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DIY Gearbox Reverses Shaft Direction
Rick Bown created a shaft-reversing gearbox with a piece of pipe and a set of 1959 spider gears. He needed a way to reverse his pto to drive a salvaged pump.
“When a pump at the water treatment plant where I work was replaced, the contractor told me to take it,” recalls Bown. “I needed an irrigation pump for some fields I farm, so I brought it home.”
The Gorman-Rupp trash pump was still in good shape, so he hooked it up to his tractor, primed the pump, got the rpms up...and nothing happened.
“I wondered what the deal was,” recalls Bown. “I looked on the internet and finally saw one without paint that had arrows for the direction of the shaft. My pto turned the wrong way.”
Bown then looked for ways to reverse the shaft. “There were all kinds of ways with pulleys and other stuff, but they either looked ridiculous or super expensive,” he says. “I’ve worked on a lot of cars and trucks, and it hit me that spider gears might work. I didn’t know if they would last, but they are a dime a dozen so I decided to give it a try.”
He paid $50 for a 1959 Austin rear end he found online. “The rear end looked like a pile of rusty junk, but I pulled it apart, and the inside looked good,” says Bown. “I stuck the spider gear housing in a piece of 6-in. diameter steel pipe. It fit perfectly, like a machined piston in a cylinder.”
Bown tapped the pipe for a filler hole. He drilled a second hole midway up the pipe and welded an elbow fitting to it for checking oil level.
He cut the axle shafts on the spider gears and milled them down to 1-in. shafts that extended past the pipe. He also cut square plates out of 3/8-in. flat stock for end caps on the pipe and drilled holes for the shafts.
“I also welded the casing inside the pipe, so the housing would be stationary,” says Bown.
Once everything was lined up, he tapped holes in the plates to fit flange bearings for the shafts and welded the end plates to the pipe. The end plates were then welded to strips of angle iron bolted to the skids under the trash pump.
A bushing salvaged from an old Bush Hog mower connects one spider gear shaft to the pto driveshaft. A collar connects the other spider gear shaft to the pump driveshaft.
“I added gear oil, and it has worked well for 2 years,” says Bown. “The tractor is only 50 hp., but that’s enough for the pump. You could use a bigger set of spider gears if driving a more powerful machine, but if I keep oil in it, I think it will last a long time.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rick Bown, 5422 12th. Ave. Rd., Nampa, Idaho 83686 (ph 208 918-9381; rbown009@gmail.com).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #6