can someone tell me what this thing is called?

redmanlcs

Member
Nov 20, 2017
140
West Virginia
I have seen some homemade log splitters that instead of using a hydraulic jack, they use some type of gear drive with an arm that rotates 360 degrees to shove the log into the splitting wedge. I would like to find one of these, or perhaps purchase one, but I don't even know what they are called or used for.
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
4,691
Northern NH
Working in old papermill that dated back to 1900 I ran into lots of older gearbox designs. My guess is the top gearbox is a planetary gearbox. The most popular use for a planetary gearobox were overdrives n cars and trucks. They have a lot of torque capability. The lower drive is a parallel shaft gearbox. By swapping around gears inside the box, almost any ratio can be built in. Also very good torque. One of my projects was to change out a set of these on a papermachine. The calculations required to size them were interesting. The planetary gearboxes have pretty well been replaced with cyclo gearboxes. They fit a lot torque capability in a small package. They are also used a lot in those large automated distribution warehouses like fed ex and UPS. They frequently are supplied as gearmotors where the gearbox is integrated into the output bearing case of stepper or a conventional AC motor.This cuts out the need for coupling but obvious means the entire unit is thrown away when a part worn out.

The cyclos were my "go to" gearbox that I used to replace obsolete gearboxes as the physical case size was about 1/2 the size of planetary so I had room to makeup adapters to match the input and output shafts. The internal parts can be stacked to get super low revolutions down. They also were great for shock load. I have model of the guts of one somewhere around the house as its its pretty slick internal design. Those were the years when I occasionally did real live conventional mechanical engineering, although I did it with an earlier version of Autocad which really cut out a lot of drafting board time.

I haven't seen anyone build a cyclo gearbox log splitter but as long as someone is not designing for it to be a kinetic type unit, a bellcrank driven by a cyclo gearbox splitter driven by a variable speed drive motor doesn't necessarily need to be any more dangerous than a hydraulic splitter. The safety guarding would be interesting and finding bearings for the bell crank that would hold up would also be interesting.
 
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saewoody

Feeling the Heat
Feb 15, 2017
456
CT
I know it’s not exactly what you are picturing there, but look up “kinetic” log splitters. You may already know what that is, but if not it could be something you might be interested in.


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GadDummit

Burning Hunk
May 27, 2017
166
Oklahoma
I second the kinetic option. They don't slam down on the log until you pull the handle and engage them.The arm splitters are more that - they split your arm. like trying to throw meat into a dragon's chewing mouth as you load each log. I'm sure lots of people used to use them successfully, but they scare the bejeebers out of me.


That said, building a hydraulic splitter is easy as pie if you have any welding skills at all. And i mean even a bad welder can build one pretty quick.​
 
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redmanlcs

Member
Nov 20, 2017
140
West Virginia
Thank all of you guys for the input and opinions.

I'm getting older and can't swing the 'ole maul like I used to, so I have been looking at fabricating some kind of log splitter. I think "peakbagger" said he used autocad in the past. I have an associates degree in mechanical engineering and blueprint reading and also have autocad 2000 certification, which is antique by today's standards but still I can dream up some pretty crazy contraptions. My welding skills are not excellent, but i can make two pieces of metal stick together pretty good lol....

I thought about the hydraulic jack option, which is what I grew up using and that is what I want. I'm looking at $1000 or so for a new one big enough to split some knotty hardwoods. 5 or 600 if I make one out of junk and just buy a pump, hoses, engine, and the jack. This is still a little too expensive for me. I too do not like the "gearbox or speed-reducer" method as I first mentioned, but thought I may be able to find one of those gearboxes somewhere, and use some sort of engine from a lawnmower or cheep chinese atv engine to power it.

I have also thought about a type that I have not seen before, but thought of myself. I was thinking that if i could find a way to make a high speed winch, and a tall structure to build from, I could hoist a heavy weight, (300 lbs or so) up in the air about 12ft, then suddenly drop it onto the round to split it. I haven't give this much thought tho.

I have looked at the kinetic splitter and love how fast it splits rounds, but my concern there is that I think the gear and the rack would wear out pretty quickly due to the high rate of acceleration when you pull the lever. Just looks like it would be breaking or wearing out pretty fast.

Back to the hydraulic options, I thought I may be able to save some $$ by using a power steering pump from a vehicle, but soon learned that that style pump is the vane type, and don't really have enough pressure to push a ram, unless you use a huge ram and then the speed would be like 1ft per min. WAY TOO SLOW AND WEAK.

So far I don't see a way that I could find or buy a heavy duty gearbox, I'm not gonna shell out $1000 for a new store bought splitter either. My "lifting a heavy weight high in the air and letting it drop".. well thats pretty much a pipedream. Not gonna happen in my opinion.

If you wanted to build a splitter, had a welder and some scrap metal but no ram or hydraulic cylinder or pump, but had like $100 to spend, what could you dream up? I have looked at those cheap splitters that uses a normal jack with two leavers to basically "pump" the round into the wedge, but that looks just as hard of work as swinging the maul.

