Blowing pellets with a leaf blower

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AndrewChurchill

Minister of Fire
Mar 31, 2008
686
Vermont
I posted these videos in the Boiler Room but I thought you guys over here might be interested too.

Basic setup.



Close up of pellets going into the hopper.



Loading Hopper.



Bin the pellets are being blown into.

 

Pellet-King

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2008
1,653
Northern Ct
Dude's a Stoner..............look at me I'm so wasted!!, Hey Bud, Let's Party!!, all i need is some tasty waves and cool buzz and I'm fine....
Oscar the grouch stoned, cant beat Jocko the Stoner Dog.....Dude where's my Car...

Ashley Roachclip
 

AndrewChurchill

Minister of Fire
Mar 31, 2008
686
Vermont
If I had to guess it's probably Pook using one of his many "disuises"... It has his typical hallmark signatures of incomplete sentences, poor grammar and even worse spelling. It's a good thing for him that becoming a God of Fire only requires quantity and not quality posts. ;)
 
S

smoke show

Guest
Typically my posts are useless. Sorry, if I offended.

The guys over at iburncorn have been blowing corn for quite some time, good info there.

Sometimes I kinda miss Pook. :p
 

AndrewChurchill

Minister of Fire
Mar 31, 2008
686
Vermont
The title of my original post in the Boiler Room was. Necessity is the mother of invention and here is my first post in which I mention I didn't invent this device but built it to solve a need. I remember in the past of seeing other people on this forum having similar set ups, but even with multiple searches I couldn't find any posts or videos.

Even the videos I found on YouTube in the past have been removed so even though this has been done before I thought I would document it again for other people to see and perhaps use as a resource.

In general, "Been there, Done that" replies to other peoples posts aren't likely to be received well by the poster. So if you don't want to be considered Pook like please think about what you post before you actually post it.

Or in my case it's the mother of creation since someone else actually invented the device.

The only place near me that delivers bulk pellets isn't making deliveries until sometime in September. I can load my pellet bin manually but it's a two person process and since I don't have a bulk head I have to lug the pellets through the house and down the stairs.

So I decided to try to use my leaf blower to blow the pellets into the bin using the bulk feed fitting. I mocked up a few pieces of PVC, a large plastic funnel, a couple of fernco fittings and the leaf blower.

Low and behold it worked! The only modification I'm going to make is to attach a toilet fitting to the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket.

I'll take a video of the finished product this weekend.
 

SmokeyTheBear

Minister of Fire
Nov 10, 2008
13,363
Standish, ME
A lot of folks on here built a similar device for removing fines from their pellets.

The leaf blower is replaced by a shop vacuum, the fines get sucked out and the pellets drop down into a bucket or other container.

I miss Pook at times also.
 
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AndrewChurchill

Minister of Fire
Mar 31, 2008
686
Vermont
The only problem with using a vacuum is it needs to be a sealed unit. I looked into setting up a vacuum system for my PB105 at my other house, but since I put the house on the market I held off on making it.
 
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smoke show

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How does the transfer volume compare to vac vs. blowing? bushels/pounds per minute?
 

AndrewChurchill

Minister of Fire
Mar 31, 2008
686
Vermont
I don't know. A lot depends on the power of the vacuum and the distance involved.
 
S

smoke show

Guest
I don't know. A lot depends on the power of the vacuum and the distance involved.
I'm blowing the pellets 35' and it's doing it easily. I suspect up to 50' would work as well. I'm pretty impressed with the speed too. It's blowing about 120 pounds a minute based on the video footage.
120#/minute? Sounds like you got it dailed in on the first attempt? Seems pretty damn efficient.
Good reads here- http://forum.iburncorn.com/wiki/index.php/Venturi
 

AndrewChurchill

Minister of Fire
Mar 31, 2008
686
Vermont
It can move the pellets faster than I can load them into the bucket. I have a hopper that holds 550 pounds of pellets. I may try to rig that up so I can fill the hopper with pellets first, turn on the blower and then load the bags directly into the hopper. Hopefully, at that point I could load the hopper faster than it can be emptied.

If I can do that it could cut my time down from 1 ton per hour to maybe 20 - 30 minutes per ton.
 
D

DexterDay

Guest
Dude's a Stoner..............look at me I'm so wasted!!, Hey Bud, Let's Party!!, all i need is some tasty waves and cool buzz and I'm fine....
Oscar the grouch stoned, cant beat Jocko the Stoner Dog.....Dude where's my Car...

Ashley Roachclip

Ouch?!?
 
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I don't know. A lot depends on the power of the vacuum and the distance involved.
Hello Andrew,
What size pipe are you using? It looks like 3 inch. I made pellet conveyor using a 3 inch PVC but I am not getting the speed I wanted out of it. One issue is I need to get it 7 ft up. I think I either have to go down in pipe size or adjust the air nozzle a little.
I got it going the same time you posted this but I only saw this post recently. You can check out my setup here:
https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/my-quest-for-inexpensive-heat.123489/page-2#post-1711732
Do you have any pointers?
Thanks
 

AndrewChurchill

Minister of Fire
Mar 31, 2008
686
Vermont
I'm using 3" PVC pipe and my set up uses a wye instead of a T. I am able to blow a ton of pellets into the bin in 20 minutes. As long as the pellets are right beside my fill port I can just barely keep up with the blower.

I am blowing the pellets about 50' horizontally into the bin and since I am using a bag bin I don't have an exhaust port so there is a considerable amount of back pressure. I suspect my system could push the pellets up a 7' rise but you might want to put a slide plate at the base to control the feed rate.

