Home Snowmaking Nucleating Nozzle Questions

Hello all, I'd appreciate some knowledgeable input on nucleating nozzles. I am working with Backyard Snowstorm (BYSS) which is a company making residential snow guns. The BYSS snow gun uses an internally mixed air atomizing nozzle that operates in a range of 4 - 6 SCFM of air at 90 psi and 8 - 12 gal/hr of water at ~50 psi. The system uses a check valve on the air line to prevent water backflow.

My question relates to nucleation in commercial snow guns. My understanding is that in an internally mixed snow gun, high volumes of compressed air are mixed with water and then discharged out of nozzles. Some droplets from this type of gun are small enough to auto nucleate. In an externally mixed snow gun (like a fan gun), a small nucleating nozzle(s) is used that is similar to the BYSS atomizer and this stream auto nucleates and then contacts much larger water droplets from the water nozzles. Do I have that right?

In most other residential snow making systems, the nucleation nozzle is externally mixed. This is accomplished with a water nozzle spraying perpendicular to a compressed air nozzle. Is it fair to say that this type of atomization arrangement is unique to home systems? Are there any commercial snow guns that use this type of nucleation?

If I kept anyone's attention this far, I'd appreciate constructive review of my explanation of internal vs external mixing at the bottom of our info page. Thanks!


  • edited October 3
    Yes, the air hogs (K guns, ASC guns, Rats, etc) are internal mix and the first generation towers (HKD Standard, Genesis, etc) were external mix. I know of no common ground based external mix guns in commercial use.

    Now the leading low-e stuff (HKD Impulse, Snow Logic) is hybrid. There is mixing both in the chamber as well as dedidated external nucleators.
  • The new guns in the past 10 years have internal mix. Techno Alpin guns are preset at the factory were we cannot adjust them ourselves. SMI, old lenkos use an external adjustable mix similar to the guns you mention. With the external mixing guns you can adjust a screw to change the water mixture/ air mixture. On the older Lenko guns you only adjust the water flow not the air flow. Even the new HKD fan guns have an adjustable mixing valve.
    Neither the internal or external mixing uses large water droplets. I have used both types over the years and each one will make a slush about 1 foot away from the nozzle. The external mix has a positive to it because in warm weather you can adjust the nuc to make better snow in marginal conditions then open it up when it gets real cold.
  • Great feedback. This gives me some specific things to research. Much appreciated.
  • question on the snowmaking, if I just buy a pressurized nozzle will I be able to make snow on the mist setting or is pressurized air needed?
  • You will need air on ground gun however a tower will nucleate if its cold enough with no air.
  • Hmm, my post in this thread seems to have disappeared or never posted. Oh well.
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