2019 - Volume #43, Issue #6, Page #23[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
He Clears Trails Fast With Zero-Turn “Blowdozer”
“In the fall it used to take me 4 to 6 hrs. to walk the trail with a backpack blower,” says O’Neil, an art teacher and former cross-country coach at Chippewa Hills School District. “I already had the zero-turn mower to mow the trail. Last year I made a crude mount to hang the blower on. This year I did it right.”
O’Neil set the rollbar back 90 degrees (parallel to the ground) and built a platform on it for 2 Stihl BR800 backpack leaf blowers. To move the air from back to front, he mounted 4-in. pvc pipe, sized to match the blower tubes, to either side of the seat and around the mower arms.
“The blowers came with long and short nozzles,” says O’Neil. “I didn’t figure I would ever use the short ones, so I cut them off and hooked them up to the pvc pipes.”
At the front of the mower deck, 90-degree fittings direct the air through a pine board attached to the mower’s swivel wheel support arms. A second set of 45-degree fittings directs the air ahead of the deck board through slightly smaller pvc pipes to boost velocity. Pipe clamps that connect the 2 sets of fittings allow O’Neil to adjust the direction of the tips.
“The nozzles can blow in a V-plow pattern or shoot off to either side,” says O’Neil. “At first I used a split tip on each nozzle, but now I have a fan tip. I took a 12-in. piece of pvc pipe and put it in boiling water to make the fan tips for each nozzle.”
Everything is made to mount or dismount in about 5 min. Detaching just the blowers takes even less time. All O’Neil has to do is twist the blower tube and slide it back from the old nozzle. Bungee cords hold the backpacks in place. Most of the pipe connections are made with pipe clamps.
Just to finish off his project, the art teacher used the school’s 3D printer and created his own logo - Blowdozer Stihl-Varna. He slapped it on after painting the pvc tubes black. It looks good and so do the trails.
“I can mount the blowers and clear the trails in about an hour,” says O’Neill. “The mossy trails look like carpet when I’m done.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bob O’Neil, 9560 Golf Port Dr., Stanwood, Mich. 49346 (ph 231 580-5434; email@example.com)
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