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Kellog Impact Splitter Update

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

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  1. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    HI Kellog,

    Thanks for the video. I really liked it. It looks like it does the job just fine.

    Some comments/things I noticed:
    - It seems like you have to hold on to the logs a little too close for my comfort. I have great respect for splitters, so I like to keep my hands as far away as possible. Could you make one with a log holder?
    - I really like the electrical part. No fumes, carbs to readjust etc. Bravo!!
    - Dito on the automatic return, that is common on most splitters.
    - as others said, vertical would be ideal if possible.

    I am excited that someone has the guts and brains to design and build a splitter different from what anyone else has ever built. Kuddos to you. I hope you keep this up and get it into production. Even on a small scale, with this group of people you might get some of us on as early adopters who can spread the news about this splitter. If you set up a booth at the woodman's field days in Boonville, NY, you might get more business than you could handle.

    Thanks

    Carpniels

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  2. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Warren,

    First, thank you for a well thought out and formulated dissenting post.

    You are right that hydraulics CAN BE reliable. For instance a car braking system or an aircraft hydraulic system is very reliable. However what I have found is that the hydraulics used in consumer and light commercial hydraulic splitters has be “value engineered” into what I would call a less reliable state. If you look at the forums that deal with wood splitters you will find numerous examples of people having issues with leaks and poor functionality. Worse, most people do not know how to troubleshoot hydraulics.

    Let me share one story with you. I was in a Home Depot in the fall of 2006 and they had 10 hydraulic machines on the floor brand new. Two of those machines were leaking already and they probably only had a 5 minute test run from the factory on them if that much.

    I have built hydraulic machines before and the first one I built in 1982 is still being run by my nephew. However the Northern Hydraulics seals and hoses originally used have long been upgraded to more commercial grade.

    Can hydraulic splitters be reliable? Yes. Are they? Questionable.

    You mentioned that impact can be hard on the machine. Yes it can. There are many design considerations related to this topic. Just as you can “value engineer” to much on a hydraulic splitter, you can also “value engineer” too much on an impact splitter. Can it be reliable? Yes it can. There are many machines that rely on impact such as jack hammers, nailers, rock crushers, etc. that are reliable just as there are many reliable hydraulic pieces of equipment.

    In the video I was splitting wood that my friend had available and I would agree the birch was very easy splitting wood. The hickory was what I call typical wood. There was no difficult-to-split wood available at the time. The last piece of hickory I split on the video had a sizable knot in it. I was trying to get the video done quickly as EVERYONE was on my case to see it.

    The impact splitter will cut through knots just as a hydraulic splitter will. Frankly, in the knots, there is not much difference between the cut a hydraulic splitter makes and the cut the impact splitter makes. Both shear and tear the wood. The wedge passes thru the knot at the speed of the machine in both cases. In clear wood however the impact splitter makes a cleaner cut with less splinters and the crack propagates much faster.

    Finally, yes there are some custom parts in the machine such as the main shaft, flywheels, main hsg, drive screw, wedge, etc. I have used all standard power transmission components (gears, sprockets, belts, chains, pillow blocks, etc.).
  3. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Carpniels,

    A log holder such as is used on current hydraulic machines is no problem to install as are other accessories such as a table, log lift, auto reverse, etc. These are all relatively simple additions but they have to be engineered & tested and I only have two hands. They will come in time.

    Thank you for the kind words and encouragement. As you know it is a long and lonely road trying to bring something new and different to people. I have always gone by the saying “if you do what you always did, you get what you always got.”
  4. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Kel,
    I think your splitter is absolutely ingenious!! Have you tried making the wedge fixed and have the pusher move instead so it tends to push the splits off the end like the super splitter? How much could your splitter be bought for? I for one would be very interested and feel your machine is much more efficient than a conventional hydraulic unit and it is much safer to boot! Your product is the most innovative idea I have seen in a long time..

