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Pull-Type Rock Digger
After renting a rock digger that didn't work very well, Dale Rogers built his own 2-wheeled, pull-type digger that has a pair of hydraulically-pivoted, 40-in. long steel "teeth".
  "It pulls them out fast and has a 12-ft. wide axle so it won't tip over on sidehills. I've used it to remove 2-ft. thick flat rocks up to 8 ft. long with no problem," says the Mayfair, Sask., farmer.
  The machine measures about 20 ft. long and rides on a pair of big 18.4 by 30 flotation tires off an old Case 1660 combine. The 12-ft. long hitch is made from 12-in. I-beam, while the axle is made from 16-in. I-beam and is welded on each side to stub axles cut off of the combine. The 9-ft. long pivot arm, made from a pair of welded-together 16-in. I-beams, is controlled by a 4-in. dia. cylinder. The teeth are made from 1-in. thick steel and are spaced 16 in. apart.
  Rogers uses his 1974 IH 4366 4-WD tractor, which is equipped with dual wheels all the way around, to pull the rig.
  "I've used it to pull out several hundred rocks including some tremendously big ones," says Rogers. "Compared to most commercial rock diggers, it's much longer and wider and has bigger wheels which gives it a lot of leverage."
  According to Rogers, one big advantage of the machine is that it has more than 2 ft. of clearance under the axle. As a result, once he digs a rock halfway out of the ground there's still enough clearance under the axle that he can reset the forks and get them down all the way under the rock. "Most commercial machines have only about 1 ft. of axle clearance, so the operator often has to make four or five pulls just to get the rock out. I hardly ever have to make more than two pulls.
  "With the tractor pulling and the hydraulic cylinder lifting at the same time, there's tremendous pressure on the wheels. However, my wheels are big enough that I don't have to worry about them. Also, the big flotation tires won't sink down as much in soft dirt."
  Rogers says if enough people are interested in making a rock digger like his, he's willing to supply plans and measurements for a fee.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dale Rogers, Box 59, Mayfair, Sask., Canada S0M 1S0 (ph 306 246-4577).

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2003 - Volume #27, Issue #1