Picture of Home Snowmaker / Snowgun - internal mix
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Hey everyone, this is my second instructable I think the big thing I learned from the last one is:


If you do that I'm sure we'll get along famously. 

This is an internal mix snowgun, meaning that the air and water mix inside the plumbing.  Because they mix inside the plumbing there is a risk that the air may back up the water, or that the water will back into the air lines.  I recommend using check valves on both the air and the water lines (not shown) in order to limit this risk. 

The author, instructables.com, and any supplier mentioned in this instructable is not liable for any damage or injury that result from following these instructions.  Please know that with all do it yourself projects there are inherent risks which may or may not be foreseen, and that precautions to protect yourself should be taken throughout construction and operation of the snowgun.  You will be working with high pressure water and pressurized air, both of which can be dangerous, please wear hearing and eye protection when you are using your snowmaker.

These plans are more detailed, but for a printable copy either print these plans online, or visit http://www.makesnow.net/FreeSnowmakerPlans.php for a selection of home snowmaking plans.
MakeSnow (author) 2 years ago

We're giving away a free external mix snowmaker at www.facebook.com/makesnowdotnet.

Very simple instructions, to enter simply make a video over 1 minute in length describing what you would do with all the snow you will make.

On November 6, 2012 at noon whichever video has the most likes wins and the person who posts it will be sent a free MSX-250H external mix home snowmaker from MakeSnow.Net!
richard.sukey8 months ago

I will be using a 3.0 gpm pump and a 5.5 cfm @ 90 psi compressor. In your system what size nozzles will I need? Will your internal snow gun handle those parameters?

Can you predict what the reasonable expectation for the amount of snow it will make?

f.mor20111 year ago
2 questions...

Aproximately how much did it cost you for these parts?

And is a snowmaker totally necessary or can you just use a hose on mist?

Thanks, and sorry for the stupid questions...

yes the snowmaker is necessary because if you use a hose on mist it does not separate the water enough to make it into snow and also I am not sure how much exactly this one costs but if you make it without the pressure gage it will probably be around 50$ depending on where you go to get the parts I know some online stores the nozzles can be 10 - 20$ themselves but if you look at this site you can make basically the same machine for 40$ and it has all the information where you can buy the parts (home depot or a website usually) and how much the cost. hope this was helpful here is the link : http://www.snsnowmaking.com/2011/step1-snowmaker-parts.php oh and also I dont think the pressure washers shown are 100% nessicary I think you can simpilly attatch a hose but it may not work quite as well.

alecdisco11 months ago

hey i made one of these where did you get the nozzles

TaylorK alecdisco11 months ago

A great place for nozzles is www.snowathome.com

I've made several types of snowmakers and I'm currently working on a complete fan gun so if you have any questions feel free to ask or email me

jgscott9873 years ago
That looks really cool. I'm dying to do it, but I have to question whether a typical consumer pressure washer and air compressor can stand up to running for hours on end.
MakeSnow (author)  jgscott9872 years ago
In my experience they generally will work well enough, however they are not meant for continuous duty, but many big box stores have a very good return policy on items that stop working.

The air compressor should be rated for continuous duty (generally belt drive and oil lubricated) but they are very difficult if not impossible to find at reasonable prices. That said most air compressors are under rated for period of performance (and over rated on horse power) and so if you keep them cool they will last for a long time. I have had the same air compressor for the last 3 years and it was $200 and I have run it for 8+ hours without any issue, but it was outside, so it was nice and cool.
That is an excellent question. I am not an expert but I use both on an almost daily basis. There should be no problem with the pressure washer running non-stop (remember to change the oil as per manufacturer's recommendations) but the compressor is a totally different story. Compressors have a duty cycle that must be observed your compressor's owner's manual will list the duty cycle. 100% duty cycle air compressor are also available.
angie123 years ago
Also when you say 5.5CFM at 40 psi, do you mean just a 40 psi pressure washer?
MakeSnow (author)  angie122 years ago
CFM means Cubic Feet per Minute. It's a measurement of the amount of air that is being compressed by the air compressor and at a pressure of 40psi. The pressure washer will need to produce a minimum of 1.3 gallons of water per minute at 500psi. (many pressure washers are rated higher than this 1500psi all the way to 4500 psi, but these are maximum pressures and when freely flowing generally operate at much lower pressures, but higher volumes - like when you put your thumb over the end of a hose, more volume = lower pressure, less volume = more pressure if everything else is the same)
angie123 years ago
If you mount it up higher does it work better?
MakeSnow (author)  angie122 years ago
You will get drier snow, but you will also get more drift (if there's any wind) and you will get more evaporation, so less snow (but it will be drier). Also you will be able to make snow in slightly warmer weather. So it's a toss up really.
MakeSnow (author) 3 years ago
The amount of snow you make is dependent on the amount of water you can put through your pressure washer and the amount of air your air compressor produces. This set up (in this instructable) is good for between 1.3gpm and 2.5gpm for your pressure washer.

