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Highbanker, etc. -- picture heavy


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#1 flyingbrass

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 07:38 PM

I decided to fire up my dredge pump. It had sat unused since I last got it out in January, 2009 to see if it still worked. Before that, it sat about 10 years. Yes, that's sad. It needs some action. Water pumps shouldn't be run dry, so I dug out my highbanker and set it up to recirculate using a trash can. Good time to snap some pics.

I dumped out what little remained of the 15 month old gas (that was after I tried siphoning and accidentally sucked too hard -- old gas thankfully tastes more like oil than gas) and poured in some fresh 91 octane. Choked it and set on medium speed. She fired up on the 6th pull. Amazing.

I made the highbanker attachment in 1994 or so. My intent was to have a whole setup light enough that one person (me) could haul everything in one trip. However, "everything," even with a 2-stroke pump, ended up weighing about 90 lbs. That's pack frame, water, food, gun, pans, pry bar, shovel, highbanker, 2-stroke pump, stand, hoses, gas, buckets, etc. It all adds up.

I think 15 lbs. or so could be shaved by using leg holders attached to the box instead of a whole separate stand, aluminum legs instead of steel, lighter box screen and hopper legs, and a few other small trimmings, but 75 lbs. or so is about the bottom end. Still too heavy, though fine for 2 people or 2 trips.

My highbanker was set up to run on a 2-stroke pump from Northern (no longer available). Can't remember the GPM/GPH or head ratings, but it was more than the little Homelite pumps available at the time, which weren't quite enough. It can also run using a dredge pump at idle, which is more practical if it doesn't need to be hauled very far. I spent a lot of time figuring out how many and what size holes I needed to accomplish what I was after. A lot of mining equipment looks so simple on the surface, and in reality it is, but when you're DIYing some head scratching and R&D is required.

I like the way it works. Instead of the customary spray bars on top and the sides, I skipped the top but added two spraying up from the bottom to help better wash the material. A few parts of the spray bar are glued, but most aren't. Bungee cords held the spray assembly together just fine. When they eventually rotted I drilled holes and put on some zip ties. If the sprayer gets clogged up it's easy to disassemble to clean. If you're making something like this my advice is don't glue the spray bar.

A friend welded the stand for me. It was made to hold my dredge box but serves double duty.



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The grizzly is a portion of a wrecked and abandoned shopping cart. It's not ideal, but was free and works ok. Other metal parts, including the aluminum for the hopper, were from the scrap/remnants section of the local steel yard. Back then, steel remnants were $.20/lb. and aluminum $.50. They had a lot of good stuff. We used a homemade brake to bend the hopper.



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Here's my old, circa 1980, Gold King pump on the newer (1995ish) motor. Being frustrated with difficulty priming, we added the priming cap arrangement. I should redo it using PVC to cut some weight. Just stick the foot valve in the water, crimp the pressure hose, dump some water down the pipe, and screw the cap back on. Very handy, particularly when you're using a relatively long intake hose. A reducer can be used in place of the cap to attach a garden hose with power nozzle to flush out cracks.



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Nomad matting ("Miner's Moss") is expensive. Good stuff though. I have it under the first few riffles.



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Here's running with the Gold King pump at low idle. The 2 stroke pump puts out slightly more water at top speed. Angle of the box here, at least in the picture, looks a bit too steep for the volume of water, but I'm just playing. Have to watch how the material moves through and adjust accordingly.



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Thar she blows. Somewhere around 1/2 - 2/3 throttle on the Gold King pump (which is way too much practical pressure/flow) the spray bar blows apart. It's easy to push back together. More zip ties would keep it together, but what fun would that be?



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One issue that caused me a lot of head scratching was how to attach the hopper legs to the sluice, yet still have the angle between sluice and hopper adjustable. Oh, and not have bolt heads inside interfering with lifting the riffles. I may have seen a Keene something or other piece of equipment using this. Can't remember. Whatever the case, I doubted this idea would work but decided to give it a try. Works great. Cut two slits and shape the middle "finger" to grip the side of the box.



