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Discussion Starter #1
I had originally made my own, then stumbled on a like new ******** 8 hp chipper shredder vac cart I bought for next to nothing....The Vac cart is made to Sears specs by Agri Fab.........While the Vac CArt worked fine, it still left a lot to be desired, when compared to what my homebrew would do.

First thing that had to go was the discharge boot to deck adapter. The plastic boots are prone to clogging and just do not fit all decks as close as they should. No such thing as a good universal fit anything. While it may fit some decks better than others, this leaves a lot of area on some decks prone to accumulating debri, and potential for blocking the intake duct.

So I ordered a new adapter boot from Trac VAc..........who will make an adapter custom fit for whatever deck you have. They are made from 14 gauge steel all fully welded, and fit like a glove. They have one pin remove / install and well worth the money for the difference they make in fit, and function.

I made a few more changes on my ******** vac cart to improve it efficiency, like selaing the extra holes in the trailer /cart, as well as the housing for the blower so it did not leave little trails of debri behind, added a different means of suspending the pickup hose, got rid of the safety lockout feature for ensuring hose and cover to blower is attached, took slop out of toungue so discharge chute does not lean towards the cloth boot, which was causing errosion of fabric due to discharged debri being directed on the fabric during use instead of into the cart. I also added a piece of like material to the hard chute to extend its length its inserted into the cart inself. Added some holders for a rake and pitch fork to the sides of the cart, and other than having to replace the Techumseh motor, I have to give it a "good" rating, however its not as good as my home brew which will pick up debri without the mower deck running, but the ******** cart shreds the material finer than my home brew cart does.... and the factory made unit is also lighter to pull.....but at this time I have removed the shredder flails as they have been steadily breaking, and this makes the motor and fan run unbalanced. During vac process its not noticeable, but when idleing it shakes bad, which is not good for the motor. During use its loaded up and not balanced anyhow as the load of sucked up junk is uneven during use, but I removed them so it no longer shreds up material. I do not use the chipper portion as unless its 1" or less in diameter and green, the chipper on these units is a JOKE! I made a blank off plate to put between the chippers input hopper and the chiper disk blades, so nothing can get into the chipper. I now use the hopper to hold odds and ends like pruning shears, etc......so in only two short seasons of use, I have eliminated the chipper portion and shredder feature, so its basically a vac cart......The 8 hp does not pick up any better than the factory 5 horsepower models, and to me the extra money for the shreder / chiper is not worth it. The replacement shredder knives are pricey, and wear very quickly (in my area soil is sandy and very abrasive, so they may last longer in different locallitys) The shredder feature is great while it works however, but the chipper feature is still a BIG JOKE! Of course this is only my opinions.
 

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Chipmaker,
What did you use for a fan on your home brew yard vacuum? I was looking at the yesteryear's leaves blowing across our yard and thought a vacuum would really be nice to get them. Something like a big shop vacmounted on the old MTD, or on a trailer. :dogrun: :dogrun: Maybe even could convert an old snow blower?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Carl
I made my fan from scratch. The blade anyhow. It was originally a elecric motor powered blower to blow lots of air across a generator test stand, and the impeller in it was made from cast aluminum. I did not think it would hold up but I used it anyhow. I got a season out of it. I then made my fan blade from steel plate and other odds and ends as depicted on my website and its been through he double L on more than one occasion and has not suffered any damages. A housing could easily be fabricated form some good sheet steel. I would use 11 ga at a minimum. It can be sheared or cut with a scroll saw or bandsaw or recip saw pretty easy and a MIG or stick welder can stick it together.... The only forming would be the round shape and a strip of 11 gau material is easy to hand form around a round object for a start, then just tak in place and form it some more as you go......
 

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Fan

Thank you Chip. I will check out your site. Sounds like another reason to find me a welder.
 

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Your Site

Chip, I just visited your site. It looks like a solid rig. If you don't know the jargon, your fan is a radial fan. It is the best design for handling dirty air. Yours is certainly solid too.

Just thinking it over it would be possible to make a large shop vac type lawn vacuum. That would eliminate the wear on the fan. But would loose the advantage of feeding all the debris through the fan to bust it up.

Does yours do much to the pine cones and sticks that it picks up? Are the leaves shreaded at all?
:14_6_5:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The Agri Fab (********) unit used to shred everything up prpetty darn fine, about the size of large confetti.....which was nice. My homebrew unit, will chop things up but not as small as the Agri fab did it. Pinecones, straw, sticks etc get chopped up pretty decent, and most pinecones (we have some huge pinecones here) get busted up pretty good.

Like I stated the Agri FAb has three sets of flail knives with each set having three fingers or knives on it. They swing out during use and force any material between them and a raised section inbetween the sets of three fingers/ knives, so it beats the heck out of stuff and makes it pretty small..Making it small is good if your going to use it for compost as it will break down faster, or if mixing in soil as is, and also in actual capacity in the trailer as its more compressed, but even the homebrew packs it in darn tight, and it comes out like a compressed cube of leaves and junk when I dump it.
 

