Leon's Larger, Motor-Powered Sifter

Permission given by Leon Brandon, Master Composter, Farmersville, TX, USA to display his sifter.

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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.
The following are links to pictures of Leon's current sifter.
Photo 1 New sifter with arrows pointing to the new part we are looking at in this phase.

Photo 2 The modified sifter. (Same photo, no arrows.)

Photo 3 Close-up of new motor and mount.

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.

As you can see in the picture I now have the shaft going thru two ball bearing arbors. The weight is a square of steel welded to one shaft end, with a hole drilled to add or remove weight. The opposite end has a pulley attached and is then belt driven by the motor. The motor in turn has a built in shock mount. This arrangement puts all the intense vibration on the bearings rather than the motor. The motor still shakes but it does not have the destructive forces as when the weights were on the motor shaft. This arrangement has operated several hours without any signs of wear and tear. When the finished compost is at a desirable age and moisture content, I can screen one cubic yard in approximately 10-15 minutes. (I do not have the exact time, I do not wear a watch, I am retired!)

My next addition that I plan to make to this screening device is a conveyor type belt to move the screen rejected debris away from the lower end to an area for easier removal access with my front loader. Oh......that will be a personal tread mill that I rescued from our city wide ³annual clean-up day².

The following are links to pictures of Leon's sifter in its modified form.
Photo 1 Leon loading compost onto sifter with his front-loader, seen from front of sifter.

Photo 2 Loading sifter, seen from front of loader and the side of the sifter.

Photo 3 Sifting as seen from the front of the sifter.

Photo 4 Sifting as seen from the front of the sifter, but closer up so you can see the new motor.

Photo 5 Close up of the washing machine transmission and motor. Photo was taken by a friend of Leon's and is included on the site with permission.

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.

The following are thumbnails of Leon's sifter in its original form.

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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