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Ice Farming K.I.S.S.


Original Post
Chris Walden · · Soldotna, Alaska · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 640

Normally I over engineer anything I build and had grand thoughts of constructing some monster with walls, dozens of spraying shower heads, hanging chain link fence etc. However, due to time constraints I wanted to experiment and see if something very simple would work and holy ice balls it worked awesome --> K.I.S.S.

I set this up two weeks ago and the only mistake I made was not hanging it 30' higher. It worked awesome and in a little over a week I got 20' columns about 4' thick. I am going to raise the PVC giving a final height of ~50' and get a top rope setup.

Drills tiny holes in PVC --> wraps small 7lb twine around PVC --> Hangs PVC --> Ice!

Smalls holes in PVC with hanging twine

Ice was forming a column a few hours later

Ice Ice Baby

Training is in session
matt c. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 155

sweet! i can't tell from the picture. What keeps the columns from falling over?

Chris Walden · · Soldotna, Alaska · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 640
matt c. wrote:sweet! i can't tell from the picture. What keeps the columns from falling over?
Just the ice. There is no internal support the columns are over 4' thick.
Patrick Shyvers · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 15

matt c begs an interesting point, they might be fine as they are but if you hang the PVC 50' tall, it's hard to imagine they would be all that stable. I may be oversimplifying, but draw yourself a 50x4 rectangle, and apply some imagination...

Eric K · · Washington · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 45

What were your temps? What type of water pressure did you have?

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745
Patrick Shyvers wrote:matt c begs an interesting point, they might be fine as they are but if you hang the PVC 50' tall, it's hard to imagine they would be all that stable. I may be oversimplifying, but draw yourself a 50x4 rectangle, and apply some imagination...
If you worry about it falling down with you on it, you'll never get far as an ice climber! :-)
Don Ferris · · Eldorado Springs · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 175

That's awesome. Maybe next season if you decide to go taller, arrange your pipes in a big circle or triangle to keep it from crushing you.

Chris Walden · · Soldotna, Alaska · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 640
Eric K wrote:What were your temps? What type of water pressure did you have?
Temps over the last 3 weeks have been anywhere from 22 to -10 with most days in the 15 range. Water pressure isn't that great about 40 psi out here.
Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110

Just like in a high rise building, (engineers know the numbers) somewhere around 50 ft. I think you will have a problem of getting water up that high unless you have supplementary pumps to push it up that high. Garden hose used for our ice the last 6 or 7 years, from a well. So that might have had more pressure than you would get from city water supply, I dont know for sure.. We had about 38 ft. height we were working with to build our ice. I like the simple idea though. Seems string drippage works pretty good for you.

home made ice on an old concrete silo.
Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 650

That is awesome, Chris. I'm jealous! I wonder if there is a danger of the weight of the ice itself pulling the trees down?

Mike Byrnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

The ice isn't hanging on the trees at all, it's self standing from the ground. Wouldn't make sense for them to get pulled down

Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110

I've seen similar freeze efforts start like that, with a thin string. Once the column begins to be supportive from the ground, it wont' 'tip over'. Nice formation and love how they all grew together as one massive group . Great start. I did see someone freeze a fir tree once, and it was sort of fun, but the weight of forming ice did bend it down a bit before the base got strong enough at base to take over the mass of the ice.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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