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New SpeedPro Kinetic Log Splitter from TSC...

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by stumpy75, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. daleeper

    daleeper ArboristSite Member

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    If you watch videos of the super split and the speeco we have, it appears the super split runs slower. the speeco in original form runs scary fast as far as i am concerned. I have put the dr pulley on, and still don't run full throttle most of the time.

    I have been known to spray the clutch mechanism with wd-40 to allow it to slip more. Allowing the belt to "chirp" on occasion should also reduce your concerns about breaking the rack/pinion also, which is my biggest fear also, as I don't believe that can be replaced easily. Good luck.
     
  2. ilikeurtractor

    ilikeurtractor ArboristSite Lurker

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    I spoke to the Speeco folks and apparently they have replacement racks for about $525, but no other parts since they are not in production and don't have any left in stock. Therefore if you lose a pinion you'll have to be creative in getting one fabricated or somehow repairing the existing. Probably would just make sense to buy the new version or the better brands. I've noticed the pricing and availability on kinetics have been becoming more favorable over the years, even hydraulic splitters are falling a fair amount lately. I should probably not even bother trying to improve this Speedpro but it's kind of too late now. I bought it from a guy that said it worked great and I split about 20 pieces of wood before the lever linkage rod failed. Upon inspection it was clear it had been repaired before, just enough to get it sold. Like most things, you don't really know what you're getting until you get it home. Although the price wasn't terrible at the time because I didn't think there was anything wrong with it, it wasn't an ultimate bargain either. Now that I know more about it I would have put the money towards one of the others. But I'm stuck with it now so it's either fix it, live with it and its inherent issues including likely total failure down the road, or pass it on to the next unsuspecting person and I'm not the type to do the latter.
     
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  3. daleeper

    daleeper ArboristSite Member

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    I believe I would get the linkage worked over then consider the clutch with smaller pulley if you want to consider keeping this splitter and making it work. It is my understanding that the hardest thing on the pinion and rack is for that slack in the linkage allowing it to disengage. Making sure that the clutch/belt will slip if hitting a hard spot is important, but the linkage should not allow it to pop out either. There are quite a few youtube videos out there of homemade kinetic splitters that ideas can be borrowed from to make the linkage better. You already have the bones of a good splitter, it is just the activation linkage that is sloppy.
     
  4. ilikeurtractor

    ilikeurtractor ArboristSite Lurker

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    I'm hoping you're right. If I can lock the engagement yoke and slow it down maybe I won't threaten the integrity of the unit on stubborn wood, even if it means making several passes at it at times to be able to split it. I agree the rest of the splitter seems adequate although there really isn't that much to them but enough where I wouldn't want to recreate the whole thing. We'll see what happens.
     
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  5. Sandhill Crane

    Sandhill Crane AS Member

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    Try Craigslist.
    There are lots of people who are looking for a deal, and have that ability to fix things that need fixed. Put it out there and see what happens. You can be straight forward, and still get some money out of it.
    Then buy something that works properly, unless you enjoy fixing more than splitting.
     
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  6. ilikeurtractor

    ilikeurtractor ArboristSite Lurker

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    I understand what you're saying and generally agree with your thoughts, but my experience has been as soon as you indicate an issue with something you're selling expect to get around scrap value for it and you might as well keep it at that point because I'd rather have a somewhat functional splitter over a case of beer (I know, call me crazy!). I replaced the linkage rod between the handle and engagement yoke and increased it to 1/2" in diameter vs. the 3/8" or whatever it was so it's better than factory which doesn't say much I suppose, but I struggle with taking a huge loss on something that essentially works at least as good as it did from the factory. So I guess I'm at a point where it will either get fixed or become "more broken" at which time I'll gladly collect my case of beer :)
     
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  7. ilikeurtractor

    ilikeurtractor ArboristSite Lurker

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    Here's what I have so far:

    https://youtu.be/QWbAyAzj81Q

    Part 2:

    https://youtu.be/yMSKgA3yH78

    I'm continuing to have issues with the trip wire. It works for a few passes then ends up getting mangled on the return stroke somehow. I'm not sure if it is getting stretched too far on the forward stroke and pulling out of mounting holes or getting slammed by something on the rack during its return. I haven't come up with any decent alternatives so far...
     
