Surge belly milkers have been used for many decades.
(Click here for History of the Surge Milker by Hamby Dairy Supply)
A Surge bucket will hold 4 gallons of milk (note, there is a smaller version Surge bucket that holds less, around 3 gallons)
A Surge milks the cow out better than any other machine.
Surge parts are very versatile: The lid can be adapted to fit a DeLaval bucket or
You can change the hoses to allow for more distance between the inflations and the bucket! Many people with goats tend to do this so that they can use an inexpensive Surge machine to milk their goats mechanically. (Click on the following links for examples of how to convert a Surge for goats or sheep or even for cows: DIY milking machine and Converting a Surge for long hoses)
A Surge milker is made up of many parts:
Stainless Steel Can – Has a handle which can be put on a Surcingle (strap around cow’s back) AND needs to have a lip on the rim where the lid slides onto the bucket.
Lid – The top of the lid has a small rubber ring (on some styles) and a check valve (that has a rubber cap, this is on all styles of Surge) that go on before the pulsator is put in place.
The bottom of the lid has a rim that holds a removable rubber gasket which helps hold in suction when in use. (TIP: If a pulsator is not working, often you just need to put all the parts to the machine together and push down on the pulsator while the vacuum pump is attached and running, which puts pressure on the rubber ring under the pulsator and the rubber gasket under the lid. This holds in the air long enough for the bucket to seal. Once the pulsator is running, release your pressure and the machine should maintain pressure on its own. (If not, seals may be getting stiff from age and need to be replaced.)
For more information on the lid styles: https://spiritedrose.wordpress.com/jersey-cattle/how-to-produce-quality-milk/diy-rebuild-a-surge-pulsator/
Pulsator – Has a lid, usually attached by a hinge. Don’t be worried if yours looks different – Surge “styles” changed a lot over the years! Pulsator speed can be adjusted with the needle (shown taken out of the pulsator. It goes into the hole between the four air ports on front of the pulsator.) You adjust by tightening or loosening the screw needle. Pulsator speed should be relaxing, not hyper. About as fast as saying one-one-thousand for a full pulsation (swish, swish). Imagine milking by hand, that goes fairly slowly. You need enough pulsation to get the cow milked out, but hyper speeds will just damage the teat ends and cause extra unnecessary stress to the teat. CLICK HERE to view a short video on how fast a pulsator should pulse. And remember: only oil your pulsator infrequently, maybe once a month depending on how many cows you have. (We milk on average two cows most of the year and we oil the pulsator maybe once every other month.) ONE drop of oil per leather (on the top of the pulsator, see in the picture the two round holes? Don’t oil those, but if put your finger on the hole and slide the metal from one side to the other, you’ll see little open notches on each end. One drop per notch.) Too much oil will gum up your machine and it won’t work! Too little oil and the leathers will not expand enough to create suction and pulsation will stop.
Rubber inflations & Shells:
The shells are the stainless steel containers that surround each inflation and act as the wall.
The inflations are put through the shells and pulled snug until the ridge comes out the bottom of the shell. The inflations attach to the lid and can be removed for cleaning.
TIP: Leave the inflation hose 1/4 inch from the bucket when installing new inflations. When you need to take them off, grab the base of the inflation where it attaches to the lid of the machine and push inward toward the lid. This helps break the seal that the rubber tends to form. Then pull up and the inflation should pop right off.
***Make sure you have the right inflations for the right shells! If you don’t know, get measurements and descriptions from your old inflations and call your dairy supplier and ask them before ordering! Better yet, if you are near a dairy supply store, take your old inflations and shells with you to find new inflations. If you hold up the shell to the inflation and have both tops at the same level, the rubber ridge (if present) near the lower-middle of the inflation should be at the same level as the bottom of the shell. That way, when you put in the inflation, the ridge should just pop through the bottom of the shell to form a good seal. Narrow bore = for smaller teats (such as Jersey) Medium or Wide bore = for larger/wider teats (such as Guernsey or Holstein)
Air hoses: – The large black air hose on the back of the bucket is the supply of air coming from the pump. Measure your vacuum air supply port (large one on rear of pulsator) and vacuum pump intake port for the accurate diameter hose to buy. Comes in black or white from dairy supply stores. The four smooth tubes on front are also air hoses, each one dedicated to one inflation/shell set. One end hooks onto the pulsator, the other end hooks on to the corresponding small port on the shell. These tubes supply air to each inflation and cause the squeezing action that mimics nursing/hand milking.
The handle hooks onto the surcingle (the leather strap with a metal bar).
Adjust to fit your cow, but the strap should be forward from the hip bones toward the middle of the back and the bar should be as low as possible without pulling on the udder too much.
The most expensive part for machine milking is not the machine, but the vacuum pump:
VIDEOS on the milking process, though not a Surge machine, sorry! @ http://www.vimeo.com/20962964 (Courtesy of a friend)
In addition to using glass jars for storing you milk, you might be able to find, new or used, milk buckets. ONLY use stainless steel buckets or food-grade plastic buckets. Anything rusty should never be used for food grade products! The benefit of milk buckets is that you can place your strainer right on top. The bucket on the right is a BUHL, about 3-4 gallons, and has a spout on the bottom with a plug. This bucket works great if I want to let it set a few days refrigerated and then unplug the bottom, letting the skim milk drain into another bucket until cream starts to show. Plug back up and you have your cream for butter or cream cheese! This is called a “gravity method” of skimming cream. The one on the right holds about 10 gallons and is more useful if you have a walk-in refrigerator. Good luck carrying it!