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Pellet mill.....anyone here have experience with them?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Spartan, Jan 3, 2011.

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  1. wingman1776

    wingman1776 New Member

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    I do not own pellet mill but done lot of reserch on them. A lot of the smaller mills are made for makeing feed and grass pellets and do not hold up well makeing wood pellets. I have found place that sells several types of mills. I think for personal use you should look at a pto or diesel powered one the ones tht run on eletic motors are going to cost lot to run. I feel light industrial model would hold up best for wood pellets best price I have seen on one is from this web site.
    http://www.stakproperties.com/index.php?p=3_20 they are not cheapest ones. they do have several types. this might a place to take a look at if you are going to get one.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. BobMac

    BobMac Member

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  3. XXV-AK

    XXV-AK Member

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    True but if I'm making only 1-2 ton a year will they last to recoup my cost??
  4. XXV-AK

    XXV-AK Member

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    littlesmokey
    I will do that and post it shorly
  5. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    I think one question of mine was answered. China, second would be none or 90 days. Rumor from a tool use site is they may be good for a couple of tons, but they can not compact enough.

    Three or four years ago there was a lot of discussion of the small mills, most retired American made food pellet mills. Consensous was they wouldn't compress enough. The 4-6 thousand pounds is to release the lignin in the wood to act as the bonding agent (glue), the little units can not do that. Also the mill is one part. There's the drier and the hammermill, and the mixer and the..... get the point. You can heat for several years buying pellets for your investment and you will never recover the costs.
  6. Spartan

    Spartan Member

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    Funny you would say that. Actually, a bit scary!

    I was looking around to see what is strong, cheap and reusable. In the corner of the plant, lo and behold, I have three bags of sand from a finished project. Those bags are strong as hell so I phoned the supplier (lumber yard) and got the name of their supplier. I figured a 24 by 36 bag would hold about 60 pounds. At the limits at what my wife can lift to 4 feet. Or I may get two sizes and do a hundred for me and 40's for her (in case I'm away). The only thing is that metal twist probably needs a special tool. I can always use metal ties and pliers.

    The details are fairly simple BUT I still don't have the horse or buggy.....LOL!



    (Any chance do you work for the CIA and tapping into my mind? Let me know so I can wear my tinfoil hat! )
  7. Spartan

    Spartan Member

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    I found that site a coupled of days ago and went through it inch by inch. The guy might as well be on Mars for any hands on tests.

    His prices look real good and particularly that un-powered ones.

    ATFP250T

    or....

    ATFP300T

    I have a few 25 hp motors laying around and in the future, I can always retrofit a gas motor.

    There might be an issue of shipping costs from there....and I want the hands on trial.
  8. Spartan

    Spartan Member

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    I'm not interested in commercial operation. It's for my own use. I don't make enough dust to make it worthwhile for the big mills.

    Sawdust burner make insurance companies crazy. They consider them explosion hazards. They are okay with pellet boilers.
  9. checkthisout

    checkthisout Feeling the Heat

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    $4000.00 = 15-25 tons of pellets, an easy ten years supply for me or say 4 years supply for East Coasty.

    This, barring the machine doesn't break and that you have good feedstock that doesn't require you have your feed rate set to 10 and ignoring the amount of electricity it consumes to make the pellets and the drying racks you have to build.......

    In the end a chainsaw, splitting maul and wood stove would be a far better investment and probably less time.
  10. Spartan

    Spartan Member

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    Bingo.

    $1,800 plus a motor. I have spare electric ones and off shore gasoline/diesel motors are a grand for 20 hp.

    I don't need a "buddy" to buy it but what the heck, I can always do the Tom Sawyer thingy! I'll give them a seasons worth of free pellets in exchange for manual labour. My 20 by 5 by 8 cold room can probably hold 40 toms of pellets.


    BTW, dust from manufacturing is almost always dry to very dry (because of the high heat caused by machining). It's a lot easier putting moisture in then taking it out. Assuming I can convert what I have to pellets, the only thing I can foresee is the 200 F when they come out. A screen/blower should be able to deal with that. Dropping 50 degree on something that small should be a non issue. Come to think of it,.a three hp dust collector with a 30-40 foot hose will do the trick.
  11. Spartan

    Spartan Member

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    The economics start slipping away if I pay several thousand for the bigger mills. Plus there is a US made mill for 5.5 grand plus it needs power. That is the upper limit where this is worth it. Also, at that price range, I will design and build it myself. Other then a gear box (used commercial units), mills are a joke as far as technology is concerned.

