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Puffer in progress!


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Decided to go ahead and build a small hand operated puffer. I wanted something light enough to pack on my motorcycle and backpack but large enough to meet my needs in case I find a spot I want to spend a few hours at. Hoping the finished weight to be around 10#'s or so and collapsible.

I built the riffle tray yesterday. Went to the goodwill store to find muslin fabric on an old shirt but the tags never seem to say muslin. Not even sure what mujslin is. No idea what the fabric on this is, but it is super sheer and seems to have a fairly tight stitch. Air blows easily thru it and hopefully fine gold wont drop thru it. No problem though, easy to change the fabric.

Next step is the bellows. Looking for some naugahyde or water proof canvas to use for that. Not sure where to buy it, I'll check the fabric department at Wallmart later today to see if they have anything like that.

Still considering the hopper design. I will use sheet metal for the bottom, just rounding it out a bit, gravel should slide well on that shape. Not sure about the outlet shape yet. When folded up I want the hopper bottom to fit down into the bellows chamber, should be doable if the riffle tray is removed.

I'll post additional pics as each component is finished. Thanks for any suggestions or tips......jim

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Jim ... a former girlfriend and I used to make several trips a year to a place called JoAnn's Fabric. It's a retail chain of sewing cornucopia ... Talk to one of the nice ladies there and they will help you find just exactly what you want from silky cloth for sheer dressmaking ... her projects ... to heavy canvas cloth for chair seat making for my projects. Muslin is just a heavy flour sack material ... sometimes used for the backing of high end drapery ... another of 'her' projects.

Mike F

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Dude`s , there is no such thing as muslin cloth. Walk into any fabric shop, ask for it and you will get funny looks all day long. I`m sick of people tossing that stupid non existent name around. No you cant use diapers, flannel, t shirts ,canvas, muslin cloth, seat cushions bed sheets, dresses, etc either :nutty:

Then again I run water through my dry washer , so what do I know.

Go on eBay and buy this stuff, its the cats meow ! He ships fast and it is the real deal high quality cloth ...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DRY-WASHER-CLOTH-DREDGE-MINING-SLUICE-GOLD-METAL-DETECTOR-PAYDIRT-DESERT-/111196736724?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19e3d78cd4#ht_939wt_1104

Edited by adam
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Adam is right on. I recently put new cloth on one of my drywashers. I asked the local "experts" went to the yardage shop, bought two good looking yards of different material and went to work. Both samples leaked lots of fine dust into the box. Despite further recommendations from the "experts" I went on ebay and ordered the "secret " cloth. Kind of pricey but I am happy to say it works great and for some reason does not allow that fine dust to filter through.

There are several plans for drywashers on line. Steve Radding sells plans or a book on building mining equip. I recently saw one of his in action and it worked great.

Frank C. Sells a finished working drywasher for only 175.00.

There are options, good luck, Ed

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Thanks. Yeah it looks like fine dust will blow through the fabric I used. I will order some of that "secret" fabric from Ebay.

Franks small washer looks good and I was considering his as well as a couple others, all very reasonably priced. Part of my reason for making one is I enjoy making things as much as using them! And I can fine tune it to my needs.I am a DIY guy on most everything. Since this is just a hobby finding gold with a home made washer just adds a bit more enjoyment to it.....jim

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A minimal amount of dust is normal , but a substantial amount is not. And will clog your fabric from underneath rendering the dry washer useless until its cleaned properly. I`m speaking from a blower driven dry washer however.

The fabric in the link I provided closely resembles the fabric that comes on Keene dry washers, as I was unable to tell the difference. It is pricey but you get enough for a couple replacements, and for me that's probably about every 3000 buckets, so its well worth it.

I was exaggerating a little on the muslin cloth, but no one seems to know what it is. personally I would rather use what Keene does anyway.

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Mike, I went to JoAnn's Farbic yesterday. They had a good supply of vinyl fabrics and a Verterans day sale to boot! Thanks for the tip.

Adam, I ordered the secret cloth from Ebay, should get it next week. Thanks.

Here are pics of the completed bellows unit. It was a bit more challenging than the riffle. The geometry of the bellows is complex, at least as far as getting the fabric to fit the shape. I used a similar pattern to one posted for the Wee puffer a few years ago. Seemed to go well until I tried stretching the lower section into place. Just too tight, but I was able to get it to shape well by tapering the lower section a bit. Lost a little volume I guess, but the shape of the bellows is good and I tried it out by covering the top of the riffles with cardboard to test the inlet valve. Works great!

Hopper construction is next......jim

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Edited by Paleomanjim
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there very well may be no such thing Adam but I went into "yardage town" here in Santee looking for some greenscreen a few months back and just inside the door to the right was a roll labeled "Muslin cloth".

