Two Farmhands Invent Brilliant Repair Machine, Now Get to Enjoy Fixing, Beers and Traveling

Following my recent move, I’ve learned that farms have a unique waste situation that doesn’t exist in urban life: While farms are filled with tons of useful buildings, tools and infrastructure, the periphery is often a graveyard of discarded materials and broken machinery. In the city we throw these things away or recycle them. But on farms, there’s enough room to leave large piles of non-biodegradable garbage for decades, and the eyesore is considered a worthwhile penalty versus the trouble of hauling it away.

Old lumber and machinery
Single-wide trailer (crushed)
Derelict BBQ grill

Some of these items cannot be repaired. On this property we have a derelict riding mower that’s been broken, repaired and hacked so many times, Mad Max’s mechanic couldn’t get it running again:

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Other items are made from essentially valuable raw materials like metal, yet are so bent out of shape that they are essentially worthless. One example of this is old fence posts.

In the area of the American South where I live, six-foot fence posts like these run about $4 a pop brand new. Farms may require miles of fencing, and the post costs get pricey. Sometimes vehicles run into the posts and damage them; other times circumstances change, and the fences need to be removed. If removed hastily or stored improperly, the posts can get bent. They’re then cast off to the side of the property, where they sit and rust.

In the field, a farmer can straighten a few bent posts out using a hammer and the tow ball on his truck as an anvil. But this isn’t viable for an entire field’s worth of bent fence posts. So two Australian farm workers, Daryl Irving and Dan Robinson, spent eight years designing and prototyping a machine that would solve this problem:

Irving and Robinson launched their company, Post Straightener, in 2016. Today, in addition to selling the machines, they travel to farms in Australia straightening fence posts by the hundreds. The math makes good sense, both for Post Straightener and for farmers:

“Using our service will save you money by recycling posts you already have at a fraction of the price of new posts. We come to you and don’t charge a travelling fee. We will also clean up those unsightly piles of useless twisted metal for you. Furthermore, older posts are of much higher quality than the new ones being made which are .6 kilograms lighter than the old posts. New posts can cost up to $7.20 whereas we can straighten up to 1,000 posts in one day at $2.50 per post.”

“I’m very proud how the machine functions,” Irving writes. “it is extremely strong and can straighten up to 1,000 posts in one day. So far we have straightened 34,000 posts.”

Another benefit of having invented the machine is that the two now get to hit the road:

“Part of our job involves a great deal of traveling. We enjoy this aspect very much as we get to see the country and meet new and interesting people along the way, some of whom have become great friends. We look forward to sitting around the fire with you after a long day, telling yarns and enjoying a few beers. This makes the job even more rewarding.”

Source: core77

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