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Author Topic: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build  (Read 17062 times)

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Offline YellowHammer

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Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« on: March 13, 2015, 11:41:54 pm »
After much thought and planning, I finally decided to start my shipping container kiln build, so thought I'd start a new thread of the project.  I originally wanted a new turn key 4MBF or so kiln up and running ASAP but reality set in when I called every kiln company on the web, only to either get sticker shock, blown off, or told I had a many, many month wait time.  I then decided to contract out to local building contractors to build a conventional stick built kiln only to come up empty again.  It's not that I couldn't build a new kiln, I done two before this and used to build houses, it's just that I don't have the time to scratch build one. So after discussions with folks at the "kiln" store, I decided that my best course of action was to modify a hi cube shipping container, and turn it into a track kiln.  I also got info from folks in this forum so I could have an idea of the pros and cons of a shipping container kiln and figure strategies around some of the problems.

Last weekend, the big day arrived, my decommissioned non working hi cube reefer arrived from Georgia, and was unloaded in a temporary location by my barn so it would be convenient to work on.
Its a little beat up, but the price was right, and it's all stainless and aluminum.
 
Bad news is that I had a little roof patching up to do, fixing the damage in the roof from where another container had gashed the corner a wee bit.
 
I patched and riveted everything back up today, and as I was looking out the doorway, saw these turkey and deer. 
 
So now that I have the leaks fixed, it's time to start patching and working the interior. 
YH


 
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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2015, 07:55:24 am »
What is the load size that that (Tom) container will handle?
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Glenn1

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2015, 09:12:06 am »
I'll be anxious to see the progress on your new Kiln.  Will you be using a Nyle system again?
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Offline 69bronco

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2015, 11:24:15 am »
 popcorn_smiley
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Offline Ga_Boy

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2015, 02:06:29 pm »
Will share a lesson I learned the hard way when I built a kiln from a shipping container.

Make all conduit runs on the outside and place your fan and light shitches on the outside.  Mine were on the inside, had to replace switches ever 3-4 months.  The conduit had a hard time standing up to th high humidity and heat.


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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2015, 10:20:19 pm »
What is the load size that that (Tom) container will handle?
I'm going to construct it so that it will can do about 3.5 Mbf of hardwood and 1.5 Mbf of softwood.  I've run the airflow (pressure drop) calculations and they show that 42" wide packs instead of the more conventional 48" wide packs are indicated to allow a more optimum airflow in the plenum.  So with the narrower packs, the capacity will be reduced a little.

Will share a lesson I learned the hard way when I built a kiln from a shipping container.
Make all conduit runs on the outside and place your fan and light shitches on the outside.  Mine were on the inside, had to replace switches ever 3-4 months.  The conduit had a hard time standing up to th high humidity and heat.

Good advice, I'll keep that in mind. 

It'll be several weeks before the hardware is delivered from Nyle, so I'm just doing some maintenance and fixing up of the container, trying to get it in top shape. 
YH

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2015, 07:19:41 am »
Do you have a schematic of how you will lay out the inside of the container?  Where will the dehumidification unit be located?
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline red oaks lumber

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2015, 10:19:44 am »
the way my pea brain works, the path your taking seems alot more difficult than a stick built kiln :) looking in from the outside i'm sure you have plenty of reasons for this path.
 good luck  it will  be an interesting thread.
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Offline Glenn1

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2015, 08:20:48 pm »
Here are some drawings that Hank sent me before his retirement.

 

 

 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2015, 11:59:04 pm »
The graphic is pretty close to what I'm planning, but there are a few design changes I'm contemplating, based on conversations with a bunch of folks and even the guys at Nyle. 

the way my pea brain works, the path your taking seems alot more difficult than a stick built kiln :) looking in from the outside i'm sure you have plenty of reasons for this path.
 good luck  it will  be an interesting thread.

You may very well be right; you have a lot of experience and a big operation, but as I was getting a mite tuckered out, stacking wood for 3 hours today after coming home from my regular day job, I was looking at the container sitting there and was sure glad I didn't have to build the insulated floor, walls, ceiling, doors and seals.  That's all been done and delivered to my door, for the price of a few phone calls and a credit card number.   The container is made out of stainless and aluminum, very well insulated, for approximately 1/4 (I saved $21,000) below the price of a similarly constructed aluminum and stainless kiln chamber with the same capacity.

That being said, a wooden stick built wouldn't have cost as much, but I was going to try to build mostly wood free for maximum life and minimal maintenance.

All things being equal, the biggest drawbacks to a container kiln is uniform drying and ease of loading.  Both of these are big drawbacks, and a stick built, rectangular kiln would not have these problems.  However, I have a plan to try to overcome these issues.   Of course, we all know how fast a plan can fall apart. 

So never having done a done a container kiln before, I'm as curious as anyone how it will turn out. ;D
YH


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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2015, 07:23:04 am »
If you don't have a full load end to end, just a partial load, looks like baffling can be a challenge. 
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2015, 07:26:06 am »
Here is a loading technique that I have seen used for over 30 years.  Make a track out of angle iron, mounted so the "V" shape is inverted.  Use a few metal spacers to keep the two tracks spaced the required distance apart.  Then use pulled for wheels and mount these wheels on a small frame.  If you load is four feet wide, space the tracks three feet apart.  Have a portable track extension that fits on the end of the track when the door is open, for loading and unloading.

Ouse canvas for baffles.  Fasten a two foot wide roll to the ceiling.  Then unroll the sections you need and use a weight on the bottom to hold down.

