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Need Help/Idea's Pontoon Lift Lake Weeds

  1. Mar 27, 2008 #1
    Hello,

    I harvest lake weeds and I'm looking for an easier way to remove the aquatic weeds from the water after they are cut.

    A couple of quick ideas were to use an older pontoon as a way to transport the weeds out of the lake.

    1) Thought about some type of hydrolic lift table that could be lowered down into the water and then the weeds could be pushed on the platform (With no manual lifting on my part).

    2) I would like to be able to then lift the platform (Some type of mesh platform/table) only about a foot out of the water until they have lost all their water weight (A few minutes).

    3) Then I would like to be able to have the platform lift up and either tip into the boat or be able to move into the boat a ways until I can have it then dump the load of lake weeds.

    4) I would also like to be able to control all lift and dump functions from the water as I am usually standing in about 4 - 6 feet of water and wouldn't want to get in and out of the boat several times during the harvesting process.


    I think I may have a good idea, but don't have the knowledge to move any further with this project. Any help would be greatly appreciated by both my Son & Myself.

    Thanks - LakeTetonka
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2008 #2

    stewartcs

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    How about some type of drag net attached to a jib crane?

    CS
     
  4. Mar 27, 2008 #3

    berkeman

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    A wide conveyor belt arrangement comes to mind, with the leading edge in the water ahead of the boat, and the trailing edge raised up (the belt is at about a 20 degree angle?) so that the weeds dump out in a pile in the middle of the boat. If it's a 2-pontoon boat, the middle section can be mesh to allow the weeds to keep draining. The conveyor belt could be driven by an electric motor, powered by a 12V battery system, or it could be gas powered with a control that you work from the front of the conveyor belt....
     
  5. Mar 27, 2008 #4

    Danger

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    I like that idea, Berkeman. If he wants to speed things up a bit, he could add a set of pinch rollers to squish the water out as the weeds are on their way up the belt.
     
  6. Mar 27, 2008 #5

    berkeman

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    Oooo, that's a good one, Danger. Why didn't I think of that!

    The only reservation that I have with the conveyor idea (and now with a squish roller attachment), is a vision of it running away somehow and scooping up these workers (and now squishing them).... LOL

    But there are ways to keep that from happening, of course, like a spring-loaded squisher, which is probably what you had in mind anyway.

    "Look out Son! The ON button is jammed again!" :eek:
     
  7. Mar 27, 2008 #6

    Danger

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    I hadn't put a lot of thought into the squisher idea, but you're right that it would need some kind of safety device even if only to protect itself from 'unsquishable' things that might get swept in.
     
  8. Mar 28, 2008 #7
    Thanks for everyones ideas, I will have to research how to build a conveyor belt system?

    Thanks again - laketetonka
     
  9. Mar 29, 2008 #8

    Danger

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    I just had another thought. :eek:
    What is the end use of these weeds? It occurs to me that an aquatic baler could be designed. Not only scoop up the weeds and squish them, but also compress and tie them.
     
  10. Mar 29, 2008 #9
    End use for the weeds would be to make some type of compost.

    I like the idea of an aquatic baler as this could make the unloading part go much faster.

    But I think that I have my hands full with trying to design/build a conveyor belt system and I'm not even sure were to start the process at this point.

    Great idea but I would have problems getting this project started.

    Thanks again - laketetonka
     
  11. Mar 29, 2008 #10

    Danger

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    I love designing things, even though I'm totally an amateur. If you don't object, I'll start firing up some sketches. It could take a while; none of my Illustrator programmes will work on this Intel MacBook, so I'm trying to learn how to use InkScape. The basic principles are the same, but working the damned thing is like moving from a 747 to an Airbus. I'll really have to print out the on-line manual before I can do anything useful with it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2008
  12. Mar 29, 2008 #11
    What ever you could do would be awsome as my son and I are total clueless to the design aspect of things and would love any sketches that you could send our way to help out the process.

    Thanks - laketetonka
     
  13. Mar 29, 2008 #12

    Danger

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    Consider me on the case, then. My fee is negotiable, but usually ends up with chocolate-chip cookies.
     
