Homemade Farm Equipment and Modifications
When you think of homemade farm equipment, all
kinds of weird pictures may come to mind.
In Ed's Own Words...
The projects described here are my attempts at making something simpler to use and easier on us
here at the farm. We don't have any heavy equipment and for the most
part we do fine without it. We load mulch by hand with pitchforks and
we spread it using snow shovels. We dig holes with shovels and we move
a lot of rocks by hand.
I've always enjoyed making and inventing things,
now I have a reason to tinker with a purpose, homemade farm equipment!
These projects usually come together because of a need that our small farm
equipment doesn't fit. Here's a few ideas and interesting ways I've
overcome some challenges at Blackberry Blossom Farm and Campground.
A homemade leverage machine,
picks up rocks too heavy to move manually.
See below for more explanation of this useful
idea, otherwise known as "Ed's Rock Picker". Homemade Farm Equipment at
How to move rocks heavier than yourself
We do occasionally have work which is just too heavy for us. For instance
we have lots of rocks here that we simply can't pick up. We have some
rocks which would require a bulldozer to move. These we just use as the
center piece for a planting bed. However rocks weighing around 100 to
300 pounds were always a problem. They are too small to use as a focal
point but too big to move by hand. I must tell you though, my wife and
I have moved some pretty big rocks with pry bars. We didn't move them
far, maybe 20 feet or so, but we did move them.
Last year my wife decided she would like a stacked rock wall outside her studio on the
front of our house. I liked the idea of the wall. I was not too crazy
about moving a lot of big rocks from all over the farm to the wall
site. We'll be posting some photos of this wall soon.
Time for homemade farm equipment!
I thought the small trailer I'd built from the satellite dish support
(pictures on THAT project below) would be strong enough to haul the
rocks if I could find a way to load them onto the trailer. After
thinking about it for awhile and surveying the stuff I had laying
around the shop, I sketched out the design for a tripod with a mount on
top which both swivels up and down and rotates. I call it my leverage
machine, it's a cool piece of homemade farm equipment.
It has 3 legs of 2" steel channel with steel plates as feet. The legs
attach to 3 channels welded in the shape of a triangle. On the top and
bottom of this triangle, I welded a wheel hub from an old Simplicity
garden tractor. A section of axle from the same tractor fits down
through these hubs and provides the rotation. On top of the axle I
welded a short channel. Through this channel there is another section
of axle. Attached to this axle there is another longer channel which
swivels up and down . The 2 clamps on the very top hold a long locust
pole in the top channel. By moving the pole in the channel I can change
the mechanical advantage of the machine.
So does it work? In the above picture I am picking up about a 250 pound rock and rotating
it over the trailer. This rock and many others went into the wall and I
can still walk straight. Works for me!
Grass Catcher Re-vamp "Mountain Style"
Life here on the farm may be simple but it sure can be rough on equipment.
A case in point is the grass catcher we purchased from Woodlawn Product. As I
mentioned on the composting page, this machine picks up a lot of grass,
is a top-notch quality piece of equipment, and is just the right size
to pull with our garden tractor mower. It didn't take me long to
realize that as good as this machine was at collecting grass, it was
not intended for an environment like our farm. Off the showroom floor
this Grass Catcher is perfect for regular lawns
Looks like a job for Homemade Farm Equipment!
The fields we mow are sloped and are rather rough with holes here and
there. The first trouble I had was with the wheels. With a full
grasscatcher of grass, this thing is very heavy. I ran into a hole and
the wheel collapsed. I replace the wheel but it happened again, so I
replaced the wheels with a couple of industrial pivoting wheels my
father-in-law scrounged from somewhere.
This machine attached to the tractor with two pins which kept it from rotating like a trailer. It
can't rotate because of the grass hose from the mower to the machine.
Before long, the pins had wallowed out their holes. I was in the
process of putting 1-7/8 inch balls on all of my garden tractors so I
decided to change the hitch on the grass collector to use a ball also.
The picture shows what I came up with. I'm sure the designers at
Woodland Products would cringe if they ever saw this picture, but this
hitch works real well. The hitch over the ball in the center does the
actual pulling and the two wheels on the outside keep the machine
straight behind the mower but run up and down on the plates on the
mower hitch allowing the machine to traverse rough ground. The crank
handle is on an old trailer jack I welded to the hitch to pick the
front of the machine off of the tractor hitch. The outside guide wheels
are welded to long bolts so they can be run in and out and locked in
Homemade farm equipment, simple, huh?
For a full view of the Grass Catcher we use, check
out Woodland Product's
Cyclone Rake Grass Catcher.
Plowing and Tilling, the Simple Way...Electric Implement Lift
The old Simplicity 7116 tractors were made with either a manual or a
hydrostatic transmission. The hydrostatics had a hydraulic lift for
raising and lowering implements such as mowing decks, tillers and etc.
Those with manual transmissions had either an electric implement lift
or just a manual lever. Our old 7116 is of the latter type. I have no
plans of ever using a mowing deck with this tractor but use a plow and
tiller quite often. It's hard to describe how difficult it is to raise
a plow mounted on the back of this tractor using the manual lifting
Time for more Homemade Farm Equipment!
