I've been wanting to get a set of baskets for a few years now to help out in spring to break up clumps and help level out the fields. Perhaps a bit too concerned about level fields compared to some guys - but I can't seem to bear seeing beans left in the fields in the fall because they have too many ridges in them. The perfect set up in my pea brain would be the harrows or buster bar in front of the baskets. "Lets look for something like that!" Needless to say, that was halted pretty quick considering a new set up was over $20,000 and well any used set up that was even worth looking at were pushing $14,000.
Yeah, I don't think so!
Was lucky enough to pick up a set of old pony harrows locally this past summer. Of course life got in the way and well I didn't get anything done with them last fall. So this winter I set out to build my own harrow/basket unit with the hopes that it would solve my field leveling issues as well as get rid of those nasty clay clumps in some of the fields that just never seem to go away no matter how hard you try!
The original idea I had was to change out the wheel barrow tires for some real tires and then buy some baskets to add baskets to the rear frame. Just my luck, that idea got shut down real quick when the local J&M dealer wanted $3,500 for a 6' long, 16" diameter basket - and I still had to supply the bearings for it! Not to mention I still needed to build the framework that would hold this 6' basket. After I picked myself up off the floor, I walked away from that disaster waiting to happen and worked at another plan. Figured if a big company can charge that much for some twisted steel, I should be able to make a half ass attempted at making a basket. After all, I figured I could buy a fair bit of steel for $3,500 and burn up some welding wire too! Did I know anything about making a basket - NOPE! But I figured I might as well give it a try and see if I could teach myself something along the way.
After a lot of reading, looking at pictures of different designs, and well likely out right bugging the crap out of people trying to gain some knowledge @Gearclash - I set out to build myself a harrow/basket combo unit.
Started by building myself some new wheels and tossing out the dinky assed wheelbarrow tires. Picked up some hub/spindle assemblies from my local dealer and started building. I needed to pick the brains of a few forum members about a few things in regards to the sleeve for the spindle, but in the end it worked out. Knew going into this project there would be guys here willing to throw in their two cents and the wealth of knowledge that oozes from this forum is crazy!
The welds aren't pretty, but considering I had only built a bench bottom and a ATV dump trailer in my life....I was hoping I'd improve as this progressed! HA! Wishful thinking I'd say.?
Next was the basket! Since the weather was totally crap and I had over 2 feet of snow to move in order to get the harrows out to work on them, I'd work at this basket design I had in my head. After a lot of reading and research, I decided it would be in my best interest to get myself a plasma cutter vs paying someone to do all my cutting for this project. Yeah, that's a VERY long story on how I decided upon a machine and learn how to use one of those. Nope, never been near one in operation in my life. They certainly are a neat tool to have in a shop! @Mr. Plow is one heck of salesman and should be getting royalties from the plasma company!
I had in my mind that I wanted to keep the design as cheap as I could but still make it strong enough to last and take some wear and tear. I settled on the gang bearings used in the IH-496 discs as my basket bearings. They were reasonably cheap and I knew what they could handle since I'd been using them on my 496 disc already. I wanted to stay away from a gang shaft through the middle of the basket in hopes that it wouldn't clog up with mud if I ever got into anything sticky and likely make it easier to get rocks OUT of the basket should they ever get IN? There will always be that one that will get in and you'll never get out I'm sure!
I did a lot of head scratching on the jig needed to create the basket as well as the jigs needed to create the discs to hold the bars of the basket. After many versions of the jig for the discs, I finally settle on two that would work. I found that if I made all four discs the exact same, when I "twisted" the wear bar into place, it would raise away and not contact the end disc. Thanks to @Finney & @bitty I got it figured out and ended up having to make the inside discs smaller than the end ones. This would then allow the wear bars (at least most of them) to bottom out the way they should. This is where you find out that your plasma skills need to be good - I wasn't quite there yet! Guess that's why they make grinders!?
I also needed to make some "blanks" for inside the disc so I could mount them to the jig since I didn't want to weld it up with the bearings in the end ones and well the center ones wouldn't have bearings in them.
Then the fun began! Lets start cutting the notches for the wear bars....
This shouldn't be too hard!?? I hope!
So the snow started to melt a bit and well my father was nice enough to stick the snow blower into a few banks to aid in removing it from its winter resting place and I landed the pony harrow inside and started to figure out how to make this work!
Hmmmm...... Yeah, this frame isn't going to be strong enough AT ALL!!! What the heck was I thinking? I'd have to make my baskets out of balsa wood in order to make this frame work!
So, lets just throw that original plan right out the window now. Time to rethink this and well, get something stronger.
Yes, I think this is a little more in line with what I need.....