Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Latest Production Version of the Kactus Kicker

Update 7-30-15:  The new website is fully operational.  It has all the information,  photos,  and videos anyone could ever need.  It is a turnkey site for selecting,  customizing,  and purchasing a production tool.  Shipping is available,  so sales of plans have been discontinued.  Some additional parts and labor have been farmed out to appropriate vendors,  to adjust to higher production rates,  so prices posted previously are now obsolete.  Go to

Update 3-1-18:  the killyourcactusnow site has been shut down in favor of a new and improved site,  with even better information,  photos,  and videos.  

For those of you wanting to know about my cactus tools, here are some pictures of the latest production model with the tougher snout and bigger barge front. These are from my wife's computer, file number 2010-04-25. I believe they were taken after construction of serial numbers 047 and 048.

This is a "machine" with no moving parts, towed on a simple chain bridle behind any tractor with a drawbar. It kills prickly pear cactus "in situ", without pick-up and disposal of the debris, and without chemicals. It's just driving-a-tractor work. You do it several times, for a full eradication. See and go to the cactus eradication sub-page for a good description of how it really works.

photo 040 How to Hitch-Up

It really is just that simple. Flip the loop in the tow bridle over a trailer ball on your towbar. If you do this with a 3-point rig, be sure it is braced for sideways loads over 1000 pounds per tool (you can tow more than one at a time). You will incur forces like that when you turn.

photo 041 What the Bridle Looks Like All Hitched-Up and Ready to Tow

Be sure the bridle is not in the lift configuration, pinned up with a bolt over the tool's center of gravity. It needs to make a big Vee, you tow from the corners of the deck. The snout just stabilizes it like a gigantic, super-tough sled runner out front. The chain through the snout braces just limits up/down and side-side travel on really rough ground. It should be slack, otherwise.

photo 042 How-To Pry-Up the Tool to Get at What's Underneath, or Store It

Back up the tractor and slack the chain, then un-hitch it. You will need about a 6-foot prybar and a 2-foot piece of small angle iron. Use the prybar as the photo shows to get leverage to lift the tool up onto its rear edge, then prop it in place with the angle iron under one of the skids. The "tongue load" on the snout is just too high to do this without a good prybar.

photo 045 Proper Stowage Without Killing Grass

Once propped up, you can remove any debris accumulated under the tool that makes it ride off the ground. Old barbed wire and certain kinds of vine-like weeds are prone to do this. Just kick or hoe them out from underneath, and you can lower the tool with the prybar, re-hitch, and resume work. This is also a very good way to store the tool in the pasture between treatments, since it cannot kill a whole big patch of grass while tipped up on edge like this. This is how I store mine.

photo 037 How to Pick-Up the Tool with Its Own Bridle

If you pull the tow bridle aft, you can pin it together with the extra 2"L 3/8 UNC bolt, nuts, and washers that I provide with every tool. If you have serial number 047 or 048, you might have to re-rig the snout travel-limiter chain slightly to do this, but I generally already have it rigged for lifting easily, right from the shop (from serial number 049-on). The center of gravity is just between the rear of the snout tube and the front edge of the big ballast bar flat. Pin the bridle together there, and pick it up at the pin point as shown.

The snout travel-limiter picks up the forward load of 3-places, the chain towers being the other two. Be careful, this thing weighs 600-700 pounds. But most tractors now have hydraulic buckets. Just use a tow chain with hooks, and pick the tool up with the bucket, and put it right where you want it (pick-up bed or flat trailer).


Other Related Articles on this Site (date highlighted on this one)

2-9-17....Time Lapse Proof It Works cactus being crushed and composted
7-30-15......New Cactus Tool Website
...................turnkey site for info,  photos,  videos,  purchases
1-8-15……Kactus Kicker Development
………………production prototype & 1st production article
1-8-14……Kactus Kicker: Recent Progress
…………..….testing a revised wheeled design (experimental)
10-12-13..Construction of the Tool
………………building a “Kactus Kicker” (plain tool)
5-19-13…….Loading Steel Safely
……………….transport and storage of materials
12-19-12…Using the Cactus Tool or Tools
…………… the tool is employed (applies to any model)
11-1-12….About the Kactus Kicker
..…………….painting and rigging finished tools (plain tool)
12-28-11..Latest Production Version
………………new bigger snout and barge front (plain tool)

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