Short stroke my splitter

LLigetfa Posted By LLigetfa, May 26, 2009 at 11:35 PM

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  1. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
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    OK, so on to another mod. I was reading a while back where Gooserider tried short stroking his splitter by drilling holes and slipping a pin or bolt behind the wedge. In his case the power on the return stroke bent the bolt/pin.

    I got to thinking that a grade 8 bolt or pin of significant size should be able to stand up to the pressure and that I was game to try. The largest bit I had on hand was 7/8ths so that's what I drilled out my log extractor to and then planned to go shop for a grade 8 bolt. It's not that easy to find one in the right length so I turned my thoughts to using a hitch pin. The longest 7/8ths I could find came up an inch short so I had to move up to this 1" but now I have to ream out the hole from 7/8ths to an inch. Easier said than done.

    DYL66251.jpg
     
  2. smokinj

    smokinj
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    not sure what your trying here?
     
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
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    I'm trying to fit a 1" pin into a 7/8ths hole. :(

    The big picture is that I want to short stop the returning wedge by about 4 inches. If I let it auto-return all the way home, I then have to wait for it to reach the log on the next round.
     
  4. Gooserider

    Gooserider
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    The idea is to have the splitter kick out of auto-return mode at an earlier point in the stroke, so that the wedge is positioned closer to the round for the next stroke - this significantly speeds up the workflow since you don't have to wait for the wedge to travel as far to get back to the face of the round for the next split...

    Typical splitters have a 24-25" log length capacity, but most of us are cutting our wood to something in the 16-20" range since that's what our stoves can handle... If instead of allowing the wedge to go up to the full 24 inches, and then come back down 6" or so before it starts doing anything, we can stop the wedge at say 20" then there is still plenty of room to fit an 18" round into position, and the wedge now only has to travel 2" before it starts splitting... If one assumes a 15 second cycle, then the wedge is moving at about 3" / second - taking 6" off the travel shortens the cycle time by 4 seconds a split - doesn't sound like much but it's almost 1/3 of the total cycle time, and it adds up in a hurry - especially if you are doing an easy splitting wood that only takes an inch or two of travel to split - then you are going from an effective 16" (or 5+ second) cycle to an effective 4" cycle or a little over a second...

    You can get collars that fit around the cylinder shaft which limit the stroke, but there is some concern that they might damage the piston surface, thus causing a hard / expensive to fix leak, and they are slow to take on and off which makes it more of a pain to split the occasional "over-length" round. My idea (which as noted, did not work for me) was to put a hole in the log ejector and stick a pin through it that would hit the wedge and thus limit the stroke in a way that didn't touch the piston surface (thus no damage) and which could easily be pulled out when the full stroke was needed...

    Now what I do is simply ignore the auto return and work the lever by hand for both the down and up-strokes so that I can stop the wedge where I want - this slightly slows me down since I end up with only one hand free during the return stroke, but is still faster than letting the auto-return pull the wedge all the way back up...

    I may keep doing it that way, or possibly play with the detent setting on the auto-return, and see if I can lighten it up enough to make sure the thing will kick out when it hits the bolt and try my idea again... This is one case where the 5" cylinder on my machine really hurts me - due to the larger piston area, I have about 30% more force at the wedge for a given hydraulic pressure than a 4" piston machine does - makes the adjustment much trickier...

    Gooserider
     
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
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    Eh Goose, what size and grade of pin did you try? I'm confident that my 1" grade 8 pin will stand up to the pressure but then mine is only a 20 ton. Do you have a link to the pic of your mod?

    As for enlarging the hole, I think my best bet is to use a 1" hole saw. I just need to drill a core of wood to leave on the pilot to centre it. I ruined the arbor on my old hole saw so I need to go shopping. This time I'll get the type that has a fixed arbor on it.

    I'll post some pics when I'm done.
     
  6. Gooserider

    Gooserider
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    IIRC, it was a 1/2" bolt, generic hardware store grade... When I brought the wedge up the first time, the motor never slowed down, and the pressure guage barely twitched as it turned the bolt into a pretzel... Considering that the pressure shown when the wedge is retracting is around 300 PSI (barely lifts the needle off the pin) and the current auto-retract setting spikes to around 2500 PSI before cutting out, I didn't think it was worth trying to upsize the bolt or go for anything higher grade. If it had been close that might have been worth trying, but...

