Cyclo 900 Bean Planter
Since I have some down time, I thought I would put together a post on my bean planter project. Last summer I bought two Case Cyclo 900 6-30 planters. Over the winter my brother and I completely tore them down to the frame. We cut off every welded bracket until we were down to a bare backbone. I rewedded 6 of the original row unit mounts 7.5" left of center of their original location. I added two 1/2" thick steel plates to the back side of the backbone to account for marker clearance and extending the frame 2-5/8" to allow room for all of the row units. My day job employer burned out some 3/8" row unit setback on their plasma table for me. My brother borrowed a 1/2" square broach and we put the holes in the setbacks for 1/2" carriage bolts. I built a jig and pre-assembled six 20" row unit setbacks. I welded the setbacks to the backbone alternating in between each of the shorter "original" row unit mounts. There are 12 rows on 15" centers with 20" of longitudinal clearance. Next I re-welded the two axle mounts on the front side of the backbone. The axles and tires do not fit on the rear with 15" rows. We also assembled the two bolt on axle mounts on the front too. I had my work make me new seed hopper mounts. I raised the hoppers 12" and moved them 19" forward on the backbone. We put each seed hopper on a narrow pallet and mounted each of the outside leg mounts. We used the pallet forks to position the box and set it level. i tacked it on and then we installed the inner two leg mounts. We did the same with the second hopper. I fully welded the leg mounts to the backbone and we added stiffeners between the legs. We also added rear hopper legs, some of which sere able to be mounted the the row unit set backs and some we had to make custom mounts to go to the back bone. At this point we lifted the whole unit with the backhoe and installed the axles and the tongue.
All of the parallel arms were shot, so I ordered the bushing kit from Precision Planter Solutions. It was not any fun to install, but they turned out nice and work well in the field. The arms are tight as new. The closing disc arms and spring tubes were also shot, i bought new spring tubes, but I re-machined the arms. I bought a 3' stick of precision tubing from McMaster Carr and reamed it the the correct inside diameter. I then drilled and reamed the arm to snugly fir the outside of the of the tube, creating my own bushings. They turned out really good. I bought completely rebuilt all consumable wear parts and made sure each row unit was back to factory new. I reran the main drive shaft, with a modification. On standard 6 row cyclos, one side of the planter drives the seed and one side drives the fertilizer. so theoretically its possible to dump a lot of seed and no fert, or a lot of fert and no seed if your planting on a sever curve. To remedy this, I cut down a spare gear off the second planter. I put it in the center of the frame connecting the left and right main drive shafts. Now, which ever tire has the greatest ground speed sets the seed rate since this planter has no fertilizer. Its also a quadruple fail safe if I lose a chain. I don't have a whole lot of curvy fields, but id rather dump too much seed than not enough. I reattached the seed transmission on the front side of the back bone. It is the same height as it was originally, just moved laterally. I used the insecticide drive shafts off both planters and mounted them higher up on my custom hopper mounts. I used that shaft to drive both seed boxes off of one transmission. I do have the second transmission, but not seed gears to make it work at all populations. In the future it is definitely possible to disconnect the main drive shaft coupler and run two transmissions operating the left and right sides independently.
I added an auxiliary hydraulic tank to the tongue with an inline filter and a new pto hydraulic pump. I also installed a regulator valve with an overflow tank return to help minimize the amount of heat generated from the gear pump. With everything finished up, the planter got a good washing and a total new paint job. We then installed all of the row units and made all new seed tubes from scratch. Because of moving the axles and adding row units, the planter is rear end heavy. When the planter is lifted it picks up on the tractor, when the planter is in the ground it pushes down on the tractor. We made a draw bar spacer to minimize the upward and downward slamming on the draw bar. Overall the tractor carries the weight well. (I'm using an Oliver 1650) you don't notice anything strange and it doesn't feel squirrely going down the road. There are a few things I ran out of time on. The markers didn't get gone over or painted, and I want to build a catwalk over top the row units and steps to get up to the seed hoppers. I have no problem hauling bags up there standing on row units, but my dad and wife cant do it. That will be a next year project.
Thank you! I haven't filled the hoppers completely full since I haven't had a full day to plant beans yet, but I should be able to cover at least 30 acres to a fill. Hopefully tomorrow and Friday I'll be able to run all day and night. I'll find out for sure then.
Overall I am very happy with it. It no-tills very well. I have had no problems slicing through residue and no issues with plugging. The beans get in the ground and get covered very well. It has been a learning curve. I have had some pretty uneven row populations. I have come to figure out the rubber air cut off wheels the allow for seed drop needed replaced. they were not consistently sealing against the drum and dropping seed. I also broke the clevis hitch. It was completely my fault. I run a spacer between the draw bar and hitch to minimize the planter slamming up and down on the tractor. Well, I pulled into a really steep field drive and ran out of clearance, cracked the top of the clevis and the hitch separated. Other than that, it has been great.
Nice! How many units does each hopper hold?
Yes, do not put a spacer in that clevis. It is designed for that exact reason. Add a neighbor do it on his brand new to him 900. Except the planter then rolled back downhill and tore the ends off of his wire harness. Luckily all them harnesses are wired the same. Off the top of my head isn't like 23 24 or 24 25 your power and ground and then each number one through eight is your rows or one through 12 or 1 through 16