Introduction: Mini Hay Baler Made From a Re-purposed Trash Compactor
After my mom remodeled her kitchen two summers ago, this thing was heading for the scrap yard, at least that was the opinion of some of my fellow demo-crew personnel, I said I wanted it, for what I didn't know, at least until about a week ago when we decided that we were going to get a couple of goats again! Then I realized what new purpose this thing would have.
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Step 1: Zero Electricity
First thing I had to do was to figure out how this thing worked. All I knew from prior years is that it had a key and you turned it on and it compacted the trash. What I needed to figure out was how the electric motor powers the unit. As it turned out, all the gears were on the very bottom, which turns two threaded rods that pushes the plunger up and down. Simple enough, except my goal is to use no electricity at all and to run it manually. I believe the motor is in working condition, but Maybe I will save it for another project as a generator or something.
Step 2: Re-engineering
My hope was that I could just simply take the motor out and manually power the plunger to compress the hay. The problem I ran into during my initial testing was that the pull out bin had to big of a space and I wouldn't get a decent bale of hay out of it. I decided that I needed to get rid of that part of the unit completely and looked to youtube for diy wooden balers that I might take some ideas from.
Step 3: Wood It Is
I build this wooden box that would fit just inside of the area where the original compartment was. I made it so that it would slide in and out from either side making it easy to work from either side of the unit.
Step 4: Fabrication
I mostly used a jig saw with a medium metal blade to cut excess sheet metal away from the unit. I cut it a little bit at a time so that I would'n't end up cutting off material that I needed for support.
Step 5: Almost There
cutting out both sides so that I would have enough clearance to be able to slide my box in and out
Step 6: Powered by Armstrong
For the time being, I used a locked up torque wrench to turn the nut on the sprocket that in turn spins the other sprockets that moves the plunger up or down. It's not the fastest way to do this job, but I'm happy not to be reliant upon electricity or gasoline.
Step 7: Making a Hay Bale
For this demo, i used freshly cut grass, Normally you would have to make sure the grass you use is dried pretty good. I first run my baling twine in the slit on both the top and bottom then proceeded to pack in the grass a few handfuls at a time, then I would run the plunger so that I would compact the bale. I used a piece of metal round stock with a slight bend to push the other end of the baling twine through so that I could tie it while it was being compressed.
Step 8: The Finished Product
It took me about 10 minutes to make this bale, a bit longer than what I would like, but a couple of things that I will modify to cut back on time is coming up with a push rod for my twine that doesn't have much flex to it, and also I'm going to build a new box that the slots are done more precisely. I know they look sloppy, and it's because this is just a prototype to see if my idea would work. The bale is tight, however I would like it to be more uniform and that would be mainly for storage purposes. Also using dry grass hay will make a difference in how well it compacts.
Step 9: Happy Campers
The size of the bales that I will be able to make are the perfect size for people who have just a few small animals and not a whole lot of storage space. I hope that Beatrice and Rose Appreciate all the hard work I put into this project!