    I forget the link back to where I posted about it, but it was part of the fairly long thread on how I modded my splitter - search on HF 30 Ton and you should find it pretty fast.

    Gooserider
     
  7. DaveBP

    DaveBP
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    I made a stroke limiter for my splitter by cutting 2 pieces of 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" angle iron very square and even in length (OK, I machined them at work). In my case 6" long. Then split a 5 1/2"piece of 1 1/2" black poly pipe lengthwise and slip that over the extended cylinder rod. Put the angles over this pipe like you were splinting a broken leg and put a couple of stainless hose clamps around them to hold them in place.

    My splitter now allows a max 19" stick (if it won't fit in the splitter, it won't fit in the boiler) and saves 10" of redundant travel per stroke. This has been working for 18 years.

    My religion forbids drilling holes in hydraulic cylinder rods.
     
  8. smokinj

    smokinj
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    very cleaver, 18 years Id say thats the way to go!
     
  9. triptester

    triptester
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    One thing that must be considered is that many splitters are not designed to handle stroke limiters. Horizontal splitters often have a 1 inch or larger pin connecting the ram and push plate, limiters are not a problem. H/V splitters with wedge on ram are often connected with only a 1/2 inch bolt, these do not work well with limiters.
     
  10. savageactor7

    savageactor7
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    I want to go on record as being being against this YASM.
     
  11. JeffRey30747

    JeffRey30747
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    Our splitter is an old home built model and the return detent doesn't catch more often than it does. That's another project and right now doesn't really have any sense of urgency as my Dad and I usually split together. The person running the valve limits the stroke as a part of their job while the other loads and unloads the splitter. You are still limited by the speed of the ram but it definitely seems that two people can turn out more than twice as much as one person this way. However, both people need to be cognizant of the hazards involved and work accordingly. I wouldn't split this way with just anyone.
     
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider
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    This is a good approach if you want a fixed length machine - I wanted the ability to handle different lengths easily, so I wanted a quickly removable limiter

    Again, a reasonable approach - I find that I prefer to split any "over length" rounds while I have them in hand in front of the splitter, and then trim them to length later, but one can trim first and split later just as easily... My approach is to use one of the other mods that I made on my splitter where I made a series of shallow holes (essentially the depth of the 1/2" drill point) in my beam as length indicators - I use this to measure each round as I split it... I then toss it into either the "good" pile for stacking, or the "over-length" pile to get moved to my trimming jig first... (I also have a third pile for "chunk wood" - stuff under 12" or the "pretzel chunks" that won't stack...)

    Totally agree!!! Note that my mod was NOT drilling the rod or cylinder - it was only drilling the "log ejector" which is a relatively non-critical part. If it had worked as intended, I would have been stopping the stroke by hitting the top of the wedge, and not getting anywhere near the cylinder.

    Gooserider
     
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
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    I do have some concerns about the 1/2 inch bolt which is only a grade 3 and plan on upgrading it to at least a grade 5. The bolt is mostly in shear as there is only a 1/4 inch of side play. The short-stop pin however spans over 6 inches and as such needs to be stiffer than the bolt.

    As a test, I put a stick of hardwood behind the wedge and while it did crush it a bit, it kicked out the return without shearing the 1/2 inch bolt on the ram.

    If I had a splitting partner, I wouldn't bother with this short-stop mod but alas, the wife won't work the lever and the boys have grown up and moved away.

    Goose, I understand what you're saying about the time saving. Most of the Ash that I split will pop with an inch or two of wedge penetration so if I can limit the total stroke to 4 inches, the cycle time would be cut in half if auto-returned to fully retracted. The auto-return also would free both hands to setup for the next split rather than hand returning each time as I do now. Sometimes I do use the auto-return to free both hands but manually stop it short if I'm quick enough.

    A neighbor built his own splitter and his auto-detent is so weak that it tends to kickout just from the friction on return. He said it improves as the oil warms, so hasn't torn apart the valve to adjust it. I forgot to ask him what brand of valve he has as his came with detailed instructions which may or may not be the same as my Energy brand. I tried googling for the Energy valve I have but cannot match up any part numbers and haven't found a detailed manual for any other model.
     