  8. ilikeurtractor

    ilikeurtractor ArboristSite Lurker

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    Since there is a lot of discussion on the speeds of this unit I went and verified them today. Using a reflective tape tachometer the flywheels were running at 425 rpm when the engine was at around 2250 rpm which is about as slow as I could keep it running without the throttle linkage ground activating. At 3600 rpm on the engine the flywheels were turning at 680 rpm. So the ratio on the engine pulley to flywheels is about 5.3. For 300 rpm on the flywheels the engine, with its stock pulley, would have to turn about 1600 rpm. Measuring the engine pulleys shows roughly a 3" pitch diameter (it's probably less but it's kind of hard to directly measure pitch diameter, or at least I've found it to be). At 1600 rpm the clutch should slip pretty easily I would think.

    Clearly this machine runs faster than the others on the market currently as others have pointed out and it certainly isn't necessary apparently so slowing it down is definitely better all the way around.
     
  9. ilikeurtractor

    ilikeurtractor ArboristSite Lurker

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    Well I am (was) still fighting the trip mechanism but was getting closer to solving that problem when I was attempting to split a decent size round of ash. I had the motor as slow as I could practically go but it was probably still in the 425 rpm range. Hit the round and it didn't kick back but broke a tooth off the rack instead. Pinion looks good. I caught it on video but it wasn't anything dramatic. I didn't know it broke a tooth until I inspected the rack. It bent the engagement yoke hinge bolt and it cracked the engine side bronze bushing in the yoke as well. I don't see any other damage.

    I didn't have a great shot of the flywheel in the video, but just enough to see the handle didn't kick back and the flywheel came to a stop when it was run in slow motion. In fact, you could actually see the flywheel reverse a 1/2 revolution or so. So all that energy must wind up in the rack, pinion, and beam and release back via reversing which would also explain why the engagement yoke releases under a hard stop in the stock configuration.

    So now I'm not sure what I should do. The replacement racks are still available but that will be $500+. I'm thinking it wouldn't be bad if the replacement is a higher grade material but with the bolt getting bent in the yoke I'm not sure if that would matter as that will cause problems itself. Then again, once I get the different clutch I can stay down in the 300 rpm range which maybe won't break anything again.
     
  10. Jester3775

    Jester3775 ArboristSite Lurker

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    They discontinued for a reason, perhaps cut your losses...?
     
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  11. daleeper

    daleeper ArboristSite Member

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    I don't have that much in mine, so if I were faced with that choice, I would not be paying $500 for a rack. I might however scrounge around to see if I could find one for less. If this were my only option for splitter, and heating with wood was my main source of heat, I would be looking for another splitter.
     
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  12. ilikeurtractor

    ilikeurtractor ArboristSite Lurker

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    I can heat my house on natural gas for $500 for a long time so from a purely financial perspective it isn't a good decision to continue to pour money into firewood processing equipment in general, the least of which would be this splitter. I think even a new chainsaw chain will get me a months worth of natural gas heat (only the gas cost not the total bill). I also consider that I probably can't buy a kinetic splitter for $500 but it would go a long way towards another one. I also contemplated attempting a weld repair, grind, and heat treat on the missing tooth which might get me by for a while but such a repair, in correct form, is beyond my capability. I potentially could find some more rack material but it doesn't look like I'll save a huge amount and I'll still have to finish it to the original form which is certainly doable. I'm kind of leaning towards a replacement rack, slowing the unit down, and installing a weaker key material in the flywheels such as one gentleman suggested on YouTube who built one and used aluminum as a sacrificial material. Near-instant stops of the flywheels IS going to cause something to break. Ideally it would be the wood but clearly that isn't always going to happen.
     
