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Author Topic: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build  (Read 16546 times)

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Offline WoodenHead

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #120 on: July 20, 2015, 08:05:14 pm »
Well done YellowHammer!   8)  You do very careful and neat work.  And that gives a good impression of quality of your wood too.   ;)

I like your setup/process and would like to implement something similar with my own kiln (also an L200M - but not reefer).  I hope to begin with the kiln cart and then progress into using pallets (300-400bdft is about all I can lift with existing equipment).  If all works well with that process, I would like to switch my air drying shed over to carts and pallets also.  That will take some coin though  :-\


Offline cjderosa

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #121 on: October 07, 2015, 11:06:40 am »
Hello All-

I can't tell you how helpful this thread has been as we build our kiln in Los Angeles.  Wonderful pictures, great descriptions and insightful ideas - thank you!

I do have a question - however.  We're building our kiln cart and the Nyle instructions call for the crosspieces, on which the stacks of lumber will sit, to be made of 3x3 hardwood. 

I know that YellowHammer decided to use steel to work with his pallet system - but do folks really think these crosspieces need to be hardwood?  I would think 3x3's of soft would work as well. 

Any advice is appreciated.
Thanks
Charles

Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #122 on: October 07, 2015, 01:57:40 pm »
By the time you drill all the holes to bolt the wood to the beams you could have welded up 3x3 box steel many times over.  Properly coated the steel will outlast the wood and does not react to kiln conditions.  Caveat: Be sure to totally encase the steel with a good paint or similar.  Oak reacts to ferrous metal.
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Offline cjderosa

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #123 on: October 07, 2015, 10:52:05 pm »
Thanks One with Wood - good advice, steel it is. 
The guys at Nyle said they thought the softwood would probably end up crushed over time, but 105' of 3x3 hardwood is expensive here in Los Angeles - so steel makes some good economic sense from where I'm standing.


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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #124 on: October 07, 2015, 11:31:48 pm »
Steel, with the proper tools, is actually very easy and precise to work with, and will stay accurate over the long haul.  I wanted this kiln to be a hands off, no fiddling, long service life system.  It's critical that the stacks of lumber be placed on a dead flat surface and once the metal carts are built and welded they are "done" and will never have to be adjusted, shimmed, tightened, etc. 

Notice that even though the carts are painted, steel may discolor wood when in contact. That's where the pallets come in, because among all their other benefits, they protect the wood in the stacks from any contact with the steel carts.

Cjderosa,
Thanks for reading about my project, and I would be very interested in seeing your kiln progress.

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Offline cjderosa

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #125 on: October 08, 2015, 12:39:06 am »
Howdy YellowHammer-

We've been using your pictures and descriptions as our main model actually.  Though, I must admit, we're not quite as thorough as you are.

Here are a few shots I've got:

 

 
 

 
 

 
 

  

  

  

 

Offline WDH

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #126 on: October 08, 2015, 07:21:54 am »
Looks to be progressing great. 
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Offline Glenn1

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #127 on: October 08, 2015, 07:37:20 am »
It is looking very good.  I now wish that I had gone this route instead of the L53.
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Offline just_sawing

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #128 on: October 08, 2015, 09:05:20 am »
Since I am about to build something even if it is wrong I have a question. What would you do different if you were starting over with your education you now have?
If you placed your fans on the sides of the stack angled to blow over the stack which would allow a higher stack would that be OK?
 What type of budget should I expect (NO Gravel estimate since that is totally different to each region)

Offline just_sawing

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #129 on: October 08, 2015, 09:12:10 am »
One more Question
 I am limited on liner room what about installing Swinging doors on the high cube and not having the carts track and such. I understand they will have to be built well but an 40 by 40 space is doable in my location.

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #130 on: October 08, 2015, 10:57:29 pm »
Cjderosa
That looks great, I'm jealous of that big hunk of concrete you've got to work with. I notice that you've still got the freezer pack installed on the end of the reefer, I was able to cut a deal and sell some of the refrideration equipment back as salvage.  I used a lot of expanding foam plugging up all the holes and passive ductwork.

Just_sawing,
After its all said and done, I'm not sure that there is anything significant I'd change.  It has proven to dry wood very well and evenly, and I can load and unload it with a minimum of fuss and muss.  I've tweaked a few things, like lengthened the canvas baffles, but for the most part, it just works.  They key is the 42 inch wide stacks of wood to get the plenum width up, and it decrease the overall capacity of the kiln a little, but in reality its more in the sweet spot of the Nyle 200, and that's one reason I can dry loads quickly.

Using an angled or flat fan deck would work, but I stuck with the vertical center deck because I wanted to get an equal amount of space in either side of the deck to allow maximum time and space for proper mixing and turbulence.  I considered using small end fans to pointed down the axis of the reefer as a way to blow it the stagnant air in the corners and get better mixing.  However, when I checked the airflow patterns with a portable anometer, I couldn't find any dead spots so just left everything alone.   

