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I have listed the phases in reverse chronological order so that the most recent changes are listed first. For those of you who are new to the Sifter Saga, please start at the bottom of the page with information on the original sifter and follow the growth of Leon's amazing sifter.
Leon removed the motor that used to sit on the side of the sift box and replaced it with this one. My non-engineer understanding is that the old motor did more shaking than the sift box did. However, with this new mount, the setup manages to shake the motor less and the box more. I have asked Leon to give a better explanation for those of you who are mechanically-inclined:
Previously I had an electric motor mounted on the side of the screening frame. On the motor shaft I had attached a piece of metal and purposely added extra weights off center (think of an unbalanced tire on a vehicle). I added different amounts of weights to get different amounts of vibrations. This device worked but it constantly took itıs toll on the electric motor (sheering mounting bolts, and bolts that held the motor ends together, etc). I then mounted the 2x6 board across the lower end of the screen as shown in the pictures and attached the motor at this new location. This was an improvement over the side mounted motor. I then added a second vibrating motor to the same board, I soon completely destroyed both motors by shaking them to their destruction.
Leon added a washing machine motor at the bottom that jolts the bottom of the sifter in addition to the vibrating motion caused by the motor closer to the top. Leon reports that this additional motor cuts the sifting time down by almost half.
In the photos accessed by the above links, you can see that the motor is mounted onto a white board mounted on the lower end of the sifter. As the motor turns, the swishing motion moves a rod back and forth. The rod is attached to a bar. Both ends of the bar are attached to the chains on which the sifter is suspended.
I visited Leon and his wife Judy (who is a fireball of recycling talent) at their home to see Leon's big sifter. It is about 12 feet longby about 4 feet wide, and is suspended by chains from crossbars. An attached motor vibrates to provide the sifting motion. Leon uses a front-loader to turn those five-foot piles.
Using a front-loader, Leon loads finished compost onto the screen. Then he starts the motor which is attached to the screen. The screen is handing from the supports by chains, so it is free to shake as the motor starts to vibrate. I believe Leon told me that he started with a 1/8 HP motor (electric) but it wasn't strong enough so he went to 1/3 HP. As the screen vibrates, the compost is sifted. Leon uses his compost on his property and on the plants in that new greenhouse of his!
Leon uses the batch method, turns frequently and lets the compost completely finish before sifting. That way, most of what he loads onto the screen sifts through. Mostly non-organic debris such as rocks and clay rolls down the sifter and lands in a pile on the ground. Leon uses these remains to plug holes in his drive.
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