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He Specializes In Baler Repair
A retired Idaho farmer is doing a brisk business repairing balers of all makes and models on farms within a 50-mile radius of his shop.

Albert Scafe, of Ashton, has a baler repair van that carries about $3,000 worth of tools and parts. He charges $8 per hour and can handle just about anything that could ever go wrong on a baler.

"I'm a machinery nut. I'd rather work with machinery than go fishing or golfing," says Scafe. "I work mostly on small square balers because they're the most common type of baler-used in this area. Most of the time I make repairs in the field although sometimes farmers bring their balers to me. Some of my more common baler-repair jobs include replacing chains, changing belts, repairing pickup teeth, repairing plungers, changing rollers, sharpening knives, and adjusting the plunger timing. Timing is very important. The plunger, feeder system and tieing mechanism all have to work closely together for everything to work right. The most difficult repair on a square baler is pulling out the plunger.

"Most farmers in my area use New Holland or Hesston balers. Deere balers seem to require more work than other models. A local Deere dealer even refers his customers to me because I've had so much experience repairing Deere balers."

Scafe has come up with a number of new inventions and improvements, including a new square baler design that he says will work almost twice as fast as current models. "Maybe some day I'll be able to build it, but I'm 75 years old so time is running out. I have 12 other inventions at the prototype stage and 33 more on the drawing board."

Scafe says one of his best new ideas is a bale tension control system that lets you automatically adjust bale tension on-the-go as hay moisture conditions change. The system consists of a small steel "flag" connected to a steel rod that lays on top of hay inside the bale chamber. The friction of wet hay moving through the bale chamber pulls the spring-loaded rod backward, stretching out the spring and raising the flag up in the air. The operator then uses the baler's hand cranks to adjust bale tension. Dry hay causes the the rod to slip so the spring is released, causing the flag to drop back down. "It lets you know when bale tension needs to be adjusted so you can keep bales at a consistent weight in all moisture conditions," says Scafe.

Another of Scafe's inventions is what he calls a "three second" baler knot monitor that sounds a buzzer to let the operator know within three seconds whenever bales aren't being tied. A spring-loaded lever mounts just behind the bale knotter and is tripped by the twine as the knotter starts tieing a bale. If the bale hasn't been tied after about three seconds, a timer sounds a buzzer in the tractor cab.

For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Albert Scafe, Ideas Unlimited, 1012 Grainville Rd., Ashton, Idaho 83420 (ph 208 652-3341).

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1993 - Volume #17, Issue #1