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Project: Homemade Weed Burner

All non-spudgun related discussion goes here such as projects, theories, serious questions, etc. All "off-topic" posts (aka useless posting, determined by moderators) will be removed.
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How would you classify this topic?

Poll ended at Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:44 am

Lame
1
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Idiotic / Dangerous / WTF were you thinking?
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Kinda Cool, but...
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That was freakin' awesome! (I am SO easily entertained)
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Total votes : 6
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Project: Homemade Weed Burner

Unread postAuthor: DR » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:44 am

Who'da thought that those nifty little disposable propane bottle adapters, could be used for something else?

NOTE: Unless you are just pathetically bored-out-of-your-skull, please skip past the next 8 paragraphs -

We've had a problem with weeds every summer, ever since we moved into our current house. For two years now, I've patiently pulled and pulled and pulled, only to have the damn things come back every two weeks or so.

My wife kept telling me to just buy a 55 gallon drum of Roundup and get it over with... But I've hesitated to do so, because we have pets. She finally agreed, but only after hearing some rumor that Roundup will actually "leech" into the ground and could very well kill everything... So, what'ya do?

With the ever-so-slim chance that you (after reading the first two paragraphs), don't look like <a href="http://sleepzine.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/snoring.jpg" target="_blank">this</a>... Then please read on:

So anyway, I'm Googling Harbor Freight the other day (out of boredom) and came across a weed burner, by accident. I had never given them much thought before, but because we're just starting to get weeds again...

Never knew it before, but by burning the weeds, it changes the plant's cell structure. Most people have the misconception that you should just totally turn the weeds, into ash. - Doesn't work, because the plant's roots are mostly protected, deep in the ground.

I came across the information that if you burn the weed just enough, so that the leaves wilt, then the plant will draw a lot of water up from the root... and thereby, killing the root.

The purpose of this long-winded boring story, is that weed burners range anywhere from $65-$100. - I thought of buying the $25 one, from Harbor Freight, but... I mean... what if it's just some chintzy piece of crap?

So I started thinking, I'm actually pretty good at making chintzy pieces of crap... and I've got a whole shoe box full of misc. brass fittings:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv4T4H7a58w" target="_blank">VIDEO</a>

To explain the attached pics:

Propane (from a BBQ tank) bypasses the blowgun, through the first tee.
The mini-ball valve leading into the second tee, is to regulate the flow and is used simply for starting and to allow the torch to go back to an "idle".

The blowgun plumbs full-pressure gas into the torch wand, which is a 1/2" NPT x 24" Black Iron Pipe Nipple. - Simply squeeze the trigger to get the monster flame.

Not exactly the safest setup, as (I'm sure) that the blowgun was never meant to plumb propane gas. The store-bought propane weed burners, IIRC, are regulated to about 30psig max.

The shroud is a piece of 2-1/2" Chrome Exhaust Pipe (which, actually, used to be part of a turbo setup on some rice-burner type car).

I originally had the "jet" about halfway into the shroud, but to get it to sustain a full-pressure blast, the shroud position had to be adjusted.

If I had bought all these fittings though, it would've cost me 5 times as much as the chintzy one from Harbor Freight. All-in-all; it was just a fun project.
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Attachments
HWB 006 small.JPG
Front-View (Exhaust-Side); Showing the Propane Adapter &quot;jet&quot;
HWB 002 small.JPG
&quot;Side-View&quot; of Trigger / Idle Assembly
HWB 003 small.JPG
&quot;Top-View&quot; of Trigger / Idle Assembly
HWB 005 small.JPG
Flame Shroud; Serves a dual-purpose as an &quot;Intake / Exhaust Port&quot;
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Unread postAuthor: Insomniac » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:00 am

Haha, looks fun. One little word of warning though (you may already be aware of this), with that type of blowgun (at least, the one I owned) whenever it was depressed and gas was flowing, some gas would leak out of the little shaft sticking out the side which the lever actually pushes against.... so basically, there is a potential for a largeish flame to erupt from the blowgun itself if an ignition source gets close enough. Luckily, releasing it will stop the flow and should leave at least one of your eyebrows intact :D
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I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.
Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.

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Unread postAuthor: POLAND_SPUD » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:00 am

I thought that it would be something different when I saw the title 'homemade weed burner' :D

good work
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Unread postAuthor: deathbyDWV » Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:04 am

Ya know they do sell those for fairly cheap...
My dad has been using one of the cheap $25 ones for years. Mostly to burn webworms out of trees. It's been working fine and hasn't broken yet.

