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Rototiller Converted To Low-Cost Lawn Aerator
After he couldn't find a lawn aerator at a price he could justify, Walter Eberle decided to build his own by replacing the tines on his walk-behind rototiller with aerator tines that he bought from Sears.
  The machine tills a path about 20 in. wide. Eberle uses it every year to do custom work for about 50 friends and neighbors.
  "I'm really happy with it. It does the same job as pull-type aerators that sell for up to $2,000. I paid $80 for the tines, which was my only cost. I already had all the other materials that I used."
  The machine has four rows of 8-in. long tines spaced 6 in. apart, with four tines per row. The tines in each row are offset to each other, to keep all the tines from going down into the ground at the same time. Two sets of 1-in. thick steel weights, weighing 30 lbs. apiece, help the tines penetrate the ground.
  He started with an old Montgomery Wards rototiller. He fitted it with a Briggs & Stratton 3 hp engine that belt-drives a right angle gearbox. He unbolted the tines from the shaft, which left a short stub shaft extending from each side of the gearbox. He slid a 1-in. dia. steel pipe over the stub shaft and pinned it on in place. Then he welded four 6-in. sq. pieces of 1/4-in. plate steel onto the shaft at 6-in. spacings and bolted the tines onto each corner of the plates. Each tine is secured by two bolts.
  "It's built simple and has required very little maintenance," says Eberle, who converted the machine five years ago. "I generally run the tines about 4 to 5 inches deep in the ground. If I want I can convert the machine back into a rototiller just by pulling two pins. However, ever since I made the conversion I've used the machine only as an aerator. It handles well and is easy to maneuver. When I take the weights off it doesn't weigh more than 60 lbs, including the engine.
  "The rototiller was originally equipped with a 5 hp engine but was worn out and was too big for what I needed, anyway. So I replaced it with the 3 hp engine, which has plenty of power. If the ground is really dry, I can put another 20 lbs. of weights on the machine although that does make it harder to maneuver. I replaced the original pulley with a smaller one so the machine goes forward more slowly and closer to my walking speed."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Walter Eberle, 12104 E. Maxwell, Spokane Valley, Wash. 99206 (ph 509 928-4590).

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2006 - Volume #30, Issue #4