Greetings from West Africa!
As I've been lurking around here for a while and benefiting from all of the great ideas that you all have ... I think I'd better contribute some stuff of my own!
One of the more valued and important tools in the area where I live is a planting machine. They are drawn by a donkey, a horse, or a pair of oxen and used to plant all of the main crops here - millet, sorghum, corn, and peanuts.
I've wanted to start building them for a while, but up until recently the cast iron gear box was very hard to come by. The main company making the planting machines (Sismar) located in Dakar, Senegal is not interested in selling the gear box as it would take away from their market share. BUT, someone made a copy! All the way down to the Sismar stamp on the back. It's not a great copy, but good enough to give a try at making a machine around it.
With that gearbox in hand, I borrowed our family's old and worn out planting machine and basically made a copy with a few modifications. I used a bit heavier steel for the main frame, welded more elements instead of using rivets, eliminated some features that no one seems to use any more (row guides, etc), and made a seed box out of aluzinc instead of galvanized steel.
Our family was happy to use the machine for planting their peanuts this year and had no complaints about how it worked. The only thing that I think needs fixing is bending the handles after the donkey cart driver smashed into a tree with the planter tied to the cart.
Here are a few pictures of the finished product:
And a video of it in action:
Hope that this inspires someone out there to attempt something similar!
Thanks for posting this Erik
We do everything on a huge scale here with tractors doing at least 5-6 rows at time and I didn't work on row crop machinery. So I've never actually gotten up close to how it's done.
It's certainly an interesting machine although not being familiar with the workings it's kind of hard to see the details of how it works. I assume it's a gear reduction powered off the wheels that singulates the seeds and spreads them out to feed the injection tube so the crops are spread out.
I could be wrong, but it sounds like there is maybe a need for a simpler machine that doesn't need the gearbox out of cast iron? just a thought.
You are right about how the machine works - just changes the rotation of the wheels 90 degrees so that a disc (that is changed based on the crop - seed size) rotates through the seeds and brings some up to the top to fall down the tube into the soil.
The idea of simpler machine is appealing! I've looked at different models and done a lot of thinking and decided that it's better to stick with this old machine that is very common here. I tried to make mine completely compatible with the other ones here as all of the parts and the skill set to fixing them is available locally.
That being said, I'm all ears about a simpler way to make it!
I would not presume to know the situation better than you do. It was just an observation with no real understanding of the whole dynamics. I personally am all about either modifying or repurposing way before building from scratch. But one of the main things this site is about is making something out of available materials.
I thought the gearbox was a major restriction, but if you have plenty of old ones to draw from why bother reinventing the wheel? Using materials that won't deteriorate like aluminum instead of like the old zinc plated hopper along with a heavier duty frame like you did is all a good idea. Here they use plastic which is stupid IMHO and makes for planned obsolescence and premature failure.
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