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“Made It Myself” Mini Baler Really Works
“My 1/3-scale mini baler is modeled after old-time small square bale presses made in the 1930’s and 40’s. It makes compact 5 by 7 by 12-in. bales,” says Patrick Burrington, Stevensville, Mont.
   The baler is driven by a 5 hp. Briggs & Stratton gas engine and has a pickup width of 24 in. It makes bales that average 6 to 7 lbs. Burrington built the baler last February and used it this summer to make about 60 bales out of grass, hay and straw. “I think the bales might make good decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas nativity scenes,” he says. “My baler doesn’t have an automatic tying device so I have to tie the bales by hand like they did on real bale presses.
    “A lot of old timers tell me they remember operating these balers. I’ve demonstrated it at a local antique tractor show and driven it in a parade.
    “I got the idea because I planted some alfalfa this spring in a field and was trying to figure out what I was going to do with it once it was cut, and thought about building a mini baler after seeing some on YouTube. My uncle was a custom baler back in the 1950’s and 60’s when I was growing up, and I thought it would be neat to build a mini baler like the one he used, but with a few modifications.
    “To build it I watched numerous YouTube videos of people who had made other mini balers and took notes. I used my water jet table and plasma table to fabricate all the parts. It took about one month to build. I painted it Deere green and yellow because I use my Deere 170 garden tractor to pull it.”
    The baler’s engine runs through a 20:1 gearbox that belt-drives the baler’s crankshaft, auger and bale pickup. “The 8-in. dia. auger is off a post hole digger that I bought from Northern Tool. Because of the direction the auger turns, I had to mount the pickup on the opposite side of the baler from where it would normally be,” says Burrington.
    A 5 by 7-in. metal box on top of the bale chamber holds 8 spring-loaded “separator plates”, which get pushed down by a vertical feeder into the bale chamber. “The separator plates automatically get loaded into the bale chamber in much the same way that a magazine clip automatically loads bullets into a rifle chamber,” says Burrington. “When I’m ready to make a bale, I put a separator plate in, then raise a handle which causes the magazine to slide forward about 1 1/2 in. The feeder then pushes the plate down into the bale chamber and locks it into place. Having several plates ready to go works a lot faster than putting them in one at a time like the other bale presses I’ve seen.”
    He says the bale plunger has a 12-in. stroke, and the gearbox has a ratio of 20 to 1 so the plunger moves very slow. “When the plunger makes its stroke, the feeder that presses straw into the bale chamber is in the up position. When the plunger withdraws, the feeder presses down.”
    In the field, Burrington says it works best to have someone driving the tractor while he walks alongside the baler and ties the bales. “Otherwise if I’m by myself, I have to drive the tractor and then stop and walk back to tie each bale,” he explains.
“Generally I just pile a bunch of grass or straw in the yard, park the baler, and feed it in from the top like they did on the old stationary bale presses.”
    The baler rides on a pair of 12-in. high wheelbarrow wheels that Burrington bought from Surplus Center in Lincoln, Neb. (ph 800 488-3407; www.surpluscenter.com). He also bought all the pulleys, belts and bearings there. He added the muffler off an Allis Chalmers WD45 tractor just for looks.
    “I bought the pickup tines and twine at Tractor Supply Co. and mounted six sets of tines across the width of the pickup in four different places that are 90 degrees apart. In the future, I might build an auto tying mechanism for it,” notes Burrington.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Patrick Burrington, 130 Garnet Drive, Stevensville, Mont. 59870 (ph 406 642-3155; patatrcc@aol.com).    

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2017 - Volume #41, Issue #5