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eggshells revisited...GRINDING...

 
pollinator
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So, with my sudden embarrassment of riches with respect to eggshell sourcing I am finding my normal method to be inadequate. In the past I was dealing with much smaller quantities. I have been trying to do it the same but I have shells stacking up. I'd like to make eggshell powder (or even fine sand) but on a larger scale. My little nutribullet can only do so much before it overheats and quits. Then it takes hours to cool down. I now have probably three 5-gallon buckets of crushed with more shells coming this week. Has anyone used a larger system? Thoughts?
 
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echo minarosa wrote:So, with my sudden embarrassment of riches with respect to eggshell sourcing I am finding my normal method to be inadequate. In the past I was dealing with much smaller quantities. I have been trying to do it the same but I have shells stacking up. I'd like to make eggshell powder (or even fine sand) but on a larger scale. My little nutribullet can only do so much before it overheats and quits. Then it takes hours to cool down. I now have probably three 5-gallon buckets of crushed with more shells coming this week. Has anyone used a larger system? Thoughts?



Necessity is the mother of invention. Sounds like you have a need which could benefit from an invention. Can you repurpose (and possibly retrofit) something else or do you start from scratch? A stone crusher, a stone grinding wheel, blades and screens, giant mortar and pestle, on old flour mill, running over it with a vehicle... Or do you just buy more mini blenders to distribute the work load. Lots of possibilities and as much as I love “shelling” out advice (ha ha), the right answer for you is entirely up to you.


Good Luck!
 
pollinator
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A cheap grain mill might work better. I'm thinking the kind intended for making cornmeal, not flour. Or a coffee grinder if it's the old, sturdy, steel burr kind. Not the whirly blades kind.

A meat grinder might be another possibility, but I haven't tried it.
 
pollinator
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Hot tip: Burn them first.

All the eggshells here go through the wood fire, along with all the clam and mussel shells, and all the bones. After heat treatment they are super crumbly and easy to reduce to a fine grit...even big knuckle bones.
 
echo minarosa
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I don't have the ability to burn in my cite. No fires of any kind. That also keeps me from using any biochar.

I thought about some of the methods mentioned but I need to process a lot. I'll give a look to the others. Thanks all!
 
Phil Stevens
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Hot oven? My mother used to put all the eggshells in a coffee can in the oven so that they were in there any time there was baking happening. They came out more friable than they went in.
 
echo minarosa
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I am getting too many shells to use an oven. I also don't want to use the extra fuel required for that as I'm currently air drying. Right now, I just dump straight from the cases onto screens and come back a few days later with a wheelbarrow. And the resulting smell of doing this in the oven inside might run us out of the house. Sometimes they sit a day or two before I get word to pick them up. Even if using both oven racks it would probably take 10+ loads to get them all done.
 
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Alternate question...  Why do you need to process so many shells?  

This probably wouldn't work but a cement mixer with a few rocks in it plus 10 gallons of shells would beat them into a powder pretty quickly.  Rather loudly as well.

Or put them in a chicken food sack and drive over them a few times, fluff the bag back up, drive over again.

Cook them in a solar oven?
 
echo minarosa
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They take up a lot less space when powdered. My lot is small. So, I'm looking for a fix that would fit as well as hopefully not using much energy and not being a unitasker.

I don't have a driveway, just the city street and I'm sure bags of shells would be an issue.

BTW, anecdotal evidence only...my early experiments with areas treated with eggshells vs those without...including compost piles show more worms in the eggshell areas. The differences weren't so pronounced where my inputs were of larger size (like that from simply crushing).

We're not at the point where chickens are feasible yet or else I'd be using that pathway as well.
 
Mike Haasl
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But can you get a sturdy bag (like a chicken food sack), fill it with shells and go to a parking lot somewhere to crush it?
 
pollinator
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How about a rock tumbler?


 
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Put them in the bag like Mike suggested and then beat it on the ground and finish the results with a hammer.
 
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I crush mine with a mortar and pestle, but that's just shells from 9 hens, not a massive amount. But you can recreate it in your 5 gal bucket. First, use a smaller bucket/pail pushed down on the shells to compact them. Then crush them finer with a baseball bat, inside the bucket. It'll be fun and go faster than you think.

