Stone Fork Has Unique Crowd Action

Location
Ross
Stone fork has unique crowd action

Most farmers have to drive over or past stones when ploughing or cultivating. They can't lift them, or carry them to the hedge. Stone picking is an optional extra.

Albert O'Neill uses his front mounted fork, which he fits to the front of his tractor when ploughing, cultivating or rolling. The substantial fork lifts stones of more than a ton, and he uses it to carry them to the hedge.

"I'll be lifting stones the size of a TV set with the machine, and there's no way I could do it without the fork," says Albert, who farms with his parents and brother near Strabane.

Double close coupled rams make this stone picker extra special

This stone fork fits on the JCB handler as well as the Wilson front linkage kit on the Ford 8240. The green fitting are for the JCB, and the tractor mountings are in the centre. Albert O'Neill farms with parents and his brother near Strabane, N Ireland, and the area is quite stony. Albert collects stones while ploughing, cultivating and rolling, which means he needs the fork on the front linkage. He needs it as close to the tractor as feasible, to keep the weight on the front axle low - not so necessary when ploughing, but very much so when rolling. He digs and collects the stones while working the field, and dumps them in the hedge. He needs the JCB to collect and load them into a trailer.

His one-of-a-kind top link design means that it closes to around 18 inches and opens to 50, which provides a wide angle of tip on the fork. To get the same angle with a single ram would require the implement to be much further from the front of the tractor.

Albert explains how he calculated the length of ram he needed:
"I put the fork on the front linkage and tipped it down to the angle necessary for digging and prising stones, and measured the top link distance. I then lifted the fork so it was at the correct angle to crowd the stones, and measured how short it would be when closed."

Taking the closed length away from the extended length gave Albert the full length of travel, which he then halved, as the pistons were going in opposite directions.

"The problem is much the same as on a trailer, the closed
ram is less than half the length of the open one. On the trailer they fit a two stage ram, but these can only return by gravity, and I obviously needed something that worked under power in both directions."


The ram was ordered over the internet from Sparex, who list a wide variety of ram sizes.
The rams are fitted back to back on a steel bracket. The piston ends of the rams attach to the top link pins, so the rams are in the centre of the gap. Both need to be securely attached, and Albert decided on three U brackets per ram. The cylinder end has a pin going through a clevis.

Albert wondered briefly about welding the two rams together but decided the cylinders would be likely to bend with the heat, and maybe seals would be damaged as well.

A single ram system would be possible if he were to use a mounting similar to a link box, but the only problem is that the fork would be further from the tractor.

Hydraulics not so difficult

The rams need connecting so they extend together and contract together, and a pair of T blocks are used rigged in tandem.

Conclusion

Local farmers who have seen the machine working are impressed with the way it copes with large stones, and the way it articulates so easily. Picking stones from the field when they are first seen is better than leaving them and hoping they won't damage machinery - the job has definitely reduced the number of big stones around. He finds it sometimes annoying to break off ploughing and run back and collect a boulder, but the effort is worthwhile in terms of fewer machinery breakages.

Any reader interested in having one made for them should contact Mike at Practical Farm Ideas 07778877514

The Pictures

PFI1.jpg

High capacity stone fork is used to dig them out and collect and load

PFI3.jpg

Raised position and the ram is around 18ins long

PFI4.jpg

Open position and the close coupled rams are over 50ins

PFI5.jpg

Close up of ram open, with the hydraulic connections

PFI6.jpg

When closed the ram is little more than 18ins long

Copyright: All articles are copyright Practical Farm Idea Magazine and published on The Farming Forum under licence from the magazine and in agreement with The Farming Forum. Please do not reproduce without permission.

Note From Practical Farm Ideas


If you don't already subscribe to PFI, then you can Subscribe here for £16.50 a year. However, if you have a specific problem and you wonder if this has already been covered in PFI then you can read a list of all the project covered over the past 20 years in our Index document.

And finally if you have a project you have done, that you would like featured in PFI, then please email Mike Donovan at editor@farmideas.co.uk
 

Clive

Staff Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lichfield
You featured on 3 pages this month:) good read! But you gave too many secrets away.:)



Some can't see for looking.:banghead:
Mike is the only ag journo I will talk with - every other time I have been interviewed they seem to take no notice and write what they want to the point I refuse to let them publish it with my name in it !
 

nick...

Member
Location
south norfolk
Im a subscriber and when i first discovered it i bought about ten years of back issues.only got to get one idea and magasines paid for themselves.also chatted to mike several times and have great conversations even though he probably wont remember me.i allways say ill photograph stuff ive made and send in but never get round to it
Nick...
 

Nearly

Member
Location
North of York
I was in PFI in the early days, (silage clamp tyre storage and a link box to hook on the yard scraper). I subscribed ten years ago once again but let it lapse.
Might have to pay the money again.
 

Chae1

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
No he's invented bolting two together, quite clever really cause your getting the same minimum length of a single closed ram but twice the full open length
I've never failed to get a stone out with a normal one. Perhaps they need a digger if they're going that deep.

Have you done much with a stane graip?

It is a good idea. A bit of extra length always comes in handy.

ai1071.photobucket.com_albums_u510_Wardend1_20160303_171351.jpg



ai1071.photobucket.com_albums_u510_Wardend1_20150108_143039.jpg
 
Last edited:

Nearly

Member
Location
North of York
Any pictures of the storage idea? @Nearly
Long ago we had a indoor clamp with a lean to for cattle. I built a rack 2 tyres wide on the wall, overhanging the cattle area, for the full length of the shed. Tyres stored under cover all winter.
Rack had mesh floor so air still moved around cattle area. :cool:

It saved us a lot of work.....for the 3 years we used it until we sold up and moved. :(
 

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