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Shot Separator - vacuum powered

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by HSLDS, Jan 1, 2010.

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  1. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    After a 'reloading mishap' I needed a way to recover shot from the floor...

    A bit of thinking and creative use of 'junk' lying around the house and I ended up with a neat new tool.

    Primary items are a Spackle bucket with lid and some old PVC electrical conduit and fittings. I used two sets of vacuum hoses (standard ShopVac at 3" and the small ones that typically come with upright vacuums - about 1 to 1 1/2").

    The concept is this. By using the narrower vacuum hose and smaller conduit and fittings a large suction is created leading into the Spackle bucket - this picks up everything from the floor. I set this inlet pipe to the bottom of the bucket with a 45 degree bend on it to keep things swirling about. Then centered in the lid is the larger outlet hose (which is attached to the suction hose of the ShopVac).

    I can vacuum the floor and pick up anything. 'Lighter' things tend to get sucked right out of the bucket and into the ShopVac while the lead and heavier items collect in the bucket.

    Further separation can be done by 'shaking' the bucket - I ended up with shot, a few spent primers and some odd nuts and bolts left in the bucket. Basically only metal items remained.

    It took some tweaking to get things functioning perfectly, but now its a piece of cake to suck up dropped shot.

    So far I've 'recovered' about 15 pounds (don't ask)...

    Cool.
     
  2. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Well-Known Member

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    Holy Jeepers! How were you able to walk in that room with all that shot to slide around on? LOL, Happy New Year, Bob
     
  3. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Actually the historical spills land mostly on the top of the reloading table, but there was powder and other junk mixed in.

    Over the years I have 'collected' these spills and put them into a one gallon jug - I noticed I was getting quite a bit - then there was 'the floor spill' (maybe 3 pounds) - and as you note walking was precarious at best - this motivated me into action...
     
  4. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Well-Known Member

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    I most certainly can't poke fun at you as I fully appreciate the situation. I do have a 5 gal pail full of rejects that I need to take the time to use Gary's cutter on. These were accumulated prior to the Spolar era. LOL. Your shot spill wasn't near as bad as a friend of mine who dropped a bag of shot at the top of his third floor stairway back in the 70's. When they sold the house 15 years later there was still shot in cracks of the hard flooring etc. Reloading is sometimes not as economical as people think, but it creates some lasting memories. Have fun while we can, Bob
     
  5. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    I'll try to get the camera out later and take a picture - albeit it looks remarkably like a 5 gallon pail...

    One thing I have discovered is that when you cut open those old shells you will often end up with powder mixed in with the shot - a quick trip through this baby and all the powder ends up in the vacuum (just watch for sparks...)

    By the way, Happy New Year to all,

    David D
     
  6. Haskins Bill

    Haskins Bill TS Member

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    Very clever, another option is one of those drywall sanding setups that is very much like you bucket and hoses. In those setups there is water in the bucket that traps the drywall dust. Not needed of course for shot pick up. You do know of course there is always a spark present when using a shop vac, it is from the brushes in the motor. You would be surprised how much shot can spill from a just filled tall MEC bottle when you forget to put the plug back in and then tip the bottles back!!!!! Several years ago just South of Bowling Green Ohio there was an incident involving a shop vac. It seems there was a very large vertical gasoline storage tank that was being painted inside. Well the grit blasting crew had been there and gone. After shoveling out the worst of the remaining grit a fellow fired up a shop vac inside the tank. BOOM he died and the 15 ft or so top of the tank ended up a few hundred feet away in field across the highway. Another Darwin Award goes to the guys who wanted to use a shop vac to pull the gasoline out of the tanks of a pleasure boat back during the oil imbargo days. Well the boat nor neither one of the men survived. I use a kitchen strainer to seperate powder from spilled shot.
     
  7. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    We do something like that only on a larger scale in the metals processing industry. The first receiver is called a cyclone separator where the high density particles drop out due to a combination of centrifugal and gravitational forces and the low density fines continue on to a bag house.

    Modern 'bagless' floor sweepers work the same way and require very little filter surface to operate.

    If you are looking to improve on your set up, bring the hose into the first receiver tangential to the can and pull the exhaust from that can out of the center of the lid.

    Kudos on some very creative thinking to resolve a common problem.
     
  8. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Here's the outside...
     
  9. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Here's the inside...
     
  10. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Two more comments.

    Relative to Haskins Bill comment about sparks I use a Sears shopvac with double filters on it (heavy corrugated paper & a foam filter over that) - this reduces the risk of a spark igniting any powder, but one must be careful.

    I contemplated adding some water to the ShopVac for the powder to land in, but I was still experimenting and have left it out up until now (too much dog hair in there anyway - that's all I need - wet dog smell in my vacuum).

    You might want to spray the inside of the collection bucket with Static Guard or rub it with a drier sheet - certain things tend to want to adhere to the wall of the bucket owing to static electricity.

    David D
     
  11. Bird Grinder

    Bird Grinder Member

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    Looks like a good set up.
     
  12. H82MIS

    H82MIS TS Member

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    HSLDS,,that a hell of an idea, now can you do something about that SOB in the white house????????????
     
  13. Haskins Bill

    Haskins Bill TS Member

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    HSLDS, thanks for mentioning the dual filters. With that set up it is doubtful any powder particles would get to the motor/brushes. i mainly wanted to point out the dangers of shop vac's and fumes from all sorts of things. Another point to remember and this is for everybody, only use the pleated paper type of filters when vacuming drywall dust. The foam type of filters will not catch the extremely fine dust and the vac will just put it back into the air. Bill
     
  14. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Haskins Bill,

    I was shocked at how much powder I picked up on the first use (just had a short section of straight pipe for the inlet at that time). I was going over the floor, and there really wasn't much powder that was obvious, but when I looked inside the bucket there was a substantial amount.

    Your point is a good one in that I suspected there would only be a small amount at most - had I been less prepared I could of had a nasty one on my hands.
     
  15. ricks1

    ricks1 TS Member

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    powder could be a problem but a small amount of water will take care of that. Here is something else that works good. Use 2 of the 2in hoses to make a large circle of hose. About 4ft in diameter. stand it upright and suck up the floor/ or what ever. The shot will stay in the bottom of the round section of hose primers and the rest will go into vac dump the clean shot out of hose
     
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