Project 331, Vaderstad restoration and isobus conversion

Colliedog

Member
Location
Dorset
I must admit to enjoying looking at others workshop projects on the forum, This year I'm rebuilding my drill and thought it would probably be an interesting enough project to share. The drill in question is a Vaderstad 30s which is a mounted Rapid drill that has always been very rare but is also now very old, bearing the serial number 331 hence the title of the thread!
I have owned this drill for almost 10 years and to be fair it had done a lot of work when I bought it and although it still looks tidy in the photo (which was taken 5 years ago) it is now completely worn out. On top of this the chassis has cracked in a place you cant get too with the welder.
The sensible thing would probably to replace the drill for something newer but I happen to really like it for many reasons including, seed placement and its ability to cope with many varied conditions including wet and sticky conditions compared with heavier trailed drills. I also like the fact that being mounted it follows the tractor more accurately on sidling ground, also because its different and quirky I seem to pick up lots of contracting work with it.
The plan is to strip the drill down completely, repair any broken components and have everything shot blasted and powder coated before reassembly with new parts as necessary. Part of the rebuild will be to convert the mechanical wheel driven metering to motor driven controlled through isobus this will hopefully allow me to use variable rate seeding as well as section control for the headlands.
I am slightly cheating as I have already started this project in the late spring and am just starting to put it back together, this meant I had to borrow a drill for the autumn drilling which wasn't ideal but hopefully it will be ready for the spring barley.

View attachment Rapid-30s.pdf
drill.jpg
 

Colliedog

Member
Location
Dorset
Interested to see more photos, which system are you using for the isobus conversion?
I have chosen to use the Mueller system, I don't know how it compares to other kits but It looked good and seemed relatively good value https://mueller-elektronik.de/en/produkte/isobus-drill-controller-3/?category=464#produkt
One thing they were slightly concerned about was the motor having enough torque to drive a box drill metering system so I had to measure the start torque with a torque wrench it seemed like it would cope so just have to keep fingers crossed!
One thing that caused a bit of a headache was working out how to get the drive to the metering shaft. I eventually decided to take the easy option and run through the original drill variable speed gearbox. Whilst this has the potential to cause speed variation issue it is a very simple way to connect the motor. the drill has always been very accurate so hopefully this shouldn't be an issue.
We have a very good local company that will take a sketch and put it onto a CAD drawing before laser cutting and folding. I use them a lot so I got them to make a motor mounting bracket. View attachment Motor Bracket.pdf
 
Always liked the look of those drills especially in the seed and fert format very simple machines and adding the isobus and motor too it should transform the calibration time. All the ones I looked at had cracked frames so probably not strong enough ( seed and fert models anyway) look forward to progress reports not been many good projects on here lately
 

Colliedog

Member
Location
Dorset
Always liked the look of those drills especially in the seed and fert format very simple machines and adding the isobus and motor too it should transform the calibration time. All the ones I looked at had cracked frames so probably not strong enough ( seed and fert models anyway) look forward to progress reports not been many good projects on here lately
It’s a lovely drill to use but the chassis cracking is a problem and probably explains why it was discontinued. I also think it must have been expensive to make for a 3m box drill.
I have re-welded mine and have made some bracing plates as well which I’m hoping will make it stronger.
 

alomy75

Member
I have chosen to use the Mueller system, I don't know how it compares to other kits but It looked good and seemed relatively good value https://mueller-elektronik.de/en/produkte/isobus-drill-controller-3/?category=464#produkt
One thing they were slightly concerned about was the motor having enough torque to drive a box drill metering system so I had to measure the start torque with a torque wrench it seemed like it would cope so just have to keep fingers crossed!
One thing that caused a bit of a headache was working out how to get the drive to the metering shaft. I eventually decided to take the easy option and run through the original drill variable speed gearbox. Whilst this has the potential to cause speed variation issue it is a very simple way to connect the motor. the drill has always been very accurate so hopefully this shouldn't be an issue.
We have a very good local company that will take a sketch and put it onto a CAD drawing before laser cutting and folding. I use them a lot so I got them to make a motor mounting bracket. View attachment 996834
Careful with the start up torque as the loading from wheat will be a lot less than that of linseed; my old freeflow used to drag the land wheel on linseed but on wheat it was a job to stop it spinning on its own 😂 whether it’s the gearing or the seed itself or both I don’t know but if they’re wary of it there’s probably good reason
 

Colliedog

Member
Location
Dorset
The next step and probably the most daunting was to strip it right back to all the individual components and make a list of parts to be repaired and new parts to be ordered. The discs, coulters and bearings were all pretty worn so went on the new parts list as well as a new set of following Harrow tines. The time beam has always been a weak component so I changed over to the newer type tines that can be mounted onto 40mm box. Apart from a set of wheel axle bushes the only other thing for the Vaderstad parts list was a new set of decals for when it looks shiny again

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Chezza

Member
Location
North Yorks
We have one of these drills, Serial number 236!
Got it about 5 years ago to drill cover crops as all we had was a combi Drill.
There are a few cracks in the chassis on ours and the marker arms are terrible for breaking the shear bolts. They are definently built a bit on the weak side but I quite like it overall.
I have drilled cereals with it onto ploughed and pressed land but it doesn’t make such a good job, seems as though it doesn’t like light land on the soft side and leaves an unlevel surface. Works great on Sumo’d or lightly carriered land.
Priced up some parts for it a few years ago and got quite a shock!. The consolidating wheel rims are getting well sort into where the optico tyres meet up to the rim. It’s done about 2500 Ha.
 

