Hydraulic briquette machine questions?


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Established Member
4 Aug 2011
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I have been meaning to build a briquette machine for some time to use up my shavings in my woodburner in the winter.
My initial plan was to use a log splitter and modify it as I have seen several versions of on youtube, been looking for a local cheap log splitter for a while to no avail.

However, today I have aquired a large 3 phase hydraulic pump from a 4 post car lift, it is basically a large (and incredibly heavy) steel box which houses the resevoir and the motor /pump etc.
The in and out hydraulic lines are cut off as they were inside the casting of the lift but I should be able to tap the holes and put on a suitable hydrailic fitting.

Its a long shot I realise but does anyone know what valving/ switching would be required to make this run a ram to compact sawdust/ shavings into briquettes, or even know where else to ask.
I guess it will need a sensor to know the end of travel (or one at both ends of travel) which will need to actuate the valving to the appropriate direction.

I am reasonably confident in designing the mechanical bit, its the electro/ hydraulic bit that I don`t know much about.

These machines usually need more than 20 Mpa of pressure to work properly.
Can your car lift pump generate such pressure?
The smaller units I've seen all have ~10 KW 3 phase motors. Do you have enough power supply for that?
Saw one working the other day at a commercial joiners shop. It was built on to the extraction set up and turned out one about every three seconds, They were about 50 mm dia. x 30mm. Fairly sure it just relied on compressing the material with no binding agent. Can't imagine these would have included many shavings - mostly dust and planer chips.

I buy some from a big joiners that have a really good set up. the bags are filled on a carousel. they have four sider which generates huge amounts of stuff. the moulders generate a fair bit as well. those ones are 30mm dia by 30mm length
Well, I have had a look at the motor plate and it is a Gryphon Brooks motor 415v, 2hp, 2850 rpm, 2 minute rating.
Has a Brooks switching unit as well.
@dzj I have no idea presently what pressure it will generate, I am not looking to get a machine equivalent to a £15k unit that will run all day in a production sutuation.
My initial plan of using a log splitter would have used a 2.2kw motor and I have seen these used very successfully.

The motor/pump might not be suitable but its worth trying to find out. I have seen kits for building a log splitter that come with a valve block and hoses, but no auto switching method.

My use case is no more than one or two bags a week of planer and spindle shavings, mostly hardwoods. (Though I have about 20 bags waiting for me to build something) .
I was going to buy one but a cheapo one is £5k and I can't afford it.

I don't think a binding agent is required, friction in the pipe generates a good bit of heat and the pressure binds them well enough.
@Fidget I watched that new Yorkshire video a while back, he does a superb job and I think I will pinch the method he uses with the threaded rods between plates for the cylinder mounting.
I am aiming for a slightly portable unit I can wheel out and use then roll it away again.

Much research to be done I think.

Yes you’re correct no binding agent the lignin in the wood melts under the pressure and sets as it cools, from the ones I burn the travel after compression is about an inch, ie the sawdust etc compresses to an inch thick.
Also it looks as though the pushing plate has 4 pointed dimples on it these help the segments of wood stay together.
Ps. Sorry I resurrected an old thread.