I’ve been tinkering around for several years now with different designs and ideas for a working small-scale suction dredge. It started with a bulky and awkward two-hose suction nozzle built from PVC, bailing wire, and glue… quite possibly very similar to other designs and videos you may have seen online.
Anyway, starting with that ill-fated monstrosity, it progressed into a giant gas-powered beast, then scaled back down through several revisions into the battery powered suction jet shown in the video.
And it friggin’ works beautifully!!!
This small suction jet makes it possible to dredge for gold in places normal dredges can’t be used — either not enough water or too remote of an area to haul a dredge into. It runs off a bilge pump, usually powered by a 12-volt battery, and doesn’t need a large stream to work effectively.
The jet is perfect for cleaning out cracks, crevices, and bedrock, and with a 1/2 inch flexible suction hose, you can get suction in-between large boulders, down the side of wedged/stuck rocks, etc, etc. I’m really excited to test this in the field as I think it’ll help me get a suction hose to little pockets of gold that no one’s been able to get to before.
The power jet is about 2-feet long with a 3/4 inch suction chamber and regular hose fittings on all ends. Any bilge pump running at least 800-1000 gallons per hour will provide enough suction to run a 1/2 inch suction hose pretty dang well (see the second half of the video). And by using standard fittings for the input and suction hoses, not only can you swap the suction hose diameter, it can also be run from other water sources… such as a garden hose.
Hope you enjoy the video of this gold dredge suction jet, it’s been a fun project to design and build and there’s much more to come!