I never had any problems with my Country Home Products' DR Field and Brush Mower. The 12.5 hp, 26" rotary had the ability to do just about everything. However, after using the DR for a summer I started thinking about the approaching winter season and the work I had ahead of me. Because of this, I called the factory that manufactures the DR and asked what kinds of snowblower attachments they offer. Although they could not supply one, I knew the machine would work well if it had a blower on it, so I set out to build my own.
During my research, I came across a 36" Sears tractor snowblower attachment laying derelict in a yard while at a garage sale. I pleaded with the owner and obtained the attachment for the bargain price of $25.
I took the mower deck off the DR, propped the blower up at the right angle and put the wheeled power unit against the back of it. After pondering for a while I figured out what I needed to do in order to mount the blower on the DR. It was essential that I make the connection close-coupled-for handling and weight considerations, yet far enough away to permit a drive system. I made some calls and checked the Internet for drive options-all of which were either cost prohibitive or cumbersome. Since this project was an 'experiment', I figured I'd couple them together, then simply eyeball the drive solution.
Upon visiting a local steel yard and collecting 10' of 1" square steel tubing, 5' of 1 1/2" square steel tubing, a piece of 3/16" plate about 24" x 24" and 2' of 1 3/8" OD round aircraft tubing (to match the 'insert' tube-and-sleeve connection for the mower deck). I was ready to build my snowblower. Using a portable band saw, oxy/acetylene torch set, 7" disc grinder, 4" disc grinder, a drill, and my Lincoln Electric AC 225 "buzz box" stick welder and Lincoln Electric Weld-Pak™ 100 wire-feeder/welder, I went to work. I'm a 'backyard' mechanic with no formal welding training but knew I could use the Weld-Pak for the light and delicate work and the buzz box for heavier material. I used the existing attachment points on the blower housing as anchors and cut and welded a 1" tubing frame to give my machine a base, then beefed it up with 1 1/2" tubing in the center, where the round tubing passed through. I cut and welded a piece of the plate steel to give myself a flat, solid base for the back of the mount. My AC-225 made the 'heavy' work easy.
Following this, I cut a hole, passed the round tubing through and, using the wire feed welder, attached the round tubing to the back of the blower and the mount plate. I was now ready to connect my DR to the blower.
My innovative snowblower was belt driven from the right-hand side - the DR drive pulley was under the engine deck on the machine centerline. I was once again back to the eyeball stage. I finally figured out that I could completely change the existing drive assembly, incorporating the 'clutch', etc. by moving it to a different plane. I cut the drive assembly off the back of the blower housing and started cutting and welding again. In the end, I mounted the entire former assembly with a new driveshaft (a slotted 3/4" 'PTO' shaft about 7" longer, to reach the centerline) about 4" lower on the back of the blower. I added a pillow block on the (new) outer end of the extended shaft for support. The plate steel surface made it easy to weld and bolt the necessary parts right where I needed them. I also had to weld a piece of angle iron to the back of my mounting plate to keep the blower, which was heavy on one end, from oscillating - the DR Field and Brush Mower is designed to oscillate with uneven ground and I used the same mounting system. The drive belt now comes from the horizontal drive pulley to the vertical driven sheave with a 1/4 twist.
I also needed a bracket to hold the upper end of the discharge chute rotation handle so I cut and welded a couple of pieces of the 1 1/2" tubing together at the correct angle, then used hose clamps to attach them to the handlebar assembly. A hole drilled through the tubing lets me remove-or-replace the chute handle very easily, just like a factory assembly.
One of the principal goals I wanted to achieve was adaptability without any change to the basic machine, and exchangeability without hassle. I can change from blower to mower or back in a matter of about 15-20 minutes and because I didn't change any of the original parts on the DR there is no loss of integrity.
I am happy to report that my 12.5 hp, 36" blower moves compacted snow without even breathing hard while in third gear. I've got about 4 trouble-free hours on the machine now and am convinced it will last a long time.
Now I've got a two-season machine that works great - and I've got my snowblower! I proved that if you want something bad enough, and have the right tools, materials and some time, you can do just about anything!
This project has been published to show how individuals used their ingenuity for their own needs, convenience and enjoyment. Only limited details are available and the projects have NOT been engineered by the Lincoln Electric Company. Therefore, when you use the ideas for projects of your own, you must develop your own details and plans and the safety and performance of your work is your responsibility.