I had some carpet I wanted to convert into bales for a club I belong to. Didn't really want to spend a lot of money so with some wood scraps and 40.00 I bought two trailer jacks from Harbor Freight and bingo we're in business.
But now you need to pile the cardboard that high. And if that is 2 x 2 like it looks. Then a bolt hole very 2 ft to make the clamps adjustable may rip the boards apart when compressed.
So why not use threaded rod. Cheaper then 40 for jacks. Or cheaper and easier yet. Make the base with casters to your size. 4 eye bolts. 1 on the side of each corner. Now you take 2 2 x 4's the width of the target place on top front and back and 2 ratchet straps down to the bolts.
Well if I want to shorten the Jig, it's actually a Whole lot simpler than that I just pile a bunch of scrap wood on the bottom. But I like the idea of the holes for adjustability. But I would make the bottom move up and down so the jacks can stay mounted solid.
Threaded rod isn't that much cheaper when you think about the headache of making a crank or mechanism to tighten it down or loosen it up.
I left out the part where once I've compressed the material I use a banding machine to complete the bale and remove it from the press.
Oh and mad archery I have used it many times and have tightened the jacks down to a point where I couldn't move them anymore (roughly 2 tons each) and the 2x2's have not broken apart. If I had access to some steel though that would be better. Maybe not quite as cost affective but definitely more impressive.
One thing for sure, it will have a lot more compression potential than my 5/16ths threaded rod and my 10" ratchet. And, from an economy perspective, if you use a doubled 2X12 under the jack foot, I think you might be able to get by with only one jack.
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