Home made snow guns
Why would you make snow in your back yard? Basically because it is fun, imagine having the only snow in your entire area in your own yard! How cool is that.
What you need
Here is one setup: Version 1
- Blue Ball Valve at the top is the water inlet. This inlet is coming from a garden hose because
it was too much trouble to use a pressure washer. This also means i can plug it into any garden hose and not have to lug a pressure washer around. The end can be taken off so maybe in the future a piece to match a pressure washed will be put on.
- Yellow Ball Valve is the gas (air). 10mm hose from the compressor is clamped over the top of the copper piping, making it airtight. This is a cheap and nasty way to do things, but it is airtight so there's no pressure loss.
- The air and water meet at 15mm Y piece. They have been at 15mm until this point.
- Just after the Y piece the width is increased to 20mm to allow for increased mixing of the gas and water.
- The end cap has 3 1.5mm holes drilled through it in a straight line of even width apart. This is what gives the mist. Any wider holes than this and u get too big droplets.
Version 2 The most obvious feature we've changed is that the mixing chamber after the Y-Piece is gone, replace with a single 15mm cap, which has been altered to a single 2.5mm hole, to produce a better spray pattern.
This was considered a good thing because before the water and air were mixing at the y piece, which was 15mm, then increase in size to 20mm and going out through 3 x 1.5mm holes in the nozzle. We decided that the increase is size inhibits the pressure and is not good, so that was removed. 100mm of 20mm pipe and the 15mm-20mm adapter were also causing turbulence, heating the mixture. This is another reason why they were removed.
The cap was added and a single (but larger) 2.5mm hole drilled in the middle. We decided on the single hole because there was evidence the 3 holes were vaccuming each other, causing a lot of spitting at high pressures or water. This is not desired and the new method works fantastic, producing more mist, finer, with NO spitting and less turbulence.
We also changed the whole configuration of the water side of the nozzle. Upon consultation with the nice blokes at Reece Emerald, we decided that there is too much conversion and turbulence in the water side of the nozzle, heating the water up too much. To eliminate this we purchased an awesome irrigation part that has a 12mm nipple on one end, and a heap of 15mm thread on the other end. The hose was put over the nipple and clamped with a radiator clamp, and this was screwed directly into the ball valve. This eliminated all leaks and turbulence. A good move.
- The gun was run for 2 hours straight last night, and no pressure problems were associated with the water side of things. The water is coming from mains tap, so its at around 35-60PSI, which isnt a lot. The fittings are copper so there is no chance of them blowing off.
- For us this is not a problem because the water is always fully flowing at the air compressor has its valve slightly closed (depending on conditions and the holes in the cap) to generate the best mist possible. If a pressure washer was being used then i would have to get a high pressure hose for the water line but because im not i dont have to.
- The only problem we can have is water going down the air line, but this is fixed by proper shutdown proceedure (turn off gas first, then water and dont open the gas valve until the airline is disconnected) to prevent this.
The water line is fine, its just a normal tap and if the water is turned on first there is no way air can travel back down the water line and increase the pressure. The highest pressures are at the Y piece and the mixing chamber, not the ball valve area.
Snowmaking in western NSW: