[Alois Schmid] is an avid woodworker, and as such, he makes a lot of saw dust. Unfortunately, saw dust is kind of wasteful — it doesn’t burn very well unless it is compressed… so he built his own wood briquette press!
He originally looked at purchasing a machine designed for this, until he discovered they run upwards of 10,000 Euros. You could buy an amazing CNC mill for that! Needless to say, it was out of the question.
He started by purchasing a new more efficient dust extractor and an electric log splitter, and then he built an ingenious feeder system. He’s replaced the log splitter blade with a long metal dowel with a protrusion at the end (helps keeps the briquettes in one piece), which is slightly smaller than the compression tube he’s built.
The really cool part of this build is his home-made auger system. He’s cut out metal donuts from sheet metal and cut notches around the inside diameter — he then bent them into a semi-spiral, and welded a whole series of them onto a metal bar.
To prevent the wood chips from bridging over the auger, he’s also made wooden gears that simply follow the top of the auger — he’s really thought of everything! All in, the project cost a bit shy of 1000 Euros — still a pricey investment, but well worth it considering the amount of wood he goes through — and at 10% of the cost of a commercial offering, we think he’s done a pretty good job!
The project is definitely worth a read, and you should also check out his drool-worthy workshop!