How TO Make A 4" Manual Gold Pump

Goldgrabber

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Mar 24, 2015
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Here's a video showing how I've redesigned and made my monster 4" manual gold pump/dredge. I have a previous build version of this 4" manual gold pump on my youtube channel but due to trial & error, I have improved upon the previous design to make my 4" manual gold pump lighter, lose less material and create a smoother suction vacuum.
These pumps are great to use where you are not allowed to use any mechanical processing to remove material from rivers & streams as this is a purely manual process. One of these 4" manual gold pumps can fill a 1/4" classifier in just 3-4 draws depending on the material being worked, so they can save a lot of time compared to smaller versions of the pump which can take 5-10 minutes to fill the same classifier.
The cost to make one of these pumps is really minimal, especially if you can scavenge suitable parts because it doesn't have to look pretty as long as it works as its supposed to, I think this cost me about £15 in total to make ($25). I will be taking this pump out with me when my prospecting season starts in the coming weeks and hope to make some more videos to show how it works but if anyone wanted to make one as a project, I highly recommend it as it's a fun build with impressive results.

 

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well I've now got the end cap fitted too, so this pump is ready to go, can't wait to get out and give it a try to see if the improvements have worked
 

I'd hate to break it to you but I don't think it's going to work like you think it will. I see tons of potential issues. The ball will allow material to pass it and get above it breaking any seal. The large size diameter of the main pipe will create very heavy weighted material. Even when you tip the 90 degree bend upward and hold the hand dredge near level the material will dump out as there won't be a quality seal. Good luck though I hope it somehow works for you. Show the video of the results it should be entertaining.
 

My friend made one last year to the exact same specification as above with the same ball method and we used it on a number of occasions and it actually works a lot better than you'd think, the only problem with his is he didn't use a bend on the end but to see how much material one of these can shift, have a look at this video:

 

I saw a guy on the Arkansas river with almost the exact same thing. Homemade and worked fairly well. The best deal with hand dredges is that they suck up material. With a shovel digging deep in gravels you loose gold off your shovel as you bring it out of the water. Hand dredges suck up that deeper gold and hang onto it. The severe downside is that NO hand dredge no matter how big or how skilled the user is can only move a small fraction of the dirt compared to shoveling. They have a place, but really only for cleaning bedrock.
 

My friend made one last year to the exact same specification as above with the same ball method and we used it on a number of occasions and it actually works a lot better than you'd think, the only problem with his is he didn't use a bend on the end but to see how much material one of these can shift, have a look at this video:



Interesting... I honestly didn't think it would work that well with how large a diameter the pipe is. I stand corrected.
 

I saw a guy on the Arkansas river with almost the exact same thing. Homemade and worked fairly well. The best deal with hand dredges is that they suck up material. With a shovel digging deep in gravels you loose gold off your shovel as you bring it out of the water. Hand dredges suck up that deeper gold and hang onto it. The severe downside is that NO hand dredge no matter how big or how skilled the user is can only move a small fraction of the dirt compared to shoveling. They have a place, but really only for cleaning bedrock.

I don't know about that. I found my first picker in the bottom of a deep hole on the very first day with my gun sooo...8-)
 

I built a 3"x5' yesterday, very similar to a Reed Lukens style with a 1/8 bend on the end. I used a rubber pressure test plug on the end of the plunger and will taking it out today to the creek I am testing. If the water level cooperates I will take measurements and build one specifically to clean out a culvert I have located. I bought everything, including the glue, for the 5 footer for $40. I'm thinking that handle halfway down the tube as in the above video may be a good idea.
 

Gremlin, you said it yourself, you lose gold off a shovel, not off a pump. Yes a shovel might move more material quicker than a standard pump, but if the material is loose, then I'd say a 4" pump would be quicker, it fills a 1/4" classifier in 3-4 draws as can be seen in the second video above which takes a minutes, 2 at most and as you say, gold in a pump can't fall off the side.
Purple, glad I managed to change your opinion, these really do shift the material and it barely ever clogs with stones, I usually use a standard 2 1/2" pump and it constantly clogs with 2" rocks going in at angles, it'd take a hell of a rock to jam a 4" pipe lol
 

Submerge a low sided container next to where you are dredging and make the transfer underwater. You will lose less material on each stroke.

Good luck.
 

Submerge a low sided container next to where you are dredging and make the transfer underwater. You will lose less material on each stroke.

Good luck.

Yep. I stick a rock in the pan and the classifier on top is a great idea. Also if you don't have a check valve, don't finish pulling until the intake is over the classifier. :thumbsup:
 

My hand dredge worked great on it's test run. I did have to tighten down the plunger to expand it slightly as there is a slight variation in the inside diameter of the 3" abs. Unfortunatly I was not in the gold or I may have been running my super mini a little to aggressive for the fine gold spot.
 

what did you use for the inside plunger? I know for the 2 1/2" pumps, a tennis ball fits perfectly with just the smallest of compression and the 4" you can get novelty tennis balls (like I've used) which also fit nicely, just wondering what you used for a 3" pipe?
 

Fittings »
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Downloads:

Test Plug Spec Sheet


Wing Nut Test Plug

• Wing Nut Test Plug
• Rubber Gasket
• Large Wing Nut For Easy Operation
• Engineered and Designed For Maximum Gripping Power
• Size - 1-1/2" - 6"






Wing Nut Test Plug - Material Specifications








No.

Part

Material


1 Wing Nut Aluminum
2 Washer Steel
3 Upper Plate Steel
4 Gasket Rubber
5 Bottom Plate Steel
6 Washer Rubber
7 Bolt Steel

It is a "wing nut pressure test plug". Grind the larger washer down to the same size as the smaller washer. Replace the wing nut and bolt with stainless bolt and nylok nut. Drill hole centered in pvc cap on end of plunger. Glue cap on.( I used , I think, a 2 1/2" bolt with the nut on the out side with enough thread exposed so it can be gripped with vise grips to allow for adjustment.) Adjust it pretty close before you glue the cap on. As a side note I think a leather cup type plunger would work great also. Hope this helps.
 

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