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Add-On Air Clutch Is Easy On The Back
"I first came up with the idea of an air-operated clutch two months after I had back surgery for a herniated disc," says W. Harvey Roberts, who designed an air clutch for his Deere 4430 tractor.
  "We grow 35 acres of sweet corn, which we pick by hand. The 4430 has a quad-range transmission. We're continually starting and stopping the tractor while the boys place corn in our over-sized front-end loader bucket. This continuous depressing of the clutch was difficult for me. Even using both feet, it caused me a considerable amount of pain.
  "At first I had the idea of using a hydraulic cylinder to activate the clutch but I couldn't find one short enough. The next idea was to use air pressure.
  "I bought an 8-in. long cylinder with a 3-in. stroke, a 3-way foot and/or hand valve, a 5 gal. air tank, a 12-volt air compressor, regulator, and water and air filters.
  "I fabricated a bracket that attaches to the clutch pedal and a second bracket that mounts on the floor of the tractor to anchor the air cylinder. I then connected all the components together and hooked up 12 ft. of air hose to form a closed-loop system.
  "To activate the clutch, all you have to do is depress the foot or hand valve about 1/2 in. Takes very little effort. The air cylinder requires a constant 40 psi to operate. The small 12-volt compressor I bought provides enough pressure to keep the 5-gal. tank pressurized. Total cost of components was about $350.
  "The great thing about it is that the air cylinder doesn't interfere with regular manual operation of the clutch. You just have to disconnect the roll pin that holds the air cylinder to the clutch pedal.
  "Maintenance on the system is minimal. Because it's a closed loop air system, moisture and dirt don't get into the system."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, W. Harvey Roberts, 489 N. Indiantown Rd., Shawboro, N.C., 27973 (ph 252 336-4793).

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2000 - Volume #24, Issue #2