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider
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    The valves that I've seen only have two adjustments on them (and far as I know, splitter valves are pretty standard) - one for the detent, and one for the over pressure release. I believe the adjustment that is on the side of the valve, at a right angle to the main spool (the part moved by the lever) is the detent, and the one on the end, parallel to the spool is the over pressure relief. Long as you take it easy, adjusting the screws a bit at a time, while watching a pressure guage, and don't take them out, I don't think you could hurt anything by playing with them a bit...

    Gooserider
     
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
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  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
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    I spent a little quality time with my splitter tonight. It was easy drilling with the hole saw. I stuck an old broomstick handle in the hole saw to use as the pilot. It was easier than the 7/8ths hole I drilled with bits.

    I had a close look at the 1/2" bolt that attaches the wedge to the ram. They went cheap on it since it was never designed to take much stress. Both the wedge and the ram are drilled to 9/16ths and the 1/2" bolt had too much thread on it so that there was still thread in the ram. I'm going to get a higher grade 9/16th bolt with a longer unthreaded shank.

    I cycled it several times with the existing 1/2" grade 3 bolt expecting it to shear or bend. It did neither but did put a bit of shine on the threads. Without the short-stop, I have 26" from wedge to base and the short-stop reduces that by 4 inches. Since I buck my wood to 20", that reduces the free travel by 66%.
     
  17. Gooserider

    Gooserider
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    Makes sense, and I've found that 2" clearance between the wedge and the top of the round is a good amount of play - small enough that it doesn't take long to travel that far, but big enough that it is easy to get the log onto the platform - less distance and it gets a bit fiddly and time wasting to get the round lined up "just right" to slide into place without hitting the platform or the wedge...

    Gooserider
     
  18. DaveBP

    DaveBP
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    One of the side benefits of working 2nd shift is that I get to misread forum posts in the morning while I'm waiting for the coffee to kick in. I did see a drill point in a hydraulic cylinder rod for a stop collar setscrew once so I was ready to start shaking my head before I started to actually use it. Not the first time.
     
  19. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
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    OK, here are the pics I promised. In the first one I laid the original 1/2" bolt to show how the threads ran into the ram. The new 9/16ths bolt has more shank and less thread so the bearing surface is smooth. Oh, and I was mistaken on the original bolt. It and and the new one are both grade 5.

    [​IMG]

    Oh ja, in the first pic you can see a glimpse of a guard over the oil filter I fashioned out of flat stock. I realized after my YASM mod that removing the log outrigger on the filter side left it vulnerable.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, I located the hitch pin underneath the ram mainly because there isn't enough meat on the log extractor above the ram. Above would be better because as it is, when it hits the pin, it lifts the wedge up a little and makes an annoying clunking noise.
     
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  20. smokinj

    smokinj
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    i wear ear protectors even on the splitter get a little music going on!
     
  21. Meauran

    Meauran
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    That's nice work. Thanks for sharing your mods and the pictures.
     
  22. Gooserider

    Gooserider
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    Agreed, looks like a nice job on the mods.

    Gooserider
     
  23. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
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    I put some time in on the splitter and am very happy with the mod. The first day I kept catching myself hand returning the wedge and had to keep reminding myself to just set it on the detent and walk away. Old habits are hard to break.

    The only change I made was to change out the hairpin cotter with a linchpin. Over time the hitch pin rotates and the hairpin will get hit by the bolts on the base of the wedge. The linchpin being round never gets involved with the base.

    This, BTW is what a linchpin looks like:
    [​IMG]
     
  24. Gooserider

    Gooserider
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    Good idea, plus I've found that linchpins are easier to put in and take out... I find that it is a real pain playing tug of war with a hairpin, or trying to push it in past the "hump", especially if the thing is in an awkward space to reach... With the linchpin, it is easy to just flip the circle bit open and slide it out.

    Gooserider
     
  25. Stevebass4

    Stevebass4
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    LLigetfa you always do some very nice mods to your stuff!! this one looks awesome
     
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