Your looks like it'll work great though. Good job.
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Unread postAuthor: jrrdw » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:51 am

Good thinking IMO. I see these at hard ware stores and in magazines and I skipped the next 8 paragraph's, so in short, why not buy a cheep model? You probly spent that much putting this 1 together...
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Unread postAuthor: Ragnarok » Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:21 am

jrrdw wrote:...so in short, why not buy a cheep model? You probly spent that much putting this 1 together...

The same logic could be put to spudguns - why not buy a cheap air rifle instead?

Half the point to this forum is the challenge of doing it yourself.
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Unread postAuthor: DR » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:29 pm

Ragnarok wrote:...Half the point to this forum is the challenge of doing it yourself.


Exactly!
The real question here though; was whether-or-not a weed burner would actually kill the weeds, in the first place. If I'd have thrown something like this together and it actually worked on the weeds, then I'd have bought a quality weed burner. - Now, I won't need to.

Another really great part of this, is that I can always tear-down the weed burner and reuse the parts on some other contraption.
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Unread postAuthor: psycix » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:04 pm

That was a nice read. :)

Safe? Nehh, but not life threatening.


Cool project! Thanks for sharing.
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Unread postAuthor: Solar » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:33 am

Boiling water kills them as well.
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Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:08 am

Believe it or not, I am interested.

I'm just getting into gardening, but general landscaping (cutting grass, cleaning ditches, edging, etc.) has been my job, side job, and past-time for going on a year now.

At work, we do a LOT of weeding on sidewalks and pavement. What we usually do is have the crew I'm on go by and weed-eat grass and weeds off the pavement (very hazardous to your eyeballs even with safety glasses, and a sure motorist pisser-off-er), and then an over-zealous Operator comes by and sprays roundup from a tank tractor, killing more than intended in the process.

Maybe I'll try this on my own pavement when it starts to grow over, and suggest it to my boss? I doubt they'd like the idea, though. :roll:

Good read.
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Unread postAuthor: DR » Fri Mar 19, 2010 12:57 pm

mark.f wrote:Believe it or not, I am interested.

I'm just getting into gardening, but general landscaping (cutting grass, cleaning ditches, edging, etc.) has been my job, side job, and past-time for going on a year now.

At work, we do a LOT of weeding on sidewalks and pavement. What we usually do is have the crew I'm on go by and weed-eat grass and weeds off the pavement (very hazardous to your eyeballs even with safety glasses, and a sure motorist pisser-off-er), and then an over-zealous Operator comes by and sprays roundup from a tank tractor, killing more than intended in the process.

Maybe I'll try this on my own pavement when it starts to grow over, and suggest it to my boss? I doubt they'd like the idea, though. :roll:

Good read.


Thanks everyone, for the replies and comments.

mark.f,
Reading the info one <a href="http://www.howstuffworks.com/question357.htm" target="_blank">this</a> site, is what made me decide to try the weed burner.

    * Given the amount of glyphosphate sprayed on the planet every day, it is probably safe to say that glyphosphate is not violently toxic to people or animals. People do not have the same enzymes in their cells that plants do, just like human cells and bacteria differ enough that antibiotics kill bacteria cells but not human cells.

    * On the other hand, most people react badly to glyphosphate (and other chemicals mixed with it) when ingested or applied to the skin, so you want to avoid any contact with the chemical.

    * Roundup will kill almost any plant, including aquatic plants, so you want to be sure to avoid spray drift onto other plants or into water. Any pesticide should be applied carefully.

    Employers NEVER like new ideas.
    You tell them though, anyway...
    Several weeks and sometimes several months will go by...
    They start using your idea...
    Everyone hails the employer as a god...
    You say "Ummm, just a minute there "Chief"... excuse me?"...
    The newly proclaimed god claims that it was HIS idea, all along.


EDIT:
Ha! Found <a href="http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_266859_266859" target="_blank">this</a> after clicking on a banner ad, which appeared at the top of this thread... $29
... it's gay. :roll:
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Unread postAuthor: metalmeltr » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:58 pm

Insomniac wrote:Haha, looks fun. One little word of warning though (you may already be aware of this), with that type of blowgun (at least, the one I owned) whenever it was depressed and gas was flowing, some gas would leak out of the little shaft sticking out the side which the lever actually pushes against.... so basically, there is a potential for a largeish flame to erupt from the blowgun itself if an ignition source gets close enough. Luckily, releasing it will stop the flow and should leave at least one of your eyebrows intact :D
To fix this untread the valve assembly, out teflon tape on the threads and thread the valve assembly back in to the blow gun. I did this to my blow gun last ight and it no longer leaks. Be warned though that worn seals could cause a leak that could release some of your gas.
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