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Flat-proof tiller tires: never worry about flats again.


On seasonal equipment, it isn't uncommon to find the tires flat when you go to use it and our roto-tiller was no exception. Even filled with stop leak, the poor quality foreign tires wouldn't hold air and within a couple of years the sidewalls cracked from being deflated. The least expensive foreign replacement tires cost over $50 apiece so I decided enough was enough.

After weighing the options, I decided to take a step back in time and replace the tires with super lowtech, bulletproof metal tires, just like the old-time tractors used to sport. It seemed like a pretty straight forward project and I was able to scrounge all of the components. I figured a couple of hours invested building metal tiller tires would save me a lot of hassles in the future.


Figure A: To get started, I measured the diameter of the rubber tire and then located a piece of old pipe with approximately the same diameter. I then cut off the old tire which had been siliconed on a couple of seasons earlier in an effort to seal the bead.


Figure B: I scrounged a piece of 1/4" thick, 14" diameter pipe exactly the right width for two "tires" when cut in half. Thinner material would easily work and could be purchased, but I was committed to doing the entire project with scraps.


Figure C: A 4.5" angle grinder with a thin cutoff wheel sliced the pipe easily. A felt marker was used to put a line around the center. (The wheel guard is off for illustrative purposes only. Always use guards and wear eye protection.)


Figure D. The remaining halves were the right dimensions to start building the metal wheel. It took three cutoff wheels to cut the entire pipe at about 50 cents a wheel.


Figure E. The tiller wheel is centered in the pipe cutoff and then tacked in place with 2 pieces of 1/4" x 1" flat stock. I allowed the flat stock to stick out about half past the outside diameter of the pipe as it wouldn't bother anything.

Figure F. The addition of two 90 degree short spokes to the rear flat stock helped distribute the torque. With the front spokes tack welded in place, I made sure the wheel spun freely. I have always felt it's better to overkill and never have to worry about a weld breaking. It was amazing how true the wheels ran out, less than 1/8" wobble.


Figure G. After cutting some scrap 1" angle iron to span the width of the new wheel, I installed the "paddles" with a few tacks, and making sure everything worked properly, did a final weld on everything.

Figure H. In just two hours of light fabrication, (considerably less time and sweat than I had previously spent over the years trying to get the rubber tires to hold air), I took the tiller out and tilled the entire garden. The steel paddles worked flawlessly and have noticeably more traction than the rubber tires did. I don't ever have to worry about flats again and have a feeling the new steel tires will outlive the tiller a hundred times over.


Anyone with basic metal working skills, a welder and the ability to scrounge up some old pipe, flat stock and angle iron (bed frames work great) can build some steel tires and whip up some really ugly, flat-proof steel tiller tires.

Make a leaf vacuum/mulcher


This leaf vacuum/mulcher is made from a large plastic twowheeled garbage can. You'll need to clamp the cover to the can (Karl used stretch cords). This doesn't shred leaves, but there's no wear on the plastic vacuum blade (available from hardware stores).

COUNTRYSIDE: You can rake leaves into several piles using a tarp to collect the leaves. Pick up the four corners of the tarp to carry leaves to your garden.

After cutting down a huge leaf maker, I rake where the wind blows the most leaves. I use a mulching lawn mower for leaves.--Karl E. Hoese, Greenfield, Wisconsin


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Title Annotation:The machine shed
Author:Evers, Dennis
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Previous Article:Small farm profit system.
Next Article:Autumn frost protection for your garden.

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