How to Build a Hibanker/Sluice
by Chuck Cummins, Mechanical Design Engineer

Most of the prospecting items on the market are 'state-of-the-art' and work well, but they sometimes cost more money than the beginning (or even seasoned) prospector wants to spend. The solution is to make your own.

Equipment that you make yourself may not look as nice as the molded and welded 'store bought' kind, but it can work just as well and costs very little to build. Besides, it is fun and gratifying to build it yourself!

I started out with just an attachment to put on my existing sluice, so I could use it for a hibanker (or highbanker). By removing the legs and four quarter-inch bolts, I can use if for a standard sluice.

The cost of building the hibanker attachmnent would run somewhere around $150.00, including the pump, which is available at many places for under $100.00.

I also took two 30-gallon plastic drums and cut them down to make two half-drums. I then tied them together with a 4-inch bulkhead connector at the top so water could flow from one to the other. I put the hibanker in one and pump water out of the other. This keeps sand from filling in around the suction. If I am in a dry area and the only water is five miles away, I just have to haul about 30 gallons of water to where I have set up and I am ready to prospect. This also works really well for working up "dry washer" concentrate at camp.


The main drawbacks to building this equipment are having access to a 48-inch shear and a bender (or brake).

Materials and Equipment

  • 1/16-inch aluminum sheeting
  • 1/4-inch galvanized screen (17 by 9 inches)
  • 1/4-inch bolts (4 bolts, 3/4-inch long)
  • 1/4-inch nylon insert nuts (14)
  • 1/4-inch wing nuts (6)
  • 1-inch piano hinge (9 inches)
  • 1-inch PVC pipe (36 inches)
  • 1-inch PVC Tees (4)
  • 3/4-inch pipe (12 ft.)
  • 1 1/4-inch PVC caps (2)
  • 1 1/4-inch PVC pipe (14 inches)
  • 1 1/4-inch PVC Tee (1)
  • 1 1/4-inch 90-degree elbow (1)
  • 1 1/4-inch glue X 1-inch threaded PVC bushing
  • 1 inch plastic hose (20 ft. plus)
  • 1-inch stainless-steel clamps (4)
  • 1-inch PVC barbed hose to PVC adapters (2)
  • 1-inch check valve
  • 1-inch suction screen
  • Hose to pump fittings (2)
  • 1-inch gas-powered pump (1)
  • 1-inch U clamps (4)
  • 1 1/4-inch U clamps (2)
  • 48-inch shear
  • Metal bender (brake)
  • Band saw
  • Hand-powered drill
  • 1/8-inch drill bit
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Pop rivet gun (and lots of pop rivets and washers)
  • Tin snips
  • Metal file


Follow the diagrams below.

This hibanker/sluice was designed and tested by mechanical design engineer Chuck Cummins. For further information, contact Chuck Cummins at Scientific Engineering, 31013 Weld County Rd. 17, Windsor, CO. 80550. Telephone: 970-686-2238. E-mail:

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