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Posted by Josephine Ayre on Jan 20, 2012 in Chippers

Have you ever wondered how a wood chipper is able to turn your old tree branches and trunks into tiny pieces for use around your garden beds and children’s play equipment? Whilst these machines may look a little high-tech, there really isn’t all that much to them.

Like all machines, wood chippers need some sort of power source, most commonly an electric motor or a fuel-run engine. The power created by these motors is transferred to the blades using either a set of pulleys and v-belts or a gearbox. The pulley and v-belt system uses a small pulley attached to the engine and a larger pulley attached to the blade shaft, whilst a v-belt carries the power between the two. A gearbox, said to work in a more ‘invisible’ way, uses a series of gears to transfer power from the engine to the blade shaft.

The cutting blades are the heart of the machine – after all, a wood chipper wouldn’t be able to slice up tree branches without out them. All chippers use very sharp blades, but some machines have them attached on three or four rotating shafts, which cut up the sticks very quickly. These shafts are aligned with each other, making quick work of tree branches. Other wood chippers use inter-meshing blades that create a sort of self-feeding type of machine, as the blades themselves are able to pull the branches in.

When using a wood chipper, remember to only insert branches and trunks that are of a suitable size for the machine to cut up. Regardless of what kind of engine and what kind of cutting system the chipper uses, it will always make quick work of your fallen timber.