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I finally got around to making a homemade string trimmer, much like the one offered by DR. It does what DR's does, and is powered by a 3 1/2 hp B&S engine. I can swing 4 strands of .155" line in a 24" diam cut, and has yet to bog down. I fail to see what DR has to offer by powering their cutter with a 6 or more hp engine, as the 3 1/2 hp does it just fine.
My biggest problem was making a cutter head that worked right, and did not lead to excessive line breakage, but still allowed easy line chage. I think I have it with this version, but a few more trial tests will tell me shortly. I can adjust the cutting heights from 1" to 3" off the ground in 1/2" increments. Previous head versions all resulted in early line breaking at the head itself. I only have one small roll of line I bought at Home Depot, which is supposedly heavy duty commercial grade, but it leaves a lot to be desired. Anyone use that silver colored or gray colored line by Husky? How does it hold up in use? Kind of pricey, but if it lasts longer than the HD stuff, it will be better in the long run.

My cutter seems to cut equally as well with one, two or 4 strands of line, but you just can't push it as fast with one strand, but its still more than useable. Its pretty good, and with a non rotating "mower support ball" on the spindle end, you can have it running and it just sets in the spot you let it without moving, just like a regular lawn mower. My wheel track is 16" so I have more than ample area outside the width of the wheel track to get up close and along fences etc. I made it so I can eventually add the capability to offset the cutter head to cut to the right or left, but I really think its not necessary. Tires are wide high flotation types that were originally on the front end of a Toro rider mower. So after a few more uses, and perhaps some tweaking here and there, all it will need is a decent coat of paint, and then all I can say is the grass and weeds better be aware come spring of next year!

I hope to get some pics up on my website as soon as possible, but right now I just do not have the time.



:) :)
 

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The only part I can help you with is the line issue. I run the 95 Husky titanium line on my weed wacker. It seems to be good line compared to some of the others at Lowes of HD. Mine breaks at the head quit a bit as well. This happened a lot more when I used the cheaper line. The weed wacker I have is supposed to use 80 line but I stepped it up a size to see what would happen. They say you have to keep the line real tight when you wind it on a self feeding head or the friction can heat it up and it will break off. I also had it suggested to me to spray the head and line with Pam, and keep the line cold. Overall I like the Husky line and will probably continue to use it even when I get my new weed wacker! I am would like to see what your machine looks like!:party:
 

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Can you post a pic

Chipmaker
Can you post a picture of it sure would like to see it:hello:
Jody
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Success at last. I think I solved my line breakage. I redisigned my cutter head, and also changed brands of line. I really think the line was the biggest problem. I used some 9x(?) sized Husky ine and it lasted a long time. The new so called .155" commercial line lasted nowhere near as long as the thinner Husky stuff did, so I would have to say its a line quality issue for the most part. I have a large roll of 9x sized round red line that I was given years ago, that has seen relatively little use, as it also did not ever last long.

Anyway I had wanted to make the head to be able to accept line changes and utilize precut length of line (25" OAL) which when folded in half give me my 24" diam cut, as the "extra" 1" of line is used inside the head for securing it. The head has two slotted holes 180 deg apart. In these holes are fitted a round 3/8" diam pin. 35 deg to the left and right of these slotted holes are 5/16" diam pressed in pins, which act as a soprt of support for the string to lay against and have a round edge to reduce stress and breaking. To change line, you insert a line in front of one 5/16" pin, and up and around in front of the pin in the 3/8" slot, and back under the trailing 5/16" diam pin. and pull tug both ends of the line outward. This shifts the sliding pin outward and wedges it against the pin. Once the engine is started and the head is rotating, centrifugal force applies pressure to this sliding pin, and securely locks the line in place. The sliding pin is secured in its slot so there is no possiblilty of it coming out during use, unless you remove a small roll type drive pin.. I sure hate to post a picture of it, with it in need of a decent paint job, but I guess that issue can be over looked.

