I am a individual prospector and a dyed in the wool do-it yourself enthusiast as well. I have a degree in Mining Engineering from the Mackey School of mines, and I write a monthly series of articles for the ICMJ Mining Journal covering various aspects of prospecting for gold, so I have a lot of experience with prospecting equipment. Over the years, I have built a quite a number of items for myself, including my own dredge.
I have put together design and plans information a number of homemade mining equipment projects that you might attempt. How are your fabrication skills? Are you set up to bend or cut sheet metal? Do you own an arc welder? (here are suggestions as to why You might want to own an inexpensive 110V welder - they are very helpful in repairing broken equipment as well) How about the other standard equipment like drills and a pop rivet tool? The truth is that with care, the proper tools and the skills to use them, you can make some worthwhile mining equipment for yourself. Take a look at the following projects and see if you think these are within your abilities to construct. I buy my project materials from the junk yard, Home Depot, the local prospecting shop or wherever I can purchase the items that I need. I also have some comments about buying the equipment, tools and materials you need to complete these projects.
Each project below has a lot of information, suggestions and plans for what you need to do, so make a selection and take a look......
| Make Your own Gold Pan |
Most anyone can afford to buy a $10 gold pan, but on the other hand there are sometimes reasons that you might need to improvise. Here is the information you need to know about improvising your own "emergency" gold pan for those occasions when you forgot to bring one.
| Design and Build Your own Gold Dredge |
Can't really afford expensive equipment to find gold nuggets? Interested in having your own dredge? There are a number of issues to consider, but I've done it, and you can, too. My dredge is based on a lot of experience in the field, so it works just great. A good homemade dredge will cost some money, but you may be able to build one a lot cheaper than you could buy one. Here are the plans and information you need to build your own homemade suction gold dredge.
Build Your Own Dredge sluice boxHere is the information you need to consider about building your own sluice box for a dredge. Maybe you want to upgrade your old crash box sluice. The sluice on a dredge is such an important part of the construction, I did up a separate page on it so you could see the full set up and how I built mine. After all, if the sluice doesn't catch the gold, what is the point of the dredge? If you are interested in a hand fed river sluice, look a the next item down on this list.
| Plans to Build Your own Hand Fed Sluice Box |
Want to move up from your gold pan and take the next step in prospecting? A simple hand fed river sluice will process more in an hour than you can pan in a day, and more material moved means more gold in your poke at the end of the day. Miners have been making their own sluices since the days of the gold rush. Here is all the information you need to design and build your own homemade sluice box.
| Plans to Build Your own Dry Washer |
This is just the piece of equipment you need to prospect in the desert for gold. There is a long tradition of home built dry washers. This is a very do-able project, but it does take time, planning, good design and some work. Here are my plans and thoughts on how to build your own dry washer.
| Build Your own Gold High Banker |
The highbanker has become a popular piece of prospecting equipment. It is really just a sluice box set up to run at a location away from the waters edge. A close relation of the dredge and sluice box, the highbanker has the advantage of being able to work bench gravels left high and dry by river erosion. There are two main elements of a high banker: they are the feed box and the sluice box. The main types of deposits for which a higbanker is a good choice are gravels away from the water, such as bench gravels and sometimes residual gravels. Building your own High banker is not an exceptionally difficult project.
| Build Your own Gold Shaker Table |
Shaking tables, sometimes also known as wet tables, consist of a vibrating riffled deck mounted on some type of support. The table is shaken back and forth longitudinally, using a slow forward stroke and a rapid return strike that causes particles to “crawl” along the deck parallel to the direction of motion. The lighter materials move up and over the riffles and down to exit on the tailings side of the table. Wash water is fed at the top of the table at right angles to the direction of table movement. Tables are most commonly used to recover gold from hard rock ores, but can also be used to recover other mineral materials of higher than normal density. While building a shaker table is a fairly difficult project, the results can be well worth it...
| Make Your Own Hand Powered Rock Crusher |
Building your own rock crusher really isn't that difficult, but you'll likely need a welder to do it. The basic concept of rock breaking is making big rock pieces into little ones. Popular hand crushing systems include the hand stamp type crusher. Usually these are fully hand operated like mortar and pestle systems, but more elaborate spring type designs can also be made.
| Build Your own Gold Rocker |
At the very dawn of the Gold rush to California, the rocker box was perhaps the most used piece of gold prospecting equipment. For a time it was perhaps even more important that the gold pan. Mostly this was because the miner could make a rocker for himself in the field from rough sawn lumber cut in the forest. They are also easily portable. So why might a modern prospector be interested in building his own rocker box? The principal use of a gold rocker is for mining small deposits where water is scarce. So perhaps the best use is in streams and waterways with very little water – where some water is present, but not enough to run a sluice box.
| Build your own Metal Detector |
This is certainly not an easy task - but if electronics is your specialty, and you've already done a number of your own electronic projects, then you might want to check in here and see about just what what it takes to build your own homemade metal detector. I have also compiled some thoughts on coil fabrication. Take a look here.
|Low Cost, Small Arc Welders For Home UseMy recommendation is that if you want to start fabricating mining equipment (and keep the stuff you already have in good repair) its a good Idea to purchase a small low cost welder - you'll find it has 101 uses around the home. In fact, I so strongly recommend that you consider buying one of these welders that I have done up a whole web page on it. If you are seriously considering building your own mining equipment, check out my page. |
|Fabricating your Own Prospecting Equipment: Useful Tools Here are some of the recommended tools for these mining equipment fabrication projects. Many of the hand tools listed on my web page are already present in most homeowner garages – you need them for those little maintenance projects that come up for everyone who owns a home. However, I wanted to provide this list of the tools needed to build your own mining equipment to help you better plan out what you need for your project. |
|Library and bookstoreWant to learn more? This website has loads of information, but there is always lots more to learn. Here is a large list of books I recommend on Prospecting, rock and mineral collecting, geology, jewelry making, etc. Each has a link where you can make a purchase from Amazon if you wish. |