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I've also thought a vacuum would be nice. After looking all over the country for a fan I found this one, in my back yard. Its pretty hefty and is not a radial fan. I don't know the jargon either, so think "paddle wheel". NO, not a squirrel cage. I tried it out, stuck the black hose in a bucket of leaves. It wasn't overwhelming, but it did suck them up and blow (throw?) them up the fifteen foot high exhaust pipe. I have a 11 horse b&s I could hook up to it. Any opinions or advice before I go to a bunch of trouble?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'd almost bet your gonna have to go the centrifugal fan route. Just looking in my various catalogs and air handling equipment books, the only fans designed for moving materials is a centrifugal type. All th others are for moving air of gasses etc, no solid materials of any size. Odds are it would clog up with the fibers etc your likely to encounter when picking up leaves etc, and with buildup on the blades. A centrifugal is self cleaning by design, and while I may get a clog in the intake hose, I have never had a clog or any debri hang up on my centrifugal fan. That blower you have there would be super for on a cupola furnace........................have you ever thought about melting metal?
 

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Thanks for the research. I see on your web site you mention you can do cleanup without the blades running. I'd guess there's no way this outfit would develop that much suction, clogging aside. So it's back to the drawing board. (These paddle fans are common in grain handling for removing dust and chaff from the grain, guess that should tell me something right there.) I'll give some thought to whether its worth while to try converting it over to the radial type.

Melt iron......I already do that every time I weld or use the cutting torch, a glob here, a glob there.... :fing20:
 

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Fans

Old Nodaker,
I think that by paddle fan you mean one that has fins that don't go all the way to the center of the fan wheel? It probably won't clean as well as the full radial fan would. And there is always the chance that fibre would catch on the inside of the paddles.

Consider using the housing and make a wheel like Chipmaker did.
 

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Carl - yes, thats exactly what I meant by paddle wheel. Would I be right in assuming that if I made a radial fan using that housing that it needs to fit tightly? (Is there such a word as tightly?) That housing is about 14 inches across. Maybe a plate in the center and fins on both sides :fing02:
 

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My Ingersoll Hydrobagger has a hydro powerd vak that has a paddle typr fan. I would not say it fits that tight in the fan housing. Seems like there is quite a bit of room in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
On my Agri-Fab (********) unit, there is perhaps 7/8" to 1" gap between the outside edge of the blades to the housing. (Outside edge being the side plate where suction hose attaches.) On the unit I made, the impeller for it has less than 1/4" space.
 

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Clearances will make a difference in the efficiency of the fan. Power in to power out. It will make some difference in the pressure/suction that the fan will produce. The biggest thing for suction is the RPM of the fan and the diameter of the wheel.

I wouldn't be concerned with the side clearance too much. You can probably get away with an inch of clearance. The clearance between the outside of the wheel and the scroll at its closest point is important for pressure.

If it is a paddle wheel it is probably set up for double inlet? The paddles are probably rivited on. I would really go with a wheel like Chip made. Then you don't have to worry about it flying apart if you suck up a stone or something. If you make it the same diameter as the paddle wheel you will be okay.
 

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Hey Chip,
I saw your super sucker being raved about on another site. Nothing but praise for it. It is the one to copy!
 

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Yes, it has a double inlet. How did you know that? I went out and measured it today, it's 10 1/2" wide, 24" in diameter. Knowing it can be converted, I'll just try it first with the paddle's. I doubt if it has enough suction to pick up a rock the way it is, I can't see the paddles untill I take it apart, but I can reach in the inlets and feel them. They feel pretty stout.

The way things are looking, I'll be mowing in a day or two so this project won't be moving forward very fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have found that a flour bladed fan creates more suction than a 6 or more bladed fan does.......Thats why I went with four blades. Companies like Agrifab use more blades simply because they are a bit more quieter in use, and also are not as critical to balance as a four balde is, so therefore they are actually cheaper to make as the tolerance is greater on them. You can add a little more forward rake instead of straight 90 deg from the hub and pick up a abit more performance, but the furward rake does lead to buildup of debri (very little though) as compared to a straight blade which is in all reality self cleaning, but noisier.....I am half deaf anyhow and still wear hearing protection (Diskman with heavy metal music playing turned up all the way :trink40: ) so the noise does not bother me.....Its not really all that loud though.

You can probably construct a fan with lighter materials than I used, but being the frugal person I am, I used what I had and what would work without any chance of warping etc, and easy to work with. Having a mill and a lathe to work the heavier materials also gave me less of a chance of warping when welding it......and with it being heavier than a lighter gauge fan would be, it gives the motor a lot more inertia / energy during use...just like a heavy flywheel.
 

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Old Nodaker,

I just found the picture that you have of the old fan that you were talking about using. My guess, without seeing the picture, was that in was a double inlet because of the simetry of the paddle wheel. Yours is really a single inlet. It does have two, but both are piped to the single fan inlet.

The picture shows that it is probably an industrial blower, so probably built fairly rugged. I don't think that it would stand up to rocks and stuff though. The other thing is that I can't tell what RPM it would be designed for. Can you get a make and model off of the fan. Most of them had a plate on the outside of the scroll somewhere. If it is an old one it probably has a brass tag rivited to it.
 

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chipmaker said:
On my Agri-Fab (********) unit, there is perhaps 7/8" to 1" gap between the outside edge of the blades to the housing. (Outside edge being the side plate where suction hose attaches.) On the unit I made, the impeller for it has less than 1/4" space.

Sound like something a hammer could fix!!! ROF ROF :00000060: :00000060:

I have the same unit and made a ton of tweaks to make it better. My biggest gripe was the plastic discharge chute hitting the nylon chute that it goes into the back with. I replaced it this fall and made changes to address the distance from the engine unit to the enclosure. Works better now and doesn't spew as much debris on the lawn.
 
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