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Kellog Impact Splitter Update

Post in 'The Gear' started by kellog, Oct 9, 2007.

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  1. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    This is an update for some of you and for some it will be new. Attached are URLs for pictures of the Kellog Impact Splitter both with and without the protective cover.

    http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u230/kelsmi/IMG_1202.jpg
    http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u230/kelsmi/IMG_1206.jpg
    http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u230/kelsmi/IMG_1208.jpg
    http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u230/kelsmi/IMG_1209.jpg

    Improvements made since you last saw the design are:
    - flywheels are now mounted symmetrically to the I-beam and the motor is mounted off center.
    - forward drive belt is now using a ball bearing belt tensioner instead of being attached to the main shaft pulley (this improves the life of the belt)
    - new metal cover was made improving the safety, noise level and appearance of the unit

    For those new to this concept below is a description of the advantages, disadvantages, principle (how it works), and safety features. I would appreciate any comments, pro or con, to help improve this machine.

    Why an Impact Splitter?
    If you want to break something effectively, you HIT it. You break a window with a hammer, you knock down a building with a wrecking ball, you break up concrete with a jackhammer, and so on. Splitting wood is breaking wood. Splitting by hand you would either use a maul or a sledge & wedges which both rely on impact.

    Think of putting a nail into a piece of wood. You either hammer it in or you use a nail gun which uses impact. You would never even think to PUSH the nail into a piece of wood. Why push a wedge into wood to split it?

    If someone were to set up the rounds, most healthy men could split a cord an hour with a maul. A man cannot develop more than half a horsepower. Why does a splitter need much more power? The answer is, it doesn’t.

    Advantages of the Impact Splitter.
    - Almost no maintenance (clean & grease and very occasional belt and chain tightening)
    - No fluids of any kind needed (zero leaks, no engine oil, no hydraulic fluid)
    - Starts first time, every time in any weather (must have a 110 volt 15 amp circuit)
    - You don’t have to stop to gas up (saves time and $$$)
    - You can split in the garage or barn (no cold wind, rain or snow in there)
    - Large forces do not build up in the machine (avoids kick outs & violent breaks and the structure of the machine can be lighter)
    - Very quiet except when actually splitting (a few seconds per log)
    - Speed can be changed to suit the user (change one sprocket and the length of a roller chain)
    - Maintenance and Repairs are very intuitive for the “backyard mechanic” (most people cannot effectively troubleshoot hydraulics)
    - Safe (as safe as any splitter can be)

    Disadvantages of the Impact Splitter.
    - Splitting in the woods or away from electrical power requires a gasoline engine which negates a few of the advantages of the electric version of the splitter
    - Splitting a very, very knotty piece of wood may require more energy than the flywheels and electric motor can supply at one time meaning that more than one shot at the log will be needed (a 1 to 4 second pause to bring the flywheels back up to speed is needed on a low percentage of rounds)
    - When actually splitting, the noise level is relatively high. There is almost no noise when not actually splitting. The sudden change in noise level disturbs some people. (Hearing protection such as chain saw ear muffs should be used to mitigate this problem)

    How does it work?
    The principle is very much like a jackhammer however the machine is much simpler without the need for a large energy-hogging compressor.

    A shaft supported on two bearings with a flywheel at each end is rotated by a small gasoline or electric motor at 600+ RPM. Eccentrically mounted on the shaft in the middle is a needle roller type cam follower. As the shaft rotates, the cam follower strikes the wedge giving a very powerful, short stroke, pulse to the wedge. This happens every revolution of the shaft, 600+ times a minute or 10+ times a second. The shaft and its housing along with the wedge move together down the I-beam and the wedge is pounded through the log.

    The “impact” is what breaks the log. Because of the stored energy in the flywheels and the use of the very efficient impact principle, a very small motor can power this machine and get the same effectiveness as a much larger horsepower hydraulic unit. The low power requirement creates more flexibility in powering the unit. A 110 volt fractional horsepower electric motor becomes a very practical power source. The pictured splitter uses a 3/4 horsepower electric motor. Prototypes have effectively split with as little as 1/3 horsepower. A small gasoline engine could also be used.