On the low end (1.3gpm, -2C or 28F, high humidity) it will make about 30 cubic feet of snow each hour.

On the high end (2.5gpm, -7C or 20F or colder, low humidity) it will make about 70 cubic feet of snow each hour.

Snow's density varies but is usually between 2 and 3.5 gallons per cubic foot (uncompacted). So you could cover an area 20' X 20' in about 6 hours with 6" of snow on the low end, or an area about 30' X 30' in 6 hours with 6" of snow on the high end.
If roughly one foot of snow equals one inch of water, then 20' X 20' X 6" of snow is about 125 gallons of water.

- 20' X 20' X 6" = 200 cubic feet
- 1 cubic foot = 1728 cubic inches (12" X 12" X 12")
- (1728 cubic inches per cubic foot) X (200 cubic feet of snow) = 345,600 cubic inches
- 345,600 cubic inches of snow / 12 = 28,800 cubic inches of water (12" of snow = one inch of water)
- 28,800 cubic inches of water = ~125 gallons of water after 6 hours

That's a lot of water. And 30' X 30' X 6" of snow is about 280 gallons of water over 6 hours.
MakeSnow (author)  smmiller5062 years ago
yes, it takes a lot of water to make a lot of snow :P
haleswd3 years ago
You have two MSM0204 nozzles up top and one MSM0304 nozzle at the bottom. Why the different nozzles?
MakeSnow (author) 3 years ago
http://www.makesnow.net/News.php There's some pictures from the latest run here. Check them out!
globuhov3 years ago
wooo... good thing.
MakeSnow (author) 3 years ago
Here's a video of the snowgun in operation at the 1.5hour mark. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuviX086dPs
L.Henk3 years ago
good news is you make snow, bad thing is it's complicated :(
MakeSnow (author) 3 years ago
As for external v. internal mix snowmakers, there's very little difference, however you do have to watch the internal mix snowmakers more closely, as there is a remote possibility of air backing into the water line, or water backing into the air line. As long as the valve is closed when you start up and closed before you turn off the air you should be ok.

The other difference is that the water is premeasured with an external mix snowmaker, while an internal mix snowmaker requires some work to get it set right, but after you get it set once you'll be able to quickly get it again.
MakeSnow (author) 3 years ago
@jgscott987: when it comes to pressure washers most household ones work well, we use a typical one it was about $70 and it works great. As for an air compressor, make sure that its oil lubricated, it will be quieter and will be designed to run longer. You will have a hard time finding an air compressor which the manufacturer will say can run constantly, however we have not had any difficulty and we've run ours for many 5+ hour runs without an issue.

@BrettB0727:Yes: At 1.5gpm that would be 90 gallons an hour, or 540 gallons for a 6 hour run, for a 2.5gpm that would be 900gallons for 6 hours or 150gallons an hour.

@angie12: For a pressure washer just about any will work, typically the running pressure will be between 400psi and 600psi. The higher you mount it the dryer your snow will be, however the further the snow will drift away, in general it needs to be over 4 feet from the ground. As for the 5.5CFM at 40psi that's an air compressor rating. 5.5 cubic feet of air per minute at 40psi.
angie123 years ago
How powerful a pressure washer does it need?
Like how many PSI
looks cool
BrettB07273 years ago
So for 6 hours you are looking at 900 gallons of water, at the high end, correct?

Any preference as far as internal mix or external mix goes?
MakeSnow (author) 3 years ago
Also since I think it's buried in there, it needs to be -2C or 28F before it'll make snow reliably, but lower humidity levels will allow you to make snow at higher temperatures.
MakeSnow (author) 3 years ago
Without the hoses it was probably about $100, with the hoses about 160.
Appollo643 years ago
Really cool! About how much did it all cost?
That's pretty sweet! Now we just need some cold weather in South Texas for this to work!
Hah good luck on getting that cold weather! We'll be lucky to have some here in north Louisiana. I'll remain hopeful though!
Dr.Bill3 years ago
Snow guns on Ski Slopes must use an insane amount of water !
I can remember skiing through the fog night skiing.
Reminded me of being in a white out in the Aleutians.

You suppose an inch and a half fire hose could be used at home to snow the front yard before the neighbors get it ?
bertus52x113 years ago
Very nice!