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Low-Gravity Mower for Roadbanks
Illinois farmer B. L. Uhnken, of Jacksonville, built this low-gravity, highty maneuverable mower for steep roadbanks, and to "hug" fences and buildings.
Key components include a salvaged engine from a Deere 45 combine, a jeep pickup truck chassis and a Woods L 306 mower head.
The mower moves by way of hydraulic power while the mower head is driven mechanically. Uhnken mounted the engine backwards. A drive shaft from the engine, positioned along the right side, delivers power to the mower head, turning it at 2,000 rpm. A hand-engaged belt tightener serves as a clutch for the mower head.
The Woods mower head is 6 ft. wide and has three cutting blades. It cuts up to 6 in. high and angles up or down up to 45?, enabling it to negotiate steep roadbanks. It is raised by the hydraulic cylinders salvaged from a combine reel and powered by an old automobile power steering pump.
The four-wheel-drive chassis twists in the center to follow ground contours.
Uhnken notes that, "the mower's front end pendulum or flexing action is needed for roadbanks and ditches, but a means is needed to stop this swinging action long enough to mount a roadbank. For this reason, I made provision for the insertion of pins to hold the head rigid temporarily. Once I'm on the bank, I pulled the pins so the mower head can flex."
The mower, with a 4-ft. wheelbase, will mow to within an inch of a fence or building. Uhnken notes that a straight Jeep chassis is narrower than a Jeep truck chassis and would make for more maneuverability around fences and buildings.
The mower, which travels about 2 mph while mowing, has six speeds forward and two in reverse.


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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #6