# Need Help/Idea's Pontoon Lift Lake Weeds

Danger
Gold Member
Thank you. Yes, that helped a lot.

Danger
Gold Member
Oh, joy. I finally figured out Inkscape enough to get some sketches done up, and now it turns out that it doesn't output any file formats that ImageShack supports.
Illustrator had the same problem, and I would filter the output through Photoshop. I tried that with Gimp, and the programme crashes every time that I open it. I'll keep trying to find a way.

berkeman
Mentor
Oh, joy. I finally figured out Inkscape enough to get some sketches done up, and now it turns out that it doesn't output any file formats that ImageShack supports.
Illustrator had the same problem, and I would filter the output through Photoshop. I tried that with Gimp, and the programme crashes every time that I open it. I'll keep trying to find a way.
Can you maybe scan the hard copy output, and post that in JPG format? It won't be as crisp as the original, but would let the OP start to see your ideas...

berkeman
Mentor
Or else, maybe see if Primo PDF Writer (free) will install its printer driver so that your Inkscape program can print to PDFs....

http://www.primopdf.com/

Danger
Gold Member
I'll give the scanning a shot. Unfortunately, ImageShack doesn't support PDF. It would save me an awful lot of trouble if it did, since that is one of Illustrator's and Inkscape's formats.
If worst comes to worst, I'll do what I did before we had a scanner; print it out and take a picture of it with my camera which outputs JPG.

I'll give the scanning a shot. Unfortunately, ImageShack doesn't support PDF. It would save me an awful lot of trouble if it did, since that is one of Illustrator's and Inkscape's formats.
If worst comes to worst, I'll do what I did before we had a scanner; print it out and take a picture of it with my camera which outputs JPG.
Hi.

Thanks again for all your time and effort on creating sketches.....

Danger
Gold Member
My pleasure. I just hope that I can post them in time to do you some good.

Danger
Gold Member
Okay, I finally figured it out. I had to install Gimp on my boss' computer at work, since there isn't an Intel Mac version. So I save from Inkscape as a PDF, upload it to my thumb-drive, import it to Gimp, resave it as a TIFF, and upload to ImageShack.

I'm afraid the design isn't much, considering how long you had to wait for it. I've made no effort to put it to scale or even include any details; I just wanted to get an overview of the idea up for you while I work on it.
For the belt itself, some kind of tough mesh would be nice, but I'm thinking along the line of a strip of AstroTurf or other outdoor carpeting. Anyhow, here's the basic idea.

http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/636/conveyorld9.png [Broken]

I really wish that I knew why all of the rollers in the chain are missing from the picture. They're still in the original. :grumpy:

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berkeman
Mentor
Nice drawing, Danger. Instead of bolting the belt to the chain to move the belt, could you just use a rubber roller at one end that is powered, and an unpowered one at the water end of the ramp? The multiple bolting points between the chain and the belt may cause some tearing forces as the belt goes around the endpoints. Also, the metal chain may not weather very well being cycled through the water at the low end.

I went back and followed the links I posted earlier with the pic of the water skimmer boat. Turns out there is a weed cutting boat with some kind of ramp already commercially available, the "Weedcat". You can use google images to find a few images of the Weedcat boat, or try the company's website directly (which is not very well designed, and has some frustrating circular links....):

http://www.trashskimmer.com/weedcat.htm [Broken]

The "Trashskimmer" model is for picking up stuff off the surface of the water, and may also be helpful in thinking about ways to do this in a home-brew way. Here are some videos (I didn't take time to watch them yet):

http://www.trashskimmer.com/videos/videos.htm [Broken]

EDIT -- I just watched the start of Video #4, and it's pretty good. Good view of the ramp and operation.

.

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Danger
Gold Member
Jeez, man... nice research! Now I feel like a total dummy for not thinking to check that out; since the OP didn't mention it, I just assumed that no such thing already existed.
I hadn't considered the possible detrimental effects of water upon the chain, simply because it doesn't seem to bother motorcycles in the rain. It does make sense now, though. Your idea about the rollers is valid. I just never design anything with them because I've experienced too much slippage in the past when trying to use them. This isn't a high-torque situation, though, so that shouldn't be a problem.
Your observation of the possible tear stresses upon the belt when negotiating a cog is something that I was a bit concerned about. I was hoping that keeping the anchor nuts absolutely centred along the links, and keeping the chain tension as low as possible, would minimize that, but I wasn't really sure.
Excellent observations, pal.

Hi,

Thanks for the initial sketch, I will show to the father in law and see what he thinks.

I did find a couple of other websites that have the larger conveyor system but nothing that is for the smaller size like the pontoon that I can afford to start with. Here are a few other links for ideas, some may be to much but it looks like you wanted more research on this topic.

inland-lake.com/popups/hdbelting.htm

Inland's heavy duty belting tension rating is 1,350lbs per one foot of width. Using 1" x 1" flatwire belting with 6 gauge rods, our customers get longer wear, less distortion and less maintenance. (May be to heavy for this small of a project or too expensive for me?)

inland-lake.com

Most of these large harvester machines cut the weed and then it goes up the conveyor as they drive to harvester ahead. These harevesters are very expensive and don't have the ability to go into the shallow water by the shoreline.