    As for electricity...

    25hp X .75 kw X $0.12 a kilowatt cost = $0.56 and hour. I'll hazard a guess that gas or diesel will cost 2-3 times more. Electricity cost is not the problem, it's output versus cost of machine.
  12. Spartan

    Spartan Member

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    Forget the log wood stove. Pellet boilers beat the hell out of them in terms of storage, controlled output and convenience.

    As for cost comparisons.....

    Cost here is $220 plus a ton. Natural gas right now is at 7.5 cents for equivalent btu.That is a ten year low. Normally, it's 12 cents.

    Versus....

    Material is free. At 400 pounds an hour, running costs are $2 an hour. If the project is 4 grand and I amortize it over 75 tons (10 years?) then it's 3 cents a pound.

    We both have to pack it away. So the only difference is the cost of labour in manufacturing. At 400 pph, lets say it takes 40 hours. Is my time worth $1,350? Five or ten years ago, not a chance in hell, now, yes. I'm semi retired.

    Last but not least, not giving a damn how high I set the thermostat is....priceless.
  13. Spartan

    Spartan Member

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    Thanks for the links particularly the farmers home made.. Mills are not hard to make but I rather not. If I'm forced too because of cost, then I'll post the drawings and details.

    My hope that someone in here had one and was close to me is slipping away.
  14. pete324rocket

    pete324rocket Feeling the Heat

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    Spartan. Sawdust is your fuel. Saw the comment about insurance and sawdust burners. Here is a link to a csa approved model.

    http://www.canadianbiomassmagazine.ca/content/view/2088/97/

    Didn't check the cost though. My dad built a sawdust burner and as a kid went to the shed with the pick to fill a bag to burn. Very hot but crude and smokey....but free heat,the best kind.It used step plates. We still have it. Depending on the cost of oil, the cost of a bio-burner could pay off.
  15. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    http://www.mcmaster.com/#wire-twisters/=afzphe

    The spring return twister is what we used. You can twist tie a bag in about 5 seconds. We bought the twist ties from them and then got the supplier's name off of the wrapper. :eek:) A LOT cheaper!!!

    No CIA here, but they are outside and on the telephone pole after all my letters to Obama and Pelosi!!!!!!
  16. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers Minister of Fire

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    Leaves work great.

    I posted on this thread yesterday and after that I looked up a local guy who uses leaves for pellet fuel.

    He loads his ridding lawn mower onto a small trailer and then cleans the local parks after the leaves drop.

    The City is totally ????????????? over this. His response when asked WHY he does this ???

    "Oh I just enjoy doing it"

    He has a little factory set up in his small barn.

    He has almost perfect materials after the leaves go through his mulching bagging mower.

    He runs the stuff through the pellet mill, lays it on screens to dry and barrels it up.

    The Mower was a Craigs list bandit that he got cheap and the Pellet mill is one of the little Chinese diesel units.

    He keeps the parks leaf free (for free to the city) and burns this stuff all winter.

    Leaf pellets work great.

    To make this sort of thing work, you must be dedicated to doing the job.

    The cost of Pellets is certainly a factor.

    The time it takes this fellow to make his winter supply varies with the weather and his ambition.

    A couple hustle up weekends and most of the raw materials are in, then the pelletizing gets going.

    When the weather is dry the work concentrates on getting the leaves/raw stock.

    Once the weather turns wet, then the work moces indoors.

    This guy even mows yards for free, just to get raw grass stock.

    Now this is not for everyone for sure, but if you want to take the time to do it, the returns can be fairly quick.

    One thing for sure, its totally renewable resources and not using up anthing thats tough to come by.

    Now the average in town family could easily send junior out to mow the neighborhood yards for free and get all the raw stock that you need.

    Once you got your equipment your set.


    Unless you live in an area that does not have leaves/grass you can most likley get all you want for free.

    Most people have to pay to get rid of this stuff. The city will likely not care if someone mows the park or sucks up the leaves as they have to pay a crew to do it.

    Oh dont worry, there will always be plenty of work for the city crews, and your little leaf sucking wont take their job away.


    If you do this and someone comes along and asks what your doing, just give them a smile and say "Cummunity service" works every time.


    Making pellets from junk mail and such takes more machinery ( impact mill) to make it useable)

    Not sure about how all the ink and other stuff will burn or ??????


