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In case you missed it there was a thread on the Homesteading forum yesterday about building a small grain harvesting machine. Let's hear your thoughts and ideas on it too.

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=92683

After doing more research last evening and thinking about it I feel that a person could build some grain stripper teeth out of plastic barrels. At least the barrels I have are very thick plastic and are very tough. The flat section in the middle portion of the barrel is 11 inches X 62 inches which would allow many sections to be cut out of it.

I drew out and penciled down quite a number of ideas working toward a simple machine which many could built easily by many. Efficiency would probably be moderate at best but would save much much hand labor.

I even tossed around the idea of thrashing what comes from the header with a washing machine tub on a horizontal axis used to tumble blocks of wood to beat out remaining grain from the heads. The grain should fall through the holes to help separate out the chaff. A fan could be use to blow lighter chaff away as it falls into a container or pile.

I'm thinking one would want to use a lawn mower engine since there would a consider amount of them available for the masses to use as I don't think pedal power could get the stripper rotor spinning properly and keep it up to speed when moving through the standing grain as well as propelling the machine forward and powering a tiny auger to remove the grain from the header unit.

I feel that stripping most of the berries from the stalk would be better than trying to thresh them off of stalks already cut.

Your thoughts and ideas? Completely different? Let's hear them no matter how off the wall they might be, after all my off the wall one was presented.
 

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When I walk in a wheat field I grab the wheat stem so the head is in between my curled fingers and my palm and my thumb is opposite the 2nd knuckle on my first finger against the stem. Pull up and I have the berries in my hand. Rub those berries between both of my hands and I have removed the chaff. Blow across my hand and the chaff is gone.

I would think that the hardest part to do mechanically would be separating the berries from the stem reliably. Sounds like you have some good ideas though. Maybe strips of rubber innertube or something as a flail. It would not necessarily have to be large diameter like a washing machine either - though using the holes in the tub is a great idea.

Home depot sells some 2' square pieces of sheet metal grate with a pattern of 1/4 or 5/16 inch holes - that might be an option.
 

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What about putting something together like an old clipper seed separator? those were made for small farms to clean their seed before planting..... why not use it to cleen the seed for what ever else too..... yes a person would have to get it off the field and to the shed..... details.....

It is the reason I have always liked the old AC pull type combines..... even with only a 5 foot header a small field can be harvested fairly quickly..... and for seed they couldnt really be beat if taken care of..... i suspect if any were left most found their way to the scrap yards this past year with the higher price of scrap..... but the patents are still available to look at and build from there too.....

William
 
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