Replacement Scoops for the Ballard / Brown Bag Filling Seed Packing Machines; 2021 New Design.
NOW AVAILABLE TO ORDER
But first, if you use or own one of these machines, we'd love to welcome you to the Ballard Owners and Operators Facebook Group!
Manuals for the machines are here
If you are one of the seed companies lucky enough to own one of the few remaining machines, you will know that while they are fantastic, the seed-measuring scoops are the weak link. After 100-120 years of use they are worn out and as the original tooling is long gone they are not easily repairable; in particular the technology to recut a screw thread in a groove on a tightly curved surface is hard to replicate and appears to be a lost technique.
We had this problem too and have been working on ways to repair or replace the old scoops we own. Working with Ben's father who is a retired jeweler and engineer, we have been making copies of the castings with a view to casting new ones in brass or carbon-ribre reinforced resin. We also started to design a tool to recut the threads of the old ones.
However the most sucessful approach was to do a whole load of CAD and 3D modelling of how the scoops worked; we eventually ended up buying an industrial 3D printer and 3D printing a new design of scoop in engineering-grade plastic, with an improved mechanism.
They’ve been through a ridiculously long design & test process; we are currently on Revision 113 of Version 8, and now they work really nicely. They are twice as finely adjustable as the old ones, with a very smooth movement and no slip.
There’s a range of scoops from a No 00 through to No 4 , with volumes similar to the old brass ones, based on the No2 new = No2 old as that is the most commonly used. We've slightly changed the sizes so there is a more sensible step from for example a No1 to No1 1/2.
And they even have an indicator scale built in which helps find the same setting again if you come to packing that type of seed again later. We’ve been using these at Real Seeds for a couple of seasons now and don’t use the brass ones any more.
They have been ordered by Ed Hume Seeds (who supply the machines), Peaceful Valley Seeds, American Meadows, Gardeners Basics all in USA, and TagTomat in Denmark.
If you would like to order a scoop or set, get in touch by email with Ben at:
admin [ a t ] realseeds.co.uk
Here's a set currently being assembled:
We think these will really help your packing, but realise to you its a complete unknown as to whether they're as good as we say. So to persuade you we're offering:
- Seven day trial period for single-scoop orders. If you buy one to try out, and really don't like it, you can return it for a refund.
- One year / 100,000 packet guarantee against manufacturing faults. Return for refund or replacement.
- And if you accidentally damage one, get in touch, we'll try to sort out a way you can trade it in for a heavily discounted replacement.
Prices: scoops are 180 GBP each (about 235 USD). Orders for more than 2 scoops are cheaper, at 160GBP each.
There is a flat 15 GBP shipping charge for any one shipment to USA or Europe.
What size to use? Here's a list of what we find we use them for. If you still aren't sure, let me know weight and species, I will measure and tell you what scoop you need.
If you're a general seed company you'll probably end up with a full set eventually; it's so nice having a proper overlapping range of scoops if you're used to making do with the somewhat random assortment of brass ones that still work.
Guidance: For accuracy you want to be using a bucket set to quite deep; its better to shift up a size than to use a bucket set very shallow.
So they overlap in volume.
The sizes work this way:
For the 0-1-2-3 scoops each is 3x the volume of the previous, so the bottom of one scoop is the same as 1/3 the way down the next one.
Then half-sizes are the same depth as their original number, but 50% wider. You wouldn't expect to need them, but we find we use them all the time.
Here's a photo showing how the old and new scoops compare, with their capacity in grams of cabbage seed:
What do we use each for?
The picture above shows how much cabbage seed each will hold, but other seeds are lighter or heavier of course; here are some examples of which scoops we use for what:
No 00 - this is really small. Bucket is 0.25 inch wide and 0.6 in deep. Holds up to about 0.2g or maybe 0.25g pepper or tomato seed, we don't do that much as we pack tomatoes by lightbeam. I have used it for 0.25 g of mint seed, it could do 0.15g easily.
No 0 - still quite small. Bucket is 0.325 inch wide and 0.81 in deep. Holds about 0.2g to 0.7g pepper seed, we use it for 40 aubergine seed, 0.5g to 0.7g poppy seed
No 1/2 - useful for rare stuff. Bucket is 0.49 inch wide and 0.81 deep. good for small quantities of lettuce & brassicas, lemon balm, up to about 1g.
N0 1 - Very commonly used, Bucket is 0.563 inch wide and 1 inch deep. gives from 0.5 to up to about 1.8g of cabbage , rare carrot, basil etc, 1g of lettuce, turnip, 1.3g onion
No 1-1/2 - a really useful step between 1 & 2. Bucket is 0.75 inch wide and 1 inch deep. Good for up to 2.5g or even maybe 3g of brassicas
No 2 - Very common. Bucket is 0.75 inch wide and 1.5 inch deep. Volume is same as brass No 2 which is in common use. Holds up to 3 or 4g of radish, about 3 or 4g of onion, 3g of carrot , 1.5g calendula
No 2-1/2 - Common use. Bucket is 1.125 inch wide and 1.5 inch deep. Use for up to about 5g of medium seed. e.g carrot.
No 3 - Bucket is 1.25 inch wide and 2 inch deep. Good for up to 5g coriander, 4g parsnip, 4.5g chard, 4g beet, 12g rare small peas, 14g lupins,
No 3-1/2 - Bucket is 1.898 inch wide and 2 inch deep. Good for 10-15g nasturtium , used mostly for up to 20g or so beans
No 4 - Peas and beans up to 33- 35g
No 5 - coming soon - under final testing! A replica of original part No 79g , it does not require an offset crank arm.
No 6 - coming in 2022 - A replica of the fabled "4oz Special", will require an offset crank arm.
Lead time: 1 week for single scoops, three weeks for sets
I try to always keep one set in stock in case you have a problem in the busy season and need a quick shipment.
Suggested Budget Set: No 1/2 ~ No 1 ~ No 2 ~ No3
Normal Set: No 1/2 ~ No 1 ~ No 1-1/2 ~ No 2 ~ No 2-1/2 ~ No3
For Peas & Beans: Add No 4 or No 3-1/2 & No 4
For small-seed herbs , flowers and peppers: Add No 0 and No 00
Special Order only: No 5, or No 6 (requires offset crank arm)
It is vital that you are using the correct original mounting screws - over the years some machines have lost or substituted other similar screws, but these do not safely hold your precious scoops in place. Also, if you are using screws that are too long they could bottom out in the scoop mounting holes and crank out the threaded brass inserts.
The correct screws are as follows: In the larger bottom hole a shoulder screw with a quarter inch long 8-32 thread.
- The shoulder should be a quarter of an inch wide and a quarter of an inch deep.
- This is because the standard thickness of the throw arm in the machines is 5/16".
- So the shoulder centres the screw in the hole but does not contact the face of the scoop, thus the mounting force is exerted soley between the face of the scoop and the face of the arm.
- If the length of the threaded portion is longer than a quarter of an inch, then it is possible that it will hit the bottom of the mounting hole in the scoop and crank out the brass insert.
The top hole should have a cheese-head screw with 8-32 thread. Again this should not protrude more than 1/4" from the face of the arm when mounted.
To Identify The Original scoops:
NEW - Now with Mounting Brackets for neat and tidy storage