  13. Jester3775

    Jester3775 ArboristSite Lurker

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    If your time is worth anything you are further behind than you might want to realize (or you will be). Here's my thinking on this kind of stuff: If I have problems that are from an accident, mistake, occasionally defective part or standard maintenance item so be it. If problem is realized as being a faulty design in general my willingness to throw good time and money after bad I hope would be limited. I will leave the occasional option open to "fix" if I think I can actually see the "issues" item has and I think I can re-engineer to take care of "issues". A lot of fairly intelligent people on this very thread have had their go at this particular item and I believe the general consensus was scrap. If anyone has any differing opinions please chime in. If the splitter and it's potential function are somewhat of a hobby and you have extra time on your hands please be my guest and continue down this path. When I am working with wood I don't have time for games. "They" have figured out this splitting thing and the fact that this foreign company tried to copy, but considerably cheaper without apparent testing leaves me embarrassed I got sucked in. Hope this helps ?
     
  14. ilikeurtractor

    ilikeurtractor ArboristSite Lurker

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    I agree with you 100% on the time commitment and find myself short on time on just about everything so it is hard to justify. However, I also believe this splitter can be made to function safely, reliably, and satisfactorily by essentially bringing it closer to one of it's competitors/successors designs which seems achievable. After using the splitter I do not believe the parts are inadequate, but the operating conditions/engineering was. Is it worth it in terms of time? Probably not. Most of the things I run across need some sort of attention so if I'm not working on this it's something else that is broken, whether it's from China, Japan, or even the US. And I really don't enjoy the fixing process in and of itself, just the end result (I don't know where this statement came from but I think of it a lot - "I don't want to fix broken sh!t, I want broken sh!t fixed!") I guess I'm wired to not throw things away even at the peril of the most precious thing we have which is time. I know better, but can't help myself. Ultimately, I'd like to make this splitter reliable and share my experiences if I can actually make it reliable so the next guy can benefit as I did from the tips presented so far (slowing it down with different clutches, handle designs, etc.) I'm not sure if the kickback provision is even required once it is slowed down I just haven't gotten that far yet.
     
  15. Jester3775

    Jester3775 ArboristSite Lurker

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    and so it begins...
     
  16. Sandhill Crane

    Sandhill Crane AS Member

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    I'm with the rest of the guys as far as trying to work with junk.
    No patience at all for it. Cut my loses, and move on.
    I sell it, or give it away, and forget it.
    Like the chain sharpener I tried, it clamped on the bar, then insert the round ceramic cutter , and crank whatever... See... half forgotten, the name anyway, gone... long, long gone.
    I'm all for modifying something to make it work better, which I've done with the SuperSplit, a TW-6 wedge and Built-Rite conveyor.
    I spent a lot of time and money building wood racks to season and handle firewood. Worked good for a while. The landscape timbers started ground contact rotting and some dry rotting after four years. Several thousand dollars worth (ugh), enough for sixty full cord. Fix them, or rethink this.
    I gave half the racks away, broke the rest down and junked well over half. Gone. Replaced them with pallets and never looked back.
    However, everyone is different.
    If you can make it work, or simply enjoy trying, then I applaud your efforts to keep it out of a land fill.
    Good luck with it...
    Beautiful morning today.
    I'm going out to split wood.

    Thanks to you, all the other guys that posted about their kinetic splitters regardless of brand. It helps people make more informed choices.
    As for cost differences, in the long term is kind of fades out if something is five hundred or maybe a thousand dollars more. Especially if it is a tool you use a lot. I bought a very expensive trailer to tow behind the quad, a Thule tandem axle for something like $1,400. That was almost ten years ago, and I've used it weekly since, and daily most seasons except winter when it is in the garage full of firewood for the house. Makes me smile and enjoy chores more when I get to use a good piece of equipment.
     