    Ray
  5. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Raybonz,

    Thank you for the nice comments about the machine. I have certainly thought about making the wedge fixed and the moving a pusher plate and this may very well work. However the elasticity of the log may reduce the impact. I will need to try this set up but it is not that high on my priority list. Also if one wants a vertical version it will have to made as designed. Your thought is a good one though.

    As far as cost goes I am not sure yet. I suspect it may cost more than hydraulic splitters of equivalent size because hydraulic components (valves, cyl, pumps, etc) are made by the zillions in Asia (China & India mainly) for many applications not just log splitters. Many of my parts will not have high production quantities behind them. However you don’t need $100 worth of oil (soon to be $200 at the rate of oil price increases). Also my design is simpler which may help keep the cost down. But in the end I think it will cost more. I think Supersplit splitters have the same issue.

    Again thanks for adding to the idea pool, I appreciate it.
  6. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Performance being on par with a hydraulic splitter or perhaps better and somehow if you could produce an electric version for about half price of a hydraulic splitter you'd have a real winner.. Maybe even make the motor optional and produce the rest? Funny thing is that splitters didn't even interest me until I read your thread and saw the innovation of your ideas.. With your splitter patented you could be living on easy street.. I wish you the best of luck and I will be keeping up with this thread for sure!

    Take Care,
    Ray
  7. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

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    Kellog,

    Congrats on your design. It is very ingenious. However I'm not giving up the hydraulic splitter design. I hate to be the Simon Cowell, but I'm not sold on the kinetic energy principle of your design or the Supersplit. To many moving parts. The supersplit is almost to fast and you are right about the hammering noise when splitting on yours. Also, when I split my wood on my splitter I have a 4 and 6 way wedge that hyd. can power through with one pass. I don't want to handle the wood anymore than I need to. With the supersplit, I'm curious as to what would happen to the engagement mechanism if the wedge was up against a piece of wood from the start?

    I come from a fabricating background. I have built alot of different equipment from cranberry to farm,(and now into gasifying wood boilers) and if it wasn't for the ease of use and smooth operation of hydraulics much of that equipment wouldn't last.
  8. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Garnification,

    Thanks for your comments. I have no comment on the SuperSplit. I’ll let the Supersplit people do that.

    I’m not going to convince everybody to give up hydraulics that they have been using forever nor do I want to. I do want to show people that there are other ways to do things that have very good functionality, are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

    Sometime in the next 30 years there will be major oil issues in the world and oil will become prohibitively expensive and scarce (per the US General Accounting Office). Maybe at that point I will be able to convince you. I’m guessing likely not until then.

    Again I always appreciate comments both pro and con relative to my design. They are always helpful.
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Never seen or used Kellogs machine, I think the basic idea is sound, and presume that the implementation is as well, but can't really comment either way on it.

    I have used a Supersplit, and my impression is that it takes a lot more maintainance and futzing with than a hydraulic does - however the wood handling isn't bad, and I don't find the cycle time unpleasantly fast - you have to keep your fingers out of the way, but that isn't a big deal. However I'm using a unit with a 5 hp gas engine, which we run at about 50% throttle - presumably running the engine faster would speed up the cycle time, possibly to the point where it would be scary.

    I also have doubts about the maximum size log the SS could handle - I'm using it to reduce wood that's already split relatively small, and it works great for that, but I get the feeling that it might not like big rounds... OTOH, I only have had a couple chunks that I wasn't able to completely handle with a hydraulic in the fairly standard 20 ton class, and what got me on those was knots, not the size. My experience with a hydraulic was that it would eat anything you could get under the ram, if you couldn't go down the middle, nibble at the edges for a bit. The ones I couldn't get were multiway crotches that split off diagonal chunks until there wasn't enough of a flat end left to stay upright when I came down on it...

    Gooserider
  10. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Kel,
    Your design has many things going for it as far as I am concerned.
    1) It is very energy efficient compared to a similar hydraulic splitter.
    2) There will never be an oil leak because there is no oil.
    3) Oil is expensive.
    4) Unless you have an electric splitter they are all loud.
    5) It appears your splitter should be safer than a hydraulic.
    6) Your splitter is faster than many hydraulic units.
    7) Drag that bad boy to Carver, Mass. and lets test it :)

    Keep up the good and original work.. The world has enough clones already!

