2007 - Volume #31, Issue #6, Page #26[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Tow-Behind Lawn Vacuum
"I didn't want to spend $700 to $1,200 for a commercial vacuum," says Paschke. "I pull it behind my 18 hp Case riding mower and use it to vacuum up both leaves and grass trimmings."
The snowblower's vacuum fan and cage mount on the frame of a 2-wheeled enclosed trailer. Paschke attached a length of 6-in. dia. flexible hose to the side of the mower deck. The hose leads to the vacuum fan, which is belt-driven by a 5 hp Tecumseh engine. The emergency brake handle from an old car is used as a belt tightener to engage the vacuum. A length of furnace stove pipe delivers the material into a 4 by 3-ft. box that's covered with canvas.
He already had a small flatbed trailer. He used 1-in. sq. tubing to make a box frame. A screen door on back of the box, hinged at the top, allows air to exit. To dump leaves, Paschke flips the door up and over the box, then releases a trip lever to manually tilt the box back.
"It works good - I'm surprised at how much vacuum power it has. It sucks leaves right out from under the mower," says Paschke. "I had been hand using a tow-behind lawn sweeper but it was too small and I spent too much time dumping it. As the leaves go through the vacuum it shreds them into mulch, which I use in our garden.
"I got the canvas from a company that uses them to cover piles of sugarbeets. I found the snowblower in a junk pile, and the flexible hose came off the end of a grain auger spout. The only thing I had to buy was the flexible hose that connects the mower to the vacuum.
"To power the vacuum fan, I had to extend the shaft on the fan and install a pillow block bearing so I could mount a pulley it. I used the metal slide bracket from underneath an old car seat to tighten or loosen the belt."
He used sheet metal to make a hinged metal housing that attaches to the mower's discharge chute. "To remove the housing I just pull a pin," says Paschke.
He also attached a homemade metal housing to the vacuum fan, welding a short length of pipe into the spout to which the flexible hose is attached. "The spout attaches to the vacuum with a spring hook so it can be quickly removed if the vacuum ever plugs up, but it never has," notes Paschke.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Walter Paschke, 5576 148th Ave. N.E., Forest River, N. Dak. 58233 (ph 701 248-3365).
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