Im going to keep my brain working and looking for options. I do have a 10 yr old that loves to watch trees fall, and he loves to show how strong he is by chopping wood. I personally seen him tire himself out trying to bust a piece of knotty beech that I gave up on 3 months ago and its still as tough if not tougher now, and after about 2 hours and 15 breaks for rest, he finally gave out and went to playing xbox. (Wish i had it that easy)... but anyway safety is a major concern. If I had the gearbox version I would have to lock it up and guard it 24/7 as with any dangerous tools or any splitter i rig up. Even with a hydraulic ram type I know they not 100% safe as I have seen quite a few jump off the wedge and go flying, but much safer than the "soon to lose a hand or arm" versions. I don't know... ill keep swinging till I find the right piece of junk to build with.

Side note: Have you guys seen the videos of the splitter that uses a big circular drum with a axe head welded onto it?... it spins around so fast that you don't even have time to stick a piece of wood under it before it comes down again? One small slip and off goes your hand or arm,, and if you lean over too far your dead?...... don't even recommend that type... def not gonna happen at my house... id rather freeze.

Love all you wood haorders! :))
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
942
Iowa
Maybe look into the small electric powered splitters. They are reasonably priced.
 

GadDummit

Burning Hunk
May 27, 2017
166
Oklahoma
Electric splitters barely split your average paper log. I had one of those 200.00 jobbies once. Redmantics, I'll send you a link you might want to try to build.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
942
Iowa
Electric splitters barely split your average paper log
Interesting. There have been users on a few sites that have reported differently. Guess I'd like to try one and find out! If for no other reason than they are quieter than a gasser. What exact make and model did you own and have a poor experience with @GadDummit? I myself and others reading this will be sure to mark that one off the list of potentials.
 

Montanalocal

Feeling the Heat
Dec 22, 2014
333
Helena MT
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,467
Eastern Central PA
After stalling a 30+ ton splitter in tough wood several times i dont think i could do with a light duty model. I just rent the biggest model they have when i have a couple cords to split. i wouldnt want to buy one and have it set a year or so in between uses. I fully understand those who split more often want to have one on hand.
 

sweedish

Member
Feb 6, 2019
100
Michigan
My dad just collects all the rounds that are too much of a pain to split or doesn’t want to bother with, and every couple of years rents one for the day, 50 bucks is the going rate around here
 

Renovationman

New Member
Dec 5, 2017
48
MB
Electric splitters barely split your average paper log. I had one of those 200.00 jobbies once. Redmantics, I'll send you a link you might want to try to build.
I was hesitant about the small electric ones until I borrowed one. I ended up buying one and it does what I need it to do. I’ll load it on my trailer with my generator and split wood where I need to.
IMG_0108.jpg
 
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Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
6,467
Eastern Central PA
My dad just collects all the rounds that are too much of a pain to split or doesn’t want to bother with, and every couple of years rents one for the day, 50 bucks is the going rate around here
I think i paid $35 a day For that id rather let someone else do the maintenance and storage.
 

GadDummit

Burning Hunk
May 27, 2017
166
Oklahoma
Interesting. There have been users on a few sites that have reported differently. Guess I'd like to try one and find out! If for no other reason than they are quieter than a gasser. What exact make and model did you own and have a poor experience with @GadDummit? I myself and others reading this will be sure to mark that one off the list of potentials.


They make these under several different names, but if it looks like this one trust me - stay away.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200631753_200631753
 

Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,132
Michigan
Good luck getting a 300lb round up that high to split.
That's what a tractor bucket is for, as for not owning a splitter, wait till wood heat is deemed environmentally dangerous, and you'll find the rentals dry up.
 
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moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
942
Iowa
That's what a tractor bucket is for
My splitter will split vertical. Just gotta roll the big rounds under it. Slick. Even if your by your self. Better if you have a helper. Of coarse.
Sure would like to have a tractor and loader however. Just because;)
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
2,888
Downeast Maine
I was hesitant about the small electric ones until I borrowed one. I ended up buying one and it does what I need it to do. I’ll load it on my trailer with my generator and split wood where I need to.
View attachment 243135
At that point it seems like a gas powered option is better.
 

redmanlcs

Member
Nov 20, 2017
140
West Virginia
From what I can find out about the electric splitters is this, and could be wrong, please use discretion if your thinking of buying one. I'm still undecided at this point.

1. Price per ton is on average much cheaper.
2. Electric motor can overheat. Prolonged operation not advised. (don't try to split too much at one time).How much is too much?
3. Seals and rubber o-rings can fail if you overload the 5 or 7, whatever ton rating, but can be repaired.

Humm.. seems if you only split the med sized stuff, and stay away from the knots so as to not stall the motor, or put it under heavy loads you might get a few years out of it. I'm sure it would help me a bunch. Being the cheapest option thats probably the route ill have to go unless some jacks and hoses fall from the sky.

No way I could build a gasser for 280 smackers.