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Home built lift keeps farmer in tractor seat
When Fred Luthje fell from a ladder six years ago and sustained injuries that resulted in paralysis from the waist down, he began planning right away for recovery. Now, with the help of a tractor lift he designed himself, the Baldwinton. Sask., farmer is still in business.
At the time of his accident, Luthje was farming 2 sections of land and raised cattle. He's since rented out some of that but still farm a considerable acreage on his own. To do that, he needed to find a good way to get in and out of his two tractors. When he couldn't find a good commercial lift, he designed and built his own.
"It's a compact, self-contained unit that folds out of the way once you're in the seat," Luthje told FARM SHOW in describing his lift which, mounts on the frame of the cab and lifts him in a nylon sling. "The key to this design is that the winch doesn't have to be mounted on the lift arm itself so the unit remains very compact."
The lift arm is 32 in. long and is made from two sections, 15 and 18 in. long, connected by a heavy hinge at the center. When fully extended, the arm reaches out far enough to lift the operator without banging into the side of the tractor. The operator controls it with a hand-held remote control.
Once lifted into the air, Luthje simply pulls himself over into the seat with his arms and the lift arm pivots with him. Once in the seat, he removes the sling and swings the lift arm out of the way inside the cab. If needed, he can quickly lower himself to the ground to service equipment or fix other problems, pulling himself along the ground with his arms.
There are 4 pulleys on the lift to control the cable, which runs to the winch at the back of the cab. Luthje says the lift was easy to build and cost around $500, including the winch. "You have to build carefully so it's strong enough and so the hinge will work freely," he notes.
The lift was Luthje's third attempt to find a design that would work. His first models either wouldn't handle the way he needed or were too bulky to carry in the cab. Now, he's able to get around by himself. A CB radio in the cab keeps him in touch with others on the farm.
Luthje has no plans to develop the lift commercially but will gladly help others build their own.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Fred Luthje, Box 68, Baldwinton, Sask. SON OVO (ph 306 398-4045).

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #5