Introduction: 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.
Step 1: 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
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.
Step 3: Fill'r Up
The Craftsman’s mover deck has enough suction and discharge power to throw leaves into the catcher as long as the hose is not constricted in any way. Because of this taking a sharp right turn while vacuuming up a large pile of leaves will clog the hose. Also, the leaves need to be dry, wet leaves are too heavy and clog the discharge chute. Pine neetles also tend to clog the chute pretty easily.
I use the non-mulching cutting blades on the Craftsman. This might give it more power to lift the leaves into the catcher.
This system dose a pretty good job of clearing leaves in my yard. I find myself clearing the chute 5 or 6 times during the 1 ½ hrs it takes me to clean up the yard. Because the flexible hose just sits over the 1st stage of the Craftsman’s discharge chute, it only takes a few seconds to pull off the flex duct and shake out the stuck leaves.
What would be reall nice is a pony motor with a mulching blade to help with the suction problem and give those leaves a 2nd mulching. But with only a limited buget (the whole project came in at ~$175) I'll take this.