2009 - Volume #33, Issue #2, Page #40[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Self-Propelled Irrigation "Pipe Hauler"
The 3-wheeled machine is designed to hold up to 18 lengths of pipe in three separate racks. The operator sits in a sideways-facing seat and uses a pair of remote-controlled electric winches to load and unload the pipe. One winch is used to raise and lower the pipe, and the other to move the pipe sideways to clear the racks.
Power is provided by a 4-cyl. carbureted engine and automatic transmission off a 1985 Toyota car. The seat and steering column also came from the car. The engine chain-drives the rig's two rear wheels via a 4:1 reduction gear chain drive.
Wirt uses the machine on his 8-acre irrigated alfalfa field.
"I built it because I'm in my late 60's and wanted an easier way to move pipe. It eliminates the need for another person and for a tractor and wagon to haul pipe," says Wirt.
"I consider myself a backyard engineer, but this is one of the funnest things I've built in a long time. I had to rebuild it several times. What it looks like now is a far cry from when I started building it."
His irrigation system consists of the long sections of pipe, which hook up to risers connected to a buried main line. Each pipe is equipped with a sprinkler, as well as a quick connector for hooking the pipes up to each other.
When it's time to bale hay, Wirt uses the machine to remove the pipe from the field and haul it to a storage area at the edge of the field. "I pick up the pipe in the field one at a time, either by hand or using the winch. Once I have 18 pipes loaded onto the machine I drive it to the storage area and use the winch to unload six pipes at a time onto homemade racks."
Wirt had been loading and unloading the pipes by hand onto a wagon. "It's no fun to carry a 40-ft. pipe that weighs 50 lbs. while walking through tall hay. Now I start at one end of the field with the machine straddling the pipe, and place the first pipe in the rack either by hand or by using the winch. Then I get back on the machine, drive 40 ft. to the center of the next pipe.
"Not only does my pipe hauler eliminate a lot of walking, it also knocks over less hay because a tractor and wagon has at least six wheels."
The distance between the machine's front wheel and the two rear wheels is 15 ft. There's a 7 1/2-ft. hinged extension at each end of the machine to carry the pipe, which leaves 5 ft. of pipe hanging out at each end. The extensions can be manually folded in for transport on a tilt-bed trailer.
Wirt built the storage racks by drilling holes in some wooden 4 by 6's and installing vertical lengths of conduit in them. Each storage rack can hold up to six pipes.
"The entire project took me about three months of design and build time," says Wirt. "I kept track of everything I bought to build it and spent a total of $2,736.73. If anyone is interested I have plans and photos."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dennis Wirt, 8414 S.W. 61st St., Redmond, Oregon 97756 (ph 541 330-6737; ats1@coinet. com).
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