Chunker (square baler gearbox/flywheel)

Tom, I just don’t have the space for a whole baler or I would do the same - part it out from here. I just asked the seller if I could get the gearbox by itself, and he (reluctantly) agreed. Now he can part out the rest, or scrap it - whatever.

Today I’ve got to head over there and separate the gearbox from the baler. It’s an hour away so I’m packing lots of tools. No idea what I’ll find.

For anyone building one of these, here’s how the gearbox attaches to the baler. Be prepared – this thing is a bear to move.

Chris, could you sweet talk the owner of that skid steer to lift the gearbox on your truck?

“One piece at a time” only “one bolt at a time”, hope when you get home, none of the holes will be missing.

Nice find Chris! Are you guys willing to share what kind of money can be expected for a gear box like this?

I saw the whole baler listed on Craigslist for $650, bargained the seller into $300 for just the gearbox. It’s more than Dustin paid ($150) but still reasonable. Remember this is more or less a chunker-in-a-box, worth some investment. These balers weigh enough that you could buy the whole thing, salvage any valuable bits for resale / future projects, and scrap the rest. Probably make half of your money back.

Don I asked about the bobcat - out of commission. I had a time getting it into my truck. I like to use a hill to my advantage, look for some long boards and plywood, and just start scooting it slowly.

Wish I was closer. I would help you for a day…

Come-a-longs, planks, rollers, bars, skids… What fun. I have confidence in you Chris.

But not in the heat we are having here right now. It was 100* here today in the shade at about 3pm. Dry, dry, dry too. Looks like it won’t let off until after labor day.

Al D

Hello all

I think the hay baler gear box and flywheel is as close as we can get to a ready made wood chunker . The finial rpm and cycles when powered with a tractor pto are already about the rpm we need for feeding and chunking the wood . I think some may have a slip clutch connecting the pto shaft to the flywheel . The gear box should be heavy enough to handle the chunking needs . If one wants to power the chunker with a small gasoline or electric motor it can be done easy with belts to the flywheel .

As memories of a kid and hay season stacking hay in the very top of a barn next to the tin roof where the temps were about 130 F and calluses fingers from the hay twin I never want to see another square baler except as a wood chunker !!

Hand crank to boot. We NEVER ran out of baling wire on the farm.

Looks like more interest in this chunker, so I’d like to add a couple of cents worth. You should take into consideration “what are you chunking” Mr. Wayne’s has served him very well because he is chunking rather wet, pine, slab wood. I am at the other extreme, very dry oak, limbs. The wheel of a truck works great for softer material, but is not sufficient for dry hard wood. My latest blade is 3/8 thick. The frame has to be very strong, again depending on the wood. If you have ever seen the video of my chunkier on my tractor wheel, you will see I had to keep adding back up gussets, till it stood up under the extreme pressure. Consider the size of the opening that you are going to have for the wood. This time I made my opening a little smaller. I had a tendency to say “good it chunked that diameter, now I’ll go bigger” until I finally broke or bent something. Not a good idea. And finally, these gear boxes are HEAVY, I don’t know how Chris was able to roll his onto his truck ( I won’t be picking any fights with him after this) So plan on having something to lift the unit. Even with a cherry picker, I did a lot of wrestling with it.
My hat is off to you southerners. We have our winters up here, but yesterday I went out to chunk some wood and the humidity was up like I understand the south has; I couldn’t do it. Perspiration coming down in my eyes and glasses 'till I was afraid I was going to stick my fist in the chunkier by mistake. You may have noticed my bandana around my head in the video-- that is not normal attire for me.TomC


I’m not going to say you get used to it, but you do learn to manage it. The only hours of the day that it’s pleasant to work outside is between 7:00 and 8:00, both AM and PM.

Last winter we had a small taste of what you guys get every year. No Thanks!

I’ll wipe the sweat and you can scrape the ice!

More on topic, here’s a Case Model 220 square baler for $300. They’re still out there, we just gotta find 'em.

