Vacuum Added To Zero-Turn Mower

John Day of El Dorado, Ark., cobbled together a vacuum system for his zero-turn mower to collect lawn clippings and leaves.


   He mounted an old Bluebird vacuum powered by an 8-hp. Honda motor to the back of his mower.


   I hinged it to the back of the mower and put tail wheels under the vacuum so it would not have a completely rigid connection to the lawn mower, says Day. I then used an old Snapper Bag-N-Wagon dump trailer and built a plywood box to mount on it. I mounted the old Bluebird hood on top as an inlet to the trailer. He also mounted the Snapper discharge chute to the mower deck. The chute is easily removable for when he wants to mow using the side discharge.


   The goal of this project is to collect lawn clippings and leaves for composting. Says Day, I dump the clippings either in my chicken yard or on a large pile of wood chips. I stir the pile with my tractor to mix it. Eventually, I should have some excellent compost.


   Day built a frame on the back using 1/4-in. hardware cloth, which is removable to dump the clippings.


   Overall, the design works well, although Day has plans for upgrades. The trailer is very top-heavy, so I need to widen the wheelbase to make it more stable, he says. I turned the trailer over twice already.


   Despite some logistics challenges, the vacuum is a low-cost way to use a soil amendment that might otherwise go to waste. I bought the vacuum from my brother, not knowing how I would use it. So far, besides the vacuum and the lawn mower that Ive had for 12 years, Ive only had to buy the suction and discharge hoses, which are dust removal hoses, the tail wheels, and a lot of bolts and screws to hold it together.


   Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Day, 222 Union Road 320, El Dorado, Ark. 71730 (