Introduction: Down Sorting Station
Did you ever wanted to make your own warm gear but had no down? Or maybe had old quilt you wanted to recycle? Here is how I sorted down from feathers for my sleeping bag project. Took me like 2 days to go through 4kgs of unsorted material. Most of the final down clusters was a quarter size (2.5cm) and had approximate fill 800+. Cheaper than buying new expensive down. Also great to recycle down from old quilt, duvet or pillow.
The best setup used readily available items - see through plastic container, some vent tubing and a small bathroom vent (10wt), and cheap mesh zipper bags for collection.
-Some plastic tubing ~8 to15 inch in diameter
-T junction tube -Bathroom vent (small 10 watt works well)
-Duct vent hose -See through plastic box (storage kind)
-Mesh bags or mesh to create capture bags
-Clean storage box or bag -Some ziploc bags
-Closed space to do it in , no draft or wind, you want to contain some floating down
Step 1: Decide on Design
First decide on design. It all depends on what materials you have. My first setup was to emulate factory setup for which i used plastic bag for creating air columns. This had advantages but also was hard to control as air would collapse columns. It would sometimes leak down.
Second attempt - had used hard containers which had large room for settlement. It also provided better access adding and removing down as well as waste
Step 2: Assemble Your Sorting Station
Assemble your sorting station from tubing.
2a attach vent into T junction tube. Use tape like duct tape or silicon sealant if diameter is bigger in t junction tube. It should be well sealed . In my case i used electrical tape
2b add main column where most of feather and down will separate. Should be about50cm tall
2c attach flexible air duct hose
2d attach a large ziploc bag to opposite side of air vent . Use ring slgtly large diameter then tube. You could also use elastic to keep in place. You want it as air tight as possible. This is a point where you going to add unsorted material and remove waste
Step 3: Prepare Your Material Storage
Transfer your material into box easily accessible to add material for sorting and removal of waste. Also get your clean down box or bag
Step 4: Load Ziploc Bag and Start Sorting
4a load unsorted material into ziploc bag
4b turn fan on and let it run for 3-5 minutes. Do not overload , do it in lose ziplc bag amount
4c after running fan on , remove waste and discard
4d repeat with new batch
Step 5: Collect Sorted Down
5a after running through 2-3 or more bags of unsorted material remove collected down from main box or collecting mesh bags. All depends on quality and size of starting material and how fast fan runs as well as diameter of channels.
Use above pictures as a guide on down size. Final product is based on your needs