourney at roosevelt this weekend but any one after that would work.

That road is one of the better ones into good spots. LOL Next time in there I'll be taking 4, 55gal drums of water along with and drive all the way in in my rig. You will be welcome to come in and play for the weekend also.

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Determined that by the SWAG method and after yesterday it looks like it needs more air flow and certainly more vibration. Didn't find much at the spot we had high hopes for but thats prospecting.

Hi LL,

Any new reports on this?

Jimbeax

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Yeah it's not supposed to rain in the dessert during the winter... I went and bought a drywasher and fu@#@$ it all up!

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Jag

I guess us old guys should have gave you the real low down

on drywashing. Since you are a pretty good sort of a feller,I

will let you in on how we get drywasher gold anytime. :Huh_anim]:

You should have bought the wringer type,just run your dirt through

the wringer,and you are good to go. :smilie_pinoc: :laught16: :laught16: :laught16:

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Sawmill, Their you go giving away secrets. We should have held out for at least a free fishing weekend. :smilie_pinoc: :laught16::laught16::laught16:

OL'29er :innocent0009: :banged: :ROFL::miner:

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You boys are silly! You know darn well I can't afford one of those after affording the drywasher! lol. I have been drying some dirt from a recent trip but now that christmas break is over, I get home so late, it's too darn cold!

By the way Bob... you don't have to scam me for a fishing trip. Your always welcome. Just have to catch me with money and time. At this particular moment it's honestly too cold lol. I am a big wimp. But when it warms up I'll be getting back into it. I don't ever catch anything but a buzz anyways. :ph34r2:

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You boys are silly! You know darn well I can't afford one of those after affording the drywasher! lol. I have been drying some dirt from a recent trip but now that christmas break is over, I get home so late, it's too darn cold!

By the way Bob... you don't have to scam me for a fishing trip. Your always welcome. Just have to catch me with money and time. At this particular moment it's honestly too cold lol. I am a big wimp. But when it warms up I'll be getting back into it. I don't ever catch anything but a buzz anyways. :ph34r2:

If that is the kind of nuggets that new dry washer gets from wet dirt, I want one too!

Jimbeax

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