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How to: balling agglomerator (seedballs?)  RSS feed

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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I made my first seedballs over the weekend, and have been thinking about them from time to time.  Mass production comes up from time to time.

I thought of that when I stumbled on this discussion of balling agglomerators, the sort of machine used to make seedballs in that Fukuoka Youtube video.  This site is interested in making charcoal briquettes and other fuel pellets, but the principles are the same, and the authors are focused on easy, cheap, and low-tech, which I like...I could be a baller, without being a baller

http://www.bioenergylists.org/node/500

The rest of the site might also interest the alt-energy crowd...I know I'll look through it a bit more.

 
Jami McBride
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Cool

So how was it making your seedballs?  Sounds like your thinking it would be better to have some machine to help....

About alternate energy
Have you seen this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efCelx7qe_M youtube video on Zero Point Energy?

~Jami
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Zero point "energy" is a bit of a misnomer.

In everyday language, energy has the potential to do work.  Zero-point energy has a role in physics, but is a theoretical construct built around the idea that it can do no work.  That is to say, if the theory is correct, then zero point energy is not useful, and if the theory is incorrect, then it does not even exist.  It is only "energy" under a very special use of the term.

It's difficult to talk about this stuff; Feynman is the only one who's really done so well, and partly this was by admitting from the get-go that quantum phenomena defy our common sense.  But I've had a few semesters of education in quantum mechanics, and am squarely in the "there's no free lunch" camp.

...

Making seedballs was fun and easy, and it didn't take all that long to make a couple pounds.  If I were using them in quantity, I would want to either have a machine, a group of people to socialize with while doing it, or some youngsters around to stack functions like child-rearing or education on top of the business of making seedballs.

I took a plastic bag out of my trash to mix things in, to avoid spreading dust or mud around.  With intact clover seed heads, I found it took some mashing by hand to get the air out, to break up the seed heads, to get things well-stuck-together.

They dried really quickly on screens, up to about half an inch didn't take very long.  They can drop from three feet onto concrete and not shatter.

Pine needles got incorporated accidentally, but almost all of them fell out as the clay was rolled by hand.
 
paul wheaton
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I thought I saw something where fukuoka's interns mixed the seeds with clay and then pushed the clay through a mesh making "snakes" which would dry and then get broken into smaller pieces.

 
Jami McBride
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I am glad to hear that making the seedballs was fun and easy.  This is good news.

I have no need for seedballs at this time, but I can see this changing in my future.

Thanks for sharing your process.

~Jami
 
jeremiah bailey
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Paul, I recently tried that technique with 1/4" hardware cloth on a frame and hairy vetch seeds. Due to the larger size of the vetch seed, about 3/16", I'd use 1/2" cloth next time. I had some success getting the mixture to press through, but not without a lot of fittin' and fussin'. 1/4" cloth might work for smaller seeds, like grass or tomatoes. I ended up adding more dry clay to stiffen the mix and pinching off small pieces and tossing them where I was planting them.
 
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