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Shop-Built Slit Seeder
Slit seeders do a great job of overseeding damaged lawns, but Rob Dolinski didn’t like paying the rental cost that can run $50 or more for half a day.
    “The idea popped into my head to build one rather than rent,” says Dolinski. “I have a small acreage, and the annual rental cost was adding up.”
    He knew that grass seed has a higher germination rate and success rate with slit seeding and thought a slit seeder would be a worthwhile piece of equipment to have on a permanent basis. With new ones running in the $4,000 to $5,000 range, he couldn’t justify buying one.
    Looking through his salvage pile, he realized he had most of what he needed. The 2 components missing were a drop spreader and an engine. “I also had to buy a new drive belt and a pulley,” he adds.
    Dolinski quickly found a used, 22-in., ground drive, lawn spreader online and bought a 5 1/2 hp. PowerFist gas engine from Princess Auto. The outlet also served as his prime source for any other needed parts.
    Dolinski built a rigid frame using angle iron and flat metal he had on hand. He mounted the drop spreader in front and the engine on top of an OSB platform. He also mounted OSB panel in front of and behind the knives.
    Rear wheels were salvaged from a hand cart, while smaller wheels left over from another project were tucked in behind the hopper.
    Mounting the knives to turn the soil was the biggest challenge Dolinski faced. Here he had two options. He could weld the blades to a driveshaft, or center drill a hole and secure them to the driveshaft with nuts.
    He went with the latter, with the idea of being able to replace one should it get damaged. In retrospect, he thinks welding would have been simpler and just as easy to repair.
    Dolinski cut eleven, 6-in. long blades out of 2-in. wide, 1/8-in. thick flat bar. To ensure a uniform mounting hole, he drilled through all 12 blades in a single action and cut a leading edge with a grinder.
    He used 3/4-in. threaded rod and nuts to sandwich the blades 2 in. apart on the rod.
    He didn’t give much concern to balancing the blades on the shaft, simply mounting the rod under the frame with pillow block bearings.
    Dolinski has used the slit seeder for about 4 years. He estimates the total cost at about $400. He has more than recovered the investment in avoided rental fees and an improved lawn. He has also built up some community ties by loaning his slit seeder to neighbors.
    A veteran project builder, Dolinski has also gained some cross-Canada attention. His slit seeder is one of a select group of projects posted to the Princess Auto Project Showcase.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rob Dolinski, 420 Carloni Cove, Grand Pointe, Man. Canada R5A 1E1 (ph 204 291-1390; rdolinski@me.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #3