I finally bought a Chinese Chipper after procrastinating for a couple of months. Wanting a good chipper, but not wanting to pay $1400 to $3,000 for one I needed to do some homework. The number of uses for one were piling up.
- Mulch the branches I had removed from a 15metre (45feet) macadamia tree.
- Mulch some couch grass I removed from the garden area I am developing.
- Shred some cardboard for worms.
- Mulch fruit and vegetable waste from a fruit shop for my worms.
The macadamia was trimmed around two months ago and has been sitting waiting for me to get on with it and buy a machine. I did a fair bit of research and part of that research was to check some garden forums to see if anyone had purchased this type of machine and what the opinion was. There was one review that wasn’t at all encouraging and this had increased my procrastination.
Finally, I decided on the Chinese Chipper from BBTA. It wasn’t the cheapest. That title belonged to AGR Machinery. Usually I can’t resist buying the cheapest machine but I decided to ring both companies and see what response I received. I also checked out some expensive machines, but couldn’t justify paying $3,000 for a machine that I could buy over the internet for less than $1,000 delivered. I also decided that I would purchase the machine with the Chinese engine. The extra $200 for the same machine with a Briggs & Stratton engine couldn’t be justified.
Ringing AGR landed me in a call centre, I believe in the Philippines because of the Asian/American accent of the girl who answered the phone. She was unable to answer my questions and unable to give me a number where I could talk with a person from the company.
Calling BBT got me Dave in Wollongong, who was happy to answer my questions about engines, parts, customer satisfaction and tell me about the machine. Based on this and my research I decided to buy the BBT machine, giving Dave my credit card details. This was on a Thursday and we reckoned the machine would be delivered in Brisbane, Monday or Tuesday. I took photos of the machine all crated up in strong cardboard.
Cut and remove all the strapping. It can become a hazard if left around the work area, I would be a moral to trip over it. Take out all the parts Remove the bag covering the machine. Use it for stowing all the strapping and packaging for the garbage. I saved the cardboard to put through the mulcher. Remove all the cardboard and place away from the work area. Have a look at the manual.
Fit Front Stand
The manual recommends placing the machine on a bench (shelf actually). But you would need two people for that and I was on my own. I had a milk crate and tilted the machine to lean on it so I could fit the front stand. It was quite simple and all the nuts and bolts were there with spring washers to ensure they stayed tight and didn’t vibrate loose. After fitting the front stand and placing the discharge chute in the right position, then replacing the long bolt through the separator, it was time to tilt it back over to fit the axle and wheels.
Fit Axle and Wheels
Again, it was quite simple and obvious what went where. There was no need to remove the rear separator, just loosening the nut and bolt was sufficient to allow the axle to be placed. I then tipped the machine to the upright position. The wheels were high enough and wide enough to fit over the little pallet it had been strapped to. It was easy to slide the pallet our from under the machine.
Fit Handles and Tow Shaft
Next the handles were fitted to the hopper. Of course I dropped a nut and it went into the hopper and down into the flail blade area. It worked out ok though as I had to figure out how to remove a shaft so that I could lift the screen to get to the nut. (This, like most problems becomes a benefit later) The tow shaft was just a simple attachment using a steel pin held on by a split pin.
One small point is the positioning of the pin. It has to be put in from the bottom in order to place the split pin. If the split pin comes out, the steel pin will fall out and become disconnected from the machine. I suggest a sturdier split pin with a locking mechanism. The machine was now easier to move. The tow shaft gave more leverage and helped manoeuvre the machine out of the shed. There was quite a hump to get over and a slippery downhill board, but we managed ok.
Fitting Chipper Chute
This is simple. Remove the four lock nuts and washers. Fit the chute to the bolts. Replace washers and tighten lock nuts.
I’d purchased some engine oil earlier in the day and used the provided funnel to add the oil. The suggest amount was 1.4 litres. I had 4 litres and was relying on the dip stick to tell me when it was at the required level. There is not much difference between the bottom of the dipstick and the top as it is on a low angle. If you look at the engine, you will see that the oil filler is opposite the dipstick on a broad V shape.