My blower is just a $50 Black and Decker with a claimed 250 MPH blowing speed. I'm using the nozzle that came with the blower. It tapers down to a 2 1/2" wide by 1" opening and I place the nozzle just behind where the pellets fall into the wye.

Here's a link to my current set up.



Let me know if you have any questions.
 
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bdud

Burning Hunk
Sep 19, 2013
170
Franklin, MA
Funny, Inspired by what you had built Andrew, I have been looking at using a leaf blower to load pellets in my silo, and I ordered some fittings and hoses last week.
I did some searching and found this design is quite common for filling deer feeders and their protein looks similar to wood pellets.
There are commercial units which are a bit expensive for the once / twice or maybe three times a year usage.

I like the metal trash bin setup, there are some links I found, enjoy.

http://discussions.texasbowhunter.com/forums/showthread.php?t=200835

http://www.outbackfeeders.com/amigo.htm







http://discussions.texasbowhunter.com/forums/showthread.php?t=353438

http://www.feederfeeder.com/default.htm

http://discussions.texasbowhunter.com/forums/showthread.php?t=353438&highlight=leaf+blower

http://www.outbackfeeders.com/amigo.htm

http://discussions.texasbowhunter.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66857&highlight=leaf+blower
 

TimfromMA

Minister of Fire
Mar 6, 2014
2,306
Central MA
PVC is not the best pipe choice for this application. As the pellets move through the pipe, they rub against the walls creating a static charge just like rubbing your feet on a carpet. A static spark can potentially ignite the pellet dust and start a fire. You really should be using a static free pipe or hose.
 

AndrewChurchill

Minister of Fire
Mar 31, 2008
686
Vermont
The fill pipe that goes into the bin is grounded.
 

TimfromMA

Minister of Fire
Mar 6, 2014
2,306
Central MA
It is possible, albeit difficult to ground PVC. Is the short piece outside the house grounded?
 

bdud

Burning Hunk
Sep 19, 2013
170
Franklin, MA
Some people seem to use a ground spike at the leaf blower end. In one of the threads / commercial info, I read if you loop the pvc on those metal deer feeders so it touches, you don't get the static build up, both ends seems the better approach.
My silo is a custom Vermont Renewable metal unit with their thick rubber fill pipes that have a conductive wire wound into it. The fill pipes to the Windhager also have this conductive wire, which is clear. The silo is grounded back to my electrical panel which is wired to long ground spikes.
The hose I have ordered is clear 4" for sump pumps but I don't think it has the conductive wire, I will most likely wrap electrical around it and ground at both ends.
I also ordered the male and female 4" hose connections that are used when bulk filling so I can connect up my planned fill system.
These should arrive tomorrow. The only pvc parts I am planning to use will be the T and pieces to connect to the pipe and leaf blower.
 

bdud

Burning Hunk
Sep 19, 2013
170
Franklin, MA
My pipe and fittings arrived the other day. The 4" hose is the same style as used with the Windhager suction hose, clear with reinforcing mesh with an orange spiral with a ground wire embedded in it. I bought a 4" male and female connecter that hooks up to the fittings I have on the outside of my house. A trip to Lowes for some fittings and I hooked up my leaf blower with a simple paper funnel to check it worked. It was pretty fast, the small fines tended to blow out of the funnel a bit but the pellets shot into the silo quite far. Not so far as when the pellet bulk truck shot them in, so I might not get in as much as before. I will butcher an old trash plastic barrel at one point and do a setup similar to one of the links I posted. Easier than I thought.
 

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velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,176
Sand Lake, NY
My pipe and fittings arrived the other day. The 4" hose is the same style as used with the Windhager suction hose, clear with reinforcing mesh with an orange spiral with a ground wire embedded in it. I bought a 4" male and female connecter that hooks up to the fittings I have on the outside of my house. A trip to Lowes for some fittings and I hooked up my leaf blower with a simple paper funnel to check it worked. It was pretty fast, the small fines tended to blow out of the funnel a bit but the pellets shot into the silo quite far. Not so far as when the pellet bulk truck shot them in, so I might not get in as much as before. I will butcher an old trash plastic barrel at one point and do a setup similar to one of the links I posted. Easier than I thought.
Excellent. Looking forward to your garbage can conversion. I wasn't sure how the can's internal funnel was made. Maybe it's not needed?

Can I ask a couple of questions?
-Where did you get the hose and fittings? Good deal? Not asking price, but the hose was the most expensive component of the kit I got.
-Why did you get a male and female fitting? The fittings I got with my kit both are male. Are you going to attach another hose to the exhaust?
 

bdud

Burning Hunk
Sep 19, 2013
170
Franklin, MA
The funnel is just to allow the pellets to drop into the pipe fittings, less than say 45 degrees and the pellets get left in the bottom of the container.
The funnel I might make with some material that I have left over from the flexible plastic / deflection sheet from my silo.
Some people look like they use the lid from the metal trash bin.
I bought the hose from ebay, it was the cheapest price I could find, 15ft.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/380402688564?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984
I also bought the hose fittings from them also, http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-ALUMINUM-.../380401484240?pt=BI_Pumps&hash=item5891b201d0, they fit nice.
Shipping was expensive but they emailed me as they found they could ship by ups rather than freight, they refunded me ~$43.
Not sure exactly how I will set it up, maybe outside my garage rear door, minimize the foot travel.
Maybe a shop vac on the exhaust port, depends on dust etc. It was dusty when I had the bulk delivery.
I bought the hose and fittings for the silo itself from Vermont Renewable Fuels. The male on the house is the inlet and female the outlet.
 
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