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The Buckets correct Adam, as a matter of fact Wallmart's fabric dept's always carry a selection of what is called "muslin" cloth.
The UPC stickers on the bolts of fabric even say "muslin" on them.
I have used a 65/35 blend of cotton/polyester muslin as well as 100% cotton over the years.
I do believe the 65/35 has static electricity properties.
And IMHO a blower unit and a puffer are different animals as far as I am concerned.
Try goin into a fabric store an askin for Indian Head Cloth :ROFL:

P.S. I believe that black cloth sellin on fleabay is a very possibly landscaping material. I have been told about it in the past but never investigated it.

Edited by frank c
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Hi Frank,

Ya my response was related to the last time I looked for cloth :grr01: Went to 2 fabric shops in town, and neither even had a cloth comparable to the stuff on my riffle tray. Some was close but looked weak , like it would fall apart after a while. It was a frustrating ....I have used the stuff I put in the link above from eBay , and it is very nice, consistent, strong looking cloth. We recovered I think 6 grams of super fine gold with it already.

I wondered if there were a difference between puffer cloth and blower cloth, but in the end, I would think it would accomplish the same thing...to recover fine gold. And now the rain is coming :2mo5pow:

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Yeah I was lookin to get out this weekend for some beepin but it looks like it may be a muddy weekend.
One day soon I hope I am going to find out about another line of material that an ol timer told me to investagate.

Just watchin the end of "LUST FOR GOLD " with Glenn Ford good flick about the Superstitions an Jacob.

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Any quality cotton muslin with a smooth finish and a high thread count works great. A good quality linen sheet or the back of a dress shirt is perfect. If you stretch some cotton material too tight it will make it too thin.

Nytex nylon seive screen is the absolute best.

I use Cordura fabric for my bellows. Like a hiking shoe or a holster.

Your best bet for riffle cloth is pillow cases. Plenty of these around for cheap. You just need to get a quality piece of cloth with a high thread count and a smooth finish.

When dust clogs my blower machine it is always about dusty intake air. Never had a problem with cloth on the puffer or the blower. I have been using pillowcases and the backs of dress shirts for 30 years now. Made hundreds of drywashers with both cotton muslin and Nytex tables and they work slick and catch the gold every bit as good as any "secret fabric".

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Here is the completed puffer dry washer. I made a few modifications to the previous components: Hinged the hopper to the bellows chamber instead of riffle box. Changed the fabric to the secret cloth, it was only $20 and have enough to change it out 6 times! Tried the rope pull and it worked OK, but decided to try a rope lever instead. The lever is effortless and smooth and by grabbing the bamboo lever close to the mid section only 3" of travel is required to move the bellows fully. I can easily match the rate of a powered unit.

Kinda surprised how well the thing works. I was expecting problems with the distribution of dirt in the riffle tray but found the dirt evenly dispersed between the riffles, so no loss of compression. The hopper feeds perfectly with no hang up of dirt on the skid. Total weight of completed puffer including lever and rope is 10 lbs.

I ran a couple buckets of back yard gravel through it. Cant wait to try it out in the field! Might be a couple weeks before I can get back out there though

I do have one question for folks with more experience with these puffers: How quick should I move the bellows? The riffle tray is so well sealed that even a slow bellows movement causes the dirt to rise up and over the riffles. A little more speed causes it to jump over the riffles and slightly more effort causes the dirt to lift maybe 2" above the riffles. Any tips appreciated....jim

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You guys need to listen to Bedrock Bob! he is telling it like it is! All that BS about Keene cloth is just that BS, it passes more dust into the riffle box than any other kind of cloth out there and its a rip off at that price.

I may not have built hundreds of dry washers but I have built my share and every one of them worked. and yes a blower type will stop up the cloth if its run with damp material especially if it contains clay , just wash it and let it dry.

I am so tired of hearing about secret cloth that has magical properties, gold is NOT magnetic, if it was then you could build a dry washer type machine with wire that would be magnetic and catch any gold that passes over it, do you really think that a lot of people far smarter than most of the people on here and Efraud have not tried this? Undoubtly it could be done with some atomic process but at what costs?

I say SHOW ME this magnetic field! How?

Some time back we had a discussion about gas powered vacs building up STATIC , everyone I have ever had does it under the right conditions having to do with the dust composition and humidity, static causes explosions in grain elevators, just do the research! Static is not magnetic. static does not affect every one some peoples skin resistance is higher than others.

Dry washer in picture is one of 15 that I built and sold using the same old cotton bed sheet and everyone of them worked, at least none where ever returned or complained about, I also was using the 5 gallon bucket for a hopper before I ever saw another one!

:knight-horse::m2c:

Any quality cotton muslin with a smooth finish and a high thread count works great. A good quality linen sheet or the back of a dress shirt is perfect. If you stretch some cotton material too tight it will make it too thin.

Nytex nylon seive screen is the absolute best.

