Western Gold Mine 1


I am starting a new, completely original sculpture that will replicate an old 1890’s western gold mine. I am creating this work as another piece that I may submit to the Calgary Stampede in July, 2020.

This work will be at 1:18 scale and similar in size to my Stagecoach sculpture.

My plans are to create and cast a bronze ore cart, a water wheel, a crusher, a water tower, train tracks, a mine entrance, and an office building.

This work is expected to be an operational sculpture. The water wheel should turn and drive the crusher. The ore cart should run on the tracks and be capable of dumping ore. To accomplish this I will use bearings so that wheels turn, create a cart that opens, and implement a recirculating water system with pumps and motors. The mechanism is expected to be fully independent and self-generating, in that it will operate on a periodic timed basis and be powered by solar panels.

A rough sketch of the plans is shown below.

To manage the water system I expect to catch the water driving the water wheel in a basin. The water will flow from the basin by gravity into a much larger reservoir. I may use a sluice box system for this water flow? A submerged pump will then pump the water from the reservoir back into the water tower.

I plan to hide the reservoir and pump inside a bronze cast building that will be designed to look like an old mine office. Now, as it is quite likely that the falling water will not have enough power to properly drive the water wheel, I expect that I will require a second hidden motor to turn the wheel by the wheel shaft. This motor will also be situated inside the office building.

The complete system should run on 6 volt rechargeable batteries. I plan to recharge the batteries with two 6 volt 1 watt solar panels attached to the roof of the mine office. These solar panels, of course, will not be of the 1890’s but I think they might be suitable.

I do not yet know the charge rate or current draw of the pump and motor or the required battery capacity to calculate an operational duty cycle. But, knowing that the mine should be able to operate for a period of time and then shut down to recharge from sunlight or ambient light, I will use a time relay control switch to set a daily operational cycle.

My parts list is as follows:

The Drock relay board which does all the work to manage the timing to turn things on and off is shown below:

The schematic that I am using is taken from a Timer and Switch for Off-Grid Projects posted by Voltaic Systems.