    (Continued in next post)

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  2. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    (Continued from previous post)

    To the operator, the impact splitter works just like a hydraulic splitter. Place the log on it, pull the handle forward, the large screw turns and moves the whole mechanism along the I-beam. The wedge gets successively hammered through the log. Let go of the handle and it stops moving. Push back on the handle and the screw turns in the other direction moving the whole mechanism back along the I-beam. The large screw needs very little torque driving it as it is only moving the mechanism which is on rollers. You can turn the screw easily by hand to split wood.

    The speed of the movement can be varied by changing one sprocket and its roller chain length. Since the splitting mechanism runs at 10+ “hits” per second, the unit can run quite fast. Running any splitter very fast can, however, be dangerous as you have no room for error.

    Safety.
    This machine has a full cover over all the rotating/moving parts except the wedge (for obvious reasons the wedge must be exposed). There is little chance of getting into the rotating parts of the equipment and being injured.

    Log splitters create a large number of pinching accidents each year where a poorly placed finger or hand is pinched between the log and the wedge or the log and the pusher/stop.

    A unique safety feature is built into this machine. The wedge is spring loaded away from the main housing and the cam follower such that it has to move some distance before the cam follower contacts the wedge. If you have a poorly placed finger or hand, it will get pinched by the spring force which gives 20 to 40 lbs of force. This hurts and you pull the offending appendage out of harms way “automatically” prior to the full impact (many tons).

    A patent could have been applied for on this spring loaded wedge safety device but it was not. I believe any safety device should not be patented but rather left in the public domain for all to use. I hope log splitter manufacturers incorporate this safety device into their machinery to protect all of us.
  3. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Any chance there is a video available of this beast in action?
  4. titan

    titan Minister of Fire

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    I second that,we wanna see that puppy splitting wood!
  5. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    Motion carried; lets see some video!
  6. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Looks nice, but a couple of questions occur to me...

    1. What happens when bark, wood chips, etc. start building up on the bearing surface between the wedge carrier and the beam? It would seem like that might interfere with the hammer action by soaking up a lot of the energy produced, or possibly jamming the transport? (On the hydraulics that I've used, there may be some extra drag, but the wedge just keeps on pushing along...)

    2. Would it be possible to reverse the mounting of the mechanism so that one could use the unit in both horizontal and vertical modes? I realize this might require more of a frame under the beam, and might require that the power head be positioned properly to get the tongue weight low enough to balance well, but it would seem like it would make the machine more versatile. I know that I'm primarily interested in a vertical splitter as I don't like the notion of needing to pick up big rounds to get them onto the beam of a horizontal unit...

    Gooserider
  7. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Does anyone want a video???

    I guess I better get that done pretty quick.
  8. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Goose,

    a horizontal/vertical version is certainly not out of the question. Since the main housing/shaft/flywheels/wedge weigh a significant amount and all move, it would take more energy for the reverse stroke. However it would probably help the splitting as no energy would have to go into moving the components. It is on the to-do list but not as high as you would like it probably.

    As far as things getting under the wedge, I have not seen this as an issue. There is a leading edge angle on the wedge to help things go over the wedge. Cannot say that it would never be an issue but in the last two years of testing I have never seen it.
  9. biggins08

    biggins08 New Member

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    Looks cool Kellog.....When are you bringing it over? :)
  10. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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  11. titan

    titan Minister of Fire

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    Sweet!That thing is "roadrunner fast".Almost keeps up with me and my maul. %-P
  12. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey Babs, I think you will find that the supersplit is actually a different design in the way that it uses the stored energy of the flywheel to strike the wood in one splitting blow. The Kellog splitter is designed for many small "jackhammer" blows as the whole carriage and hammer assembly moves towards the piece to be split. Kinda two different approaches (one big hit, many smaller hits).
  13. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Ahhh, for the love of a suitable rack and pinion, I would build a supersplitter. This Kellog is a novel design, though - haven't seen anything quite like it. I'm in for video.

    Corey
  14. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Hardwoods,

    The machine in the first post is going to a semi-professional firewood guy to beat up for a couple of months. I will continue to build machinery (takes two months to build one) and maybe the next one I can bring over for you to test.

    Believe me I got the message on the video. I am working on it.

