Whole Leaf Tobacco

Polish G120, other shredders and gadgets

leverhead

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Lawyers in ancient Rome were the bane of the wealthy.

But I would vote for safety. I'm sure you've seen that video of the reel lawnmower converted to a tobacco shredder.

Bob
I'm sure the lawyers are in it for the public good now, there should be some allowance for stupidity as the cause of injury.

The lawn mower video still makes me cringe and laugh at the same time! I think that it's that whole "hold my beer and watch this" stuff. I'm still amazed that the sewing machine is sold openly.
 

larryccf

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leverhead - in case you're not aware, there's a small contingent of folks waiting to see your revised design shredder - i've actually held off ordering the materials for my "Teck 1 on steroids" to see what your newest design is .......... The only aspect of the Teck 1 on steroids i'm not crazy about is having to form the tobacco into slabs or bricks to run thru the shredder
 

leverhead

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LOL, I'm aware now! I didn't like slabs or bricks because a mold was needed. The cigar sounded like a good idea, no mold required. Anything used to feed the cutter that stays compressed too long doesn't shake out very well. The only way that I see to do this is with a belt in a trough to make a loose pile and a top roller or belt to compress the pile just before the cut. Any way that you feed it will have draw backs.

Here's a clue. What common machine has powered reciprocating motion and a variable feed?
 

larryccf

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"Here's a clue. What common machine has powered reciprocating motion and a variable feed? " Haven't a clue - a tiger saw fits the bill but why the need for reciprocating unless for the design you already worked out?.

I'd thought along the same lines, either a belt or roller feed system- actually pulled the covers off my Makita bench planer to inspect the feed roller & drive. Per Makita specs, it has a feed rate of 29.8 ft / min, which boils down to 6 inches per second. Pulled the covers to see what could be done to slow it down - it's chain/sprocket driven so feed rate can be slowed down - have to look into sourcing replacement sprockets. But it hinges on finding a bench planer that can be had affordably - actually thought about contacting service centers for the various makes (Delta, Makita, etc) and offering to buy one with bad planing head, but doubt i'd be successful.

I also thought about a belt sander (i've got an old craftsman belt sander from when i worked as a carpenter in the early 70s). It's variable, and easily adapted. Hell, the sanding belts would make perfect belts but not really sure about the belts being food grade LOL. Polymer belts are probably available.

The simplest feed set up seems to be what Teck employed on the Teck 1 - a splined dowel (and currently available as "gear rod stock" in metal or polymer). What i've got sketched out is a Teck 1 with a 4" feed channel and a similiar feed dowel in the bottom, same as the Teck 1. Since that sketch, i've moved onto the belt sander, on hinge arms, being lowered from above onto the feed channel. I'm studying it to see about adding a drive takeoff for the cutting wheel/head as well.
 

leverhead

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Even more common than that. How about a sewing machine? It simplifies allot! The 4" width would be nice, but I think that's more than the average sewing machine could handle. I think that the blades need to be commonly available. Kobalt Came out with a 4" utility knife blade several years ago, but it's not common.
 

FmGrowit

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I've got some new shredders coming in from Poland. Jitterbugdude has spoken of this manufacturer and the newest model he's offering should be the last shredder you'll ever need to buy. I'll be selling them at as close to cost as possible...somewhere around $175. Stay tuned for more details
 

larryccf

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roller shredders? and if so, are they hardened?

".....I'll be selling them at as close to cost as possible ...." Please don't tell me you've turned left....Ain't nothing wrong with capitalism
 

Orson Carte

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Here's a look at what I use. It's home-built. It surprised me just how much it looks like the steam-punk model in posting #18, which I'd never seen before.
It shred/shaves pressed blocks of about 1 kilogram (2.2lbs) at a time. It has an automatic feed and can cut down to about 0.4mm before it starts turning things to dust.
Somebody, I think, commented above, that making up pressed plugs (or blocks) was a bit onerous - but I don't find it so. The most time-consuming part of the process is de-stemming. And once that is done making up a one kilo block takes about ten minutes of actual labour - I leave it under compression for about 30 minutes on top of that.
I can post a few other photos with more explanation if anyone's interested. (One of the greatest virtues of the shredder is it's capacity to cut a block of stems into a fine grain that mixes in homogeneously with shredded lamina. In this way nothing is wasted.)
 

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larryccf

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"I can post a few other photos with more explanation if anyone's interested. " Yeah - I wouldn't mind seeing them

curious, when you say it takes about 10 minutes to compress a kilo brick - am i right that you throw a number of leaves into the plug mold, compress, then repeat a number of times? Are you making any effort to control moisture content before slicing or shredding?

and is your feed rate adjustable?
 