I use Cordura fabric for my bellows. Like a hiking shoe or a holster.

Your best bet for riffle cloth is pillow cases. Plenty of these around for cheap. You just need to get a quality piece of cloth with a high thread count and a smooth finish.

When dust clogs my blower machine it is always about dusty intake air. Never had a problem with cloth on the puffer or the blower. I have been using pillowcases and the backs of dress shirts for 30 years now. Made hundreds of drywashers with both cotton muslin and Nytex tables and they work slick and catch the gold every bit as good as any "secret fabric".

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Edited by Gilaoro
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....And IMHO a blower unit and a puffer are different animals as far as I am concerned.

Frank, yeah, I have never used a blower unit but it does seem to be a different animal based on how it works. The blower is directional "one way", whereas the puffer undergoes slight negative pressure as the bellows fill back up, maybe causing just a slight air flow backward, but that is just a guess.

I know nothing about fabric and did not mean to cause any stir about it. I bought the "secret cloth" figuring it had to be at least as good or better than what I first put on it.

Gilaroro, not sure if you are referring to me using a bucket, but there is no bucket used on my puffer dry washer. I used sheet metal to fabricate the hopper because I think it allows sand and gravel to slide better than plastic. I have never seen your drywasher or pics of it before....My drywasher design is based on ideas I got from Eskel when he let me use his larger motor powered unit at GB a couple weeks ago. Also got some ideas studying pics of Franks unit, pics of the Wee-washer as well as some Youtube videos showing working units.

Bob, thanks for the tips on the beat, I'll try keeping it around 2 to 3 beats/second.....

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Jim nobodys gettn down on ya or upset, everybody has an opinion on each aspect of composition. That's what makes this group so GREAT :thumbsupanim

Never said anyone was getting down on me Frank, seems more like folks were getting down on each other

Edited by Paleomanjim
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I am so tired of hearing about secret cloth that has magical properties, gold is NOT magnetic, if it was then you could build a dry washer type machine with wire that would be magnetic and catch any gold that passes over it, do you really think that a lot of people far smarter than most of the people on here and Efraud have not tried this? Undoubtly it could be done with some atomic process but at what costs?

I say SHOW ME this magnetic field! How?

Some time back we had a discussion about gas powered vacs building up STATIC , everyone I have ever had does it under the right conditions having to do with the dust composition and humidity, static causes explosions in grain elevators, just do the research! Static is not magnetic. static does not affect every one some peoples skin resistance is higher than others.

Amen Max

I got into it over this very topic with another member a few years ago. I could never convince him this vibrostatic and electrostatic nonsense Keene uses in their ads for the 151 & 140 is nothing more then a marketing gimmick. Don't misunderstand me. It's a good drywasher but the so called "vibrostatic" and "electrostatic" properties have nothing to do with a better recovery rate.

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Static is generated any time particles move. No doubt the plastic box on a Keene develops a static charge. If this is an aid to recovery it remains to be proven.

A leaf or a twig would be much more prone to be held by static than a particle of gold. I played around with a sandblaster a lot and did some experiments with that hose when it was super charged up. You could get fine clay dust and grass seeds to cling but no gold dust. It slid right off. And the hose had a charge that would zap an arc across a two inch gap!

Static makes a good sales pitch and a Keene plastic box does develop a lot of static. The machines will recover gold well as a result of good design and so will most others. But in my opinion the static argument is just a bunch of static. If one drywasher catches more gold than another there are plenty of other variables that are the cause.

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Indeed BB... I believe that most drywashers to date will perform roughly the same and if any one did better than the other well...that's where the variables could come into play. For the common prospector it's all about how much you want to spend or the size of drywasher you want, they will all work just fine. I really like that tiny one Frankie makes, but I'd like it even smaller. Maybe something I could use to take the place of drypanning for sampling...the "super sampler"! Something that could maybe fit inside a backpack zipped up... just a thought. :idea:

By the way Jim, your drywasher looks fantastic!! I personally think you did a great job and may it serve you well.

Edited by Bucket
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Thanks bucket. You may have seen this but here is a link to the wee-washer, very tiny puffer that would be great for sampling! With no hopper it should be easy and fast to build one....

http://www.billandlindaprospecting.com/wee-washer.html

We had over 1" of rain here in Vegas yesterday! And it is still coming down. Don't know about GB but it may be months before it dries out enough to field test my puffer. Bummer!

I think I will add a slide gate to the hopper outlet. It feeds well, but may have flooded the riffle tray a bit. A simple sheet metal slide gate will do the job, but I need to figure out how to bond sheet metal to sheet metal. Any ideas? Too thin to weld and its galvanized anyway. Don't want to use rivets as they will protrude into the hopper and impede gravel flow. I don't think epoxy will hold, need something sticky, maybe shoo goo or something....

thanks again everyone.....jim

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