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AndyF's picture


Member for
12 years 2 months


Stream of Forum Topics

In 50 characters or less... Posted by Post date Last comment Number of Comments # of Comments new to you
Project Status AndyF Friday, March 28, 2014 - 8:46am Monday, June 2, 2014 - 10:53pm 4
Thanks AndyF Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 8:57pm Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 8:57pm 0
Potential Commercially Available 80% Solution? AndyF Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 4:53pm Monday, October 22, 2012 - 4:32pm 3
Prior Art - both home brew and low cost commercial AndyF Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 11:15am Monday, October 22, 2012 - 11:43am 2

Stream of Forum Comments

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Thanks for posting the link. I wasn't aware of Bellspray's products.

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Thanks for mentioning this study. I reviewed the project report and outreach materials while preparing my grant application. The issue I have with the backpack sprayers is that they are primarily spot sprayers and it isn't really possible to use them in a way which results in uniform application rates. Plus, it is slow going, even with two nozzles on a wand if you are spraying a trellised crop like tomatoes which may be 8+ ft. tall.

Based on our farm experience with both Solo backpack and caddy style sprayers, we have determined that for us it will make sense to build a boom type sprayer that we can pull through the tunnel.

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I built the one in the picture. We didn't save drawings and just had a few simple sketches to build it from. When we make the next one, it will be much simpler and a little sturdier. We have broken the weld on the upright piece which clamps to a garden cart or bucket on a loader so will need to make this part a little better. We will also replace the 4 spoke pieces which keep the spool aligned as it winds with sheetmetal disks. The disks may be slightly dished, will be lighter and much simpler to fab.

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We just built it. No drawings. It is a simple enough piece to just fab up using scrap in the shop. The only critical thing for us was the cores. We initially used a poly core tube from a roll of greenhouse plastic which worked great. When we used that up, we tried white PVC pipe which is more brittle and didn't machine as well. We cut the cores to length on either a horizontal bandsaw - which worked well, but was slow or the tablesaw - much quicker, but a little more dangerous. The notches for the drive pin were cut on the bridgeport.

AndyF's picture - link to french company which produces device with irrigation functionality similar to what is described by Louis in the project scope. Price per node ~250EUR.

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We're considering adding thermostatically controlled shutters to two high tunnels next season and are also thinking of motorizing the roll-up sides or installing motorized drop down sides so that the sides as well as the gable peak vents can automatically open and close depending upon inside temperature.

I'd like to discuss any experiences people may have had with automated roll-up sides, specifically reliability and any cost savings/yield improvements realized as well as lower cost methods for automating the roll-up/drop down sides. Commercial systems are well out of my price range.

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A walk behind garlic planter would be a real time saver for us and have much better ergonomics than hand planting. Some work has been done in Thailand developing and evaluating small scale planters, , this work could be used as a basis for building a similar machine, possibly using a BCS type power unit as the drive.

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We're using DIG controllers for irrigation in the high tunnels and for some field irrigation, but are interested in finding a controller which has a more friendly user interface, can be accessed from any PC on our network, easily allows forced starts and stops of individual valves, ties into flow meters to track gallons being applied, allows for input from irrometers or other tools to sense soil moisture and/or rainfall, can be enables starts/stops of chemilizers for injection of materials into the irrigation water (ex. citric acid in high tunnels for pH management or compost teas) can send data to an excel spreadsheet for tracking water usage and would have the potential to use the information from the rain gages and/or irrometers to change the pre-programmed irrigation schedule, ie if we get 1" of rain in a week, automatically disable the irrigation start for that week, or in a high tunnel if soil moisture is sufficient, cancel the second scheduled watering cycle.

I'm interested in partnering with people with programming skills to build this type of tool, or talking with people with irrigation and/or industrial controls experience to see what might be available as a stock solution.

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We're considering building a sprayer which we could be used in the high tunnels as a bed sprayer for greens for either foliar feeds or materials such as pyganic or entrust and would also be convertible to a sprayer for trellised crops such as cukes and tomatoes for spraying of materials like kaligreen as well as entrust, pyganic and neem oil.