    Ray
  11. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Ray,

    It is interesting that I originally conceived this design with the goal of zero maintenance (hence the electric motor and all mechanical design) and to show there are other (and better) ways to do things. That was many years ago. Now I think its value has nothing to do with low maintenance but more focused on oil and the environment.

    First, the world is headed to peak oil (the point where world oil production starts to decline) and no one can deny that. The only question is when and nobody knows the answer. Per the US General Accounting Office it will happen between now and 2040 with a likely time frame of 2020-2030. When the world hits peak oil, prices will rise exponentially. As has been proven in the past, a 5% deficit in oil supply will quadruple the price. Nobody knows what will happen when a 10% or 15% or more supply deficit occurs.

    The US is endowed with one of the few large coal reserves in the world. Due to the fact that coal is best used to create electricity, this design fits right into the largest alternative energy source currently available. Other viable alternatives are nuclear, wind and solar which all create electricity. Geothermal is also available but does not lend itself as readily to electricity.

    Secondly, there is a move in Europe to require an environmental study be done for every land transfer. This may come here someday. Leaking hydraulics could make environmental clean-up required for some property costing big $$. (I had a guy do some backhoe work for me. He broke a hose and drained a half gallon of fluid on the ground. Didn’t even occur to him to clean it up.)

    Thirdly, European manufacturers are coming under pressure to eliminate hydraulics due to environmental concerns, both efficiency and hazardous waste related. Quite often what happens in Europe on environmental and energy issues happens here several years later. There is a European manufacturer marketing a water based hydraulic log splitter (no oil).

    I am starting to think that I missed the target with my original design criteria but unwittingly fell into the correct design area by accident. Time will tell.

    As far as dragging it to Mass, if Goose has another Hearth.com party this summer, maybe I’ll bring it up (he is near Chelmsford, a bit north of you). I went to the party last year and almost brought it with me.
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I sort of agree on the mechanical / hydraulic problems, but I think there are viable alternatives to dino-based hydraulic fluids - water as you mentioned, possibly vegetable oils, (particularly hemp oil if we could get the gov't out of the prohibition mindset) etc... I don't know just what form the alternatives would take, but I'm sure they will show up - it is worth noting that there are already non-dino alternatives for chainsaw bar oil, and I don't see why they couldn't be adapted to hydraulics over time... It is also worth noting that there seems to not be any REAL negative environmental consequences for small spills of petro products - as long as they have the time to deal with it, there are a fair number of micro-organisms that can metabolize the stuff. I've seen some articles claiming that the "remediation efforts" sometimes actually cause more harm than the original spill.

    On the other topic, we haven't decided for sure yet, but there is an excellent chance that Mary-Anne and I will be putting on another Hearth Party... Perhaps I can even get my friend to bring one of his Hydraulics and his SuperSplit over so we could have a bit of a comparison...

    Gooserider
  13. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Goose,

    I agree there will be alternative hydraulic fluids as I said they are already doing water based hydraulics. But only for new machinery or completely overhauled machinery not the machines (as is) in use today.

    You are assuming you will be working with an enlightened, reasonable bureaucrat. If they find one drop of oil on the property they will have you remediating regardless if it is good or bad because it says so on page X paragraph Y.

    In any event, the above only addresses the Hydraulic oil issue. There is still the lack of or very high price of gasoline/diesel issue, the efficiency issue and the exhaust gas pollution issue (California is already putting pressure on the small engine mfgs based on emissions and soon it will be fuel economy. They want to regulate CO2 emissions also).

    As time marches on we will learn more.
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Water based hydraulics I agree, though the overhaul might not be that bad depending on what is in the water, but I could also see non-dino "oil" based products - perhaps something using a vegetable oil that would be a direct replacement. Don't know just what it would be, but I'm sure it could be made - I know some of the hemp advocates claim that they can process hemp into any desired form of petro feedstock equivalent for instance.

