I recently added a pine needle rake from Everything Attachments to my implements. I will be using it for dethatching my natural grass areas and to clean up twigs and tumbleweeds. I like the rake, but it does pose a storage challenge. While I had the rake spread all over the garage during assembly, my wife commented that it didn't look like the garage was going to be big enough to eventually add a backhoe. Bad Karma. Must make rake disappear.
Previously, I had built a dolly for my front blade which is similar in length to the rake. I build dollies for all of my implements and ballast. I don't have a place to store each piece. When there's a change-out on the tractor, whatever comes off it must fit into the space of whatever went onto it. This usually requires shuffling things around like a giant puzzle. And this is easy if they are all on wheels. I also like to design the dollies for smooth, direct loading and unloading on the tractor. This way the change-out process is fast and doesn't require a lot of lifting, wrestling, and dragging.
So I set out to modify my existing dolly for my front blade to include an upper bunk for the rake. The challenge in this task was in the height of the new dolly. It must be tall enough to make room for moving the blade in and out of the lower bunk, yet short enough for the 3-point arms to connect to the rake when removing or placing it on the top bunk. My initial calculations showed that the 3-pt lower arms were a few inches short at their maximum lift height. I considered 3 options: (1) Reverse the ends of the lower 3-pt arms to increase the lift height. (2) Use a jack to lift the rear end of the tractor 3 inches. (3) Drive the rear of the tractor onto ramps to lift the back end. I was not sure #1 would provide enough increased height, and changing these arms out each time is tedious. I was leery of #2 because it might be unstable during an implement change. So I opted for #3. I had some 2" ramps that I tried, but the lower arm lift came up about 1/4" short to allow the dolly to move underneath the rake. I priced wide ramps (for trucks) at about $40 per pair, and ended up making my own out of 2 X 12 pieces for about $10. These new ramps are 3" high, and the dolly easily fits under the rake with at least 1 inch to spare. I also added slots on the final dolly so that the ramps could be stored on it with the blade and the rake.
The original dolly had 2" steel wheels. Above about a hundred pounds on a dolly, these wheels get stuck in expansion joints on the driveway and garage floor. I had another dolly where I added weight and went to change from 2 inch wheels to 3 inches. I installed the 3 inch wheels before removing the 2 inch wheels and tested it. I learned that the height difference of these 2" and 3" wheels is exactly the depth of a 2 X 4. So all wheels are touching when both 2" and 3" are installed on a corner. I also noticed that these wheel pairs went over expansion joints very smoothly. This is because one wheel supports the load while the other one traverses the joint. I was concerned about this new dolly being top heavy with the rake up so high (especially when the blade was not in the lower bunk.) So having smooth movement across the joints in the concrete was important and worth the extra set of wheels on each corner. I also added stabilizer wheels for use during transport to minimize the chance of tipping sideways. My testing indicates that they are nice to have but maybe not a requirement. The rake sits firmly on the top bunk and I didn't sense any tipping tendency with or without the stabilizer.
So, with the new dolly I have 2 implements stored in about the same footprint as one was stored in before. One new rake, no net increase in space required. