A while back, me and my dad made a log splitter. Making a log splitter isn’t too challenging, all the parts required are readily available and the design is pretty simple. But we made this one as a bit of a ‘freecycle’ project by getting as many of the parts from a scrapyard and using materials we already had. So if you think it looks like garbage, that’s because it kinda is. In the end, the only parts we bought were the hydraulic valve, hoses, and a few fittings. Fortunately all the parts we scrounged worked and are still working today.
The operation is pretty typical with the cylinder pushing a wedge into a block of wood against a backstop. We started of with a big I beam that we already had, then boxed in one end of it to make a hydraulic reservoir and used a rear axle off a minivan to create the chassis. The engine was taken off a riding lawn mower, the hydraulic pump came off an old harvester, and the cylinder was found by itself in the scrapyard. The cool thing about using a lawn tractor engine is having electric start and a battery to power accessories. I don’t think too many splitters have that feature.
Thankfully all the parts we snagged worked good, and still do. We used a 4′ cylinder and the pump puts up about 1800 psi. The force is calculated as follows:
((Π x cylinder radius ²) x pressure) / 2000 = force in tons. Which works out to ((Π x 2 ²) x 1800) / 2000 = 11.3 tons. Which is kinda low compared to most commercial splitters. If we used a 2 stage pump or a pump with more pressure, we could get more force. But due to a limited selection of parts, this wasn’t an option. In the end, it works really good. So far, we haven’t come across anything it can’t split.