Putting swinging doors would be a great modification, but it would result in a huge door seal, and the seal is one of the most critical pieces of the kiln.  With my other kiln, I had to fight my door seal for a long time until I got it right, I didn't want to go through that again with this one so I did everything to make sure the seals were perfect.  The door seal is what keeps the $$heat in when undergoing the sterilization cycle, and it's the difference between reaching temperature quickly or slowly and minimizing my electric bill.



Hobby Hardwood Alabama.com
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Offline TheTall

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #131 on: March 30, 2017, 10:37:34 am »
@YellowHammer

Hello,

Just joined. Mostly just ask you a few questions.
The company I work for is gearing up for our own Reefer Nyle Kiln. I noticed your original post is going on two years now and I had some questions.

1. One gent on here mentioned fan and light switches going bad every 4 months and the heat being hard on the conduit. Have you had any problems like this?

2. It looked like you used mild steel for you interior tracks. Is this so and how have they been holding up? Rust and what not?

3. Are there any things you wish you did differently now that you have had it running for a bit?


Offline nativewolf

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #132 on: March 30, 2017, 12:36:29 pm »
^ curious as well.

Online YellowHammer

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #133 on: March 31, 2017, 01:15:19 am »
It's been awhile, and time for a little follow up.  First off, the kiln has been everything I'd hoped for, and much more.  It has been much less maintenance and fuss than our smaller stick build kiln, and I would not hesitate to make a copy again.  I'd even thought of starting to build them on the side to sell.

The excellent functionality of the kiln was due in very large part to the information that folks shared with me on the Forum.  So thanks guys, for all your help!

It  runs 24/7, all day, every day, and hasn't been powered down for more than a few hours, at most, since the commissioning. 

I have dried quite a variety of wood with it by now, including red and white flatsawn and quartersawn oak, as well as walnut, basswood, pine, sassafras, hickory, red maple, sugar maple, butternut, buckeye, cherry, elm, Osage, persimmon, Sycamore, Kentucky Coffee, poplar, cedar and several others, both 4/4 and 8/4. With pre air drying, depending on species, I am on a 7 to 9 day cycle, including drying and sterilization.  This thing just keeps cranking out wood.

So to answer your questions, I heeded the warnings about failed switches, and have none inside the kiln, so there is nothing to fail.  All conduit is pvc, and I've not had any internal corrosion or electrical failures of any kind.   

Internal rust has been a mystery.  Mainly because there is almost none.  The cart wheels, the internal track, and carts themselves have only minimal to no rust, even where they are bare metal.  The track outside has more rust than the track inside.  I have ideas why, but have always been hesitant to broadcast this because it seems counterintuitive, other than I use mainly air dried wood at kiln aggressive schedules so, it's never really "wet" inside the kiln.  The mild steel looks like it did when I installed it.  There is also no condensation, no mold, and no dead spots that I have been able to detect.

The kiln container itself looks new, the seals are still in excellent shape, and without doubt, the correct kiln choice is a high cube reefer with stainless interior and aluminum exterior.   

I'm still loading the carts with a forklift, and push them in the kiln from the end or side.  No winches or anything.  Basically to cycle the kiln, turn the fans and kiln off, open the doors, lay down the two bridge tracks, back up the forklift to the bridge, loop a tow strap from the cart to the forklift and pull the carts out.  Remove the moisture probes, then unload the packs of wood with the forklift, reload new ones, screw the moisture probes back in with a battery operated drill, push the carts back in with the forklift or tractor, refill the wet bulb bottle, pull the bridging, and shut the doors.  With my wife helping, we can do a full kiln swap in about fifteen minutes.  The forklift plays a large part in a speedy reload. 

There are a very few changes I'd make.  The canvas baffle has become weak, and is starting to tear a little.  I would replace it with a more tear resistant fabric, like SunBrella, or similar. 

I would weld a push bar or nerf bar to the end of the first cart, to give me a larger target to push against when putting the carts back into the kiln. 

The metal vents from Nyle have a tendency to stick, but they are effective nonetheless. 

Actually, that's about it.  Not a whole lot. 
 
Hobby Hardwood Alabama.com
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #134 on: March 31, 2017, 09:53:32 pm »
YH - good info.  I'll chime in because I've been operating an L200 container kiln for over 12 years and have a long history of operation with one.

Re the lack of corrosion, IMO your theory is correct.  When I load my kiln with green oak material, due to the high humidity the corrosion effect is significant.  When loaded with <20% MC oak, corrosion is pretty much nonexistent.

In 12 years of almost 7/24 operation, I've had to replace 2 fan motors (there are 6 in the kiln) and two capacitors.  I've had to replace about 6 thermal switches in the L200 and four of the PLC's in the controller (I have the Woodmizer 2000 model controller from Nyle).  I've had to replace several fan motor's on the L200, but that's because I added additional heat strips inside for setting the pitch on SYP and they tend to cook the motors if left operating too long.  This last time I fabricated an insulated metal heat shield for the bottom of the fan motor so hopefully that will extend my motor life. Additionally about 4 of the 6 fan switche / breakers have been replaced.

