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    Thread: Another DIY RDF project

    1. #1
      Riftlake is offline Senior Member
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      Another DIY RDF project

      I've been on the fence for awhile about whether to try this project or not, but decided to go for it. I want to say thank you to those that posted their own builds on this forum and freely shared their knowledge and time. Without you I wouldn't have even started this project.

      After spending many hours on this forum, watching youtube videos, and searching online for parts to do a build, a kind of a funny thing happened that caused me to go for it. I needed a flat sheet of plastic for another project, and had some lengths of used 12" pvc pipe laying around and I got to wondering if I could cut up a section, heat it up and flatten it out. I gave it a try, and it worked out much better than I expected. After successfully flattening out several sheets, I realized I had the material to build a drum for an RDF.


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      I taped a piece of aluminum flashing around the pipe to use to mark a line to make a square cut.


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      I also marked both sides with a horizontal line so I could cut it in half lengthwise.


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      Made my cuts with a Skilsaw.

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      Loaded 1 at a time into my propane bbq. closed the lid and fired it up. I kept peeking every few minutes, and when the plastic started to slump, I removed it with a stick stuck through it, layed it out and flattened it on my steel table, put a sheet of 12G sheet metal over it with cinder blocks for weight, and let it cool.


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      Simple as that. I had my flat sheets of PVC. The thickness is just a hair over 5/16". Third of an inch. My BBQ limits the lengths to 22-5/8", and half the diameter of the pipe gave me a little over 18" wide. I didn't melt any of the pieces, but I did scorch the surface slightly a couple times. Worked out great.

    2. #2
      Riftlake is offline Senior Member
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      I decide to build the drum with a diameter of 15" and a length of 18". The ends of the drum would be 17" in diameter and would ride on 4 wheels in the tank. For a tank I've been planning on using a 55g blue barrel, but I may change my mind on that. I did pick up some nice straight sided food grade barrels off Craigslist for $10 each.

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      I had some scrap 3/4" particle board & some 3/8" dowels, so I drilled a 3/8" hole in the particle board and the pvc sheets and inserted a peg.


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      After marking the sheets, I hogged off the excess using a straight edge as a guide.


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      Then I rough trimmed the sheets just outside the line with my skilsaw.


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      Then I made a jig out of a block of wood and section of a dowel for a guide for my router.

      Warning: Everything needs to be firmly clamped down before attempting to router. Keep a firm grip on the router, use a sharp carbide bit, and go slow. Trim close to the line beforehand so the router bit only has a little to remove. I did set the depth to go through the full 5/16" on a pass, though. I'm warning because the plastic is kind of grabby on the bit, kind of different than routering wood. Maybe the pvc heats up from the friction and expands a little, or gets kind of gummy, but it routers good, just be careful and you will get the feel for how much you can take off. CLAMP THE PIECE DOWN!

    3. #3
      Riftlake is offline Senior Member
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      I wanted the outside discs to be an inch wide so I decide to glue together a sandwich of 3 pieces. I made an octagonal inner layer out of scraps and glued it all together.


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      Again, hogging off the excess.


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      After routering the outside edge of each disc I made another simple jig so I could have a guide to router notches in the edges of the discs. Eight notches in each, and I was careful to match up the notches in all of the discs.


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      I cut the ribs 18" long by 1-3/8" wide to fit snug in the notches.


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      Now I had to turn the discs into rings. I had made an extra disc for a guide which I saved and wouldn't make into a ring, that I screwed to each of the discs, marked the position, then removed. I marked and then cut just inside the line on the remaining discs with a jigsaw. The inner circle that I cut from the rings I also now cut down about an inch smaller in diameter. The guide disc was screwed on to the ring to be routered and placed on the peg along with the small inner disc. That left a flat surface to run the router on. The router bit only would contact the inside of the ring and not the inner circle. The tricky part was plunging the router down to start the cut by lowering it by sliding it down over the peg. Then I would router the inside of the ring. Unfortunately, careful as I was, the bit always made a hog mark at the start of the cut. Only the outermost rings will have to be super smooth, both on the outside to ride on the wheels, and on the inside for the seal to ride on.


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      I couldn't resist knocking it together to see how it was looking. It's not glued yet and still kind of rough. I need to hog out the disc on one end yet to make the ring the seal will go on. Also, I'm tempted to make the drum a little wider. Maybe 24" instead of 18"? I'm planning on putting another thin rib in the center of the open spaces to help support the mesh. These spokes will be turned radially (is that a word?) so they won't block the spray much. I may cut them out of flattened sections of 2" pvc pipe so they will only be 3/16" wide facing the spray.


      You that have a working RDF, how much flow do you think this size drum is good for? I found sieve screen that the minimum order would be 36" by 48" and I could split it in half and have an extra screen. The circumference is just under 48".

    4. #4
      Huysy's Avatar
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      Good job on re-using the pvc, and the drum looks great! That size drum I think would be good for about 7000 gph using 70 micron mesh and having the drum 75% submerged. Looking forward to your build. Thanks for sharing.

