Biomass Briquette Lever Press

Introduction: Biomass Briquette Lever Press

About: New twists on old ideas

This instructable will explain how to construct a biomass briquette press for under $15
Will be added to in stages. There is enough info to copy the press right now.

The design is from .PDF plans by Lee Hite
Engineers Without Borders:

Lee Hite briquette press page
Lee Hite press operation video

My Google Sketchup model is in the 3D Warehouse:  HERE
Model with exploded parts and updates HERE

There are corrections in the Sketchup model from the early .PDF
Step 3 has exploded pics of all components with dimensions.

Lumber needed:
2x6x8 (x1)
2x4x8 (x2)

And about $10 worth of bolts and washers

Some background:

Briquettes for cooking have been around for quite some time now:

This video explains the evolution and the "why" of the "modern" briquette fairly well:

I believe these briquettes have a place anywhere in the world. They can burn in many types of wood stoves, campfires, fireplaces, etc. The fact that they can be made from many types of waste products is incredible.

I'm working on preparing tumbleweeds for processing into biomass briquettes for instance.
They could also be made from dried horse manure.
These are just two examples of local materials that can be turned into burnable briquettes.

A hammermill is needed to make some biomass waste into small "sawdust" size particles.
This "sawdust" is then mixed with pulpy pre-soaked newspaper and water to make briquettes.
More DIY hammermill ideas like THIS one are needed out there. A hammermill can take roughly chopped material and turn it into an almost sawdust like size.

Later in this instructable I'll give info on how to make the briquettes themselves. Read up on the process and watch some videos out there on the net. Especially this next article:

Take a look at how a bed and breakfast in Wales uses briquettes to heat their operation:

Why lug heavy wood around to heat your house? Get a system going to make your own wood!

So, get ready to learn some cool stuff.

Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials

Tools and materials:


Step 2: Part Dimensions

Here are all the components "exploded".

Step 3: Assembly Details

Here are quick pics of  the press:

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    8 years ago on Introduction

    Excuse my ignorance, but where do the PVC stuff go? In the final step I can't see it anywhere. It's my first time with biomass and briquettes, so I don't really know how this stuff works.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I have made a version of this and raised it up by making the legs longer, and by adding a slope and upstand to either side of the base plate I can get a bucket under the bottom base plate to collect the water squeezed out,as this contains components to help "my" mix of sawdust and woodshavings and very little paper, to bond together, this forms a nice briquette that burns well and is a very efficient heat source with little ash. It also allows operation from a chair or a standing position.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I should add that I extended the base plate to get an overhang for a bucket to go underneath!


    10 years ago on Step 3

    Very nice photos and explanation. Three things I need to know though:
    1. Are you drilling holes into the PVC pipes yourself and if so how?
    2. Where can I get plastic or metal spacers of that diameter?
    3. What kind of biomass are you using to make the briquettes? Have you found a good ratio in which to mix them?


    Mugsy Knuckles
    Mugsy Knuckles

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I did mine with a drill press. it's very hard if not impossible to do with a hand drill the bit wanders all over the place. if you must use a hand drill, clamp the PVC to a solid surface on it's side and come straight in from top dead center.
    You can also melt the holes with a hot nail, but that takes forever. You'd also need to sand the inside pretty smooth afterward or the biocrud will stick and cause problems.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, it's not really finished yet though. Been working steadily on another project. I just made sure there are enough pics and links to get the job done.