Four of my fans (the two on each end) have doors in front of them that we can close if we want to only run a reduced quantity of fans. Typically we will measure the initial air flow through the stacks and open/close fan doors (and power fans) as required in order to obtain an average of 350 FPS air flow through the stacks.

My fan wiring is not encased in conduit; rather it is exposed Romex with waterproof connectors where it enters the fans.  Only one motor had a corrosion problem in the wire nuts about 4 years ago from a leaky gasket.

I modified my container by building a recess in one side for the kiln unit it self.  This allows me an unrestricted path from end to end between the carts and the kiln walls.

I've found that when drying from green I experience a slower drying rate in the stack that is closest to the double doors.  I think that this is because I lose heat on that end when I enter the kiln to check on the load.  The stacks towards the back of the kiln do not seem to have the same problem as the one by the door.

After 12 years of operation I'm starting to see some corrosion in the steel surfaces of the kiln (mine was a converted, non insulated shipping container that we insulated ourselves) - mainly at the top.  The plastic vents are also starting to break down and will need replacing. 

My carts are 4" c-channel on 18" centers, and the stack width averages 40" wide and 72" tall.  Two carts are 16' and one is 12'.  We place a row of stickers on top of the channel to keep the bottom layer of lumber off of the metal.  This also allows us to place tyvek between the stickers and the cart to baffle the entry side of the stacks between the lumber and the cart.

One key area to pay attention to is baffling the load.  Even a small hole will significantly impact air flow and impact the drying rate as well as the consistency across the load.

I'm planning to build a dedicated kiln building later this year and transfer the equipment into it and retire the container (although I may retrofit it to be a slow drying slab kiln).  The new building will have chambers for two Nyle L200's along with an area for a future vacuum kiln.  My main motivation in doing this is to end up with a setup where I can load directly into the kiln  with a forklift and get away from the carts.  Additionally I think that I'll have more consistent drying from green with a taller, narrower width container that will allow me to place four bundles of 1K bd ft each, side by side and on top of one another. 

If I had it to do over again I would start with an insulated shipping container instead of a non insulated one.  The reason why was the high cost (and pain in the butt factor) of insulating mine plus the fact that the insulated ones are usually made from non-corrosive material such as stainless steel and aluminum.  I would also cut a pair of man doors into the sides to allow me to enter for status checks w/o having to open the end doors, and would probably add additional air flow fans near the kiln unit itself to help distribute the air coming out of the L200 more evenly from end to end.

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #135 on: April 18, 2017, 02:06:09 pm »
I have another question for you YellowHammer, any way I can get a picture of your removable track bridge? I need to build one for our kiln and it is easier to copy a working and proven part then try to make one from scratch.

Offline Cazzhrdwd

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #136 on: April 19, 2017, 09:11:20 pm »
A great thread. I also have a "refer" container and it is by far better than my stick built kiln. The only problems I have is a bit of mold from drying from dead green. The unit is so sealed my drying problems come from being overloaded. The only other problem is instead of motors going bad, I've had capicitors go bad. The unit is at least twice as efficient as my stick built, it cuts the electric bill in half. I'm in the process of moving the kiln guts into another refer unit. I don't use the track system, I just use steel pipe to roll the load in and out. This works for me since I mostly saw 16' lumber
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Online YellowHammer

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #137 on: April 19, 2017, 09:54:09 pm »
I have another question for you YellowHammer, any way I can get a picture of your removable track bridge? I need to build one for our kiln and it is easier to copy a working and proven part then try to make one from scratch.

Here it is.  The bridge is made of 4 inch channel, with 2 inch angle welded on it with a staggered edge.  Then a piece of rebar is welded in the angle to act as a guide for the mating piece of angle track. 
The bridge is about 6 feet long with about 6 inch overhangs.  The bridge is relatively light, so it can be removed easily by hand, but won't bend because the kiln carts are about 3 times longer, and the bridge never carries much weight as the carts roll over it. The bridge is laying upside down in the photo, to show how it looks from the underside, next to the mating track end. Just drop the bridging on the track and it's done.  They stay outside so there is a little rust.  I use a crosstie as a ledge as shown, with an anchor bolt driven into the crosstie, to support the two mating ends on this side, the other joint is in the kiln, just inside the door. There is no other support under the bridge when it's in place, it is completely self supporting.  I have to unload the kiln in a day or so, I will take some close ups of the bridge in action. 



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Offline Cazzhrdwd

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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #138 on: April 20, 2017, 09:55:29 pm »
Another thing I like about your setup YH is how you filled in the railroad bed with gravel. For those that might not know, the container is about one foot high off the ground and to be able to push a load in with a machine, that raised bed needs to be created and filled in. IMO its a much easier way to load it than lowering the container into the ground.
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Re: Hi Cube Reefer Kiln Build
« Reply #139 on: April 24, 2017, 10:25:20 pm »
I have another question for you YellowHammer, any way I can get a picture of your removable track bridge? I need to build one for our kiln and it is easier to copy a working and proven part then try to make one from scratch.

Here's a picture.
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