Ok?
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Offline Ga_Boy

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2015, 09:34:06 am »
Used the track system Gene described in my container kiln chamber.  It worked well. I have drawings of the cart design, it's a Word file.  Send me your e-mail address and I'll send you the drawing.

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2015, 08:54:55 pm »
You are going to have more dry lumber than you can shake a stick at (old saying). 
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2015, 11:16:37 pm »
If you don't have a full load end to end, just a partial load, looks like baffling can be a challenge. 
Yes, that's one of the problems with a linear kiln configuration.  One of the benefits is a narrow stack width, which should reduce drying defects if I can optimize the airflow.  Since all my pallets of lumber are already exactly the same height, length and width, I will have very consistent load configurations and should make baffling very predictable and easy (that's the plan, anyway ;D).  One 500 bdft palletized load on 3 carts will give me 1500 bdft (the max recommend capacity for soft and whitewood) or two loads on 4 carts will give me the max recommended capacity at 4,000 bdft.  So in order to do this, I will need one perpendicular air curtain at the 3rd cart position, and also a half height baffle down the axis.  I will adjust the pallet heights of lumber so that 2 pallets stacked on each other will come full height under the fan baffle with almost no clearance so a full cart won't need (or minimal) baffling because the lumber will be within one board of the fan baffle.  That is one of the advantageous of the cart configuration, it can hold very tight clearances and reduce baffling time to be more efficient.

Gene, I like the idea of a sectioned canvas fan baffle, its similar to the air curtains I have been investigating for the perpendicular baffle to shorten the kiln by one cart, but may be cheaper. 

Ga_Boy, PM sent.  Thanks for the offer.

I've ordered the conventional Nyle kiln cart wheels, figured why fight a proven system? They fit on "V" grove angle.  I've personally seen them on other kilns, they seem effective. 
I will definitely be loading the carts by forklift, and if folks will remember a post a few months ago where I purchased a nice, nimble Cat forklift with side shift, it was selected for its reputation and ability, among other things, to quickly and accurately perform on a commercial loading dock, or even load kilns carts ;D.  That was part of the plan, even back then.

I'm still getting my head around an easy, quick and safe way to traverse the carts into the kiln on the tracks, as well as get them out.  Winches, block and tackles, pushing and pulling with a forklift or tractor would work, but I still haven't settled on a system that would seem to be most convenient.   If anybody has ideas, I'd be glad to hear them.

One of my primary goals of this container kiln build is to work the details and build a system that is fast and easy to reset and reload.  My current front load kiln is very fast to cycle, and I want this one to have four times the capacity without four times the effort.  We will see, and as I said, that's the plan, anyway.

YH

 

 
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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2015, 04:56:50 am »
I'll be keeping a eye on this one.  :P
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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2015, 07:16:02 am »
I used two pieces of 3" angle iron where Nyle specs two pieces of 4" channel iron.  My cart was 18 feet long, I had 8 casters on each side, one side had grooved casters to ride on the top of 1.5" angle
To determine the load of each caster, I determined the weight of  2MBF of green white oak, then divided by 16 (number of casters on cart).  This determined what weight capacity of each caster.  Consider getting casters with zero fittings, and use a high temperature grease.  Th axels for each caster was a .75" stainless steel bolt with a lock nut.  Instead of using the wood bunks to tie the two sides of the cart together, I used 1.5" angle iron and welded it in place.  This allows you to make adjustments to the bunks to sit each lumber pack on.  My fork lift did not have side shift on the carriage, so being able to adjust each bunk saved time by not having to be precise each time I sat a kiln charge on the cart. 

As Gene mentioned, you will have to build a removable bridge between the chamber and track that is out side the kiln.

Now,   When you stack lumber, set up a bunk with sticker supports in the same configuration (distances between each) as your kiln cart.  I used a forklift to move lumber packs from the stacking bunk to the kiln cart.

Two ways to get the cart in the kiln.  I used my tractor with a fork lift attachment on the front-end loader.  I moved the forks to the middle and pushed the cart in to the chamber.  Another option is to anchor a pulley inside the kiln.  Attach one end of the line to the cart, Then run the line inside the kiln around the pulley and to your forklift/tractor/support equipment.  Then pull the cart in to the chamber. 

Weld a stop to the track system in the kiln so you do not run the cart off the end of the track.

Regarding keeping the cart on the track when the cart is loaded; I never had an issue with the cart trying to jump the track.  To align the angle iron, I used string to lay it as straight as I could then welded it in place. 

Hopefully this is not too confusing. 
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2015, 05:08:22 pm »
Regarding loading, I have seen both methods tha GA_Boy mentioned, plus i have seen a long, stiff pole attached to the cart and lift...it can be used for both loading and unloading.

Note that a moving cart with two MBF is over 10,000 pounds green with lots of momentum, so the stop at the end of the track must be substantial indeed.
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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2015, 11:25:00 pm »
It's here!  The kiln arrived on a pallet, with six fans, lots of kiln cart wheels, powered exhaust kit, and a bunch of other stuff.  Some assembly required. ;D
 

It's good to be able to get going, I'm excited to start putting things together.  I've been doing prep work, getting gravel in, running electricity to the new kiln site, and trying to make sure I've got things lined up. 

Hopefully, I'll start putting things together next week, after work. I won't be able to spend much weekend time on it, between the retail sales and sawing.
YH
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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2015, 07:03:10 am »
Nice 8)
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