we all know its summer =( so i was thinking on making a guide to make your own snowmaker to give you something to do during the summer and take away some of those blues =)
Alright first lets cover some basics.
you need three things to make snow. a snowmaker, air compressor and water. basically when you combine compressed air and water when temperatures are around freezing you will make snow. i will go into more detail on this later.
Your water supply
your water will need to be under pressure. 40 psi is a good pressure. most cities and towns have water from the garden hose under pressure. but make sure your water pressure isnt greater than your air compressor pressure otherwise youll have water being pushed into your air compressor tanks and that could cause some damage.
Your air compressor
You need an air compressor. Without it making snow will be impossible. When looking for air compressors your number one concern is CFM. CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. The absolute bare minimum CFM you can have to make snow if 3 CFM. so if you dont have an air compressor that does that youll need to buy one that does. Most models of air compressors show the cfm they produce.
another concern is run time. you cant run them forever but here are some things to look out for. oil lubed air compressors are good because oil usually carries heat away from the engine. air compressors love to run in the cold. but they dont like being stored in the cold. When your not using it leave it in your basement or your maintenace closet. here is the rule of thumb i would use. a 2 hour run with a 30 minute cool down.
another concern is cost. if you want my opinion your probably better off investing in a nice big air compressor that those tiny little ones at home crappot or elsewhere. i would highly recomend the eaton compressor. its cheap, realiable, oil lubed and is the best compressor ive ever had.
ok. so it goes without saying you need parts for a snowmaker. some of these names you may not be familiar with. but go to home crappot or lowes and im sure you will find them. you will need:
4: 1/4" nipples that are about two to four inches long
2: 1/4" ball valves
1: 1/4" cap (your cap needs to be brass)
1: 1/4" close hex nipple
1: 1/4" garden hose adaptor
1: 1/4" quick connect hose
1: 1/4" brass tee
one you have all those materials you should have something that looks like this:
I have color coded everything for you. on a side note the close hex nipple isnt labeled there. its the crucial part in between the tee and the cap that connects the two.
The Cap (nozzle)
the cap is going to become your nozzle! the cap to your snowgun is the most important part on your snowgun. it is where the water and air mixes together to form snow.
when you buy a cap at your hardware store there wont be a hole. duh yeah you know that. to drill a hole your going to need a drill table. if you dont have one im afraid youll need to ask around or find someone that does.
next is your drillbit. you will want to buy a 1/16" drill bit. attach it to your drill table and drill your cap.
The ball valves
these handy dandy trinkets will help you control the amount of air and water coming into your snowgun. these are essential because in any conditions you will need to control the amount of water and air due to temperature.
The type of metal
the type of metal you choose is important because wear and tear can and will happen: brass although expensive will be subject to less wear and tear. it also looks good =). if your on a budget however cheaper metals arent the worst.
Using your snowgun!
first you will want to connet it to a stand. you dont want the stand too high. a stand thats about 2 feet, no higher will work well. then connect your air line from your compressor to your quick connect on your snowgun. then connect the garden hose to your garden hose adaptor on your snowgun. turn on your air compressor first! slowly open the ball valve. then turn on your water. slowly ajust the amount of water coming out. you will want a fine mist coming from your snowgun.
once you have adjusted you need to do whats called a glove test. hold out a glove about a foot or so away from the nozzle. if you see small flakes of snow then your making snow!!! if not keep adjusting either the air or water until you do.
that is my tee gun running =)
now we come to the temperature needed to run. belive it or not in snowmaking humidity is more important that the temperature. with the right humidity you can make snow in temperatures up to 40 degrees farenheight!
its this thing called wet bulb temperature. when you combine normal temperature and humidity together you get wet bulb. with a tee gun the absolute highest temperature you can make snow on is 29.5 wet bulb. below is a link to a wet bulb calculator. just enter the temperature and the humidity and if your result is 29.5 and below. go make some snow!
How much will it make?
the age old question which everyone wants to know. there is no clear cut answer because every situation is different. But under ideal conitions with an air compressor that gets 5 CFM and water running at .3 gallons per minute, i would say you will get about 1 inch of snow in a 10 by 20 foot area in about an hour.
well this about finished my guide. i really hope you found this useful. hopefully now there will be more early and late season edits than usual. also i cant be held resposible for any injuries you might get from snowmaking. its can be dangourous and you assume the risks.
and lastly have fun. snowmaking isnt going to work or school on monday after a night of partying.