Build A Do It Yourself,
Operated Rock Crusher

Homemade Dredge on the water


Have you wondered about building your own rock crusher to recover gold from quartz specimens?  Interested in building your own rock crusher for gold extraction and saving some significant money in the process? If you do it right and plan well you really can save a lot of money and still have a good, functional rock crusher that is durable and really breaks the rock - and that counts for a lot.  Here are some thoughts about the essential tools, components and skills that you need to take a look at when planning out the construction of your own home built rock crusher...... Home built sluice under construction

Building your own rock crusher really isn't that difficult, but you'll likely need a welder to do it. First, I will discuss several different types of small scale rock crushers, and how they work. One common primitive rock crusher is the arrastra, a device which has been used by miners for centuries. An arrastra is a rock lined pit that is dug out around a whim. A horse, mule or donkey is hitched to the whim and a large boulder is drug around the pit in a circle. Rich ores are added to the pit and they are crushed as the large boulder is drug over the gold ore. Water is used to wash the crushed ore out of the pit once it has been reduced to a small size. It's a very slow process, and too large, and too much work for the average prospector to consider.  

The basic concept of rock breaking is making big rock pieces into little ones. Popular hand crushing systems include the hand stamp type crusher. Usually these are fully hand operated like mortar and pestle systems, but more elaborate spring type designs can also be made.


The following sketch shows a simple and cheap means of working in a small way, a rich quartz lode, which carries coarse gold freely. It is known as a "Dolly," and two men with this device, will crush enough ore each week, to give a very satisfactory "clean up" by Sunday. This is the type of rich gold quartz ore with visible pieces of free gold that one might find while out prospecting with a metal detector.

To make a "Dolly," cut a square hole, (in a hollow basin in the top of a solid block, or section of a log firmly planted on the bank of a stream), six inches wide ; fit in wrought iron bars, six inches long, one-half inch thick, three inches deep, and firmly secured. Cut away a portion of one side, to which attach a spout leading over the higher end of a sluice-box. The sluices may be covered on the bottom, by strips of blankets, and should have cross-bars called riffles, nailed across the bottom sufficiently tight to hold fine sand. After having all as solid as may be, dump in some quartz, broken comparatively small, "swing your Dolly," and add more water at intervals, as you get "choked."

"The Dolly" - A very old and somewhat primitive design for a spring type stamp crusher with an attached sluice to capture the gold. This is a simple design for processing free gold ores.

No matter which crushing system you're using, the process will go far faster, and come out better if you do repeated screenings of the material from time to time. What happens in crushing is that some of the material gets crushed down to the size you want but other pieces don't.  The small stuff then often gets in the way of the crushing process as you are working, basically protecting the larger pieces from being crushed and creating more work.  To speed things up and make things work properly you need to screen out the stuff that's already been crushed to a small size. So as you are crushing, stop and screen your material, removing any free gold which has already separated from the rock during your crushing that won't go through your screen with your fingers.  The coarser rock that won't go through your screen can then be returned to the crusher for further work to break it down, and the fines won't get in the way.

For more information about separating gold from quartz and processing rich ores, see my:   My Rich Ore Rock Crushing Page

Making your own hand crusher can be done with a welder. You need a heavy base, a heavy large pipe that is the outer container. These two pieces form basically a container that hold the rock being crushed. You also need a heavy cylinder that forms the stamp "shoe" the piece that rises and falls, the part that actually does the breaking of the rock. Think of this piece and the hammer that pounds the rock. The last piece is the rod which is attached to the shoe, this is the part that is lifted to raise up the shoe. This piece is basically the handle used to lift the hammer up.

This hand crusher project can actually be done is a variety of sizes. The one I am showing here uses a 4 inch pipe, but you could do a 3 incher or opt to build a bigger 6 inch unit. Of course if you get too large, the thing will weigh a ton and you will have difficulty using it. At home, I use a small jaw crusher to crush my gold and silver ore samples.

Photos of the pieces for my mortar and pestle style hand stamp crusher project appear at the bottom of the page below. The stamping or hammer piece is on the left, the container pot for the ore is on the right. When I use it to crush, I'll keep a foot on the metal on each side of the pot to keep it steady. The whole hammer piece weighs around 25 pounds, so it will have a good force to crush the hard rock ore.

No matter what the size or style of crusher you choose to build, the assembly of the parts is going to need to be done by welding. Practically speaking, that is the only way to put a project like this together. I bought a little home welder to use in projects around the house years ago and I've found it extremely useful, not just in fabricating mining equipment but in repairing various things around the house as well. Now my welds aren't pretty, but they do the job - they just need to be sturdy and hold the pieces in place.  I so strongly recommend that you consider buying one of these welders that I have done up a whole web page on it. If you are seriously considering building your own rock crusher or "dolly pot", check out my page on the topic: Low Cost, Small Arc Welders For Home Use

The more tools and fabricating skills you possess, the more likely it is that your home made crusher project will be a success. I have done up a page on the hand tools needed for this type of project, you can check it out at:  Mining Project Necessary Tools

If you would like to view some more information on the geology and how to locate rich pockets and other valuable hard rock gold quartz formations, be sure to check out my webpage on finding these deposits:  How Gold Quartz deposits form

crusher01.jpg (65195 bytes)


Want to know a little bit more about this crazy prospector guy? Well, here's a little bit more about me, and how I got into prospecting: Chris' Prospecting Story  

Nevada Turquoise, Tanzanite and Tourmaline Jewelry

Gold Sluice, Gold prospecting, home made gold sluice, gold sluice design, gold sluice plans, building a gold sluice,  gold sluice riffles, build your own sluice box,

Nevada Outback Gems

Find out more by checking out all of our links below:
Learn The Basics of Placer Mining for Gold Locations to Prospect for Gold for Free
Build Your Own Gold Mining Equipment Miner's Reference Guide: How its Done
Chris' Adventures Prospecting for Gold, Silver, and more Investing In Gold and Precious Metals
Metal Detecting with the MXT Metal Detector Prospecting In Nevada Prospecting In California
Nevada Outback Library and Bookstore - Learn more! Prospecting In Arizona Prospecting In Alaska
Natural Gold Nugget Photos: Big Nuggets, Crystal Gold Recovering Gold From Black Sand Metal Detecting For Gold Nuggets
The Rockhound's Corner for Gem Hunting Panning for Gold Nuggets Advice on Selling Your Gold
Take a virtual tour of our Nevada Turquoise mines Build Your Own Gold Dredge Dredging for Gold Nuggets
Our Free Colored Gemstone Information Encyclopedia Gold Sluice Box Plans Gold Investment Vehicles
Rare Crystals and Gemstone Rough, including Turquoise Processing Rich Gold Ores Affordable Home Welding
More Info about Turquoise, the Beautiful Gem Nevada Outback Gems Homepage Nevada Outback Gems Site Map