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#2 michael88

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 08:21 PM

Nice pics. Now stop your procrastination and set it up to catch some gold!

#3 flyingbrass

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 08:51 PM

My dad bought a 2 1/2" Gold King dredge 1980ish. The box is 10" wide, which may have been a mistake. I think even back then the 2 1/2" boxes were supposed to be 12" wide. Boxes for 2" dredges were 10". Gold King has a history of oddballs.

Whatever the case, 10" is great because it fits into buckets for clean up. However, plain carpet with a relatively swift water flow didn't look very good for catching gold. When I started using the thing I made some simple modifications that worked very well.

I'm a fan of these old "crash box" headers for my purposes for several reasons, the primary one being that the change of direction helps break up material. Compacted stuff, small clay balls, etc, get a good bashing instead of a smooth ride. Everything gets thrown to the back of the box instead of jetted straight through. Also, they are far more portable than the long funnel shaped intakes Keene and others went to.

As an aside, Gold King went severely downhill quality-wise about the time I wanted a bigger box to run a 3" nozzle. 1995(?). A friend had bought a 3" dredge earlier of good quality but with the box made too short, which we actually really liked. It was great. I drove out to Buckeye, talked to Marge, Madge (?), and had them make me the same thing. Teenage kids were doing the work. I waited an hour, and the box they eventually brought out was so pathetic I left in disgust. Huge gaps. Angles wrong and messed up. Crooked riffles. Riffles didn't fit the box, and so on. It was pathetic. The box was supposed to cost $200. I called up Keene and talked to Pat. Keene was no longer offering their crash box, but he offered to make me one himself. I paid about $250. It looks better than what Gold King coughed up, but also seemed to have some potential issues. I haven't tried it. It's still sitting here.

Ok, back on track. Dad's old Gold King sluice originally came with only riffles and plain carpet. I added about 21" of punch plate and Nomad matting. The pieces of gold I've recovered that won't fit through the punch plate were still caught under it near the header because they were thrown through the gap behind the punchplate at the very rear. As I said, I like the change of direction.

Here are some pictures.



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Under the punch plate, showing the spacer that the wingnut above holds against.


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Gold King used to be at 3342 W. Bell Road. Back then, that was way out in BFE.



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Some thin rod is tack welded under the punch plate to space it above the riffles. The PVC spacer at the wingnut helps hold it at the same level at the rear.


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This part of the old design isn't fun. You have to screw in the suction hose.


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BTW, a length of garden hose with an end still attached makes a good non-damaging ram for snaking down the nozzle to clear any rock jams (which don't happen very often if you're careful).

#4 flyingbrass

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 09:02 PM

Pumps use foot valves, which are nothing more than a flap in the end, usually with some sort of screen attached to prevent garbage from being sucked up.

I put my dredge foot valve in a bucket, which keeps out most of the junk. However, small pumps often don't have a useful screen. My pump from Northern didn't. So here's what I came up with.

Tupperware container, screen, and a hot plate to melt in the screen. The "bottom" lid can be removed if necessary for cleaning.



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#5 flyingbrass

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 09:10 PM

Many have heard of the "poop tube" or corrugated drainage pipe. It can work very well. If you cut it in half and screw it to a 1x2 or whatever, it turns into a sguiggly mess.

Here's one my dad came up with. Cut a section out of PVC and put the tube inside the PVC. We've run yards of screened material through this as a primary recovery tool. Slow, but it works. I still use it for running samples at home or as a preliminary step for cleaning cons.


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Expanding on the idea, the corrugated pipe can be cut to fit inside a short piece of plastic rain gutter. Or, using gutter as a holder idea, put in some backed carpet cut to a press fit to make a mini-sluice. Peel out the carpet to wash it.


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#6 flyingbrass

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 07:29 PM

Seems we don't have many DIYers in here.

Please share what you've made or found useful.