Ed builds his own...
I couldn't find a used electric implement lift so I decided to built my own. There is a shaft
running from side to side which when rotated pulls a cable connected to
the implement lifting frame on the rear of the tractor. To raise or
lower the implements you just have to rotate this shaft. I'm not sure,
but it appeared the original electric actuator was mounted above the
drive shaft. There were two flanges welded to the shaft up there to
which I believe the actuator was attached. I removed the shaft from the
tractor and cut these flanges loose from the shaft using a torch. Then
I turned the flanges over and slipped them back onto the shaft so they
could rotate freely, then reinstalled the shaft. I couldn't find a new
actuator short enough to fit above the shaft so I decided to mount the
one shown here.
Actuators and Johnny Buckets...
After a little research I purchased an electric
This company builds an interesting alternative to a front end loader.
It is a small bucket (about wheel barrel size) which fits on the front
of a garden tractor. It's not meant to lift high but rather just lift
high enough to carry it's contents somewhere and dump. They make these
"Johnny Buckets" to fit just about every garden tractor on the market.
They also sell a couple of electric actuators they use for lifts on
some of their products. Their prices are more than reasonable compared
with other sources I checked. The actuator I purchased has a 6" stroke
with a 600 lb lift and operates on the tractor' 12 volt electric
I fabricated a rear mount for the actuator and
attached it to the tractor by using longer lower bolts where the frame attaches to the
transfer case. With the rear of the actuator attached to this mount
with a 1/2 bolt, I connected the moving rod of the actuator to the two
flanges on the implement lifting shaft which were free to rotate.
Taking it for a spin...OOPS!
I wired the actuator to the tractor battery through a reversing switch which I also
purchased from "Johnny Products". I then moved the actuator from open
to close to check clearances with other parts of the tractor.
Everything looked good so I fully extended the actuator, raised the
lifting handle as far as possible and tack welded the front flanges to
the shaft. I then took the tractor out for a spin to try the new lift.
Sometimes you just can't see far enough ahead! I hadn't accounted for the
movement of the steering flange when the front wheels are turned and
the front actuator flanges and the steering flange hit. I only needed
to move the front actuator flanges about 3/8" but had to completely
remove the lifting shaft to cut the tack welds loose. The second
alignment worked good so I removed the shaft for the third time and
welded the flanges around the shaft.
Mower Deck may be a problem...
This new lift works really well on both the tiller and the layoff plow. I'm
sure this actuator is much larger than the ones originally used on
these tractors and because of where I mounted it, I'm not sure a mower
deck could be used again. If you were to consider a similar project for
homemade farm equipment, keep this in mind.
Ed's Recycling again...
This is a good overall picture of the tilt trailer I made from an old C-band satellite antenna
mount. The round tongue of the trailer was the vertical support post
for the antenna. The dish of the antenna was mounted on the frame to
which the trailer bed is mounted. I split the end of the round pipe in
4 places, heated it with a torch and bent the 4 sides of the pipe to
fit against a piece of 2" square metal tubing .
"Necessity is the mother of
invention when it comes to homemade farm equipment!"
Then I welded the seams of the pipe and bolted the pipe to the tubing.
I mounted a 1-7/8" hitch on the front end of the tubing. I purchased a
trailer axle with mounting plates from
and cut the axle length to fit the width of the cross channel.
Word of warning about the law...
Just a note:
It is against the law to cut an axle such as this if you plan to use
the homemade equipment trailer on a public highway. Just a thought when
making your own homemade farm equipment.
I welded the mounting plates to the ends of the
cross channel, adding wheel hubs, also from
to the axle and mounted the
front wheels from an old riding mower.
The trailer bed is just a wooden frame bolted to the tilt frame. The bed is
a piece of 3/4" plywood which I painted with truck bed liner. I cut
pieces of an old bed frame to fit around the edges of the bed to
protect the plywood edges and cut slots in this to hold uprights for
Putting this homemade farm equipment all together...
These 1 7/8” hitches are also available from
. They are not very expensive (around $10.00) and are much stronger and easier to use than pin
Here's the homemade farm equipment "silk purse made
out of the outdated sow's ear", gorgeous, huh?
Okay, maybe not "gorgeous, but certainly practical & practically free.
Here is close up of the axle mounting plate bolted and welded to the end of
the cross channel and the antenna pivot above the channel which allows
the bed to tilt..
Beauty and Sophistication...Homemade Farm Equipment
This picture shows the real sophisticated arrangement for holding the bed
down. There is a metal pin through the angle iron welded to the frame
which fits into a hole in the metal plate on the bed. The bungee cord
keeps the pin from slipping out.
To see how we use our homemade farm equipment check out
here at Blackberry Blossom Farm.
Here is a beautiful website we found that promotes
the lifestyle we live and has quality links for more information on
Country Farms and Lifestyles
all over the world.
Follow this link to
Farm Show Magazine
. A great place to see how others make their own