    I have absolutely no video equipment (I am a negative videophile). However I have contacted a friend who says he can make a video. I will go to his place Sat morning to split some wood for him and he will do the video. Hopefully by Saturday night you will have it.
  15. biggins08

    biggins08 New Member

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    Kellog- I was just messing with you, but, I would love to try out some of your home cooked machinery. Maybe I should just hire you to build my splitter...Hmmmmm....
  16. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Hardwoods,

    I am serious about having you test the machine. I will be looking for both professional and non-professionals to test it and give me feedback so I can improve it. Last time I was at your place you had a wide variety of wood; the good, the bad and the ugly. Would make a good test.

    Since you are so close it might make a lot of sense to do it someday.
  17. biggins08

    biggins08 New Member

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    Sounds good to me Kellog. Actually, I am taking down the huge oak next to my house as well as a few other trees on the 29th of October...... Probably 6+ cords!
  18. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    OK Guys. You sufficiently badgered me into making a video. This morning I went to a friends house to split wood and he made a video with his digital camera. It is a relatively low quality video but I think you can see how the machine works. He had 14"-15" diameter dry birch and 8-9" diameter green hickory. I hope this is what you were looking for. The link is

    http://s169.photobucket.com/albums/u...t=MVI_0444.flv
  19. kellog

    kellog New Member

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  20. GeeWizMan

    GeeWizMan Member

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    May I ask how much the splitter will cost? Also, can the splitter go vertical?

    George
  21. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Thats pretty damn impressive Kellog!!!!!!!!
    Any chance of a self returning model?
    Much faster than a Hydraulic, but not as quick as a Super Splitter.
    Not knocking it. Just an observation.
    Still nice machine, and looks very well made.
    Do you get about the same amount of one that get stuck on wedge without splitting enough as say a hydraulic?
  22. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    GeeWizman,


    see post#7 in this thread for the answer to the vertical issue.

    As far as cost goes I don't really know how ever I can give you some guidance.

    It won't be in the Ryobi catagory but it is a full sized splitter and if hope you would not expect that.

    I suspect it will be more than the Northern/TSC/Speeco 5-7 hp units even in similar production volumes. Hydraulic components (cyl, valves, pump, etc) are made by the multi-millions almost exclusively in China. All my components that are not standard, off the shelf components will be relatively low production volumes. Volume always helps and I have a whole bunch of value analysis/value engineering to do.

    However if you don't look at purchase price alone but look at total overall cost you may find a slightly higher price is still worth it. Hydraulic oil costs plus or minus $100 to change. Gasoline is at $2.50+ a gallon and the electricity mine uses is very small.
  23. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Hogwildz,


    -Any chance of a self returning model?
    Great idea! The guy I was splitting with yesterday said the same thing. It would be super easy to implement on this machine. I really like the idea and I will move that one up the list a bit based on two people saying that in the same day.

    -Much faster than a Hydraulic, but not as quick as a Super Splitter.
    The speed of this machine can be varied anyway you want it. The roller chain you see in the pictures is currently at a one to one ratio. It could be changed to a 2:1 overdrive and double the speed or maybe as much as 3:1 tripling the speed. On the other hand you could slow it down by half. That said, I don't like running a splitter as fast as a Supersplit. Every machine has a balance between safety and productivity and I think the Supersplit is a tad too far toward the productivity side.

    -Do you get about the same amount of one that get stuck on wedge without splitting enough as say a hydraulic? I bet I haven't had three pieces get stuck on the wedge in all the testing I have done in the last two years. That is because I read the wood and don't get into that situation. If you go right down the middle of a 24"+ diameter piece it will get stuck possibly because the wedge will only split half the log radially. But if you take chunks off the sides this will not happen. That birch I was doing in the video could have been split down the middle and it would have split fine but I still did it in chunks off the sides. It prevents being slowed down by a stuck log
  24. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    I will be off the forum for about a week (traveling).

    'til I get back...
  25. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    MY only comment is that hydraulics are very reliable and powerful since they use the engine torque to power the pump, plus the pump is essentially a stepdown torque multiplier. The impact you're showing could be hard on the machine. Hard to tell from the video. The other point is that when splitting elm, you need to tear the wood apart, not really break it. That video looks to be splitting birch which is really easy to split. Try green elm or old growth oak.

    Also, if a hydraulic unit has a problem, parts are pretty common. That looks like a very custom unit.
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