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Heavy-Duty Landscape Rake
After multiple modifications to his commercial landscape rake, Jim Gerken knew he needed to build his own. His modified rake still didn't have the control or features he wanted for building and maintaining snowmobile and ATV trails.
"I sold the rake and started from scratch," says Gerken.
"This one works like a charm. It is offset, so I can work close to the edge of the trail without the tractor being at the edge, and it is completely adjustable."
Gerken designed his rake with heavy-duty components and a system of hydraulic cylinders. The cylinders, combined with his tractor's 3-pt. and its hydraulic top link, let him lift, lower, angle the rake left and right and change the pitch as well. In addition, he can move the position of the rake to offset it up to 18 in. left or right without affecting the angle or pitch.
"I used a combination of ball-end and trunnion type cylinders to give the rake five axis capability," explains Gerken. "I had to do a lot of geometry to get the angles right so I would have the maximum side-to-side movement."
The swing frame pivots from the center of the main frame and supports the rake tool bar at its other end. Swing frame uprights fabricated from pipe within pipe allow the rake to be angled up to 120 degrees from perpendicular to tractor movement and make possible the 18-in. offset. Grease zerks keep them well lubricated.
"When you put two pieces of pipe together, they never fit, so I wrapped pieces of galvanized tin around the smaller pipe," says Gerken. "I wrapped as much as I could and still slide it into the larger pipe. Once under weight, and as grease got in there from a zerk, it became an extreme pressure bushing."
To change the angle of the rake, Gerken mounted a ball-end cylinder on the lower cross bar of the main frame and on the rake toolbar. By mounting it parallel to the swing frame's lower bar, the angle stays the same whether the rake is directly behind the tractor or offset to either side.
The offset is controlled by the trunnion cylinder. "I had looked at a number of different ways to swing the rake to the side," explains Gerken. "When I saw the trunnion cylinder at the Farm Surplus Center, it dawned on me that by mounting the trunnion inside the swing arm at its midpoint, the force would be exerted evenly against both the top and bottom bar instead of twisting."
The tine bar is 76 in. long with tines spaced at 2 1/2-in. intervals. Holes drilled through the top side of the square tube accommodate socket wrenches for tightening the two bolts that hold each tine. Gerken admits the entire landscape rake is probably over engineered. However, he notes that when fully engaged with rocks and dirt, adjusting it left or right can cause the entire tractor to slide instead.
"It is heavy duty enough that when I tilt the angled rake, it can cut into the side of a hill," he says. "If I angle it extremely and offset it, I can pull dirt up from a ditch into the trail. It also works great for pushing material back off the trail. When it's offset at an angle, rocks and brush just windrow to the side, leaving the soil and small stones on the trail."
The 6 gpm flow on his 26 hp compact tractor was sufficient for the rake and the tractor loader. However, more hydraulic remotes were needed. Gerken added three sets of valves to the two it had.
Gerken says he would be willing to produce a set of plans for sale and a supplier list for components.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Gerken, 39476 590th St., Zumbro Falls, Minn. 55991 (ph 507 253-2454; gerken @us.ibm.com).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #4