1992 - Volume #16, Issue #4, Page #36[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Tractor Mower Has Grass CatcherDean Fechter, Belvue, Kan., built a 5-ft. wide belly mower and hydraulically-operated "grass catcher" dump box for his IH Farman tractor that lets him mow his 2-acre lawn and collect and dump grass clippings without getting off the tractor.
Fechter built the 5 ft. wide, 4 ft. high dump box from angle iron and salvaged aluminum siding. He built a vacuum blower and mounted it on a steel platform ahead of the grass catcher, then ran a length of 8-in. dia. plastic drain tile from the vacuum to the mower. The vacuum blower is powered by a 12 hp gas engine off an old Allis Chalmers riding mower. The dump box hinges at the top. When it's full it's pushed back and up by a pair of hydraulic cylinders to dump.
"It has more capacity than pull-behind catch trailers for riding lawn mowers and doesn't have to be emptied manually. All I do is back up, dump, and go," says Fechter. "I collect grass clippings only when the grass is tall: Otherwise I disconnect the blower tube and shoot clippings off to the side. The only big problem with the dump box is that it makes it more difficult to turn tight and mow around trees and shrubs."
The rear side of the dump box is covered with screen mesh to allow air from the blower to escape. The top two thirds of the screen has an aluminum shield over it to direct air and dirt downward.
Fechter lengthened the tractor's hood 1 ft. to make room for a drive pulley for the mower that's mounted on engine's crank-shaft. It's engaged by a clutch controlled by a rod that runs up the side of tractor to a lever mounted in front of steering wheel.
The tractor didn't have hydraulics so Fechter fitted it with a hydraulic pump off an old Massey Harris combine. The pump is used to operate the dump box and to raise and lower the mower. He mounted tie rods (off an old truck) on the tractor's rear axle to "push" the mower. A 3-pt. top ink, anchored to the operator's platform, attaches' to the mower's top bracket. Rollers on the rear edge of the mower deck are used to adjust cutting height. The mower is raised and lowered by steel cables attached to a pair of hydraulic-controlled lift arms positioned directly above the mower.
Fechter used 3/16-in. thick sheet metal to build mower deck and made his own spindles and spindle housing for three 20-in. long blades (originally designed for an IH Cub Cadet riding lawn mower).
Contact FARM SHOW Followup, Dean Fechter, 21855 Oregon Trail, Belvue, Kan. 66407 (ph 913 456-7622)
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