loading

confetti blower clogging

Hello everyone. I have a question which I think will be a simple one for you guys.
I bought these mini confetti blowers for our church. They suck confetti, which are mainly small shiny rectangular pieces or some rose shaped paper-like material pieces, and blow them to the air.
So ours came with a hose setup to suck the confetti:
http://i.imgur.com/L3dzXMM.jpg

I decided to modify it to suck confetti from inside a box like these ones do:
http://i.imgur.com/EkE930u.jpg

Here's a sketch of how it looks now with the box I made.
http://i.imgur.com/Q5rPvfp.png

What's happening though, the confetti pieces after few seconds form a clog where the box connects with the tube.
http://i.imgur.com/pd7ZYFL.png
If I push that clog with my hand, the confetti is sucked in and flows through the tubes and is blown just fine.

I modified my box from the inside like so, but it didn't change anything.
http://i.imgur.com/60vn7yW.png
->
http://i.imgur.com/F5hzBwr.png

Someone unlike me who actually understands why that is happening, can you explain why clog happens and how would you suggest me to modify my box shape to fix this?


Not that the hose setup is bad, it just looks like a modified vacuum cleaner like that and not very pretty to have in ceremonies and we still need a box to put the confetti pieces and the hose in to suck the confetti so I thought I could just have the box on the machine itself and make it easier to handle.

Picture of confetti blower clogging
1.png
2.jpg
2.png
4.png
5.png
sort by: active | newest | oldest

I have a short and simple fix and a more complicated one, here is the simple:
Place a blocking plate over about 1/4 of the opening of your sucking pipe.
This will cause a vortex at the beginning of the hose and should make the sucking in easier as the confetti can no longer go in as one big lump.
You still need a proper sized air intake in your confetti box.
If you have your box at a slight angle towards the outlet and use several smaller hose right under the outlet your create a simple mixer for the confetti that should further help to prevents a block.

More complicated fix:
I don't know if the following works for confetti but it did a good job for saw dust and wood flakes, let me explain a bit:
What you to suck it is flat and fairly compacted.
This in result gives the vacuum a lot work getting the pieces into the hose.
I had a huge industrial vacuum cleaner at hand but even that often refused to take the wood chips in when working too fast.
Similar problems happen with sand balsting tools by the way.
If you modify your box to be a bottom feer you eliminate one problem.
This means locating the hole for the hose at the bottom of a slightly funnel haped box - like in your sketch but pointing down.
Due to this the confetti will go where it needs to be, but your hose will still block up.
An attempt to eliminate the block:
Bottom hole of your confetti box still pointing down.
Make a 180° bend pipe (or use a flexible hose) to connect to the box, now the "outlet" is re-directed up - try to keep this part quite short.
On top of this hose outlet you mount a little bos that is slightly bigger in diameter than the hose coming out of your confetti box, a hose with more diameter will work too.
On the top you connect your confetti blower.

Ok what is actually happening (my theory anyway):
The confetti is fed down into the pipe by gravity.
The vacuum sucks it up into a section with bigger volume, this results in a pressure drop and the confetti being mixed with the air instead of being one big lump.
The confetty blower can now suck the mix of air and confitti in with no problems.

MarkL9 (author)  Downunder35m2 years ago

Hey. "Place a blocking plate over about 1/4 of the opening of your sucking pipe." you mean from the opening like this?

untitled.png

No, I meant directly on the suction pipe.
Forgive my drawing skills (or lack of it):

http://oi60.tinypic.com/bhh9gg.jpg

On the left you see what I mean with your feeder.
The 4 little lines under the box are the same as for the pipe, about 1/4 of the otlet is blocked.
You can cut a slot into a piece of plastic tubing with a saw and insert a shhet of plastic.
This is so the confetti (hopefully) won't just fall down and cause a massive block.
The plates make sure there is always some free room and the bend itself should not fill up completely anyway.
The bigger part at the end of the bend is the "diverter", again to mix the confetti with air so it won't suck it a big blob and block.

On the right you see a dirty drawing of the pipe that sucks the confetti in if you want to try the simple way first.
All it does is block the front of the pie to about one quarter - in this region no confetti can be sucked it but what comes in through the open part will end up in a vortex caused by the blocking plate.
As the plate causes a smaller inlet the confetti will have more room once inside the pipe - mor room means more air flow and less blockage.

caitlinsdad2 years ago

the blower is essentially a weak vacuum, the basic setup is like a pitot tube or the Venturi effect if I remember my physics. You can't force feed the confetti. The confetti box needs to have a hole or vent on the opposite end of the box away from the pickup inlet to let in fresh air. You might want to move the pickup tube to a higher position in the box. You just want it to skim off the top of the pile of confetti in the box. Other than that, you may have to have an agitator to get the confetti flying around in the feed box so it gets sucked in by the vacuum. Go to a home center to check out blown in insulation machines or the build a bear stuffing machines. If you need a confetti blaster instead of streaming flow, you will need to move up to compressed air. Good luck.

MarkL9 (author)  caitlinsdad2 years ago

Thank you for the info and ideas.

"The confetti box needs to have a hole or vent on the opposite end of the box away from the pickup inlet to let in fresh air." - yes there is a gap on the back on the top lid as you can see in the illustrations.

I don't know if this counts as an agitator, but i tried putting two fans
and making them blow the confetti inside the box, tried at different
angles, they didn't do much about clogs.

"You might want to move the pickup tube to a higher position in the box." - I did, but I see no difference.

hmm, maybe you need to dust the confetti with talcum powder or something to keep them from sticking together or make smaller confetti pieces that the vacuum can draw easier. It seems like a fun experiment though.

MarkL9 (author)  caitlinsdad2 years ago

Hm, you have a point, the confetti I'm testing now and haven't tested any other yet is a aluminized mylar and there's some sticking action going on.

Do people actually use a talcum powder to lessen that effect though, or is that just an idea you thought of which works in theory?

You need some kind of dry lubricant material, graphite and other stuff is not good for some blown in the air and possibly leaving a film or inhaled by people with health issues. Then again, using cornstarch or flour may lead to a hazardous dust bomb condition. Supposedly one of those fabric dryer sheets tossed in the box may alleviate the static condition.