i live in a farming community.. though most of my work comes from the industrial centers a few miles out, i get the frequent farmer come through with ag equipment: tractors, tillers, harvesters, stuff like that. i weld alot of old iron.
potato season has come and gone with most of the potato crops already harvested. its very labor intensive. they plow the earth, turning everything up, and collect the potatos by hand. its hard work,
sorting through the dirt and rocks, and selecting the good potatoes. these are the two weeks where the town is dead quiet at night.. even the teenagers asleep by 10.
anyway, to make a long story short, there is a piece of equipment out here that makes the job lighter.. essentially its a plow with two vibrating grates immediately behind it.. it leaves behind a tidy row of potatoes.. and rocks. its easier to sort through, but still leaves alot to be desired. not to mention
the thing is probably 80 years old.
i'd like to build them a new one. theres not really much to this design-- its all mechanical with two moving parts (the grates and a cam that keeps them hopp'n).. its dragged along by a heavy tractor and powered via PTO.
in the good old American spirit.. i'd like to make it better. better means no rocks.
for the life of me i can't figure out how to sort the rocks from the potatoes. potatoes are about the same size and weight. theyre even the same color, they don't float on water, i can't use a blower to separate them.. i'm stumped.
i know somewhere out there, there is equipment that can do this.. and i know there are some pretty sharp beans on this forum.
any body have even a remote idea on how this could be(or is) accomplished? preferably without a microprocessor based vision system.
if i get this thing built with the help of the forum, i'll post the complete CAD drawings here.
i'm essentially doing this for free anyway.. a farming collective is footing the materials bill. though i do get free fresh potatoes. the lucky winner gets a big sack of grade A potatoes, how's that?