Home made Ballast

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by jhh72, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. jhh72

    jhh72 New Member

    Hi everyone....

    I have heaps of "crusher dust" in a real nice dark grey color left over from a new house..its what was used when laying all the storm/water pipes in the ground etc..and its so close a color match to the real stuff!! problem being i have to filter handfulls at a time to get the required size etc..so ill be at it for years as i need tons of it...

    I have 2 qstns,,(1) has anybody had any bad effects from using it or heard of bad reasons not to use it ? (2) is there an easier way to grind/crush it all even smaller..? as there will be a lot left over that will always be to big for me to use,,Im doing HO and HOn3 so i would like a suitable size etc

    I am presently searching for a shop/company that may be able to do this so see what i find and im also looking into anyhting at all such as drill attachement,,rolling device,,hand grinder of some kind OR the wifes good electric blender!!! there must be something out there that will crush it even smaller??

  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Jason, sorry never heard of the stuff. But, maybe crush it with a hammer? And use a magnet to get any iron particles that might get to the motor and ruin it.

  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Sounds to me like what we call "screenings", which is the fine material created when rock is crushed into gravel at a quarry. Buy yourself a big kitchen seive (make sure you get a metal one) or, if you're feelin' lucky, grab one from the kitchen. :D :D These are usually available with different size openings in the screen, so pick the size that suits what you want.

  4. jhh72

    jhh72 New Member

    yep thats the stuff,,,"screenings/crusher dust" comes in various colors depending on what rock/granite is used..
    Im about to start crushing it down even further to 3 sizes,,small/medium/large...as i have about 2-3 wheelbarrows of it left over and its a real nice dark grey....im going to trial 2 methods. 1st is the good old cement mixer with 2-3 cannon balls inside..dont laugh as it may work i hope?? :D run it for say 20-30 min at a time...and 2nd is a petrol/fuel powered "plate compactor" one would use to compact gravel/screenings etc in the yard or on a job site...just going to lay some screenings/crusher dust down on a concerete slab area i have and use it for say 1 min to pulverise it all!! Than i have 3 sifters ready to sift out the required sizes...

    See what happens...
  5. Floyd

    Floyd Member

    Has anyone here ever used crushed landscape lava rock (I have red and black) on their layout? Would like to make use of it if I could.
  6. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I once used a device called a "chipmunk" to crush whole rock pieces. It was for purposes of geologic investigation, and I doubt most people would normally have access to such a device. I've also used a mortar and pestil, and also a big heavy rocking steel weight and a sturdy tabletop. A 3 pound sledge hammer, patience, and something strong to smash the rock on will work. Just be careful to find some kind of good surface to smash on besides your driveway or sidewalk. You will ruin the concrete. Also be sure to wear eye protection (trust me) and some thick leather gloves (trust me).

    I have used "lava rock". The best bet here is to use "cinders" from a cinder cone type volcano. In nothern Arizona, there were loads of them with colors ranging from black to brownish-red to orange. I just sifted the cinders to the texture I wanted, and they worked great. Be careful with some of the volcanic rocks, as some may be slightly magnetic. Basaltic lavas are high enough in iron that they can be used in paleomagnetic studies, and in some cases will cause a compass needle to deflect.

  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    jason: before you invest too much effort in this, run a magnet through the dust and see what it picks up. That may give you an idea if too high a proportion is magnetic.
    I did that with one commercial ballast and removed about 40% of it.
  8. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Unless you are (a) building a really huge layout, (b) a person who likes a challenge or (c) someone who likes starting with the basics, my personal thought is that it sounds like a lot of work. Like many other things in life, it can be done. Have fun
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Maybe it would be easier to switch to a larger scale - like G - and use it as is...! ;)


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