    For sure, the leaf and grass thing works.

    Its not a 15 minute project though.

    What is your time worth ???? Crunch the numbers and see hpw long it takes you to make the $$$ to buy your winters fuel.

    Now factor in the cost of the tools, gas for the mower and electricity/diesel for the Pellet mill.

    With this though, you will not be dependant on a big box store for your fuel. There will only be a fuel shortage if you dont make your pellets.


    Juast some thoughts.

    Snowy
  17. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    You're right on the lignin release, smokey. From what I've read, most people now have accepted the fact that you need a 'binding agent' to hold the pellets together since the lignin isn't present in large enough quantities. You can get it here >>> http://www.mataminc.com/woodfuel.php

    Yep, a hammermill is needed although some people use a chipper and run the stuff through a couple of times. The drier is for home use cobbled together as a bunch of wire mesh racks.

    It HAS to be a labor of love or purely 'something to do in retirement' or you have to love tinkering and mastering another piece of machinery before you croak. You can guess which category I'm in if I researched this much.
  18. Spartan

    Spartan Member

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    Wow, great burner. Thanks for the link. What I see as the huge upside of that burner is simply burning hammered wood chips without pellet re-processing.

    You can't store sawdust that easily. It's about 6 to 7 pounds density and if it gets airborne, it's explosive. Sure, I can run it at the plant where I have a separate boiler room but it certainly not a home product. When I shut down the plant, then what? The big boss will break this keyboard over my head if I introduce dust into the house. No, I can't run it outside either. I'm in the 'burbs

    But.....

    As a pellet burner, it may have a lot of merit. The only problem may be it's size and output level (too high for a house). Ideally, that burner should be run in separate shed.
  19. pete324rocket

    pete324rocket Feeling the Heat

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    Just my own personal experience,but my Dad would get his buddy from the mill drop a load of sawdust(big truck) and he would use our snowblower to fire it in the shed that he built (just a lean-to) on the back end of the garage,with a new door into the garage. The shed had removable panels on the ends so as to maximize airflow to dry it.When I went out in the winter to get sawdust,I would use a feed sack and with a pick axe,break away chunks but it was very easy and could quickly fill a sack ready for the hopper. Only downside was that it tracked on your boots some,but for cost and simplicity,it worked very well. Also,snowblowers don't mind sawdust. I think they test them with sawdust anyways at the factory. Oh,I should mention that the sawdust wasn't fine furniture type but from a sawmill. Too fine might be a problem. Nowadays,especially here in New Brunswick,wood chips and waste are super valuable and hardly free but I don't know what a load might cost. It might still be worthwhile,if you could find a source.
  20. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    I have never heard that anywhere. Mind explaining who told you that and under what circumstances. Sawdust in a wood processing plant blowing around is a hazard, but burning it, totally different issue.
  21. lpgreg

    lpgreg Member

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  22. checkthisout

    checkthisout Feeling the Heat

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    At the end of the day, making your own pellets is not convenient or efficient in terms of storage VS just cutting up and splitting some logs.

    In other words, yes you can build your own car but sometimes there are things to be said about mass-manufacturing.

    Wood pellets are one of those things.
  23. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    To all those who still burn logs >>> Many of us have been there and, although it's the 'MANLY' thing to do, after 40 years of doing it, you can keep the bugs, the cutting, loading, splitting, hauling, more bugs, chainsaw grief (I wore out 4 of them), sharpening chains, and all the other BS that goes with splitting logs. I can go to bed at night knowing I don't have to get up once or twice to feed the beasts and I will wake up to a warm house thanks to the programmable thermostat. How's that thermostat work on that log burner? Oh, it's called a 'wife', IF YOU'RE LUCKY.
  24. checkthisout

    checkthisout Feeling the Heat

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    Of course but the thread is about making your own pellets. I argue that making your own pellets nets you a process that is less efficient, more time consuming and more costly than simply having a wood stove. :)
  25. turbotech

    turbotech Feeling the Heat

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    I think the point here is that he pays $350 per load to remove the sawdust. So it is not even free..........it is negative $350 for him + the cost of natural gas heat. Nevermind free chunk wood and people even cutting, splitting, and stacking for free because he is still paying the $350 per load.

    The point is to use a product instead of paying to remove it and then paying for a product AGAIN that he just removed.
    A few places sell the rollers & dies. If you have the motors then I would start looking for a gear box and talking to a welder if you don't have the equip yourself.
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