Colliedog

Member
Location
Dorset
We have one of these drills, Serial number 236!
Got it about 5 years ago to drill cover crops as all we had was a combi Drill.
There are a few cracks in the chassis on ours and the marker arms are terrible for breaking the shear bolts. They are definently built a bit on the weak side but I quite like it overall.
I have drilled cereals with it onto ploughed and pressed land but it doesn’t make such a good job, seems as though it doesn’t like light land on the soft side and leaves an unlevel surface. Works great on Sumo’d or lightly carriered land.
Priced up some parts for it a few years ago and got quite a shock!. The consolidating wheel rims are getting well sort into where the optico tyres meet up to the rim. It’s done about 2500 Ha.
That's an early one, the serial numbers started at 200! The later ones had a revised headstock, mine has been upgraded to that at some point in its life.
I did price up some new wheels but a whole set were too expensive. Like yours my rims had worn away at the beads. I'm quite annoyed I didn't photograph that bit but I rolled some 6mm rod into rings and welded them to the wheel rims. I have always liked those Otico tyres. ...Never had any trouble with punctures. :ROFLMAO:
 

Colliedog

Member
Location
Dorset
Now the drill was in bits I was able to get in and sort the chassis out. You can see in the photos the coulter carriage has completely cracked away from the main frame.
I felt the best plan of action was to re-weld it to the best of my abilities but also add some stress plates to take some of the strain rather than have all of the force trying to twist the only 4”box section the coulters are suspended from.
I have had two more plates cut and folded to which I have drilled some extra holes in the main frame and chassis so hopefully these will take a bit of the chassis stress in the future.
All the other components were in pretty good condition apart from the wheel rims which had worn on the outer rims. These wheels seem to only come with new tyres and are very expensive so I repaired the originals by rolling 8mm rod into rings and welding them to the outside of the rims.

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Teejay

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Romney Marsh
I have got 336 in the shed. It's a great little drill let down by some poor metal work.
I thought about welding the frame up a few years ago but didn't bother, you have made me feel guilty. May need to get the welder fired up.
 

Colliedog

Member
Location
Dorset
I have got 336 in the shed. It's a great little drill let down by some poor metal work.
I thought about welding the frame up a few years ago but didn't bother, you have made me feel guilty. May need to get the welder fired up.
This thread seems to be dragging them all out the woodwork! I have never seen another one in the flesh. It seems I’m not alone on the metal fatigue either!
 

Colliedog

Member
Location
Dorset
I’ve had my own shot blaster for years I have also attached some photos of previous cultivators I have reconditioned so I’m fully aware of the work involved in shot blasting and painting. The plan was to do this myself until I saw the pile of components to be painted. Whilst this really is a small drill my 16ft trailer was filled to the brim with the red parts but this didn’t include the hopper or yellow and black parts which also amounted to another full trailer load!
I have started using a local powder coating for other engineering interests and having seen how easy it is to paint on their production line this seemed a much better option. For anyone who hasn’t seen it done the process starts in a heat oven where all components have the original paint burnt off (a huge bonus to anyone who has tried blasting Vaderstad paint in the past!). It is then cleaned in a blast room to remove any residue before a quick coat of etch primer. Everything is put on racks and charged with a negative charge whilst the powder spray gun has a positive charge as the powder is sprayed at the metal parts, the powder flows around the object sticking an even coat all over. The powder is then baked on before being nicely wrapped and returned looking like new.
In order to get the correct colours we matched up some new components as well as good examples of the original colours. I always thought Vaderstad changed their red a few years ago as the newer kit is a slightly brighter red than it used to be. An original un-faded part of the drill showed the colour used to be BS 538 where as the new colour is Ral 3002 these colours are quite close but I wanted to keep the original red, seeing as the only new components were coulters and following tines Bs538 is the shade I used. I think there were many different yellows used in the early days but I think it’s signal yellow Ral 1003 used now which is what I used. The black, we used Ral 9005 jet black.
To avoid confusion I took the different colours in separately. The yellow and black going first before the first trailer load of red.

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Previous cultivators I have reconditioned
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Colliedog

Member
Location
Dorset
The workshop is starting to fill up with shiny parts to go back together. There is still one more trailer load of red parts as well as the hopper to be powder coated yet. I have also sent the zinc parts off to be re-plated, partly to fill a minimum order quantity for another project, but it does look smart coming back with the yellow passivate finish. The order of the new Vaderstad parts has also arrived.

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Andrew1983

Member
Location
Black Isle
We had one of these drills in the early 2000s I am pretty certain there was a mod that was fitted to strengthen the chassis. It also got a cat 3 shaft as an upgrade too. It was my first drill and to be honest I struggled to get depth consistent on light land, I often think how simple it was and cheap to run though. Id like to think with a lot more experience now I could get on a lot better with one.

Tidy work @Colliedog that really is quite a project you are doing, hope it all goes back together well. Would be interesting to know what it costs to put it back to as new condition as this may become the way forward for many of us who can no longer afford to buy new kit.
 

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