Or do what Mike said, in a parking lot or just on the street. Nobody is going to lose it over you driving on bags of egg shells to crush them. The worst that could happen is some of it spills out and you sweep the spill back into the bag. I suppose people may think you're weird, but don't they already?
 
Mike Haasl
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Depending on the street, just pile them up on the pavement and drive over them, then sweep the dust up.  No tough chicken food sack needed...
 
echo minarosa
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I'm getting some conflicting info on sodium content of eggshells.

According to:

https://www.scielo.br/j/ce/a/KrPjh9J6gwZGJ7xkfjZ93Ck/?lang=en#ModalTabletabela2

eggshells are 21% sodium.

But other sites like:

https://gardeningtips.in/making-compost-from-eggshells-for-home-garden

make it out to be MUCH lower...21 ppm.

So, using an online calculator & table here:

https://www.rapidtables.com/convert/number/PPM_to_Percent.html

Bring this to 0.0021%.

Has anyone seen research on home gardening and sodium content in eggshells?

The sodium would be more accessible than the calcium in the short term. So, without less conflicting data, how does one assess whether sodium content would be a garden threat at some level?

 
echo minarosa
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BTW, here is a two week haul of eggshells that were dried and powdered. I still have half this much again to powder today. The containers were supplied by coworkers. They're convenient and light weight. The small squarish containers full of eggshell powder weigh maybe 6-8 lbs.

EggshellPowder-2Weeks.jpg
Two week haul of eggshells turned into powder and bottled for storage.
Two week haul of eggshells turned into powder and bottled for storage.
 
pollinator
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I save mine for several months then crush them down in a 5 gallon bucket with a baseball bat. ( like making sauerkraut ).
Then they get dumped into gardens and mixed with soil like perlite.  
 Folks say it will take up to 5 years to break down and feed the soil.  I think that's great, my eggshells from 5 years ago are now feeding my gardens...and I am now covered for the next 5 years.

I have also put crushed shells into a coffee grinder to powderize. Then mixed some of that powder with a little vinegar to dissolve it.  A tablespoon of that into a full watering can and is great for blossom end rot on my tomatoes and peppers.
 
echo minarosa
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I have a bit of news. In the starting post I mentioned my problems using a Nutribullet Magic Bullet to process the dried eggshells. Expediency is an issue. About 2 weeks ago I thrifted a Ninja Professional Blender, BL710WM. It has three sets of multiple blades up on the blade stem and a larger hopper/pitcher. So...some results:

1) The Nutribullet whizzes the shells up FAST into a fine powder...like maybe a very fine sand. However, the smaller blending cup and the wait for cooldown in order to use makes processing a run longer.

2) The Ninja whizzes slower, but the pitcher is much larger and there are all the extra blades up the stem. The extra blades make turning and tipping while in operation unnecessary as well as being able to process more and not have to refill as much. That said, the resulting product is not as fine...more like the flake size of a small flake nutritional yeast.

Anyway, I'm still working on it but I just ran a three week supply of eggshells through the Ninja and got 6-7 gallons of ground shells in short order. MUCH less tedious and it allowed me to work on other stuff. Oh...and the Ninja is MUCH quieter than the Nutribullet. Can't complain about either though. The Nutribullet was a gift and the Ninja was $8.

BTW, the darker colors are the result of a freak thunderstorm/hail that inundated my compost area which then flooded the eggshell drying racks.
Eggshells-rough-crushed.jpg
This is a shot showing the first crush of eggshells using a rake.
Picture shows the first crush of eggshells using a rake in a wheelbarrow.
Ninja-Pro-Blender.jpg
This is a Ninja Pro Blender with three sets of multiple blades up the revolving stem.
Thrifted Ninja Pro Blender with three sets of multiple blades up the revolving stem.
Ninja-ground-eggshells.jpg
Pic showing the consistency of eggshells ground up using the Ninja blender.
Pic showing the consistency of eggshells ground using the Ninja blender.
Eggshells_to_powder.jpg
Pic shows results of eggshells ground up using a Nutribullet.
Pic shows finer particle size of eggshells ground using a Nutribullet.
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