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Copyright Two Bad Cats, LLC. Non-Commercial use only. By this we mean, feel free to make one for your farm, but please don't make extra and sell them to everyone.

Hi everyone. This page is to share with everyone what we learned from making our commercial dibble wheels.

1. Spacing

2. Dibble size

3. Other notes

4. Suggestions on DIY guides

This is what our current single dibble wheel looks like:

1. Spacing:

The most common mistake when making a DIY dibble wheel is to get the plant spacing wrong. When we started, we made our wheels 48" in circumfrence. We thought that if we drilled holes every 3" and 4" it would allow farmers to use any of the following spacing: 3", 4", 6", 8", 12", 16", 24, and 48". We quickly found that the smaller spacing(more dibbles)were coming out spaced farther apart than we thought. What happens is that as the dibble touches the soil, it pulls the wheel forward into the hole it creates. I would guess that the longer the dibble you have the more of this effect you get. Our dibbles are 2 1/2" long and we reduced our wheel circumference 20 percent to 38.4". This gave us our current spacing of 3", 4", 6", 8", 12", 15", 22", 41". DIY side note- 12" IPEX Inc. Enviro-tite sewer pipe measures 12.5" in diameter(OD) and 39.25" in circumference. It measures somewhere between 11 5/8" and 11 3/4" inside diameter(ID).

Our recommendation is to use our hole spacing which is taken from the 48" circumference wheel 3" and 4" spacing and then run trials with your dibbles to see what the spacing comes out to. Below is a downloadable template to get the spacing set up. Just print it on a normal paper then use a ruler and extra paper taped on to extend the lines to what ever sized wheel you use. If you use a sewer pipe drum with multiple rows then, by changing the dibble positions, this spacing setup allows you to do offset planting for whatever your equivelent of our 6", 8", 12", 15", 22", and 41" spacing.

2. Dibble Size

Our dibbles are 1" diameter by 2 1/2" long. They were originally sized to correspond to a T.O.Plastics 98 plug flat plug. We found that in most soil conditions as the wheel rolls, the dibble "kicks" coming out of the hole it just made and destroys the hole shape. This is why we only say our dibble wheel is good for plant spacing. The smaller the wheel the more kick the dibbles have. Sandier dryer soils tend to collapse on themselves anyways, so adding water to the soil before you dibble might help. For DIY dibble wheels(as opposed to our plant spacing wheels), I recommend making the dibble a good amount larger in length and width than the hole you need. The bigger the dibbles and the less sharp they are, the more weight you need to form the holes. Ours are sharp and small, therefore can be light, but we are not trying to make a large hole.

 

3. Other notes

In the DIY guides(links below), one of the harder things is to make the end caps for the sewer pipes. The caa guide says to use a 2x4 with rounded ends, the Wisconsin guide says to use 3/4" plywood cut in a circle. I'm incuding a template for plywood(we recommend Advantech flooring because of moisture resistance) that will let you use the spacing options above. Download the PDF by clicking on the picture. Don't print the jpeg that you see here, only print the PDF you download by clicking on the photo. When you print it, make sure that in the print options you have the "scaling" option set at none. On the left side and bottom of the PDF there are dots with measurements next to them. Make sure the measurments on your print are correct before using. Due to size limits on a pice of paper in order to lay out your wood, you will have to rotate the drawing four times(maybe put a thumb tack in the center). The template has lines for the pilot holes in the arms as well as the hole spacing so that you can lay out the sewer pipe all at once. Drill pilot holes in the pipe and in each arm, then if you want to be fancy, countersink(required for plastic dibbling as the heads will tear the plastic) the heads in the pipe with a larger drill. Push wood into sewer pipe(some sanding may be needed as the drawing is purposely slightly oversized). then use wood screws/sheetrock screws to attach pipe to wood.

One reason I suggest this method for the end cap is that you can actually use it as the inside of a wheel instead. If you use our dibbles or the cca guide dibbles you can have a setup like our Infinite dibbler where each wheel is independant and you only need 6" of sewer pipe. I'd suggest cutting 2" wide rings of sewer pipe, drilling the holes, and then pushing in the center star piece. You could also adjust the between row spacing this way. If you have a bare bar(axle) between the wheels, it gives a good place to hang weights.

It could look like this:

To make things easier, we are selling these end caps made of 3/4" advantech. To give DIY folks the best price, they are going out raw, unsanded just as they come off the CNC router(with the 3/4" center hole and the four 1/4" holes). We have them available alone to use as the end caps for sewer pipe drums or with 2" wide rings of 12" sewer pipe(also unfinished and with no holes). Order from our Store page. $12.50 each for the end caps, or $22.50 each including the 2" wide rings of 12" sewer pipe. Axle grabbers/other parts are available for the wheel hole pattern by request.

4. Suggestions on DIY guides

caa guide (community ag advisors)

http://www.communityagadvisors.com/make-multi-dibbler/

I really like the way they attach the wooden dibbles. The bolt head gives them a metal top that will help the durability. The wing nuts on the bottom make it possible to quickly adjust them. It also would work well with our hole pattern above to make the dibbles adjustable.

On their "potato dibbler" or what we call a single dibbler, you can just as easily use a 2x3 or 2x4 for the handle instead of PVC(see the photo at top of ours). Cut the 2x4 to length. For the handle end, drill a 1 1/4" hole. Then cut a slot(bandsaw/jigsaw/sawzall) the long way through the hole and extending into the handle about 4-5" beyond the end of the hole. Insert a 1 1/4" dowel into hole. Position the dowel where you want it to end up. Drill a 1/4" hole the 4" way through the 2x4, the dowel, and out the other side. Get a bolt the right length and large 1" washers on either side to clamp the dowel in the ends of the 2x4. Note- 2x4s warp, we started experimenting with them but switched to ash due to their unpredictable warping.

 

Wisconsin guide

http://bse.wisc.edu/HFHP/tipsheets_html/dibble.htm

The dibbles here are plastic and easy to make, but are not adjustable. They would work better in plastic mulch than the wooden ones. With wooden dibbles you can model the size to fit what you are planting easier. I really like how they have a weight system built in.

 

Thank you to all those who came before us.

http://www.huckinsforge.com/

http://bse.wisc.edu/HFHP/tipsheets_html/dibble.htm

http://www.communityagadvisors.com/make-multi-dibbler/ -bonus thank you for posting on www.farmhack.net, inspiring me to do the same

 

 

 

 

 



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