Ingenious Indigenous Artful Screw Conveyor

men working on screw conveyor stem

Many of us have heard the name Archimedes’ screw — but not everyone knows the term screw conveyor.  These folks (sadly, the videographer at [Breeze Media] doesn’t tell us their names, or the company name) has the process of building screw conveyors down to a fine art.

Screw conveyors are useful, but many folks shy away from them because they look hard to make. In this video, we see how it’s done. The crew in this video are doing it in metal for large equipment, but the same methods could be used in plastic sheet or paper on a small scale.

It starts with cutting washers and slitting radially. When they’re distorted into the final shape the hole will close up, so the hole is a bit larger than the pipe that forms the center. They’re then given a slight spiral (think a lock washer) by walloping with a sledgehammer. It works. The slit edges are welded together to make a ‘compressed’ spiral, and the end is welded to the pipe

Now for the ingenious bit. They have a tall gantry, just a couple of pipe poles with a crossbar, set up in the factory yard. Below it, they’ve drilled a well. The free end of the pipe goes down the well. The bottom of the spiral is clamped to a baseplate around the well. Next, the pipe is hoisted up to form the final shape. Finally, everything is welded in place.

In the video after the break, they’re making a screw feeder. It needs a lower pitch for the section under the hopper. So they clamp several turns, pull the main section out, weld it, then move the clamp and make the feeder section.

Hacks are partially art, and screws are visually interesting. This piggy bank has one. Put one in your next hack!

27 thoughts on “Ingenious Indigenous Artful Screw Conveyor

      1. … because training a new worker because the previous one died gets tedious, and then there’s the legal battle with the previous worker’s family to consider.

        Perhaps not as big an issue in these parts, but it’s a big consideration for organisations in the “western” world.

        1. You may want to rephrase that to say “wealthy western” world. US and Canada do not in fact look anything like the rest of America when it comes to these things.

          1. For sure! People will do what is most expedient. In places with the rules and laws it is more expensive and higher risk to ignore them than to abide by them. You have to consider education levels and what people see as a hazard, and who is at fault when an injury occurs. These videos are all from Pakistan where I think the Law of the Prophet prevails. Since giving alms is a good thing, it is enough to give one-armed Bob and the Blind man new begging bowls. And consider that poly-carbonate safety glasses from China are pennies, it is a choice, or maybe more importantly, it is status where you will be ridiculed by the other men if you are afraid of getting a chunk of steel to the face.

            I have seen enough of these fascinating videos to say that human labor is extremely cheap. The number of small manufacturing shops with no benches or tables is telling. Where at each step, the product is thrown into a pile on the floor and someones comes and picks it up and moves it to the next process and dumps it in a pile from which the items are picked up one by one, cut, drilled, polished or whatever the step and thrown into a different pile to be moved to the next spot. The inefficiency is startling and it indicates how little the labor costs. In most of these productivity could be easily doubles while saving all the bending and lifting, and the squatting over rotating machinery with all that fabric.

  1. It’s true what they say, the past is here, it’s just unevenly distributed.
    Love the ingenuity, hate that we live in a world where this is still a thing. I demand the flying cars and food pills promised to me in the 50s!

    1. You are correct, but try persuading the (English speaking) world that their spiral staircases are actually helix staircases. Sometimes usage trumps etymology.

    1. Here’s a clue, if a Welshman in Wales, shows you how to make a coracle, that’s an indigenous craft demonstration. If a Scots Blacksmith in Inverness shows you how to forge a sgian-dubh, that also is a demonstration of indigenous craft.

      1. But I’m not Indigenous simply because I was born in Canada, and we go back to about 1805 when my Scottish great, great, great grandfather came over.

        But since he married a Syilx woman about 1812, and moved to Red River, I have the ancestry to be Metis. Hence Indigenous.

        Your definition may be correct, but Indigenous now means something more specific

  2. How ironic, I am literally in the middle of fabricating a screw conveyor for work. These guys are much better at it than I am! Maybe I should document my work as well…

  3. This is how we made augers in NZ 20 years ago, granted we didn’t put the shaft in a hole vertically, we laid it horizontally on stands but we pulled the flight the same way.

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