    5. #5
      Riftlake is offline Senior Member
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      Thanks Huysy, your imput has been very helpful in encouraging me to go with this project. I really appreciate you posting your wiring diagram and listing the components you used on your RDF build. I'm using it as a model and guide for my project. I've chosen to go direct drive using the Maker Motor PN00113 5RPM 12VDC, as did kimini in his build. I'm going with Maker Motor power supply PS12V17A. The motor has a 15mm output shaft that I'm going to adapt to a stainless 12mm shaft that I found here: https://www.smw3d.com/linear-smooth-rod/ For an adapter I'm using a Flexible Shaft Coupling 6408K14 from McMaster-Carr. The the stainless set screw hub I found for mating the shaft to the drum is: https://www.robotshop.com/en/12mm-se...w-key-hub.html I plan to use a pump seal similar to what you did on your build to seal the shaft penetration on the tank. I haven't decided on what to use for water level sensors as of yet, and any suggestions for something simple, reliable, and hopefully cheap, would be appreciated.

      Since I'm fixing to make an order to McMaster-Carr, I'm thinking I will order the spray nozzles while I'm at it. I'm leaning towards using the nozzles Zoki51 used on his build. I guess I should go with the stainless steel ones even though they are more $. Is it worth the extra cost?

      I have an old 1/2 horse jet pump that I ordered a rebuild kit for. Looking at using the same relay you used for your pump: uxcell Heat Sink + Solid State Relay SSR-25 DA 25A 3.2-32V DC / 24-380V AC

      For the drum seal I have an idea of using a used Frigidaire washer door boot seal I order cheap ($19 shipped) from ebay. When it gets here I'll figure out how I can make it work. If I can adapt it, it should be durable since it was hopefully designed with a friction resistant material.

    6. #6
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      I think you have chosen great parts for your build...a lot better than what I used. Good, strong motor and power supply. If I were to do it over again, I would get the stainless steel ones that you referenced. It's just a little more money. As for float switch, DO NOT get these:

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      They come with braided, waxed cloth over rubber insulation that deteriorates rather quickly in a wet environment. Great float, horrible wiring. If you find more reliable and cheap switches, let me know

      With the seal, I tried various ways to seal the drum, but there was always too much friction. I highly recommend the way kimini and I did it with a strip of silicone. Very little friction with this type of seal. I'm not saying other ways won't work, but that worked best for me.

    7. #7
      kimini is offline Senior Member
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      Thanks, but I was recently told that "the" stuff to use for a seal is LDPE, low density polyethylene, https://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/124/3724/=1duy2ky. I have it on-hand but haven't gotten around to swapping it in, as the silicon material is currently working fine.

      Regarding the float switch, I first went cheap with one of these: https://www.mcmaster.com/#float-switches/=1duy4oz

      While simple and inexpensive, it had issues with jamming, so it was eventually replaced with a capacitive-type sensor that works right through the tank wall. Very nice, more expensive, but with nothing touching the water, it never jams open or closed, https://www.automationdirect.com/adc...tion/CK1-00-2H
      Last edited by kimini; 07-24-2018 at 09:38 PM.

    8. #8
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      The one I used never jammed. I think I just need to cover the existing wires with the jacket of some outdoor cabling and seal it. It should be much more reliable.

    9. #9
      BWG is offline Senior Member
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      For drum seals some are using Ultra High Molecular Weight (UHMW) plastic strips. It is very tough, wear resistant and slippery.
      Attached Images Attached Images  

    10. #10
      Riftlake is offline Senior Member
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      Those strips sound promising for a drum seal. Might wind up trying that before it's all over.

      I may have run into a snag on the timer. The power supply I'm planning on using is 12v, 17A. Looking at the specs on the timer Huysy used I'm not sure it can handle the amperage: DROK 200119 Digital LED Display 12V On/Off Time Delay Relay Module 12 Volt Timer Relay Switch Board External Trigger Automotive Relay. Here is a pdf file of the user manual: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....13pHbtLQiL.pdf I don't know much about these electrical components, can anyone tell me if this timer relay will work, or if there is something more appropriate?
      Last edited by Riftlake; 07-25-2018 at 12:13 AM.

    11. #11
      kimini is offline Senior Member
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      I'll answer the question with a question: how much current will your motor draw when the drum is full? Worst case is if the drum gets stuck and the motor jams. You can get a rough idea of the current in that case by measuring the motor's DC resistance, then dividing that into 12V to see what the resulting current will be. Keep in mind that most switching modules (assuming mechanical contacts) are rated for switching current, which will always be less than what it can handle steady-state. My "guess" is that you'll be fine.

    12. #12
      kimini is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Huysy View Post
      The one I used never jammed. I think I just need to cover the existing wires with the jacket of some outdoor cabling and seal it. It should be much more reliable.
      As I recall, it was due to snail eggs ending up in the drum and the little *******s got stuck in the hinge.

    13. #13
      BWG is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Riftlake View Post
      Those strips sound promising for a drum seal. Might wind up trying that before it's all over.