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  17. rancher2

    rancher2 ArboristSite Guru

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    I had two of these that I had bought for scrap price when they pulled them off the market years ago. Both had been sent to a repair shop to have the racks replaced. I got one updated rack not installed and none for the other one. I installed the new rack on the one. Installed a jack shaft to slow the flywheels down to around 300 rpm with the engine running wide open. Rebuilt the rack engaging system. The other splitter I made into a hyd one for a friend of mind. I ran the one I rebuilt for several years and it worked well splitting ash. I sold it two winters ago and as far as I know it still working. The hyd one got sold also last year as the friend of mind retired from work had a sale and moved. I sure wouldn't spend $500.00 on a new rack I would change it to hyd or cut my losses and sell it the way it is.
     
  18. ilikeurtractor

    ilikeurtractor ArboristSite Lurker

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    Points well taken. I'm willing to run with this a little longer though and try and make it work as I still believe it can be made satisfactory. I've seen people spend (and have myself spent) a lot more time and money on things with less promise - sometimes with success, and many times not. I'm glad to hear there has been at least some success with these with others. For now, I'm not buying a new rack but will attempt a weld repair with E11018 rod for the buildup followed by using hardfacing rod for the surface and grinding to the final profile. I'm opting not to do any heat treating as I'm not set up to do that properly and probably will only make it worse using a torch for a heat source. It might be futile, but worth a shot in my opinion. I did determine the rack I have is fabricated out of 4130 steel using a PMI instrument. To me that is promising assuming the material meets specifications, opposed to it being something like a 1018 or lesser grade. I'm not sure if this one is considered upgraded or not, or even if the replacements are an upgrade at all without knowing more about it.

    Right now I'm waiting on the smaller clutch from the DR Splitter people and the welding rod to repair the rack which should be here by the end of the week. I found a replacement bolt and bronze bearings for the engagement yoke and plan on changing out the keys in the flywheels to either nylon or aluminum depending on which one is more suitable. Of course, all of this is hinging on the hope the 300 rpm target for the flywheels will be adequate for reliable and functional operation which I believe it will be. I've run the machine at the 425 rpm and it has proven to shear through wood in some cases without breaking teeth and also stopping the flywheels without damage although over a considerably longer travel distances (3-4 inches). That one piece of ash did not begin to shear or split and stopped the rack in about 1" of travel after contact and did the machine in. Bottom line is either the energy contained in the flywheels and drive must be lowered to the point where they can be quickly stopped without damaging something, or another part that is more sacrificial and easier to replace must be employed.
     
  19. ilikeurtractor

    ilikeurtractor ArboristSite Lurker

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  20. ilikeurtractor

    ilikeurtractor ArboristSite Lurker

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    Some more follow-up after testing. Another tough piece of ash caused the engagement yoke mounting bolt to bend even after upgrading it to a 12.9 grade. When that bends, the clearances open up between the rack and pinion causing disengagement even with the locker in place. To correct that I eliminated the yoke bushings by drilling the whole assembly out to 5/8" including the splitter frame box and installing a grade 8 bolt through it. The frame box originally had slotted 10mm holes on each side, apparently to let the yoke fall down and fold back easier in the retraction step. However, I found this slot is unnecessary after testing it with just a round 5/8" hole with the same size bolt through it. In the process of drilling the 5/8" hole through the frame, I eliminated virtually all of the clearance between the rack and pinion when engaged although my intention was to target around 0.010" but I couldn't achieve that just by drilling it by hand. I measured the original clearance at around 0.025". Since then I haven't had any issues with ash (sycamore can also be difficult I see). The splitter will just come to a stop as it should. I still plan on changing out the 5/8" bolt to a grade 10 allen head bolt and also the yoke bearing shaft/bolt to a grade 12.9 when I get them as an added measure.

    The rack repair has been holding up but the hardfacing has chipped off the tooth tip, presumably when I bent the engagement yoke mounting bolt and the tip was loaded. So if I have to repair another tooth I likely will not attempt to add the hard-facing as it probably isn't necessary and can spall off. Avoiding the tip loading should eliminate tooth breakage in the first place of course.
     

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