AT in TX

Great VERY RELEVANT multi-project topic going on here!
ChrisKy credits Doug Brethower with building the first hay baler wood chunker adapt.
DougB himself credits this to his cohorts: Ed, Franklin & Paul at Freedombiomass on his blog spot here:
My favorite “in-the-raw” before guards and paint of thiers is low down on his blogspot and linked here:
Video in operation after guards and paint here:

Theirs is set up as three-point rear tractor mounted, powered, and mobile.
TomC’s as a tow behind, PTO shaft driven.
Dustin’s as belt driven capable, towable.
All these fellows are modest and sharing freely out. I think concurrent developments.
Something to be learned from each approach. Read their worded presentations carefully for DO’s and DON’Ts.

On side belt driving that flat flywheel I can give direct experiences from a hundred or so guys doing this on thier big 24 inch external flywheeled Lister CS diesel engine.
Old wide flat belts would work OK. Belting material and especially motor/engine driving pulleys the bugger to source. Tap the old engine crowd for this route. These must be l-o-n-g laid out to work!

V belts as Dustin is using is my favorite. Good shock absorbing. Needs no separate tensioner except the motor/engine base. Inexpensive to buy. To improve belt life when flat flywheel driving on the no-no V belt inner flat a few tricks. Try going with a production numbered set of three. That will be a short alpha-numeric number printed or pressure embossed on the belt. There ARE industrial “banded” common back V-belts sets availble for a price.
Some guys have had their flat fywheels machined for V belt grooves. Look for a steam train group with a wheel lathe to do this. Contribute to thier “efforts”.

Diesel pickup flat serpentine drive belts work too. These are eight ribbed. Use a front of engine take off drive pulley. Then adapting to your motor/engine shaft becomes “the challenge”. Custom pulley’s like mine are machined for a Browning taper-lock adapter.
These belts HAVE NO SHOCK take up stretch at all! So you must use also the spring arm “tensioner” off a similar pick-up application. Watch the factory proven as full as possible belt wrapping routing and copy this this styling. These serpintine belts are designed to be flexed backwards readily also. But these serpentine belts unlike the V belts or old syle flat belts have no side mis-alignment sence of humor at all! So your cheap easy belt solution can become a very difficult fab job indeed. Otherwise they will just flywheel walk off.
Some groove thier flywheels for these. I do not think this is necessary with the huge flywheel surface area.

Cogged belt drive like timing belts JUST DO NOT DO IT!

Steve Unruh

Here’s one for the Michigan residents

That’s one interesting Baler…
Almost ready a made Chunker…
Adapt a newer engine / motor, mount a cutter, install guards & kill switch etc. Cut off the excess.metal, narrow the axle…
So far that is the best thing i have seen to make a Chunker from.
Thanks for posting it.

I thought so too. I don’t ever remember seeing an engine mounted to a baler before. I’m sure someone could haggle the price down a bit more.

International built bailers with Farmall B engines on them ( that is a small 4 cylinder) Loaded a lot of hay behind of one ( around 1950) This one looks like an Amish conversion. They put an engine on the bailer but still pulled it with horses. They may still be using square bailers like that because the round bailer and newer stuff is too big to pull with horses.TomC

Same memories TomC
Was a four cylinder air-cooled V-4 Wisconsin engine though. On a wire wrapper square baler.
I was just the youngman “grunt” labor. HAPPY when that one was broken down NOT able to puke out 90-150 pounders! 60-80 pound string bales was just right up in the top of old loose hay barns choking in the heat!
Engine on the baler let it be used just drawbar pulled by an old, or small tractor then “girl” operated.
As long as thier was a “grunt” boy around to keep that engine fueled and running. Belts tightened and such. I liked that part. Just drawbar pulled not having to fuss PTO shaft angles then able to really work small pocket fields much more timely.
HOT gasoline engine exhaust down close was the dry hay hazard fire hazard! Had watch back carefully to stop, drop and run, and beat-out.
A larger more powerful diesel tractor PTO driving is just so much more overall dry field working safe. Worth buying the fuel for that.

Has remined me of when I would ride the bailer and with my foot push the sharp tooth sprocket that told the bail tie to kick in, I found that if I would help that sprocket around it made shorter therefore lighter bailers, I would go get the light bail and run back and push that sprocket around for the next short bail, who ever I was working for would stop and look sometimes adjust bail length but for some reason didn’t make any difference! I was a problem child!!!

Different sizes of wood put through


Thanks for the video Dustin. You got it going your way!