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Electric-Powered Strawberry Picker

Retired Pennsylvania farmer Richard Tice loves strawberries, but finds it difficult to kneel down and bend over to pick them. “One day I just figured it would be a lot easier to lay down and pick berries,” says Tice, “so I built a platform on wheels that lets me do that.”
  “Those commercial pickers probably cost $3,000 or more,” Tice says. “My device is a lot simpler, and I probably have less than $50 total invested, including labor.”
Tice first built a frame about 6 ft. wide and 6 ft. long from 1 in. square metal tubing. On one end of the platform he made supports where he mounted two wheels from an old garden tractor on a 1/2-in. drive shaft. The wheels are mounted wide enough apart to straddle a 6 ft. wide row of berries. On the front he has a single wheel for steering. The top of the platform is about 18 in. off the ground, so when Tice lays on it he can easily reach down and pick the berries.
  His picking platform is propelled by a small electric motor that Tice pulled from an old dump truck. “The motor was used to roll and unroll a heavy tarp,” Tice says. He mounted the motor with it’s sprocket drive in line with a sprocket connected to the left rear wheel. An old bicycle drive chain connects the two sprockets. Power to drive the motor and move the platform comes from a deep cycle 12-volt battery.
  “Whenever I need to move I flip the power switch to the battery and the platform just creeps along,” Tice says. “The tarp drive motor was geared way down so it slowly moves the platform forward or backward. It sure beats bending over and having to crawl on my hands and knees in the berry patch.”
  Tice says the battery has enough juice to drive the platform up and down his berry patch for a few days, then he drives it back to the shop and recharges the battery.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Richard Tice, 4057 RT6, Troy, Penn. 16947 (ph 570 297-2013; richardtice@frontier.com).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #3