After last winter’s experience, I decided to start from scratch on the auger/hopper assembly. I varied the height several times through different burner designs. Now it looks like it was modified once too many times. The other main reason to rebuild the hopper assembly is the difficulty removing the burner from the boiler because it must stay balanced. I don’t remember exactly my thoughts at that point, I probably just had two wheels around the shop and was in a hurry.
So this fall I am rebuilding the hopper with a different auger drive system, and additional wheels and supports to make it much more robust and simple. The foundation of improvement in the new assembly is the ability to draw the parts in SketchUp as well as cut the parts with the CNC. Here’s a view of the cut out parts.
The parts laid out I call the saddle, angle iron, and side alignment plate.
The parts below are the angle iron plate with the side alignment plate. The angle iron plate is tabbed to fit into the slots of the side alignment plate, this way the parts are self aligning and jigging. Adding strength and ease of assembly. This makes the welding so much easier.
Finally here is the assembly on the welding table ready to weld, note the threaded rod, which also aids in the rigidity and ease of adjustment to make sure all the pieces are square and parallel prior to welding.
And finally the partially finished welded assembly, this assembly will be the foundation to cantilever the auger in the feed pipe as well as support the auger drive motor and gears.
The CAD designed parts combined with the CNC, combined with self jigging design for success make a nice finished assembly with light material for cost savings combined with good strength.
The Arduino thermostat/circulator controller has now been tested and works, I bought an Adafruit DS1307 RTC and am now displaying the time on a 20x4LCD display. The relay board has been hooked up and now turns the circulator on or off according the time and temperature. The circulator pumps hot water from the boiler through the second coil in the solar thermal storage tank to supplement any heat that may be required due to an inadequate solar collection day. While the electronics now work nicely, the next step will be do put all the components in a neat case so that the project can be finished and mounted. Let me know if you would like a copy of the code or have any questions.