How to Build a Snowgun

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Aasnider
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Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:34 pm

Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:23 pm

This is an instructional on how to make your own external mix snow gun. A large amount of this information comes from advice given to me from board member TSI. He is a veteran home snowmaker with loads of knowledge and insight. This was my first build but it went well and made what I thought was high quality snow (not ice pellets). I cannot promise my directions will be clear to understand but I have done my best to break it down step by step and include pictures. You will need an air compressor than can constantly produce outlet pressure of 40psi through your air nozzle. My current compressor is rated at 5.9CFM @ 90 PSI but is from the 1970’s, so there is no telling how accurate those specs are now. You should be able to get away with 4.0CFM @ 40PSI. As for your pressure washer you can use any pressure washer that is 1.3 to 1.8 GPM and 1000- 1800PSI. The more water you push through your gun the more snow you can make, but I don’t know if you can make snow with this set up if you push more than 1.8 GPM. I have about $200 in the gun itself, but it can probably be made for under $80 dollars if you use galvanized pipe and order your nozzles from separate vendors. I will try to get more cost effective with my next build. I purchased the pre selected nozzle kit but will definitely take TSI’s advice and get my nozzles elsewhere next time to save some money. As for pipes and fittings I used brass pipe and fittings, as it is what can be readily found at a Lowes or Home Depot. Galvanized pipe can also be found at in these sizes and at a much cheaper price but you will probably need to find it at a plumbing supply store.

Nozzles:
2- 45* upper misting nozzles
1- Nucleation nozzle
1- 1/8” air nozzle

There are 2 ways to obtain nozzles:
You can order an external mix nozzle kit from this site: http://www.snowathome.com/our_products/ ... le_kit.php

OR you can get
45* upper misting nozzles here (item 3234K1): https://www.mcmaster.com/#high-pressure ... s/=151d9m9
Nucleation Nozzles: Go to ebay and type in “HAGO 45 hollow nozzle” anything 1.0 to 1.5 GPH should work fine.
Air Nozzle: Drill a 1/32” hole in a 1/8” pipe cap


Pipes:
3- 1/4” by 2”
2- 1/4” by 6”
1- 1/4” by 2 1/2”
2- 1/4” by Close

Other fittings:
1- air compressor quick connect (female 1/4” pipe thread, male air compressor fitting)
1- Pressure washer quick connect (female 1/4” pipe thread, female pressure washer fitting that fits your pressure washer hose)
4- 1/4” to 1/8” reducer/ adapters (double female)
2- 1/4” 90* elbows (double female)
1- 1/4” 90* elbow (1 female and 1 male fitting)
2- 1/4” T’s (all female pipe fittings)

Misc-
1 package JBWeld epoxy
1 roll of Teflon pipe thread tape

Construction of air components (see Photo 1):
file.jpeg
Screw [1/8” air nozzle] into [1/8” to 1/4 inch adapter]. Screw [1/4” by close pipe] into other end of [1/8” to 1/4” adapter]. Screw exposed end of [1/4 by close pipe] into [1/4” 90* elbow (double female)]. Screw exposed [1/4” 90* elbow (double female)] onto [1/4” by 2” pipe]. Screw [air compressor quick connect] onto exposed [1/4” by 2” pipe].

Construction of water components:
**USE TEFLON TAPE ON ALL WATER FITTINGS**
I wrapped every water fitting with at least 3 to 4 layers of Teflon tape to keep the gun from leaking.

Upper Misting Nozzles- Make 2 of these (see Photo 2):
file1.jpeg
Screw [45* upper misting nozzle] into [1/4” to 1/8” reducer/ adapter]. Screw [1/4” by 2” pipe] into other end of [1/4” to 1/8” reducer/ adapter].

Nucleation Nozzle (see Photo 3):
file6.jpeg
Screw [nucleation nozzle] into [1/4” to 1/8” reducer/ adapter]. Screw open end of [1/4” to 1/8” reducer/ adapter] onto the male threads of [1/4” 90* elbow (1 female and 1 male fitting)]. Screw open end of [1/4” 90* elbow (1 female and 1 male fitting)] onto the [1/4” by 2 1/2” pipe]

Main Line (see photo 4):
file2.jpeg
Screw [1/4” 90* elbows (double female)] onto [1/4” by 6” pipe]. Screw exposed end of [1/4” by 6” pipe] into [1/4” T] see photo for correct placement. Screw the other [1/4” by 6” pipe] into the opposite end of [1/4” T]. Screw exposed end of [1/4” by 6” pipe] into the other [1/4” T]. Add [1/4” by close pipe] onto the bottom of the [1/4” T]. Add [pressure washer quick connect] to exposed end of [1/4 by close]. You will need to tighten different areas of the main line so that all of the open fittings face outward in the exact same direction.

Water Components Assembly (see photo 5):
file3.jpeg
Screw one of your assembled upper misting nozzles into the 90” elbow at the top of your Main Line. Screw the other assembled upper misting nozzle into the uppermost T valve on the main line. Screw your assembled nucleation nozzle into the lower T valve of the main line so that it faces straight upwards, so that when it sprays it will directly line up with the 2 upper misting nozzles.

Final Assembly (see photos 6 and 7 in comments):
You will need to affix your air line to the main line so that the air nozzle directly intersects the upward facing nucleation nozzle. You can see this in photo 7. You want the air steam to flow right across the top of the nucleation nozzle so that the air blows the water as soon as it exits the nucleation nozzle. You will have to get creative here as to how to hold the nozzles in place while the epoxy dries. If you use galvanized pipe you can weld them in place as opposed to using the epoxy.


You should now have a completed snowgun, I’m not completely sure if my directions will work or need to be amended. Any input or questions is welcomed! As stated before your final assembly may be slightly different than mine based type of pipe you, your pressure washer, and the way you get your nozzles. Hook up your air compressor to the air line, set the output (line pressure) on your compressor to 40psi. Hook your pressure washer up to the water line and start the water/ pressure washer. As long as temperatures cooperate you should now be making snow!
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Aasnider
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Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:24 pm

Final Assembly Photos:
file4.jpeg
file5.jpeg
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Aasnider
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Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:28 pm

Operation, These were taken after about an hour and a half of use with temps in the upper 20s.
file-1.jpeg
file1-1.jpeg
file3-1.jpeg
file2-1.jpeg
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Old Fart
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Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:13 am

That is AWESOME!
TSI
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Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:31 am

Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:40 am

Nice write up with attention to detail, on your way to becoming a master at the art of snow making! If you make it over to Beech MTN give me a heads ups and we will shred, bought my discounted season pass last month.
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Aasnider
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Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:42 am

Thanks guys! And I'll definately let you know next time we get a chance to head up!
billh1970
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:32 pm

Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:45 pm

Thanks for the detailed pictures and instructions! I'm planning my online shopping and this helps a lot.
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