2012 - Volume #BFS, Issue #12, Page #72
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"Vacuum Leaf Baler"
Grover Miller’s “Buckeye Baler” sucks up big piles of leaves and turns them into easy-to-handle small square bales.
“You can vacuum up leaves, pine needles and other lawn and garden debris and compact them into bales that can be used in the spring as mulch,” explains Miller. “I have two models – one for use with a lawn tractor for homeowners, and a larger unit for commercial use, such as golf courses or municipalities.”
The basic design is the same. A vacuum sucks up the leaves and feeds them into the bale chamber. A hydraulic motor drives the plunger to form the bales.
“The smaller unit produces a 16-in. wide, 10-in. high bale,” says Miller. “When it reaches the desired length, the operator activates a hydraulic cylinder that drives a needle up through the bale. The operator then cuts the twine and ties off the bale manually.”
The homeowner-sized unit is hooked to a garden tractor with the vacuum hose mounted to the mower discharge plate. The hose can also be used freehand to pick up piles of leaves. A 13-hp gas engine provides power for the hydraulics to run the vacuum, the plunger and the needle.
“It produces about 5-gpm flow and 1,800 psi,” says Miller. “I ran a belt pulley off the hydraulic motor for the vacuum unit to get up to 4,000 rpm’s on the vacuum fan.”
Miller’s commercial-sized unit is based on a standard, small square baler, producing an 18-in. wide, 14-in. high bale. It’s sized to be pulled behind a compact tractor. When making the prototype, he used the back end of an old New Holland baler.
“I cut off the bale chamber just ahead of the knotter and butt-welded it to my leaf baler,” he says. “It ties off the bales just like it would a hay bale, and you can set it for whatever length you want.”
Miller mounted a 38-hp gas engine on the baler to power a 26-gpm pump. It is more than sufficient to power the plunger, knotter assembly and the vacuum with its 14-in. diameter flexible hose. The hose can be used freehand or mounted to a pickup attachment.
He made several prototypes of his lawn-sized machine before tackling the commercial unit at the request of a local golf course.
A video of the Buckeye Baler can be seen on YouTube.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Grover Miller, 5712 Riverview Rd., Peninsula, Ohio 44264 (ph 330 620 6209; www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNMIg_6TaoQ).

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2012 - Volume #BFS, Issue #12