Ideally the sprayer would be metered based on ground speed to ensure that materials are applied at the proper rate and would be set up so that tips can be easily changed depending upon the material being applied.

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I've been using the paperpot transplanter on my farm since 2009 and have been very happy with the results. It does a great job for me with alliums, beets, turnips, spinach, asian greens, small lettuces, kohlrabi and several other crops. The economics for the tool are compelling - it can easily pay for itself in less than one year.

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Some of the tools we have in our farm shop Metal Shop - 15X30" Harrison Lathe, 9X42 Bridgeport Mill, #22 Buffalo Drill Press, 4 Spindle Electro Mecano Drillpress, Boyar Schultz 6X12 Super Deluxe Surface Grinder, Champion 7hp 2 stage air compressor, Miller 300A Shopmate Multiprocess welder, Lincoln 250A IdealArc multiprocess welder, wire feeders and watercooled TIG for the welders, Oxy-Acetylene torches, Presto-lite torch, Hossfeld Bender, Kalamazoo Horizontal Bandsaw, 20" Delta Vertical Bandsaw w/Blade welder, Miller Plasma Cutter, 2 ton portable Gantry w/Budgit chain hoist, hydraulic press, parts washer, sand blaster, + necessary ancillary equipment, benches, handtools and portable tools. The shop is in a 24X40 space divided into 3 bays - a 14X24 machine shop, a 8X24 parts storage area w/mezzanine above and a 18X24 shop bay for fab work and equipment repair

Wood Shop - Powermatic TA66 tablesaw, DeWalt Radial Arm Saw, Delta drillpress, Walker Turner Radial Drillpress, Delta 13" planer, Powermatic 8" jointer, Delta shaper, Delta Overarm Router, Jet 18" Bandsaw, 12X36 lathe, + workbenches, hand tools and portable power tools. The woodshop is in a 26X28 room adjacent to the metal shop

Other equipment - Landa pressure washer, portable forge, anvil, blacksmith tools, generator, ladders, scaffolding, 3pt mount forklift

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For repair work

Phone list of parts suppliers and shops for the work you don't want to do multimeter for troubleshooting electrical problems flashlight good measuring equipment - tape measures, 6" and 12" scales, calipers and micrometers set of pry bars set of drifts lots of hammers, up to at least a 10lb sledge Jacks and jackstands hydraulic press good 1/2" impact wrench lots of wrenches - sockets from 1/4" through 3/4" drive, combination wrenches through at least 1 1/4", good adjustable wrenches from 6" through at least 15"

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You could look at getting a york rake for your tractor and use it to windrow the rocks which come up after tilling. You would still need to hand pick them, but it would be quicker to pick out of a windrow than if they are scattered around your field. You can also rent a bobcat with a rock picking attachment once a year, or at least until most of the rocks in the top 12" of soil have been removed.

Finally for planting in beds, I am very happy with the DeWit Bed Rake I picked up from Earth Tools. It has a wider spacing between the tines than a regular iron rake and does a great job of removing rocks and undecomposed organic matter from a bed.

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I'm Andy. I have a small certified organic and GAPs certified vegetable and fruit farm in Central NY. We are primarily a CSA farm, but also have a farmstand on the farm and will be selling at one Farmers Market this season.

We like to play in the shop on our farm and have built a variety of tools we use on the farm including several sprayers, a bed flamer, a potato planter, and a hydraulically controlled offset mount for our Rotary One Transplanter.

We also aren't shy about purchasing equipment which can save us time and make some money. One of our best purchases in the last few years was a paperpot transplanter.

One of the projects we are working on this season is automating irrigation in the high tunnels. We'll start with DIG controllers, but ultimately, we are looking at a more sophisticated solution which can run off our farm network.

Before starting the farm, 10 years ago, I worked in manufacturing for 15 years. My educational background is in Materials Science and Industrial Engineering.