Making Snow in Your Backyard

About 7 years ago I made my first at home snowmaker. It was pretty easy to do if you have a good air compressor and some basic plumbing fittings. These parts and good cold dry air resulted in some pretty good snow my first time out. The cool part of doing this is the knowing the science behind making snow and being the coolest dad in your neighborhood!

It’s not just about shooting water into the air on a cold night(being a meteorologist helps). This is about compressing air and water then decompressing it inside the guns fittings.This process of creating supercooled water can allow you to make snow even when the temperature is hovering around 32°. If you ever have sprayed compressed air out of a can you know how cold the can gets if you hold it down for awhile. This gun uses that same process of decompressing air and water to make it colder. Believe it or not, the other most important part of snowmaking is the dry air. Low dew points allow for evaporative cooling which allows for making snow at or around 32°. While fun this can also be a great teaching tool for physics and science with your kids. Below is what is called a Tee gun and its the first and most simple method to making snow in your backyard.

 

Results my first time out and only after about 1-2 hours:

was some minor accumulations of 1-3″ but this was just 1-2 hour of work.

Parts Needed:

Here are all the fittings you need, they are all available at your local hardware store or Home Improvement store.

pipechart

Here’s the assembly of the parts:

tgunfittings

Now, this gun does take a long to time to make snow depending on your compressor, water supply and the temperature and dew point. I’ve been able to make about a 6” deep pile of snow leaving it running overnight about 6-8 hours. Make sure though you have a heavy-duty compressor with oil lubrication & cooling that is meant to run for hours at a time. If you want to make more snow at a quicker pace you’ll need to make a combo gun or fan gun. These type of snowmakers are much more advanced and take bigger compressors and a lot more money. If you want to learn, share and see all the possibilities I highly recommend signing up for www.snowguns.com . It’s a great resource for learning and sharing your fun making snow at home. Enjoy, have fun and send me your pictures and videos to share on here and on TV.

5 Years ago I stepped up my game and made a combo gun:

This takes a little more work and more parts but is relatively cheap and makes snow faster. Here’s a link the complete plans. You need a pressure washer and a good air compressor.

SG2 Combo™ (Internal Mix)

Parts List

      1. SAH™ Upper Misting Nozzles – QTY 2 available in Internal Design Nozzle Kit
      2. ¼” x 1/8” Bushing – QTY 3
      3. ¼” x 90 DEG elbow – QTY 2
      4. ¼” x 4” nipple – QTY 1
      5. ¼” x Tee – QTY 3
      6. ¼” close nipple – QTY 4
      7. 1/4” x 22mm p.w. adapter – QTY 1 available in Internal Design Nozzle Kit
      8. 1/4” mini ball valve – QTY 1
      9. 1/4” quick air connect – QTY 1
      10. SAH™ Air Nozzle – QTY 1 available in Internal Design Nozzle Kit

 

Other miscellaneous items you will need

  • Roll of Teflon tape
  • Pressure washer extension hose with 22mm swivel connectors on both ends.

How the SG2 Combo™ snowmaker works

This design utilizes internal mixing. The top 2 nozzles on the SAH-SG2 Combo™ Snowmaker are high pressure water. The bottom nozzle is a “combination” of high pressure water and air, this nozzle is your nucleation nozzle. For more information on how man made snow is made check out our snowmaking science page.

Assembling your SG2 Combo™ Snowmaker

  • To make building this design easier SNOWatHOME has put together an Internal Design Nozzle Kit. This kit was put together using our custom designed snowmaking nozzles.
  • The package includes parts #1, #7 and #10 from the parts list. For more information on the importance of nozzle choice click here.
  • You can purchase the remainder of plumbing parts listed above at most hardware or home improvement stores.
  • Assemble the parts exactly as they are shown in the photo. All connections must have Teflon tape pipe sealer before final assembly.

Operating the SG2 Combo™ Snowmaker

  1. First step is to check if the weather conditions are right for snowmaking. (Use SNOWatHOME’s Weather Tools)
  2. Attach your SAH-SG2 Combo™ Snowmaker to something secure like a ladder or fence post. You can do this with large wire ties or metal hose clamps.
  3. Connect the pressure washer hose to the 22mm pressure washer adapter on the snowmaker (At part #7) and to your pressure washer.
  4. Connect the air hose from your compressor to the snowmaker using the quick connect fitting.(At part #9)
  5. Connect a garden hose from your pressure washer to your water spigot.
  6. Make sure the ball valve (part #8) on your snowmaker is closed and turn on the water.
  7. Turn on your compressor
  8. Turn on your pressure washer
  9. You should now have high pressure water coming out of the top two SAH™ Upper Misting Nozzles and air coming out of SAH™ Air Nozzle.
  10. Open the ball valve slowly until you see a small amount of water enter the air stream. It is typical for you to get a pulsing flow, adjust the ball valve to get as steady of a stream as possible. Remember the valve should be opened a very small amount. You want mostly air coming out of the bottom nozzle.
  11. If the weather conditions are right for snowmaking you should now be making snow!
  12. HAVE FUN AND ENJOY!

The result though after a night of snowmaking is amazing! This was from about midnight to 5am only.