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Big Self-Propelled Brush Cutter Powered By Chevy V-8 Engine
"No other machine cuts brush like this home-built self-propelled brush cutter," says Lawrence Penka, Garnets, Kan.
The self-propelled brush cutter makes a 13 1/2-ft. cut and is powered by a Chevrolet 348 cu. in. V-8 gas engine. The front drive axle is the rear axle from an Allis-Chalmers WD tractor (the axle is turned upside down to reverse direction of travel). The rear axle is off a 1971 Ford 622 combine. The 3-speed transmission also came out of the Allis-Chalmers tractor and is connected to a variable speed transmission off a Massey Hams selfpropelled combine. Two 7-ft. Rhino blades that overlap 6 in. do the cutting. The engine belt-drives a pto shaft that drives a Bush Hog splitter gearbox mounted in the middle. A pair of 3112-ft. long pto shafts extend out in each direction from the splitter gearbox to a pair of 90 degree gearboxes mounted on top of the blade housings. A belt-driven hydraulic pump is used to operate the variable speed transmission and to raise or lower the blades.
"It'll cut through trees up to 6 in. in diameter," says Penka, who operates a beef and cow-calf operation and has over 300 acres of pasture. "The operator bends the tree over with the housings and slowly drives forward as the blades cut through. However, it really throws big brush so you have to keep people away while in operation. The operator is protected by a cage made from wire cattle panel.
"The operator pushes a lever to engage an idler pulley that tightens the belt to the pto shaft. One other lever is used to raise the platform and one operates the variable speed transmission. We had been belt-driving the gearboxes off the pto shaft, but the engine has so much power that the belts stretched out too much.
"My dad built it in 1968 to save wear and tear on his new tractor. He built it with a single wheel at the rear, but it was hard to steer so we mounted the combine axle on back. At first we used dual tractor tires on front with 38-in. wheel rims, but we had alot of flat tires from thorns. It got expensive to replace the tractor tires so we switched to smaller, wider, heavier ply tires. We bought them from a company that sells used airplane tires for agricultural use (Hey Machinery Co., Baldwin, Kan.). The tires are on 22-in. wheel rims. We used the steering sector off an AMC car to provide power steering."
The Penkas used angle iron, 4-in. channel iron, and 1/8-in. sheet metal to build the blade housings and 3-in. angle iron to make braces between the blade housings and operator platform. The blades mount on spindles connected by a heavy steel bar. One blade is mounted 6 in. higher than the other one.
The 40-gal. gas tank is off the Massey Hams combine and the radiator off a Deere 55 combine. A platform around the engine provides access to the engine and radiator.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lawrence Penka, Rt. l, Box 194, Gamett, Kan. 66032 (ph 785 448-6501).

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1994 - Volume #18, Issue #4