Getting ready for winter

Snowy Rivers

Active member
I put the FrankenCat on hold for a couple days to get much of the winter heating materials in.


We run two pellet stoves here at the ranch and we feed them ground up hazelnut shells.

We get the shells by the 3 yard dumpster full at the plant and then barrel them up in 55 gallon drums and store them in one of the out buildings.

We have been heating this way for years.

Recently all the plants went to new machinery that leaves the shells as 1/2 shell..

Little bowls if you will.

I whipped up a little "Munchy" as we call it to smash the stuff up to smaller pieces that feed well through the stoves......

Out here in the sticks we don't have natural gas available.. the house has an electric furnace......$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ burner.

Wood is a pain to get.....and the pellet burners are cheap and do a great job...

Last year the electronic controls on one stove died and the new control board was break the bank stupid costly and hard to get.

So it was time to engineer a new controller..

Design worked sweet....made one for both stoves.

Here is a video for the Munchy running.....The Sis is a tad scared to feed it fast......It will eat a 55 gallon barrel in about 15 minutes and make it stove ready.

A video on the controller doing its thing.
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300 H and H

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
Not sure what you do or did if your retired, but I am pretty sure you missed your calling if not in a related field. :bolt:

To me, it looks like you are indeed a master of your craft. My hat is off to you sir.... :thumbup:

Regards, Kirk

Snowy Rivers

Active member
Well thank you very very much.

My life path has been long and very diverse.

Got my degree in college in automotive tech.
Could not find a job in the car world other than as a car washer at the dealers.

Scrapped that idea (The knowledge gained was great)

Went to work and followed the footsteps of my dad and went into the machinery trade.

Hired out to a wood products machinery manufacturer.

Started as a grunt and worked my way up to journeyman..

As soon as the company found out I knew how to run a lathe, mill and other machines and weld they moved me up pretty fast.

Then they found out I knew what to do with electrical things and what a pipe wrench was for.

They trained me in electronics, hydraulics and pneumatics.

After an extended apprenticeship (5 years) They handed me my journeyman's ticket in all the above.

Sometimes I was working as a machinist making parts, other times welding and fabricating.....then for a stint on the floor wiring up panels on machines to operate on 480 volt 3 phase.

Might head over and help the hydraulics Dept and be a plumber for a bit..

A jack of all trades.

I worked with the engineers to help straighten out designs that were either poor or that did not work.

Did a spell as a Field service engineer...(McGyver....make it work)

I hated travel, bad food and places that had huge bugs....

A back injury slowed me down and I stepped out of the trade and went into heavy haul dump trucking for a skosh over 20 years.

In 2012 a Kidney tumor caused a series of Strokes that took me out of the truck.

Sold the truck, retired and now fool with my toys.

Have my small machine shop and enjoy working on my FrankenCat.

If we don't have it....MAKE IT.....

The little shell crusher was a forced build due to need.....A simple rotor with 4 bars equally spaced around an 8" drum....a fixed anvil that the material gets smashed between the the rotor and the anvil.

The control panels are simple Auger timers (ON-OFF ) and two fan speed controls.

They are not really pretty...more industrial looking.

All off the shelf parts that are readily available......

Boxes were stock size.

Custom modified....switches, meters and other goodies added as needed.

The guts are a maze of wires and control modules

I went old school on these bad boys.

I want a warm house....and if an issue comes up at 2 am when its blistering azz cold out....I wanted things to be a quick easy fix......

The factory control micro boards were prone to a simple failure that would wipe out the board.....

$600 for a new board that had the same flaws.

My control has a fuse for all the goodies..

Draft fan.....Combustion fan and room air fan...all individually fused

Anything gets hinky....the unit shuts off.....

Just finished running 3 barrels of shells through..."MUNCHY" this morning

That will take care of the heating needs for a couple weeks at the current temps.


Back to building on the FrankenCat...:smile::smile:


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