Still a few little mods I need to do, such as make the handle bars just a bit higher, and fabricate a top cover to close up the front nose piece of the spindle arm, to keep any debri out of the belt channel, and make a better lever operated belt tensioner / clutch than the knob adjusted one thats on it now, but it works, so now its just a matter of refinnning it.
 

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Where is your honor sir!!!! You dangle the carrot and then slap us again......Give us a picture please!!!:grapevine
 

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Discussion Starter #7
head on view of trimmer. Swings up to a 24" diam.
 

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Looks Good

Looks good i take it the handle came of a tiller:question:Its nice when you can take something and make something out of it and be able to use it. :thumbsup:
Jody
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here is a pic of the cutter head. Its adjustable by inserting the line through the different grooves, which make it adjustable from 1" to 3" in cutting heights. I have since eliminated the set screws that are protruding from the sides of the cutter head, and have run the line over the pin that the screws originally pushed against, and centrifugal force pushes the moveable pin outwards and secures the line in place. It has yet to slip on me. No tools needed for line change. To change line you just insert new line in slot under stationary pin and over moveable pin and back under opposite stationary pin. Quick and simple. The stamped steel saucer shaped disk on the bottom is a guide that allows the mower to be swiveled or pushed without digging in the ground. It is totally independant of the rotating cutter head, and has a sealed ball bearing to allow it to remain free from rotation and to allow head to swivel around. I found that if I use one strand of line from each side instead of two from each side (doubled over in half) there is no tangling if pushing through heavier vegetation. I also found that if I have one side of the dooubled up line ectending out to cut to the 24" dia cut, and leave the other end of the line about half as long there is also no tangling. When both ends of the same line is equal lengths there is a bit of a tendency to get tangled in heavy growth. I think I need to spend a few bucks on a new motor, as this motor (found it used) although it runs, is giving me fits. One minute its easy to start, the next it just refuses to crank. I had the head off it and the cylinder is scored up pretty bad.

I believe its a 3.5 hp engine. I can get a scratch and dent 5 hp for 100 bucks w/warranty............but first I need to try yet another freebie motor I have thats 3.75 hp. But the end result is, it works and works fine. Still have to make a different set of handle bars that are a bit longer. So far my total investment is $0.00, not counting the price of the trimmer line. Everything else was scrounged from junk garden and lawn equipment and other "treasures" I managed to accumulate over time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: Looks Good

Originally posted by jodyand
Looks good i take it the handle came of a tiller:question:Its nice when you can take something and make something out of it and be able to use it. :thumbsup:
Jody
Yes, the handle bar assembly came from an old junk Green Thumb brand tiller. The base which the motor is mounted on came from yet another really old tiller. The base is stamped steel and also fits over another section so the entire underside containing the belt is totally enclosed. The steel on this stamping is about 1/4" in thickness. Super heavy duty. They don't make things like that today. The wheels are from the front of an old TORO rider mower. The head is turned from 4 1/2" 6061 T6 aluminum, and it runs on a 1" diameter spindle mounted in sealed and shielded ball bearings(on outer sides). The bottom glide dish is from an old Jonsered trimmer. The nose piece to which the spindle assembly is mounted that looks like a piece of C channel is from my old JD 180 lawn tractors bagger support. The rest is just odds and ends of collected junk. I fopund the motor in a dumpster, and I originally intended to melt it down for the aluminum, but I decided to see if it worked, as it appeared to be in decent shape but the cylinder is scored pretty bad, but it still runs ok, its just hard to start. So far I have cleaned a 24" swath along close to 1,200 feet of fencing, as well as general trimming under and around shrubs and trees etc. Ain't missed a beat yet!
 

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:clap:

That will really save on the back I am sure. I hope your line setup works out, a little trial and error will help, you sure can’t beat free though!. Have you thought about a shield type setup like the DR has? I would think it would throw quit a bit of stuff around when cutting. Safety glasses would be a minimum I would think!!!! Looks great and let us know when you get it all worked out and used it a little more!!! Thanks for the pictures!

:peace:
 
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