COMBO SNOW GUN
Make snow with a pro-style gun
for about $90. By Steven Lemos
Photograph by James Moss ( makesnow.net)
So it doesn’t snow enough where you live? Fear not
— if it gets cold, you can cover that front lawn in
white, fluffy snow with a homemade snow gun. All
you need are a few items from your local hardware
store, some quality spray nozzles, and access to a
pressure washer and an air compressor.
This snow gun is based on an internal-mixing
“combo” design I found at snowguns.com. It mixes
pressurized air and water internally and sprays
them out through 2 types of nozzles that work together cleverly. Just wrap teflon plumber’s tape on
all the pipe threads, then twist it together tightly as
you see it in the photograph on the following page.
To understand how it works, remember high
school chemistry: the smaller a particle is, the more
surface area it has relative to its volume. Generally,
that makes it easier to freeze. This is the job of the
nucleation nozzle; it breaks the water into very small
particles, making it possible for them to “nucleate,”
or freeze quickly around their own impurities, thus
generating a spray of superfine ice crystals.
This “ice mist” then crosses the spray from the 2
bulk nozzles, which supply the bulk of the water for
our snowmaking. Droplets from the bulk spray freeze
to the nucleated ice crystals, creating fluffy snow.
Nozzles are the most important purchase for
your snow gun. To make an effective snow gun you
have to match the bulk nozzles to the nucleation
nozzles, and match both to the characteristics of
your compressor and pressure washer.
A good brand is TeeJet; they make spray nozzles
for agricultural use and these work great for snow
guns. TeeJet nozzles are numbered by their output;
on their face is a 4 or 5 digit number whose first