I am always getting flyers and papers in the mail. I also create a lot of sawdust. I have seen videos of people making fire logs and I thought I would try my hand at one. The "Paper Macerator of Doom" comes from a Mr. Eastcoastman video that I saw and I had to make one.
Step 1: I Used
My wife asked me why I keep my "pail of junk". I said it's not junk I might need something in there someday. Truth be told, I had to start using a second pail a few years ago to.. um.. organize my pail. Then she told me today was the day, either I use something out of my junk pail or it goes. So, for the Use It or Lose It Club, I am using as much junk as I can. I started out with an old 5 1/2" saw blade, assorted brackets, clips, screws, latches, catches, knobs, well, junk pail, right? I also have a small piece of plywood and a 3x3 piece of wood I rescued from the trash bin at work.
Step 2: Building the Press
I wanted a log about 12" long, 3" wide and 5" thick. I cut the 3x3 into 2 pieces about 18" long, One piece is cut in half the long way, 1 half for the bottom and 1 that I cut 2 5" pieces from for the sides. The 3x3 for the top I cut notches out on both ends so it will slide into the press about 1 1/2". The 1/2" plywood was cut into 2 strips 6x15. I drilled a bunch of holes in the bottom and a few in the sides and ends for water drainage. I used 1 L bracket screwed to each end to receive the bolt that clamps the lid down. For the lid, I lined up and drilled through the ends and slotted the holes a bit so the bolts would drop into the L brackets. The bolts I found in my junk pail are 3" long 1/4" bolts so I did have to washer them out a bit. I had found the ceiling fixture cross so I took it apart and used one side on each end of the top to support the bolt. I wound up cutting another block to slip inside the press to be able to squeeze the pulp. It's surprising how much it can be compacted.
Step 3: I Would Like to Introduce You to My Little Friend
"The Paper Macerator of Doom" works pretty good. I started out with a 1" dowel about 18 or 20" long. I sanded down 1 end so it would just fit in my drill and drilled a hole in the other than I can thread a bolt into. I used a nut to lock the blade onto the bolt and I had to use a spacer because my drill bit wasn't long enough. I put it all together and went on to the next step
Step 4: Trying It Out
I didn't have enough paper to fill the press so I started with about 1/3 of a pail of paper that I ripped into strips. I let it soak for 5 minutes or so and ran my shredder in the wet mess. About half of the paper shredded and another 5 minute soak and the paper ground up pretty good. I have some hand plane shavings and chips from forstner bits so I through a few handfuls in and mixed it some more. I don't have an extra pail to drill holes in so I tried pouring the pail; through the press. It worked but I will be buying a pail. I had to push some of the pulp in so it would all fit.
Step 5: The First Block
The press started out full - 5" thick. Once I pressed the pulp and left it for a couple of hours, I thought it would come out easy. I ran a putty knife down all the way around to break it loose, I flipped it over and hit it with my wood mallet. A lot. I finally had to tap a long punch in through a few holes to push it out. Final block about 2". I call that a pass but I have to do something about getting the block out a little easier so back to the thinkin' chair.
Step 6: The Upgrades and the Winning Fire Log
I needed an easier way to get the log out. I decided to cut a piece of plywood to drop inside the press. I screwed it down inside and redrilled the holes in the bottom then removed the screw. I found 2 5" bolts so I drilled holes in the bottom of the press and dropped the bolts down through. The bolt holding the blade on "The Paper Macerator of Doom" slipped so I found a lag bolt and 2 rubber grommets. I sandwiched the blade between the grommets and squirted some super glue in there. I also bent the blade a little on 4 sides so it catches the paper better. I stuffed the press, packed it, stuffed again, repeat. It really holds a lot of pulp if you keep compressing and filling. The second log out was about 4" deep this time and tapping on the bolts pushes the whole thing right out. Score 1 for the Use It or Lose It Club.