  14. Mar 29, 2008 #13
    Sounds great we will start baking the chocolate-chips cookies....

    Thanks - laketetonka
     
  15. Mar 29, 2008 #14

    Danger

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    By the bye, I like them chewy as opposed to crunchy. (Old teeth. :biggrin:)
     
  16. Mar 31, 2008 #15

    berkeman

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    It will be cool to see your sketches, Danger. I seem to remember some other projects that you helped to sketch out ... was it you that helped the guy with the coil winder one time?

    laketetonka, would you prefer a battery-powered electric motor-operated conveyor (you need to charge the battery every night, and the motor adds cost), or would you be okay with a hand-powered conveyor? I have no idea how much material you harvest in a day, so hand-powered might not be an option. But if it were an option, maybe a lever-operated conveyor belt would be the simplest. Especially if there are usually two of you there, there could be levers on both leading sides of the boat, to turn the conveyor belt wheels with some mechanical advantage.

    But if you are harvesting a *lot* of material, then either battery-powered or gas-driven motors for the belt would be needed. Danger will need to know that for his initial design sketches....
     
  17. Mar 31, 2008 #16

    Danger

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    It's not essential for the initial stage, which is pretty much done anyhow, but it certainly will be later on. I'm even wondering if it might be possible to rig a PTO drive from the boat motor. One thing that I do need to know ASAP is what sort of scale we're talking about. How much product needs to be moved, and how big is the boat? The kinds of things that I come up with are often hard to scale up or down much.
     
  18. Apr 4, 2008 #17
    Not sure what the best method will be, I think it will need to be the easy as some times there will only be one person running the harvesting operation.

    Maybe he can sketch using a motor and some type of hand lever to use the conveyor.

    Thanks - laketetonka
     
  19. Apr 4, 2008 #18

    Danger

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    I'm working on it, but I still need some idea of how big it should be. My current design direction is based upon using a long aluminum ladder as the framework for the conveyor section. That would entail a belt of about one foot wide. I really can't begin any detailed plans until I know this:
    1) how big do you want it?
    2) what kind of power source do you want to use? I'm designing based upon electric.
    3) how much do you want to spend building it?
    4) what kind of tools do you have access to; can you weld, or does it have to bolt together?
    5) how heavy is this seaweed? It makes a big difference to the structural and power requirements.
     
  20. Apr 4, 2008 #19
    I don't have the used pontoon yet, but they will run about 16 - 20 feet long and I'm not sure of the width of an average pontoon.

    1) Not exactly sure how big? I would like it to swing/move out of the way when we are trying to transport the pontoon by trailer so the conveyor doesn't get in the way during travel.
    2) Something simple but that is going to work well with out a lot of up keep?
    3) Not a ton of money as we are just getting started with the buisness and have put a lot of money in other parts of the business.
    4) Weld or bolt should work as my father in law is really handy.
    5) Couldn't really tell you as we still have ice on our lake, but most of the weight comes off as soon as it is out of the water. We used pitch fork and it was really heavy to lift a full fork out of the water, but about 2 - 3 seconds later the weight was not to bad.

    Hope that helps, not a very good description on my part but I tried.

    Thanks again for all of your help and great ideas on this project.
    laketetonka

    I had someone else come up with another great use for the pontoon. He said that they have seen a pontoon used to reach out and lift a dock slightly of the shoreline and then the pontoon backs up pulling the dock out into the water for spring set-up.

    Not sure how that would work either?

    THANKS !!!!
     
  21. Apr 6, 2008 #20

    Danger

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    I'm starting to get curious about what you mean by 'pontoon'. To me, that's just a floatation device, and generally pretty small. It sounds as if you're talking about a barge.
    In any event, I'm going to alter my scale and start over. Since your father-in-law is handy, I'll start with a 3/4" steel tube framework instead of a ladder; that should be easy enough to weld up. I'm still thinking motorcycle chains and sprockets for the drive mechanism. I'm having a hell of a time trying to get the hang of Inkscape, so pictures will have to wait. I might have to drag my G3 out of retirement and do it in Illustrator 10, but that restricts the time that I have available because it's in a very uncomfortable location to work in.
    Anyhow, just wanted to let you know that I''m still on it.
     
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