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SP Tree Pruner Built Out Of Combine
Monte Martin, a south Texas custom tree trimmer, built a unique self-propelled tree pruning rig out of an old combine.
"It cuts up to 44 ft. high and handles limbs up to 4 or 5 in. in dia. at up to 3 mph depending on condition of the stand," says Martin who primarily trims pecan trees in the Rio Grande River Valley around Fabens, Texas.
He started with an old 642 Ford combine he bought from a neighbor for $6,500, strip-ping the machine down completely and re-building the main fame out of 6-in. I-beam. He raised the rig's ground clearance by 10 in. so it'll ride over sawed branches and limbs.
The cab was removed and replaced with an operator's cage built out of heavy-duty sq. tubing. "You can't have a glass enclosed cab because sawdust sticks to it so badly you can't see what you're doing," Martin explains. "The operator obviously has to wear goggles."
Martin relocated the combine engine from behind the cab to over the rear caster wheels. A 3-stage Clarklift mast bought new from the company was mounted as close to the front drive wheels as possible. The idea was to better balance the rig, but concrete counter-weights mounted on back of the machine were still necessary to handle the weight of the mast and cutterbar.
He built the 20-ft. long cutterbar out of 6-in. sq. light gauge tubing and mounted it on the mast. The cutterbar is fitted with nine custom-built 30-in. dia. circular saw blades which overlap each other for a continuous cut. Blades are belt driven from a hydraulic motor mounted underneath the center blade.
A 4-in. hydraulic cylinder is used to ad-just the cutterbar's position on the mast, which raises from 5 to 24 ft., from parallel to the ground to straight up.
To use, Martin raises the cutterbar straight up, then adjusts its position for the proper cutting angle.
"I can cut limbs up to 8 in. in. dia.," he says, "but you really have to slow down to prevent belt slippage to the point you have to stop and back up. Under normal conditions and traveling 3 to 4 mph, you can prune 2 acres of trees per hour with it."
Construction of the rig took about a year and out-of-pocket expense was about $38,000, Martin says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Monte Martin, Box 993, Fabens, Texas 79838 (ph 915 764-2707 or 3950).

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #6