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I've often explored the pumps, but I don't think I've taken a snow machine blower assembly apart.
I've experimented with snow fluids in the past - with both shampoo, bubble bath and surfactants (Surface Active Agents - they're the chemicals that make water foamy). The manufacturers are very cryptic about their ingredients, but the main one is water with a very tiny percentage of surfactant. The best formulas will give a very light fluffy snow effect, while a simple surfactant/water mix may result in a wetter, heavier snow.
It's possible that some manufacturers add a more volatile element like isopropanol to the water to accelerate evaporation of the water from the foam.
It's possible that the use of distilled water has an advantage over tap/faucet water, as the impurities may reduce the foam. Especially salts. I don't recommend storing snow fluid for long periods of time for hygiene reasons as it lacks the sterile fluid and inherent pasteurising effect of a fog machine.
One of the best results I got was using benzalkonium chloride - a surfactant that is also used as a sanitiser, but the result was also very unpleasant to breathe. That does suggest that the choice of surfactant is very important in creating the best effect. It's a shame the benzalkonium chloride was so unpleasant to breathe as it would also have made the fluid very sterile.
Less surfactant is better. Typically just 1%. Too much and the foam can hang about too long and pose a slip hazard. It's also better using a low concentration to make it more skin-friendly.
Some commercial applications that use a lot of fake snow use foam concentrate for dilution with water. It's probably just a pure surfactant.
The blower motor is a centrifugal type with a universal motor for high torque and speed. In a snow machine it should get decent cooling airflow. The biggest factor in reliability of the motor is probably the vicinity of soapy water. That's definitely the bit that clogs and corrodes the pump. Especially when the machines are stored for long periods of time. The pumps are easy to source on eBay due to their use in many different FX machines.
The fabric sock has the feel of a synthetic polyester fabric. It is normally held on the output nozzle with a cable tie. The "foam party" machines often use a tubular sock, but the tapered nature of the snow sock is possibly to compensate for the airflow pattern from the outer foam stripping holes.
Some companies use these core blower modules on the front of larger fans for better snow dispersion. It's notable that the blower is ungrounded and in a plastic housing. Probably to reduce the risk of tracking and rogue RCD/GFCI tripping caused by the inevitable water ingress.
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10 thoughts on “Inside a snow machine blower”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars G7MKS says:

    Thanks very interesting. Always wondered how they worked. I will get my sledge out. Thanks for the video.

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars David Bone says:

    I AM in London this week

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jared Sanders says:

    i was trying to pay attention but you kept softly stroking that bag…..

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Michael Buckley says:

    Fog/haze machines use a similar type of fluid pump.

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mike Foo YC says:

    Looks like a variant of China blender motor. 2 pole 12k rpm.
    The other coil usually has a 105°c ceramic cased thermal relay glued on that acts as a safety cut off. But my mom manage to burn the coil, they should use higher quality insulation or lower temperature cut off.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars TWX1138 says:

    "Hey Laser-lips! Your mother was a snowblower!" –Number 5, Short Circuit

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Matthew Lewington says:

    I would like to see a follow up with a peristaltic pump insted, think it would be intresting

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Rubén Balea says:

    Pro tip: Don't try to give the turbine a little kiss like Adam Savage did, even if you think it's a lovely device, I mean, not while it's spinning 😅
    I don't know if he wanted to kiss it or to blow on it to make it spin faster but he almost made an 18+ rated episode 😬

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Derek Traywick says:

    "Blown rigid and it also carries liquid out." – BigClive 2022

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars d. t. says:

    Have you tried it out in a walk in freezer yet? Good luck. 👍

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