Picture of Leaf catcher 2000
I built this catcher a few years ago and want to share it with others. It's very simble to build and does a pretty good job of clearing my yard of fall leaves.
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Step 1: Build it and it will suck

Picture of Build it and it will suck
Youll need a riding lawn mower and a pull behind utility cart.
I own a Craftsman18hp Garden Tractor and a wagon, I bought from Northern tools

Step 2: The box

Picture of the box
I build the box out of 1/2 plywood and 2x4s. Very simple box construction using exterior screws. I think it took me less than 2hrs to build the box.

I left 1/4 of the top of the box opened and covered it with screen to allow air to escape when mower is discharging leaves in the box. The back of the box has a door the covers the rear of the box attached with inexpensive hinges . Notice the high tech locking mechanism!!

I originally tried to use 6” flexible duct purchased from the local hardware store. 6” is the diameter of the 1st stage discharge chute on the lawn mower. But leaves would clog the chute pretty quickly. So, I bought a 8’ a section of 10” diameter hose that’s specified in the link below.
This worked pretty well; didn’t clog as easily. But I mounted it too low on the cart (see the picture). So I mounted the hose as high as I could on the box, pushing the hose in far enough to kind-of point down. I can now fill the box up to the hose level with leaves and grass no problem.

Got a next door neighbor that is always bragging about his lawn ? Buy a couple bags of time released 0-0-36 and spread it over his during the rainy part of the year at night. He will be cutting grass three days a week. The more you put on it the better the results. People will notice his lawn , it will be the greenest lawn in the state. After all you are just helping him out.
coastus4 years ago
Heavy tool, but indeed, nice, but I wonder about the energy consumption. Is Is it still easy to maneuver with the garden tractor and catch the leafs in the edges?
Nice job dude. Is this for leaves only, or while cutting grass also? Oh, and the links are basically dead now. Northern does not sell the cart anymore and the 10 inch hose has to be ordered in a minimum of 25 foot lengths which would make it a $500+ piece of hose at $20 a foot. So scroungers, get on your scrounging hats. Cheers!
potterrandy5 years ago
 My grandpa made one of these about ten years or so ago, pretty much the same exact thing, down to the cart type and hose, but instead of plywood for the catch box he made a frame with 1X1's and stretched chicken wire over the frame...nice project!
what did you use to connect it to the mower deck
get_going (author)  HomeMechanic5 years ago
The yellow/black hose goes over the existing 1st stage of the bagger hose. 

The bagger for this model has several parts. a first stage that fits over the mower deck a 2nd stage that fits into the 1st stage and into the bagger attached to the back deck.

hope this helps

trf5 years ago
I have 1 bit of advice for you on this. A mulcher blade is just that, a blade to mulch it. The theory in a mulcher mower is that the grass is continuously lifted into the blade and cut until the speed of the wind inside no longer can pick it up due to the small size. For baggers mowers, they make a special blade that is meant to lift up everything and throw it into the bag. The blades usualy say "High Lift" or "Suitable for mulching and bagging". Just my input on improving your results =D
deere5 years ago
want to build
get_going (author)  deere5 years ago
??? Let me know if you need more info Just do it!!
yankeesprt5 years ago
You are right buddy, this does suck, but obviously it blows too and hard enough to full up your cart. You might want to paint it to match your mower. Good job!
spacenookie8 years ago
nice idea, one refinement would be to attach the box to your cart in such a way that it could be easily removed so you could still use your cart as a cart, e.g. with brackets and bungees. Another idea is to make the box out of bent conduit and a tarp, then you could easily stow it when removed.
get_going (author)  spacenookie8 years ago
I remove the box after the fall leaf clean up season. Although it takes a little bit of "elbow grease" to take it off ( and put it on) Great idea about the tubing and tarp...I feel another instructable coming on :-) thanks
Do you mulch or compost? Just wondering. Seems like a lot of raw materials to waste if not.
get_going (author)  Grey_Wolfe6 years ago
I compost and use the resulting material in my garden....
Cool, was just curious, and didn't see it in your steps. If you add just a bit of dawn dish soap to your mulch, it'll absorb water better. A trick we used to use in agriculture class to make our potting soil less dry before planting. More moisture should help your compost do it's thing faster.
Where did you get the part to attach the tube to the side dicharge?
get_going (author)  wannabeharleyguy7 years ago
I bought the factory grass catcher from Sears and the plastic part you see in this picture is the 1st stage of that grass catcher.
folky157 years ago
Dude - you have a TON OF LEAVES on your lawn! No wonder you made this.
deansep7 years ago
Couldnt you just buy a bag and hook IT up?
rimar20008 years ago
Very interesting project. It is intelligent to take advantage of the mower's collateral effect.
get_going (author)  rimar20008 years ago
you can say that again.... but please don't .... :-)
rimar20008 years ago
Very interesting project. It is intelligent to take advantage of the mower's collateral effect.
rimar20008 years ago
Very interesting project. It is intelligent to take advantage of the mower's collateral effect.
Nesagwa8 years ago
I wish we had something like this when I was a kid. Our house had oak trees on three sides, so there were leaves constantly in the yard. Such a pain to have to rake all that up and bag it by hand.
ozzfreak8 years ago
very nice. I guess I'll have to buy me a cart to do this now, I've been looking for an excuse to get one, hehe. The "normal" grass catchesr aren't near big enough IMO and this one looks just about right. Thanks.