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Mel Smith uses a 1941 John Deere Model E 1- HP to run his 20 quart freezer

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

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

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

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

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

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.

SmokStak is an engine conversation bulletin board that is
part of the Old Engine series of web sites started in 1985 as
‘Harry’s Old Engine.’

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.’

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