    True, but I don't really see as easy a way around the small engine question - IMHO electric is NOT a viable option for most splitter users, trees in the woods don't have outlets, and even around the house the cords get awfully long. They can with enough money clean up the existing engines, to some degree but the problem of a small portable power source is still an issue that nothing seems to really solve better than a small gas / diesel engine, and there aren't many cleaner solutions than an engine that runs for the better part of a day on a gallon or two of gas. The guy I help in his wood business on occasion typically has two gas engines running, one on the SuperSplit, and one on the conveyor that moves the output into the trailer - both are Honda engines in the 4-6hp range, running at fast idle speeds, with the factory 1-2 gallon tanks (I think they are that big...) and I can run all day on one fillup, probably 2-3 cords of wood at least... At current prices his gas costs are negligible compared to what his other expenses are...

    On my chainsaw I get about 5-6 fillups for a gallon of mix, again, I'm not even vaguely worried about the cost of gas for the saw, it isn't worth it to me to worry about compared to the cost of the wood, etc. Even if gas reaches the predicted by some price of $6-8 / gallon, I still don't think there will be much pressure on the small engine market from the consumer side...

    Gooserider
  15. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Goose,

    you are probably right in the 0-10 year horizon but further out you just won't get the fuel or it will be prohibitively expensive. Think orders of magnitude worse than the gas lines of the 1970's. We are going to need some creative people working on alternatives starting now.
  16. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I disagree...

    We already have many possible alternative ways of making fuels that will burn in our current IC engines with minimal modifications, they just cost more than current dino fuels, but as dino-fuels get more expensive, the alternatives become more atractive, which will limit the amount the dino-fuels will increase. (and as more experience develops with making alternatives the price for them will tend to drop)

    I also have significant doubts about "peak oil" being as bad as the gloom & doom folks are pushing - again there are lots of KNOWN resources that will become increasingly attractive as the price goes up, and they become more cost effective using known technology - for instance "eco-sensitive" areas, like Alaska or the CA coast which could probably be tapped today with little risk of damage will be more appealing as demand goes up...

    We already have technology that can extract oil from the HUGE known reserves of oil shales and tar sands that isn't cost effective today, but if the price of oil goes up will become so, especially as experience in dealing with those materials develops.

    Bear in mind that in "real dollars" - aka, allowing for gov't funny money inflation games, gas is cheaper today than it was in the 60's, even more so if you look at cost / mile - Even allowing for proportional increase in real dollar terms, we may see economizing, but I don't think we will see fuel becoming unobtainably expensive, especially in the kind of quantities needed for the sorts of tasks that we mostly use small engine powered equipment for, and most of that will be balanced by increased salary demands.

    Gooserider
  17. brad068

    brad068 Feeling the Heat

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    Well if anyone caught the "Dooms Day Prophecy" on the HC, it ain't going to matter cause 12-21-2012, its all over.....!
  18. kellog

    kellog New Member

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    Goose,

    Yes we have ways of making alternate liquid fuels but not 18 million barrels a day (US) or 85 million barrels day (worldwide). What lies off our coasts in shallow water and in Alaska won't last but a few years at 18 million / day. US oil production peaked in 1970 at 10 million barrels a day and is currently at 5 million/day. It will never get back to 10 million.

    Tar sands have a poor return on energy invested at this point so will be very expensive. Shale has no return for energy invested so will never be used to any great extent based on todays technology. Hopefully some new technology will come along to improve these sources.

    I sure hope you are right with your analysis but I would hedge my bets a bit.
  19. bczubko

    bczubko New Member

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    I just came across your thread and am interested in your impact splitter.

    Whatever happened with your log splitter? Are you selling them? How about selling plans to build it yourself?

    Thanks.
  20. MichaelS

    MichaelS New Member

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    Any updates?
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