Rotating Rock Picker Gets Rid Of Dirt, Debris
"It's actually fun to run it. It's like playing Pac-Man," says inventor Kent Roessler about what he calls his Robo Rock Picker.
The rock picker attaches to the front of a skidsteer. It tilts down to pick up rocks and then up to spin off dirt and debris. It picks up rocks 2 in. in dia. and larger and is strong enough to dig out partially buried rocks.
The Anoka, Minn., farmer invented the rock picker out of frustration. The rock bucket he had been using picked up a lot of debris and dumped good topsoil on rock piles where grass thrived. He sells rocks to area landscapers so he ended up moving rocks twice just to get them clean.
Roessler's home-built rock picker has a 3-ft. dia., 1-in. steel plate on the back with 5-ft. long, 1-in. cold rolled steel bars welded 2 in. apart. A no. 50 roller chain is driven by a hydraulic motor. The 400-lb. unit has a quick hitch for easy mounting. The rock picker works well on any medium-size skidsteer.
"There is really no maintenance to the machine. There's a bearing to grease every 50 hours and a little lube on the roller chain every 12 hours," Roessler says.
Unlike expensive windrow rock pickers that require level fields and have a s hort window of time to use, the picker can be used whenever there's free time.
"You can literally pick rock after chisel plowing in fall," Roessler says. "We pick right up until frost chunks won't screen out. In spring you can get in earlier because mud pushes through the bars."
Robo also holds 30 percent more rock than a rock bucket. After months of farm testing, three prototypes, and obtaining a patent, Roessler says he would like to talk to anyone interested in purchasing the royalty rights or partnering as a manufacturer. He also has an upgraded version using HR400 steel.
Besides being a good tool for farmers, the rock picker works well for landscapers and construction workers who need to clean up roots and debris.