#7 Rod

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 05:47 AM

Posted Image Awesome stuff. It was good to talk to you the other day too...might see you out and about on Sat w/Adam Posted Image Cobra radio, channel 11.

#8 maui

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 08:55 PM

you sure have some good looking goodies.
thanks much for sharing the info. and pictures. ron

#9 flyingbrass

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  • Equipment:Dredges, highbanker, a few sluices and other odds 'n' ends. Old pre-Supertraq Lobo. Small homemade sampling drywasher.

Posted 01 May 2010 - 11:10 PM

Thanks guys.

I plan to build a drywasher this week. I had previously hoped to have it done by today to test, but got delayed trying to align a radial arm saw to use for the project.

Did some gunsmithing this morning and shooting in the afternoon in the Table Mesa area. Guns worked fine, plus I found about 300 once-fired .45 acp cases someone had left behind over several trips. Almost as good as finding some gold. Well, not quite, but better than nothing.

The weather today was excellent.

#10 old timer83

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 08:40 PM

Thanks guys.

I plan to build a drywasher this week. I had previously hoped to have it done by today to test, but got delayed trying to align a radial arm saw to use for the project.

Did some gunsmithing this morning and shooting in the afternoon in the Table Mesa area. Guns worked fine, plus I found about 300 once-fired .45 acp cases someone had left behind over several trips. Almost as good as finding some gold. Well, not quite, but better than nothing.

The weather today was excellent.

when out in areas used by the military pick up all .50 and 20mm brass. last winter in bouse az area sales came to more $270 . not to be sneezed at on social sec. leave other un exploded ordnance alone. find first shell, flag, cut circles around flag at increasing distances to establish direction of the firing run, then work both ways to find free beer money! why doe`s beer always come up?

#11 flyingbrass

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  • Equipment:Dredges, highbanker, a few sluices and other odds 'n' ends. Old pre-Supertraq Lobo. Small homemade sampling drywasher.

Posted 06 May 2010 - 11:59 PM

I shoot and reload .45 acp, so 300ish once-fired cases were welcome. I figure they were payback for how many the desert has soaked up from me. It's amazing how in places you can shoot a magazine of 7 and only find 4-5 cases no matter how hard you search. And then the same happens again and again. Where did they go? Maybe they hide by the gold nuggets.

#12 old timer83

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 10:06 AM

jever look in your hat? :rolleyes:

#13 LarryAzAu

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 11:16 PM

I sure like your design and the use of a shopping cart is also what I like doing, taking junk I have laying around and using it in a project not only utilizes the junk, it saves ya money as well!
I have a lot of junk that I pick up, especially from behind thrift stores, there are some up in Sun City that are always throwing out good shit, I got a older Sony Am/Fm receiver with separate receiver and a tape deck from there! Here is
the sluice my friend gave me last week, along with a poop sluice I found up at Turkey Creek along with 3 gas cans, one 5 gallon and two 2 gallon cans, as it was the red from the gas cans that
caught my eye and were stashed under a tree. It might of belonged to the 2 guys on a quad when I first visited the claim, as they thought that the GPAA claim had ended and they were downstream from it.
They didn't stay that long and I heard one tell the other that I told you so, as they knew they were on the claim as there is 4 claims back to back there! Who ever it was, they were lazy, and I left them their lil
BBQ!! :pirate2: Arrg!!Here is the sluice with a cat litter highbanker I made last month, though it will work with some 1" pvc with holes drilled in it, it is kinda small and plan on making a 4ft by 16" Hopper to fit above the sluice and
turn it into a highbanker: Sluice01_2.jpg
Here is a pic with the cat litter highbanker with a wooden sluice up at the Soldier Boy claim up near Poland Jnct. Which when finished can re-cycle the water at dry washes, typically found here in AZ!
Mini-Highbanker_2.jpg
Here is a high banker I found online, it uses a battery powered trommel: Battery-Powered-Trommel.jpg
And the photo that inspired me to make the cat litter bucket highbanker, which I only had the 2 pics to go by! mini1.jpg mini2.jpg :treasurechest:
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