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All Purpose Grader Turns On A Dime
"This rig works like a charm for grading orchards, landscape projects, even gravel driveways," says Marcus Benedict, describing his custom-built 3-wheel hydrostatic drive grader that turns in a 180 degree arc.
  "I got the idea to build this after seeing a restored 1950's-era machine called the Bohlen's Ride Master," Benedict says. "The fellow who owned the machine said it had been used by truck farmers and landscapers and was fairly popular."
  The single front drive wheel is a 12 by 26-in. lugged tire that's powered by a hydraulic motor. "I used a simple hydrostatic pump like those on zero-turn mowers. It provides plenty of power from the electric start 13 hp Honda motor."
  The operator sits on a comfortable garden tractor seat, steers the machine with a full size steering wheel, and adjusts forward, reverse and ground speed with a foot pedal.
  For extra traction, Benedict added about 250 lbs. of weight on the front wheel frame to provide ballast and prevent slippage. Two rear wheels with 18 by 8.5-in. turf tires mount on an adjustable frame so the operator can change widths to gain extra stability or straddle rows and ridges.
  The blade is 6 ft. wide and 8 in. deep, adjustable on a center swivel bracket much like a road grader. Levers for raising, lowering, tilting and turning the blade are mounted on a console to the right of the driver's seat.
  Benedict said the grader, which will sell for $14,999, does an excellent job of leveling and is easier to operate than a skid steer or an ATV. "The center-mounted blade works on the same principle as large road graders that have been around for many years," Benedict says, "so I didn't really invent a new concept, I just adapted it to a much smaller machine."
  Benedict plans to make other tools like a tiller, a rake or cultivator to mount on the machine and make it more versatile.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Marcus Benedict, Rumble Fabrication & Ag Service, 4124 Kiernan Avenue, Modesto, Calif. 95356 (ph 209 545-1848; Rumblefab@yahoo.com).

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2011 - Volume #35, Issue #2