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Monday, July 25 2016

The following is an excerpt from the extensive and informative "Going Cubular" article that appears in the Gold CubeJuly/August 2016 issue of Gold Prospectors Magazine, a publication of the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA). Click the image to the right to download the entire 12 page .pdf.

Whether you're prospecting in a stream or desert, mine alone or run a large operation, chances are you've seen or personally operated a Gold Cube. This super concentrator is everywhere! Mike Pung, the co-inventor, demonstrates this workhorse at all the GPAA Gold & Treasure Shows, and it's been made famous on the GPAA-produced Gold Trails and on the Discovery Channel's Gold Rush and Bering Sea Gold reality TV shows. The celebrities all use it, including Dakota Fred, Parker Schnabel, Todd Hoffman, Vernon Adkison, and Emily Riedel.

Save Time with the Gold Cube

Why do so many famous gold miners, as well as average guys and gals, use the Gold Cube?  Because it saves time. Lots and lots of time! "What would normally take about 8 hours of cleanup with a gold pan is reduced down to about an hour with the Gold Cube," explains Mike Pung. "Anybody with a lot of concentrates or who has a dredge or if you're running a big operation views the Gold Cube as more of a clean up tool. But to many recreational prospectors and small-scale miners, the Gold Cube is their primary piece of equipment in the field. The Gold Cube can process the black sands and hold the fine gold like no other machine, hence the slogan Cube It or Lose It!" Fine gold is defined as anything that is 20 mesh and smaller (mesh refers to the number of holes per linear inch in a screen or classifier). "Once you start getting down below 20 mesh, if you're not using a Gold Cube, you are blowing out most of the fine gold. You are keeping the big stuff, but are losing a lot of fine gold. If it's 50 mesh and minus and you are using a sluicebox, you're losing most of that gold if you're running continuously all day," says Mike.

How the Gold Cube was Invented

Mike Pung was bitten by the gold bug in 2006 and met co-inventor Steve "Red" Wilcox shortly after his first trip to the Klondike. Besides sharing a passion for prospecting, the two men shared a common enemy: black Mike Pungsands. The real reason the Gold Cube was invented was their nemesis— fine gold. Like any great invention, the Gold Cube was born out of necessity, to solve a real problem, but the process held plenty of struggle and strife. While perfecting the prototypes, the funniest thing Red said to Mike was "Don't believe everything you think!" Their good-natured bickering was actually very productive and the first Gold Cube rolled off the production line in November 2010 (made in the USA, of course) and the first unit was sold in December. Sales have been steady and strong ever since! And just like any gold miner would stake a claim after striking gold, Pung and Wilcox have been issued two patents— both a design and utility patent.

The Gold Cube is designed to handle up to 1,000 pounds of material an hour. "It can take a thousand pounds of dirt per hour and reduce that material down to a cup and a half of concentrates," said Pung. "If you put a cup and a half in there, you are going to end up with a cup and a half. But if you shovel a half ton of dirt into it, you will still end up with a cup and a half. The longer you run it, the more it's going to concentrate. It's not the number of buckets you have to monitor. It's the weight of the material. For example, 1,000 pounds of regular gravel amounts to about 16 to 18 buckets, whereas the black sands along Lake Superior are much heavier, so 1,000 pounds of material may fit in only 4 or 5 buckets."

How the Gold Cube Works

Imagine a fine gold particle, 19.3 times heavier than the moving water that suspends it. The trick is to use the water to separate the lighter material from the heavier, through stratification or layering. "The low pressure zone behind a riffle is called an eddy which rolls horizontally, and the vortex churns vertically like a tornado," explains Mike. "What happens is the vortex churns the material, separates the lights from the heavies, and the gold sinks to the btoom. And when it sinks, it stays there until something heavier wants to displace it. As gold sinks to the bottom of a vortex pocket that's already full, it will displace something equal to its size. The Gold Cube and the vortex technology basically operates on a replacement system, so when you've got something heavy it sinks and something else has to get kicked out, so heavier just keeps replacing lighter material. The longer you run it, the heavier that pocket is going to get. And once it is completely full, it's going to have to find another pocket because that pocket is full of gold. Which is not a bad problem to have!"

Is a 3 Stack or 4 Stack Best?

Gold Cube 4 StackDeciding whether to go with a three-stack or four-stack depends on the type of gold itself. The flatter something is, the more it acts like a kite. Kiting is when the gold is so flat that it catches water, flips, and then sails over the waves. The flatter the gold, the more you'll require a 4-stack. Having that extra stack is also like having a 48 inch sluice versus a 36 inch sluice. Both sizes do the same thing, but that extra foot is extra insurance for getting all the gold.

The rounder the gold, the faster it's going to sink. If you have fine three dimensional gold you're probably never going to see any gold past the first 2 or 3 inches of the very first try unless you've completely loaded it up with gold. It's going to find some place to sit... that's called hydrodynamics. Mike Pung explains further, "If you've got three dimensional gold closer to the source, you know that all you're going to need is a three-stack Gold Cube because the first tray is going to catch most of the gold."

G Force Separator

In the G-force separator where the Gold Cube trays drop down and around, the water whips around the bend.  G-Force SeparatorThe fine gold becomes heavier and is moved to the outside edge because of centrifugal force. The gold drops to the bottom and starts scooting up that wall. And, as it leaves the G-force separator, it hits a lip just before it gets to the vortex mat. That edge is the only eddy in the entire system— a low-pressure zone necessary to pull the gold in front of the mat. With a sluicebox, you try hard to get the gold underwater, but with a Gold Cube, the gold doesn't have a choice; it goes under water, under that gate and the low pressure eddy exiting the G-force separator sucks the gold right up in front of the mat. The gold has nowhere to go except into the matting.

Get Rid of Those Bubbles!

Setting up your Gold Cube for the first time is not too difficult; some say the hardest part about setup is putting together the stand. It will take 10 or 15 minutes and most of that time is spent getting the mats very wet. You must make sure the mats are wet all the way down to the bottom of the vortex pocket so they don't hold a bubble. If they hold a bubble, gold can ride right over the top of it. Getting rid of the bubbles is very important! If your mat is wet and it looks like there are a bunch of diamonds shining in the sunlight in there, those are really bubbles and that's not where the gold is going to sit. There are 7,000 vortex pockets on that mat. To get rid of the tiny air pockets, put your thumb over the end of a hose to create water pressure to force the water in deep while spraying the mats. When your mat looks black and not shiny with bubbles, you will get good gold retention.

There are two main accessories available for use with either the three stack or four stack units.

Gold Banker:  The Gold Banker is placed over the Gold Cube and serves as a built-in classifier with spray bar, which eliminates the need to classify material before running it. It's available in Stainless (recommended for salt water) or an Anodized punch plate. If you're a rockhound, you'll want a Gold Banker. "You've never had a better way to look at rocks because they're clean and wet. I've found arrowheads, petrified wood, gems, and all kinds of stuff in the Gold Banker," says Mike.

Trommel: The trommel allows you to shovel unclassified dirt and rock directly into the hopper. The trommel (16 inch long barrel x 5 inch diameter, classifying to 3/16 inch) then trumbles and washes the material before it enters the Gold Cube trays.

Ready to "Go Cubular?!"

Click here for more information, to watch videos, and to order the Gold Cube and/or accessories.

Posted by: Denise AT 07:51 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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