      I may have run into a snag on the timer. The power supply I'm planning on using is 12v, 17A. Looking at the specs on the timer Huysy used I'm not sure it can handle the amperage: DROK 200119 Digital LED Display 12V On/Off Time Delay Relay Module 12 Volt Timer Relay Switch Board External Trigger Automotive Relay. Here is a pdf file of the user manual: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....13pHbtLQiL.pdf I don't know much about these electrical components, can anyone tell me if this timer relay will work, or if there is something more appropriate?
      On something such as this I usually have the timer control a separate relay and run the outputs off the relay. This isolates and protects the timer plus you get a longer life. Also desirable to fuse the outputs. Look at 15 amp plug in ice cube relays ($5).

    14. #14
      Riftlake is offline Senior Member
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      Thanks, any chance you could sketch out a wiring diagram showing how you would suggest doing this? This is where I am going to struggle, I'm not too up on electronics, I need someone to draw me a picture. Huysy's diagram looks simple enough and I can follow it, Name:  RDF wiring diagram.jpg
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      I looked for those plug in relays and they are cheap, but would have to add some kind of block to plug them into. I'm trying to make a list of all the components needed so I can get them all ordered.

    15. #15
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      Here you go. You'll just need to add a DC-DC relay to handle the load for your motor. You'll be cutting it really close using the relay on the timer directly to switch on your motor, so adding this DC-DC relay will give you a lot more breathing room.
      NOTE: This schematic is a simplified version of what I actually used. Not shown are several terminal blocks to make it easier to wire up.

      Here's a relay I found that could work:

      https://www.amazon.com/uxcell-SSR-40...5%3A2470955011


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    16. #16
      Riftlake is offline Senior Member
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      Thanks, after thinking about it I kind of thought I would need something like that, but I was thinking more along the lines of protecting the time delay relay from over current directly from the power supply. This actually does that by the timer triggering the DC-DC relay causing the possible current surge to bypass the timer, right? Sorry, I'm totally new to this, but I think I get the drift. I was afraid the timer couldn't directly handle the power supply when the float switch closed.

      I've got terminal blocks on the list, but I'm wondering should I add some kind of fuses or breakers to protect the motor and pump individually, or just rely on one to protect it all together? Also I need to find a button to trigger a cleaning cycle. I see how to add that in.

      A question I have about the timer is that when the float switch closes and triggers the cycle, the switch is closed for a period of time until the water level comes back up, but when you hit the button to trigger the cycle it is only closed momentarily, so do both types of triggering actions have the same affect on the timer? I'm not sure I'm wording my question right to make sense, but it just seems like the timer would be getting two totally different types of signals and would respond differently.

    17. #17
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      The relay built into the timer board would be the only component that would experience a surge in current. It is the current and voltage rating of this relay that you need to be concerned about. The relay is just a switch that completes the circuit from power supply to the motor. The float switch will trigger the timer circuitry to switch the relay on so that power gets delivered to your motor.

      The timer board and circuitry use very little power and is isolated from the relay. It will use the same amount of power whether your power supply can supply 17A or 100A. Your motor has a max current of 5A at load, so the relay may experience 2X-3X (10A - 15A) when first turned on. This would exceed the built in relay, so that is why you'll have to add an extra relay to handle that amount of current.

      It probably would be a good idea to put a fuse in to protect the motor. I didn't put one in on my design. Others may be able to guide you on what rating the fuse should be.

      With this timer, once your trigger the cycle, it will ignore any additional triggers until the cycle is complete. Does not matter if the trigger length is a few milliseconds or a few seconds.

      Here is the button I used but it is currently unavailable on Amazon.

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      It's a really nice looking momentary push button. I'm sure you can find others like it.

    18. #18
      Riftlake is offline Senior Member
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      Time for an update on the progress. It's moving slow, but it's coming along.

      Before gluing the drum together I decided to narrow the ribs a bit, which I did by setting up a little jig and using a router on each one before assembling. I also added a thin rib in the open spaces to give a bit of support for the mesh. These narrow ribs where cut from 2" schedule 40 pvc pipe that I cut, heated, and flattened, in the same way as I flattened the sheets from the 12" pipe. These ribs are only about 3/16" by 3/4", but plenty stiff the way they are glued into the notches I put in the discs. The notches were cut into the discs using the jig I had used to notch for the wider ribs, but I cut them with the Skilsaw rather than the router.

      I used several clamps to hold the drum together as I glued it up.

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      After letting the glue set up I did a little sanding to clean it up a little. It came out pretty good I think, it rolls without wobbling, and seems solid enough. The ends are not glued on here, I later attached them with stainless screws.

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    19. #19
      Riftlake is offline Senior Member
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      As you can see on the end discs the edges are not that smooth and I decided to re-cut them a little smaller in diameter, both to make the drum fit better in the barrel I was using as a tank, and to smooth them out. I used a jig saw and a sander, and found it is way easier, faster, and does a better job than cutting the discs with a router. Here I cut pretty close to the line, but found later I could cut even closer with the jig saw, barely leaving the line.

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    20. #20
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      It was easy to sand the outer edges with a palm sander, and the inner with this sander mounted on a drill.

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