Components For Mining
Equipment Fabrication

Home built sluice under construction

If you are planning to fabricate your own mining equipment, on most types you will need some components that will be things you just cannot fabricate yourself. Things like motors, pumps, compressors, power generator sets, you can't just whip these up yourself. I am recommending that you seriously consider purchasing good quality components. These things may not be super cheap, but they will last over a long period of time. Good components will enable you to do the job that needs doing, and build the item you want and still save a lot of money - and that is what counts......

Homemade Dredge on the water

If you are considering building a dredge, highbanker or sluice, you will need some basic parts and components with which to construct your project. These essential components, which need to be bought, will form the foundation of your piece of mining equipment so they need to be reliable. No matter if you choose to buy them new or used, you need to consider their characteristics and features carefully so you can make the right purchase. I have put together a listing and discussion of these items, which you will want to consider.

An important thing to note about these mining equipment components is that with the advent of the internet, there are web sites where the DIY project builder can get some real bargains in purchasing these items. There are a number of places out there that sell this type of equipment over the net, and with a little research, you should be able to save enough money to make the effort worthwhile. The big issue with components is selecting the right one – the right size, right capacity to do what you want your project to do. If you want to build your own gold mining equipment, you’ll need the right components. Here is a discussion of the considerations for purchasing each of these necessary items:


Small Engines

Small, lawnmower type internal combustion engines are the source of power to make your homemade mining equipment work. There are a number of considerations when you're making a purchase, including the motor’s bolt pattern, it's shaft diameter and Horsepower rating. As I have suggested all my plans and design pages, select a motor which matches the size of dredge, highbanker or dry washer which you are building.  The size of motors used by the well known mining equipment manufacturers will be an excellent guide to you.  Many smaller pumps are designed for engines with a 5/8 threaded shaft.  Larger pumps may require engines of larger horsepower with a three-quarter or even 1 inch shaft.  Do the research to make sure your engine will match your pump.

There are a number of popular small internal combustion engine makers.  These include Honda, Briggs & Stratton, Kohler, and Tecumseh.  By far the most common for small-scale mining equipment are the units by Honda or Briggs & Stratton.  Many recommend the Honda as being reliable, but I've used a Briggs & Stratton engine on my dredge for many years and never had a problems. Many newer engines have automatic low oil shut off, a very handy feature to have.


Water Pumps
There are a lot of different types of water pumps available on the market.  Many are designed for general use, including the pumping of solids - also called a trash pump.  While trash pumps are sometimes available very cheap, you will find using a trash pump for your dredge to be a big mistake.  They are very much less efficient than the centrifugal pumps which are designed for suction gold dredges.  You will need a much larger trash pump at a much greater weight to operate the same size of dredge as you would if you used the proper centrifugal pump. You will notice that all the well known dredge makers use a similar style of pump.  There are certain differences, but overall they're very similar. There is a reason for this, they have tested a number of designs, and the testing has shown that centrifugal pumps are the best for this application.  I purchased a used Keene pump for my home made gold dredge project. Sometimes good centrifugal pumps can be bought from various sources, but shop around to make sure you get the right kind and one with the right water output in both pressure and volume.

Air Blowers
Air blowers are used with motor powered dry washers.  They typically work with vertical motors, very much like those which are used in lawn mowers.  Is High capacity air blowers are much less common than water pumps, but still the main goal is to get the right sized blower for your project. Some times for dry washers and dry vacuum systems, a gasoline powered leaf blower type set up makes for just the right size blower with the correct volume of air.

Air Compressors

It is critically important that if you wish to use a compressor for diving when you're prospecting, that you specifically purchase a unit which is designed to produce breathable air. Most air compressors are made to produce air for tools, or painting, or tire inflation and the like.  These units use oil lubrication which is great for air powered tools, but will prove toxic for breathing. A receiving chamber between the compressor and the diver is also necessary to cool the compressed air and to provide some emergency backup air if the motor fails (including running out of gas unexpectedly) and the diver is forced to head for the surface quickly.


Small Electric Power Generators

There are lots of uses in the field for small gas fueled electric power generators. Sometimes you will have electric equipment you would like to use while mining out in the hills. They're quite handy in a variety of camping and other field applications. Sometimes you need them to be able to fix or repair other items. Honda and a number of other generator makers produced these units in sizes from 1000 W up to just about whatever power output you want, but the very large generators are not very portable.

Be sure to do your research, and get the right components for your project.  Do your research on prices, and you'll get a good bargain. My little Honda unit pictured here is a two cycle unit and runs oil and gas mixed.


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  

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