1992 - Volume #16, Issue #1, Page #11[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Portable scafford lets farmer paint barnsVern Hollatz's barns needed painting but the retired Geneseo, Ill., farmer's arthritis prevented him from climbing up and down ladders to do the job himself. So he decided to build a self-propelled scaffold using a collection of unusual parts including aluminum control rails originally from a missile launcher, a tilt system from a road grader, a gas engine from an artillery gun, and other miscellaneous junked farm equipment parts.
The self-propelled scaffold extends up to 30 ft. in height and weighs about 3 tons. Hollatz considered making it even taller but then it wouldn't have fit in his storage shed.
Although it took 3 years to build, Hollatz figures the money he saved painting his barns himself paid for the cost of the materials in the homemade machine.
The scaffold works like a forklift, operating telescopically with a fixed set of vertical rails on the outside at the bottom, an inner set of rails that rise to about 18 ft., and 10-ft. aluminum extension rails on top. Once the rails are fully extended, the two 7 by 21/2-ft. platforms can be raised or lowered to any spot on the rails. The cables, chains and gears that raise and lower the rails and platforms are electrically-powered - there's no hydraulics on the machine - by three sets of control boxes, located at various spots on the machine, so that the positioning of plat-forms can be controlled from the ground or from up on the machine. It takes about 2 min. to extend the rails and another 2 min. to raise the platforms.
Hollatz built a chassis out of I-beams to carry the scaffolding. A40-hp.,air-cooled gasoline Continental motor propels the machine across the barnyard at 3 mph. The motor was originally used to trans-port World War II artillery. The adjust-able seat on the chassis came from an old tractor and the steering wheel from a junked car. The axles came from a 1-ton Ford pickup. Stabilizing jacks lower to the ground when the scaffold's in use.
To put the scaffold into storage, Hollatz removes the top set of extension rails and tilts the others backward. He took the tilt control off an old road grader.
"There's not a w part in the machine except for the bolts, and they were bought at a surplus place," Hollatz says.
He` overbuilt" the scaffold to ensure its safety, used two cables to lift the platform where one probably would have been enough and installed an automatic stop that kliks in when the unit is fully extended.
He built the machine without putting any design on paper.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, V;;m Hollatz, RR, Geneseo, Ill. 61254 (ph 309 944-3977).
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