Hit-and-Miss Ice Cream Churns


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The following comes from a recent topic on SmokStak at Various individuals started, commented and concluded the following bulletin board thread.

Can someone tell me if the ice cream churns hooked to the hit-and-miss engines were made for those engines or is it a conversion of some sort? If a conversion, please explain how, as I would like to set one up. I have the engine already.

All the ones I've seen were White Mountain Freezers adapted for hit-and-miss. They have to be geared real slow or run off the cam gear to slow them down. They also have to have a slip clutch or a break cable wooden pin in the drive somewhere or else when the ice cream freezes it'll tear up something. I don't know the RPM, but it's slow.

Thanks for the info. I'm hoping someone will tell me in detail how to do all the gearing down and hookup, etc... It will be July before I can get to a show and possibly see a setup such as I am asking about.

Step-by-step? Well, let's see. First, a throttle-governed engine is a much better power source than a hit-and-miss for running a freezer. The sudden acceleration when the engine hits has a tendency to cause shock loads and broken parts. Not to say you can't do it, but be aware of what's going on. To build you need a pallet or skid of some sort, a hand crank freezer and a countershaft, plus some sort of reduction setup -v-belt and pulleys or chain and sprockets are simplest.

I recommend using a countershaft even if you are mounting it with the engine on a cart for three reasons: first, it allows a second reduction; second, it allows you to make a light drive for the freezer and still use the gas engine's original drive pulley; and three, if you insist on using a hit-and-miss engine, adding a heavy flywheel to the countershaft will help even out the power. Putting a shear coupling on the countershaft is cheap insurance, too.

When you mount the freezer to the skid, use long hook bolts or a dual ring clamp-type setup so the freezer can be removed. Put a large-diameter pulley or sprocket where the crank used to be mounted. Securing it with a shear pin is a good idea, and cheaper than a new gear head.

Now, mount the countershaft to the base so that a small-diameter pulley or sprocket aligns with the one on the freezer. If you use v-belts, a tensioner with a light spring will allow the belt to slip as the ice cream sets up. A quick disconnect provision, something like a garden tractor clutch, is a real good idea.

I just completed a hit-and-miss chicken rotisserie capable of 50 chickens. 1 know it's not an ice cream freezer, but it's geared about the same. I have a 5 HP hit-and-miss Economy running it. It starts with a 3.25-inch pulley on the 220 RPM engine to a 10.5-inch pulley on a jackshaft with a 2-inch pulley running with it on the same shaft, then going from the 2-inch pulley to a 12-inch pulley on another jackshaft, to a 2.5-inch chain drive gear, then to the four rotisserie spools with 5-inch gears. That gives me about 5.5 RPM on the chicken -ooooh, that's good chicken!

I also would have to agree that a throttler would be more suited for the ice cream maker, as when the ice cream stiffens there's quite a heavy load on the little ice cream maker gears. It should have the more constant power of the throttler, not the slap and spank of a hit-and-miss. I'm sure the ice cream will taste wonderful however you decide to build it.

Thanks to all who have responded to my inquiry about ice cream churn setup. Now I will have to look for a throttle-governed engine if I plan to do this, as that is the consensus of the respondents. I may just hook my hit-and-miss to something else.

Instead of ice cream, why not do a peanut roaster? Besides, I haven't seen fresh peanuts at near as many shows as ice cream.

Interesting how we all think alike, but a hit-and-miss only misses when it's not under load and should work like hit-and-misses did before throttle-governed engines were around. But they are smoother running.

Along these lines, it seems like most of the ice cream setups I have seen were powered by John Deere hit-and-miss engines. I have not seen one started up from the beginning, but would imagine they don't start out under load, thus it would make a more interesting display as they change from the intermittent firing to the regular firing as the ice cream starts to firm up. Just a thought.

Hate to rain on your parade, but if you plan on selling ice cream at a show, please check with your insurance carrier for liability.

There is a nice picture of an ice cream freezer being run with a John Deere engine in the gallery.

There is an ice cream maker at: Click on photo albums, click John Deere Day, click Dual Hit & Miss Ice Cream Maker. There are two White Mountain 20-quart and a White Mountain 10-quart. The two 20s are run by a 3 HP and the 10 is run by a 1- HP.

Old throw-out clutches make it easy to check the ice cream without stopping the engines.

I have used a 1.5 HP Fuller and Johnson hit-and-miss to make ice cream for the last six to seven years. I have had no problems with this governing system. There is little resistance when you start mixing. As the freeze begins, the engine comes under load and fires more often, smoothing the power pulses.

I have found that 1.5 to 2 HP engines have just enough power to turn 'til the freeze hardens up, at which point the engine dies and the ice cream is ready to serve. My whole setup is made from a T.L. Smith cement mixer. It has a 120-tooth bull gear and drives off a 15-tooth countershaft gear, giving me 8/1 reduction. An idler gear is used to reverse the rotation.

Speed of the engine is about 250 RPM, so I am turning the freezer at 30 RPM. The faster it is turned the less ice crystal buildup in the finished product. I would not go over 60 RPM, except when the freeze starts. Then, speeding up to 120 RPM is supposed to bear more air in the mix and make it smoother. A clutch setup and engine speed control would be nice, although I use neither. All this is done with a 5-gal-lon White Mountain Freezer.

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Harry Matthews is a retired electronic engineer and a gas engine collector residing in Sarasota, Fla. Log on to SmokStack at:

'I have found that 1.5-2 HP engines have just enough power to turn 'til the freeze hardens up, at which point the engine dies and the ice cream is ready.'