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small home scale threshing machines

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15232
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞


http://www.instructables.com/id/Gas-Powered-Shredder/

I have to admit that my experience with threshing is almost entirely with a combine.   Because of my concerns around threshing on a small scale, I've always avoided planting grains for myself, but this seems like it has a lot of potential.


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Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
That's pretty clever!

The people at Factor e Farm intend to publish designs for a DIY "microcombine", but as of August 2009 they aren't far along in that effort yet, as you can see below...

http://openfarmtech.org/index.php?title=Agricultural_Microcombine


"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men.  They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
that is a supreme idea!


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paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15232
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Anybody done much threshing by hand?  What did you find was the easiest way?

Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Bytesmiths wrote:
a plastic garbage bag and a child's plastic baseball bat.


Cool.

I wonder if the bag wears out quickly, though.  The only article I found through that link mentioned laying the grain out on a bed sheet, which I'd imagine is more durable.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15232
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
two more small home scale threshing machines





Brice Moss


Joined: Jul 28, 2010
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
    
    2
flippin cool
                          


Joined: Mar 13, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Colorado
I would think there would be a number of ways of threshing small grains, on a home scale,

one if you have cut it and put in to bundles, one I would think could use a hammer mill with the speed reduced to about 800 RPM, and change out the screen to no screen or a bar screen, and have the bottom open,

I have seen pictures of China with a machine what looks like a combine cylinder, and a bar in front of it one just put the shock on the bar and put the heads in to the rotating cylinder,

and then the last method would be a stripper type head, made to be used or pulled with a lawn tractor, (look up grass seed harvester),

here is the one I made for grass seed, but I am sure it would work on wheat and other small grains,




the heart of the machine is the string trimmer string  and it rotates and throws the seed over into the box behind it, and there is a screen on the box to let the air out,



check out this URL for a better explanation of how it works  http://reveg-catalog.tamu.edu/images/11-Seed-Harv/03-Flail-Vac%20Diagram.jpg

http://reveg-catalog.tamu.edu/11-Seed%20Harvesting.htm
there is a picture of hand held stripper using a weed eater for a power source,
http://www.prairiehabitats.com/hand.html
                          


Joined: Mar 13, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Colorado
just for the sake of discussion, what would you be willing to pay for a small plot harvester?

Say some thing 2 to 3 foot wide and either self propelled like a lawn mower or being able to be pulled with a small lawn type tractor, or ATV, the unit would be most likely powered by a small gas motor, of 3 to 5 hp.

What I am thinking would not not clean it, but just take the seed and some chaff, from the wheat straw/stock,
and would be able to be used on most small grains,

one would need to winnow it or have a small fanning mill to clean the chaff out of the wheat or grain,

what would it be worth to one?
josh brill


Joined: Sep 06, 2010
Posts: 86
    
    1
http://sustainableseedsystems.wsu.edu/nicheMarket/smallScaleThreshing.html has the plans for that conversion as well as a seed cleaner.


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Joined: Jul 10, 2010
Posts: 114
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Wheat is a very strategic crop.
A high percentage of the global diet comes from it.

Here is the machine that I used to thresh mine.

http://www.harborfreight.com/electric-leaf-eater-shredder-66133.html

It is a leaf shredder.


We live in Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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Joined: Feb 15, 2010
Posts: 34
Don't forget about bicycle power.

http://www.hampshire.edu/news/media/pedal.htm

http://www.waldeneffect.org/blog/DIY_grain_thresher_and_huller/
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Birdman wrote:just for the sake of discussion, what would you be willing to pay for a small plot harvester?


It sounds like you'd be competing with the grass seed harvester that Birdman mentioned.

Birdman wrote:a stripper type head...string trimmer string...rotates and throws the seed over into the box behind it, and there is a screen on the box to let the air out


That's such an elegant design! Does it drive the air all on its own? I imagine some sort of obstacle to air at the bottom of the string's path would make it function like a constant-volume pump.

barefooter wrote:Don't forget about bicycle power.


Neat! That made me imagine a harvester tricycle, with a string trimmer bar (as in the grass seed harvester discussed here) geared high relative to the pedals, and the drive wheel geared low. The threshing bar would sit in front of the front wheels, and be just a little wider than them, with grain collected about even with the front axle.

Is it possible to put one free-wheeling gear (i.e., "neutral" on a bike gear cassette? That would make such a trike easier to transport under its own power. A few gears on the drive train, and two plus neutral on the threshing bar, would make for a fairly capable little vehicle.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
Is it possible to put one free-wheeling gear (i.e., "neutral" on a bike gear cassette? That would make such a trike easier to transport under its own power. A few gears on the drive train, and two plus neutral on the threshing bar, would make for a fairly capable little vehicle.


sounds like a difficult bit of wrenching.  might be easier to add a step from a bicycle cog to a belt pulley and engage the bar with a tensioner.  the old chain-driven corn planters I've worked on disengage with a pretty simple mechanism, too, so there are other options if spare parts are available or if fabrication is an option.


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Brice Moss


Joined: Jul 28, 2010
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
    
    2
seems like an automotive serpentine belt would carry enough power with less loss than a bicycle chain
you could use modified rear wheel hub to drive the belt giving you 5-7 speeds and then either drive the axle or a jack-shaft that would them power both the axle and the threshing mechanism

hope that made sense I can see it in my head but don't want to try drawing it out

oh and spring tensioners on all the belts would allow real quick belt changes thus a mode change in seconds

Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
*blinks*

I'm used to being the most mechanically-inclined one in the room. I guess I've spent too long in the city.

