Nail Sorter/Feeder -- Ideas?

although this is probably more curiosity at this point than anything else, i'm stuck on the idea of making a nailing machine. i would want to say "nail gun" but this thing will probably look like a frankstein benchtop device, more for my own playing that any useful work.

i have a few pounds of nails, (common nail-- 2d, 3d?).. about 1" long, 1/16" diameter, with about an 1/8" or larger head. a finishing nail, of sorts, but with a head on it.

i'm trying to figure out how one (I) would go about sorting these things, orienting them, in order to feed them under an airpiston for driving.

a few books i have with 'engineering designs' show hopper/feeders, with some amazing ideas in them for sorting, but none seem applicable to my nail. for every idea i've come up with, i've come too two or three reasons why they would jam.

i'm hoping someone out there has experience and/or worked with such devices... who can maybe explain to me the basic concept of how this might be done with a nail.

i've considered purchasing nailgun nails.. already provided in 'cartridge' form.. but apart from them having no head, it seems like a copout, and i'd really like to figure out how to do it with a 'headed' nail. homebrew, of sorts.



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All the good nailer nails have a full head these days. Two main types: angled clips (usually framing nails) and wire coiled nails (usually roofing nails). If you want to see how they solved this problem, rent a nailer for a day...

--Glenn Lyford

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Glenn Lyford

I've worked around the machines that performed the operation of taking bulk (dumped from a conveyor) nails, then orienting them into the "stacked" position for making sticks of nails for nail guns.

The loose nails of one specific size are dropped from the conveyor into a round vibrator/shaker, maybe 3 feet in diameter, which is slightly conical (point up). Gravity and vibration cause the nails to travel outward to the perimeter, where the points drop down thru a continuous slot at the edge. At this point, they're heads up hanging in the slot. The vibrators cause them to creep in a clockwise direction toward an exit chute, so it also provided a continous feed. When the chute was full, the conveyor and shaker were stopped until more nails were processed.

The chute is made up of 2 parallel bars, which are sloped down from the vibrator, at an angle that allows the heads to overlap. The stacked, overlapped nails pass thru a plastic extruder which secures the nails together with the melted plastic bonding strips. A cutter cuts the nail sticks to length. At this point the sticks are oriented at the correct angle of the nail gun "magazine" and are the correct lenght for a full load. Picture a stack of .22 rounds in a magazine.

The nails that were used at the time were ones with full round heads (some now have a notched round head). The striker of the nail gun wouldn't be the full size of the round nail head because it would strike the second nail if it were. A different product was the coils used in roofing nail guns. The roofing nails were formed in coils without the heads overlapping, and the coils were formed by welding 2 small gauge wires (from spools) to each nail, forming a continous ribbon of nails.

For using loose/bulk nails, you might want to try to duplicate something like the shaker described. The machines I mentioned were large and tall, and were able to utilize height and gravity for the chute feeding. For your benchtop nailer application, you might not want the nails to be overlapped, and probably not formed in sticks. You'll most likely want some type of continuous feed, and some safety features for the driving mechanism.

WB ..................

Reply to
Wild Bill

Throw out the existing nails, and purchase them new, already on the feed strips, for nail guns.

Oh. OK. Then you might consider some kind of vibratory feeder bucket, the kind with the spiral track around the outside. Those can be set up to orient parts (well, actually they kick out the parts that are orented wrong) when feeding.


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jim rozen

Over fifty years ago I was given the task of hand nailing wooden egg crates together. The assembly was all jigged and the small box nails were sorted in a crude way. There was a hopper above that the nails sat in. They were fed to you by two wires that started half an inch apart and closed together so that the nails hung by their heads. The end of the wire slot was upturned and suddenly widened to allow you to remove the nails several at a time. Gravity fed the nails down the wire slot. There were something like ten slots across and the nails that failed to fall in correctly were caught in a tray below and dumped in the hopper above for another try. This system might give you ideas.

Reply to
Randy Zimmerman

Question concerning the nailers and the angles.... I made a trip to the local Lowes to see what kind of strip nails they carried and discovered they are 30 degree. The nail guns in the Harbor Freight catalogs are (for the steeper angled ones anyway) either 28 degree or 32 degree...... Wondering if 2 degrees would make that much difference in the operation - and if not, which way would be better. If I buy the 32deg gun and the local 30 deg nails, would that be a problem, or using the 30 deg nails in the 28 deg gun.... I just don't care for the HF nails .. .. like I don't like their brads in strips either. Ken.

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A bunch of nieces/nephews, sons/daughters, etc...?? Ken.

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The guys who hand nail cedar roof shingles have a little metal tray hanging from a neck strap with a couple of slots. Pour the nails in, the heads catch, the pointy ends fall down. Makes it much easier to grab the nails than digging in your nail pouch.

The pack> although this is probably more curiosity at this point

Reply to
Roy J

Think a rotating bowl that has a pair of long fingers that when the head rides above it, the fingers grab around the shank and guide it down the line...another and two in a line...

The fingers snag and draw inward. They should be like a vipers tongue - forked in W shape - think of the center ^ goes back to that of the nail shank diameter. Maybe magnetic field over the W that helps align.... Rude where are you !

One idea.

Mart> although this is probably more curiosity at this point

Reply to
Martin H. Eastburn

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