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Jack H

Gas Vac and new vortex separator

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I made the gas vac on the right several years back. I used a 4" abs pipe, standard toilet flange and a screw on lid. It works pretty well. Problem with running straight into the bucket below the motor is when it gets about half full it starts sucking rocks through the fan blades. So, I've been wanting to daisy chain buckets for a while. Wasn't real sure how to do it. Found this plastic Dust Stopper at Home Depot. Its plastic and I don't expect it to last long. It has given me a clear view at how to create one that's solid out of metal.

For now I opened it up and added some sheet metal that's bonded in place as a strike plate where the material hits first. Its bonded with a polymer modified cement based rubber my company makes. Then I coated the whole inner surface with the same material. For now it should get to see a couple trips, I hope.

As far as functionality and concept it seems to work excellent. I sucked up some sand and not a spec made it  into the bucket with the blower on it.

WIN_20181014_16_36_29_Pro.jpg

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Yep , that Vortex Separator should work just swell.  Now you need everything to dry out a bit.

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I really like building things. Maybe I could have been an engineer if I'd stayed in school. One thing over the years that has been on my mind is what aussies call an "Opal Blower" I'd really love to reduce this down to a version that can sit above a drywasher. A leaf blower motor doesn't seem strong enough to power even a small version so for now I'll just consider my new daisy chain bucket good enough =)

12276850174_23891f9dd0_b-1024x683.jpg

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Jack, I like your contraption.  I ran across those bucket-top dust settlers on eBay, and have been thinking about building something similar to yours.  I haven't yet looked at one of the units up close and personal, and have been wondering about the plastic used, what kind of plastic, how thick it is.  I used to install new PTFE strips on a girlfriend's dog sled runners every year, and those little 1/4" strips of Teflon lasted for thousands of miles, sometimes being dragged across pavement while training, and over rocks and gravel in river beds, so some plastics can take a ton of abuse and impact and abrasion.  Maybe you'll get lucky and the thing will last way longer than you think it will.

Anyway, great idea for saving your vac fan from being destroyed by gravel.  

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10 hours ago, Jack H said:

I really like building things. Maybe I could have been an engineer if I'd stayed in school. One thing over the years that has been on my mind is what aussies call an "Opal Blower" I'd really love to reduce this down to a version that can sit above a drywasher. A leaf blower motor doesn't seem strong enough to power even a small version so for now I'll just consider my new daisy chain bucket good enough =)

12276850174_23891f9dd0_b-1024x683.jpg

For some of you that have never heard of an opal blower.

https://blackopaldirect.com/blog/opal-mining/

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Look at the Dayton high static blowers form Grainger. You can get a coated impeller for moving abrasive materials. They come in all sizes all the way up to "opal Blower" size. They are used to move all sorts of industrial materials, agricultural materials and food products. They use smaller ones on jumping balloons and noodle men at car lots. (Same thing but a much smaller impeller wheel). they use huge ones on vaccum trucks and vacuum excavators.

I use one with a 14" impeller and turn it with a 5 hp. gasoline engine. It will suck the dirt right out of the hole an move it several feet straight up with a 3" hose. I use 3" clear "food pipe" that will not erode when conveying abrasives. It is the same stuff you get for a shop dust collection system. It is clear, heavy vinyl tubing with a helical steel coil that keeps it from collapsing. Dredge suction hose is generally "food pipe". You can get scrap at any agricultural processing plant or just buy it online.

Instead of a vortex separator I use a series of buckets kinda like your outfit. The first is a ten gallon shop vac tub daisy chained into a five gallon with a dustless vacuum cleaner separator on top. The gold rarely passes the first bucket though. There is just fine dust and silt in #2.

I experimented with using just a hose on the downstream side. The "food pipe" has the same contour as "poopy tube" and it performs the same in a dry stream of air. Instead of catching my material in a bucket I just blew it out an exhaust tube about 10 feet long and most of the gold stays right there in the tube. I just dump the exhaust tube once in a while into a bucket. The airflow over the vibrating, corrugated pipe does a fine job at trapping the gold.

I call it my dry land dredge. It really sucks. It makes less noise than a leaf blower but produces a whole lot more airflow and has a bunch more static pressure. Instead of a helical vane impeller (like a leaf blower) designed for big CFM and air speed the impeller is a straight radial wheel designed for high static/pressure. Static pressure is what determines how much material is moved and how high it is lifted and not CFM or airspeed. So understanding the impeller design is very important.

You need a radial wheel, high static impeller designed for moving abrasives. It will have a plastic non-abrasive coating on an aluminum wheel. You can apply a thick urethane or plastic coating like tool handle dip or bed liner on a bare wheel and it will work fine. But you have to insure that you don't ruin the balance of the wheel when you coat it. A coated wheel made for moving sand and abrasives is just a few bucks more and comes already balanced.

I run my drywasher with the same blower. It is 4 stroke, quiet, and runs at about half speed with the drywasher so the engine lasts and lasts. This one blower outfit has lasted for many hundreds of hours of excavation and concentration. It does more than a leaf blower of any brand could ever do, lasts decades without problems, starts easily every time and uses no fuel mix. I got the engine new for about $125 and the blower and coated impeller cost about the same. So it does not break the bank and is professional grade mining equipment with a 100% duty rating. Leaf blowers are much more expensive in the long run if you plan on running them full time for days. They are just not designed for the duty rating that most serious operators put them through.

Just my two sheckles. I got sick and tired of wearing out leaf blowers and running out of air when a tired leaf blower would not reach peak RPM. I have been using this blower for a whole bunch of years and have never had one tiny issue with it. I really enjoy having enough vacuum and pressure to work with and not having that 2 stoke screaming in my ear all day.

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Sounds like an awesome setup Bob. Got any pics?

 

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23 hours ago, Jack H said:

Sounds like an awesome setup Bob. Got any pics?

 

I don't have pics of the vac setup and the rig is broken down and stored. I will try to point a camera at it this afternoon so you can at least see the blower setup. 

It is just a 5 hp. Tecumseh vertical shaft engine mounted on a high static blower. Dayton 4c330.

Here are the specs for my blower. I cant believe how much the price has gone up. I think you could get one for a whole lot less. About $200 is what they should cost.

https://www.grainger.com/category/direct-drive-radial-blade-blowers/industrial-blowers-and-accessories/ventilation-equipment-and-supplies/hvac-and-refrigeration/ecatalog/N-ymf?searchRedirect=blower#nav=%2Fcategory%2Fdirect-drive-radial-blade-blowers%2Findustrial-blowers-and-accessories%2Fventilation-equipment-and-supplies%2Fhvac-and-refrigeration%2Fecatalog%2FN-ymfZ1yzgds9Z1z08owpZ1z0ku1b%3FsearchRedirect%3Dblower

 

Visualize this blower under a big lawn mower engine on legs.

Anyhoo, I will take a photo of my setup later this evening. 

 

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Here is the air plant from two different angles. Check out my heavy duty coffee can coupling and laminated wood adapter plate! DSCN0444.JPG

 

DSCN0445.JPG

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Here is the part that sucks. It will suck a hand, a grease rag or a small dog right in there. I keep that end caged off lest something gets pulled through the impeller.

It throttles off about 25% of the intake air but there is still plenty to do whatever I need to do at about 3/4 throttle. 

DSCN0448.JPG

 

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