But being that we are cutting most of the shoreline weeds by hand standing in the water we needed a pontoon style boat with a conveyor to carry the weeds to the dump location.

weedcutter.com/gallery.html

This is a cheaper/smaller weed harvester that we looked at but it still wouldn't pick up the weeds from the lake as this is another reason we are looking for some type of transportation boat or pontoon with a conveyor system to make things easier.

P.S. - Our current website is lakeshorepotential.com so you can see myself and my son and what we are working on trying work up to in the future.

Thanks again for all of your help and ideas as we really didn't know how to get past having to handle the lake weeds several times and would really like to figure out some type of conveyor system to make things easier for both of us.

LakeTetonka - Sorry I couldn't post any URLs to other sites until I have made 15 posts or more so I took off the http and www

I used to do design work in the fruit industry where we used large, open impeller trash pumps to move large volumes of water, (along with anything floating in it, like apples, pears, etc.). They even used these things in the maraschino cherry business to tear the cherry clusters apart into individual cherries with stems by running them through the pumps, (yeah, once they're cured those cherries are almost as tough as leather). You're probably wondering what the heck this has to do with your problem. O.K., here's the idea:

You mount one of these pumps at the back of your pontoon boat, run a tube into the water and suck up the weeds, water and all. Pump them right into a screened catch basin in the boat and you're done with it. Lots of ways to implement this in more creative ways too. You could design a cutter system at the outward end of your suction tube that would keep you out of the water and just guide the suction cutter head while sitting at the back of the boat, (kind of like a big lawnmower). Make the catch basin a hydraulic powered dump so that you could just run up on shore and dump to a trailer pulled by an ATV. If you had trouble with the pump clogging, (I doubt it, but those weeds might be pretty tough), you could easily design a chopping apparatus just forward of the pump. Just a thought.

Danger
Gold Member
Michael, that's what I love about PF; so many people contributing with so many different approaches to things. That's a great idea about using a pump. It never occurred to me that one could handle solid stuff like that. It's certainly a lot simpler than what I was thinking of (and I still haven't figured out how to tie the knots in the baler section anyway ).

edit: Cancel that, I just figured out the knots. Working on how to simplify the mechanism, just in case Laketetonka still wants to go that route.

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Thanks for all of the new ideas, I will try and review both options to see which is a better fit during this summer.

The idea of a trash impeller sounds great, but won't the stringy weeds get caught up inside the unit? I asked a Honda pump dealer about using a regular trash pump and a diaphram trash pump and I got mixed reviews from two different dealers.

One said that the diaphram pump should work great and the other dealer said that neither unit would work well with lake weeds?

Is there a specific unit that you would recommend to research?

Thanks again for everyones help and ideas on this project
Laketetonka

The idea of a trash impeller sounds great, but won't the stringy weeds get caught up inside the unit?
I think that would depend on the strength of the weeds and how much processing that you did to them first. If you wanted to be absolutely sure, you might consider cutting them into smaller pieces first. A sickle bar mower would work well,( they look like a big hedge trimmer if you haven't seen one). The pump that I'm talking about had an inlet diameter of about 6" and an impeller of about 8" diameter. The impeller looked sort of like a squirrel cage fan with about 4 or 5 blades in smooth cast iron. The outlet was around 6" as well and we just used steel adapters to fit the inlet and outlet to stock PVC pipe. If you mounted the sickle bar mower assembly inside a piece of formed pvc pipe, something like a pipe, slotted in the long direction, with lips, you could suck water and weeds into the assembly and chop them off in little bits, depending on how deep into the water you lowered the suction assembly. If the sickle bar deal didn't work you could always fit the suction unit with the equivalent of a reel mower and I'm sure that would work. This would take some experimentation, but I think that you could eventually set things up so that you had the water borne equivalent of a riding lawnmower.

One said that the diaphram pump should work great and the other dealer said that neither unit would work well with lake weeds?
The nature of invention is that no one has made the ideas that you're working with work...YET. To make your ideas work you have to fool around with them until they do. If you believe people when they tell you that something won't work, before they've even thought about it or tried it, then it never will work for you. If you are financially challenged, you could always make a small unit up first at a low cost with a small diameter trash pump, (rent a sump pump for a few days for your trial) and some sort of chopper assembly, (please guard it well as I'd hate to think that you cut yourself up messing around with this). Once the concept works it's easy to scale it up. [/QUOTE]

Is there a specific unit that you would recommend to research?
If you want to know more about the pump I used you could Google: Van Doren Sales in East Wenatchee, WA and ask them about the pump that they use on their "hydrofillers". These are machines which automatically fill bins of fruit after it's been sorted and floated in long flumes. Once they know that you aren't a competitor they'd probably tell you more about the pumps and where to get them. They're big and you'll need a good sized engine to drive them, but hey time is money and the faster this removes the weeds the more \$ you make. If they aren't too helpful, I'd just search for a high volume centrifugal pump, preferably one with an impeller design that's good at shedding loose material. You might try an agricultural supplier, like someone who'd sell pumps to a dairy operation as I know they add water to manure and spray that onto fields as fertilizer, (and that would require a pretty clog free pump). I've thought that this idea would work for quite some time, (like twenty years), but I have so many other things going on that I've just never had any desire to develop it. It'd be neat to see someone get some mileage out of it. Have fun and be careful !

Michael E.

Danger
Gold Member
Michael, your idea about the blades just triggered another thought. He could combine the properties of the conveyor and the pump by using an auger. It wouldn't be nearly as fast as either of the others, but it might be cheaper and it would do its own chopping.