I checked the oil during filling and it was at the bottom of the dipstick. I kept pouring and when I took the funnel out, oil came back out of the filler and spilled onto the ground. The sump was overflowing I had to let it drain until I finally had the right amount of oil in the machine.
After adding fuel, 95 octane recommended it was time to start. Still a little hesitant, I checked all the nuts and bolts again and rechecked the oil level. In the back of my mind was, would the battery be charged and whether the Chinese chippert would perform ok.
There was no need to worry. After finally checking the choke setting and the fuel was on, I turned the key. It immediately fired and ran smoothly.
Using the Chinese Chipper Beast
What a machine. It is nicknamed the Beast. Now I know why. I just pushed 90mm branches through the side shute and they disappered. All the old leaves were raked up and down the hopper they went. All to appear at the bottom of the machine chopped up to be used as mulch or compost.
Putting Cardboard Through
This was an experience. The easiest way to dispose of the cardboard is to fold it up in long lengths and run it through the hopper. Make sure to hang onto it and feed it slowly as the flails want to grab hold of it and drag it into the machine. This is a problem as it then runs it around the screen and outer part of the flailing area and doesn’t get hammered into small pieces, it just blocks up the machine.
To remove it, turn the machine off, take the key out and tilt the machine backwards by pushing down on the tow bar. This makes it easier to reach inside the hopper, grab the cardboard and pull it back out. The first time it happened to me I removed the pin and lowered the screen to get at the cardboard. It was too hard to get out through there, that is why I had a go through the hopper. It was like unwinding the cardboard back out through the hopper.
So the secret to hammering the cardboard is to tear the box into long strips around 45cm (18”) wide then roll or fold into a third the width. Feed it slowly through the hopper into the flail hammer blades. After a little trial and error it will become easy and fast. You will be raking away the hammered cardboard from the chute outlet.
Chinese Chipper Update 1
I have used the machine for about five hours now on chipping up the 90mm (3”) diameter branches and it is still roaring through them. I have pulled a branch out from time to time and checked the cut. It is very clean and no sign of burning to indicate that the HSS blade has become blunt. To date I am more than impressed and would recommend this machine as great value for money, well built with quality. The engine has not missed a beat and starts first time. I will update this in six months or so.
Chinese Chipper Update 2 22 May 2013
After six hours of chipping three month old macadamia branches up to 100mm (3″) over a few days I found that my Chinese chipper wouldn’t chip any more. Of course the worst thoughts sprang to mind – sucker, junk etc.
I sat down on a milk crate in front of the chipper hopper and removed it. Checking the chipper blade I reckoned that the cutting side was blunt. The opposite side seemed a lot sharper, so if I removed it and turned it upside down I could start chipping again.
The blade was held on by 3 Allen screws and no amount of force applied via the Allen key could shift it.
I then decided to take off the screen and discharge chute cover and have a better look. After tipping the machine up and back to rest on the tow bar, removing the screen and chute cover I noted that there were lock nuts on the other end of the Allen screws and that there was a removable plate to access the Allen screws. This made turning the blade over to the sharp side an easy chore. Within 20 minutes the blade was reversed and the machine back together.
Another 5 minutes and I was back at the woodchip heap running branches through again. Can I describe the sound VRRRROOOOOM like a growl as it just chewed through them again.
Putting newspaper through
I had saved a lot of newspapers for the time I had a chipper and was pleasantly surprised to throw them straight into the hopper and watch them get hammered to shreds in no time at all. They were mainly local papers folded in thirds. Straight in and straight out shredded.
Nothing else to say.
Chinese Chipper Update 20 January 2018
I am still impressed with this machine. It comes out of the shed about twice a year at the most. Usually after I have pruned all the trees and shrubs in the yard. This time I didn’t bother using the electric start. I just turned on the fuel, switched the choke to full on, checked the fuel and oil and then pulled the rope.
Once, yes I pulled the rope once and she fired up. I switched the choke to run and upped the revs and the beast was ready for more. When I’d finished putting through the bamboo, palm fronds and all the prunings, I turned off the fuel and let it drain all the lines. When the motor cut out I turned it off and wheeled it back into the shed until needed in another six months or so.