Orson Carte

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"I can post a few other photos with more explanation if anyone's interested. " Yeah - I wouldn't mind seeing them

curious, when you say it takes about 10 minutes to compress a kilo brick - am i right that you throw a number of leaves into the plug mold, compress, then repeat a number of times? Are you making any effort to control moisture content before slicing or shredding?

and is your feed rate adjustable?
I'm saying that it only takes about ten minutes to lay the stripped leaves into the mold. The rest of the time (about half an hour) is leaving them under compression. I have four large bench vices and I usually make up four blocks and then combine them. The reason for this is that they get progressively harder to load as they get thicker.
As far as moisture level goes, yes, I do pay careful attention to that. It actually cuts a lot better when on the damp side but the downside of that is that the shred strands stick together a little and have to be teased apart. For that reason I try to keep the moisture down.
The picture of the shred I posted above appears a little damp, and it is - this is because the weather has been damp and I just needed to get the batch shredded.
Yes, the feed rate is adjustable. The 'pusher' works on a threaded rod which is geared by bicycle derailleur gears. It can cut from less than 0.5mm up to almost any greater thickness.
 

leverhead

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It actually cuts a lot better when on the damp side but the downside of that is that the shred strands stick together a little and have to be teased apart. For that reason I try to keep the moisture down.
It is a pretty close balance, temperature is part of it also.
 

leverhead

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It is a pretty close balance, temperature is part of it also.
I need to take some pictures, but I tumble my shred in a clothes drier with NO heat. I put the fresh shred in a kitchen trash bag with as much air in it that will fit into the opening of the drier.
 

larryccf

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i've been toying with building (or even just buying) a tumbler like this one in acrylic to use to blend my shred, and to use in airing it every few months. I was thinking of a large sliding door on the inside held in place by magnets, that after tumbling, i could just put the tobacco tub back under it, slide the door open and let the tobacco just drop back into the tub

this one's about 9" in diameter, i was thinking 12" would be better and allow some room to build in a couple of tumbling baffles like in a clothes dryer

513AOstpqIL._SL1000_.jpg

https://www.amazon.com/MIDWAY-MONSTERS-Heavy-Acrylic-Raffle/dp/B007FIOU1K/ref=sr_1_8?keywords=bingo+tumbler&qid=1552401731&s=gateway&sr=8-8
 

larryccf

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Actually it's a pretty natural linear thread - after my initial post reporting on the soft metal rollers, it moved to other shredders when FmGrowit displayed his suggestion of a food slicer, from there it moved to leverhead's shredder, and then Orson Carte's shredder, and from there to issues with the resulting shred and how to deal with it.

sure seems like a natural conversation development to me but that's me

but i tell you what, you won't have to worry about any of my threads going "astray"
 
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larryccf

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Going back to my orig post, since replacing the rollers with the new 1.0mm rollers, i've shred 35lbs of leaf tobacco. (35 lbs before being stripped of stems). I'm not seeing any dust so the cutting lands are still sharp. I've also been more careful to screen out any small pieces of stem that sometimes hide wrapped up in leaf - with the .8mm, i'm guessing but i probably had a dozen or so 3/4" to 1" long hidden stem sections go thru the machine.

What i did after installing the 1.0mm rollers is to loosen the fan belt so it would slip and jam if a stem section got into hopper ie not have the power to force that stem thru the rollers - and sure enough, 2 pcs did make it thru and the belt acting as a poor man's clutch did it's job.

I suspect the .8mm rollers had something else working against them - the fact that the cutting lands were only .78mm wide or thick, meant less material to resist the pressure of leaf material folded over 3 or 4 times, and all the "veins" that go thru, so being soft metal, that narrow cutting land may have comtributed to the complete failure at less than 50 lbs of tobacco leaf (again, that's 50 lbs before being stripped).

I'll be ordering another 25 or so lbs from WLT in the coming weeks so i'll be able to report at the 60 lb mark
 

larryccf

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Still revisiting ideas for a shredding machine, and went looking for a meat slicer like FmGrowIt posted above, and came across these deli meat slicers, some as cheap as $40 - but while they claim to be able to slice as thin as 1mm, reviewers on the low end slicers had some pretty sour reports trying to slice anything near 1/16". Back in my real estate days i'd sold a delicatessen, and remembered their slicer could slice roast beef or pastrami as thin as paper.

Got looking at a few in the middle price range ($300-500) and they do look decent with good reports on slicing thin cuts - but what i found even more interesting, (keep in mind i've never plugged or molded tobacco so i haven't sliced any), was one reviewer indicating he got the best/thinnest cuts when he chilled the roast beef to near frozen. I'm wondering if that would help in slicing tobacco bricks.

found one, for $1999 that seems to be the one i'd go with if i were inclined to throw $2000 at a shredder but it does come with two motors, one to cycle the feed table back/forth up to 37 times / minute.

THe one negative to one of these slicers for me, is the fact that the tobacco is going to have to be molded into bricks.

61fZ31X2xUL._SL1181_.jpg

51OKwL1BVvL.jpg

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M71HI09/ref=sspa_dk_detail_4?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B01M71HI09&pd_rd_w=9fy4I&pf_rd_p=733540df-430d-45cd-9525-21bc15b0e6cc&pd_rd_wg=wi86R&pf_rd_r=TPNE956D9RKRYA8EFFVX&pd_rd_r=1d24a325-4519-11e9-969f-a1ee2b4b46aa

And i actually showed the above slicer to the wife, asking her how'd she like one for the kitchen, for slicing cold cuts for when her bridge club comes over - she took the keyboard, and pulled up a page on Green Front Furniture (a furniture store in Farmville, Va) and showed me two really nice high back living room chairs, asking me if i wanted a set for the garage - i got the message.

I'd actually thought about finding a used deli slicer at the beginning of my quest and got side tracked by the Teck 1 design, which i'm still going with. Leverhead go me thinking about a belt feed - that splined dowel (or something similiar) would serve nicely as the drive roller for a polymer belt
 

ChinaVoodoo

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I burned out a cheap ~$100 meat slicer cutting plug. The connection between the blade and the motor was plastic. The thing would struggle to slice prosciutto. It did make really good flake though, so I think if you could justify the expense on a quality meat slicer, that it would be a great choice.
 
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