That sounds like a better design than I had thought of. Belts would make for an easier change/removal of the string-trimmer threshing bar, if you wanted to use it for cargo, or devised some other useful attachment like a flail mower.
Brice Moss


Joined: Jul 28, 2010
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
    
    2
Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
*blinks*

I'm used to being the most mechanically-inclined one in the room. I guess I've spent too long in the city.

That sounds like a better design than I had thought of. Belts would make for an easier change/removal of the string-trimmer threshing bar, if you wanted to use it for cargo, or devised some other useful attachment like a flail mower.


gee thanks I guess all the years I've spent spinning wrenches ain't a waste when I really think about it
Suzy Bean
steward

Joined: Apr 05, 2011
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
    
    8
farm show, vol 34, no 2 shows a foot powered thresher made by a guy in Tennessee for $650. It has a foot treadle, an enclosed threshing reel, and a winnowing screen. As you pump your feet, the reel turns and the screen shakes.


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Mac Nova


Joined: Jul 24, 2011
Posts: 24
Two sticks on a chain works well one size opf a hockey stick and the other the size of a billy club. chain the two together and fly at her.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
for now i am using a pillow case and a wooden branch to whack it with.

then to winnow i either do it by hand in a huge woven basket. or i made one of these.
http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/oilpress.html the winnower is half way down the page. it works great for all kinds of seeds because you can adjust the air flow for heavier or lighter seed.


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
Peter Ingot


Joined: Sep 06, 2011
Posts: 50
I attached a length of chain onto the rotor of an old top loading washing machine. Works pretty good forall kinds of seeds and grains
Eric Thomas


Joined: Mar 19, 2011
Posts: 54
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Zone 6b,
Or you could get a couple of close friends, some horses, a few bottles of wine and have a party while you thresh!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDmciOFo7M4



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Ignorance like a fire doth burn,
Little tasks make large return.
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Peter Ingot


Joined: Sep 06, 2011
Posts: 50
The horse method looks  fun but  I think could put a lot of grit in the grain. The  video didn't play to the end so I didn't see how they cleaned it up.Pics of my washin g machine /threshing machine below


[Thumbnail for thresher2.JPG]

Eric Thomas


Joined: Mar 19, 2011
Posts: 54
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Zone 6b,
It thought it was a fun way to demonstrate what people did (and do) when faced with a job that has to get done and with what limited resources they have on hand.  Kind of like what most of us face every day.  Loved the music too, if I have to work hard in the hot sun that's the soundtrack I want in my head! 
Victor Johanson


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 266
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    
  10
This isn't a thresher, but it's about the coolest winnower/cleaner I can remember seeing:



Not far from you either, Paul--Bigfork.


Vic Johanson

"I must Create a System, or be enslaved by another Man's"--William Blake
Matt Baker


Joined: Dec 19, 2011
Posts: 39
If you've got animals you could do this:



Adding music would make it more fun!


Kelowna, BC
Zone 5
M Foti


Joined: Oct 21, 2013
Posts: 164
Location: western n.c.
    
    5
wonder how you would train a cow not to pee on your grain?


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josh brill


Joined: Sep 06, 2010
Posts: 86
    
    1
My dad built us a thresher that can thresh rice and other grains for something like 50 bucks. It can be hooked up to a bike or a small motor. The plans aren't up on the internet yet but he say he was going to put them up soon. You can watch a video of it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKDlHiet3ZQ. It doesn't show it threshing in the video because we didn't have any grain on stalks at the time so its just being used as a fly wheel for the bike powered huller. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0FLVNeVgik In this one he talks about building it at around 6 mins I think.
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 4820
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
    
181
Thanks for that Josh. I've embedded the videos below.





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Nick Kitchener


Joined: Sep 24, 2012
Posts: 343
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    
    6
Here's a good build along:
http://www.slideshare.net/seedtray/a-home-built-threshing-machine-for-smallholders
K Nelfson


Joined: Nov 07, 2012
Posts: 124
paul wheaton wrote:Anybody done much threshing by hand?  What did you find was the easiest way?



I've threshed beans by hand, which is different from grain, but somewhat related. Basically, you pull the plants when they die and hang them upside down to dry. Then you hold them by the roots and smash them into the inside wall of a trash can or whatever container you have handy. Winnow with a fan, the wind, or a seed sorter. My understanding is that this works fine for up to 1/3 acre. Personally, I've done this only for 2 x 50' rows.

For grain, you cut and shock it earlier than you would combine it. Handling the plants will knock the seeds off if you do this too late. Then thresh, winnow, screen, store, check, grind, age, and bake
Matt Smaus


Joined: Feb 05, 2014
Posts: 32
Location: Carnation, WA
    
    1
Suzy Bean wrote:Farm Show, vol 34, no 2 shows a foot powered thresher made by a guy in Tennessee for $650. It has a foot treadle, an enclosed threshing reel, and a winnowing screen. As you pump your feet, the reel turns and the screen shakes.


Here is where it's found, the price has apparently gone up to $900: http://www.backtotheland.com/html/wheat_thrasher.html

In addition, there's a guy who has started importing a self-propelled "mini-combine" from China, which he is selling for $5,700 new. His name is Eddie Qi, and I've spoken with him. Website: http://www.eqmachinery.com/

I would love a smallholder's combine attachment for a BCS walk-behind, and I bet there'd be a market it for it if you could get it down to $3-4k.



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Nick Kitchener


Joined: Sep 24, 2012
Posts: 343
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
    
    6
K Nelfson wrote:
...For grain, you cut and shock it earlier than you would combine it. Handling the plants will knock the seeds off if you do this too late. Then thresh, winnow, screen, store, check, grind, age, and bake


I think forgot one vital step there...
 
 
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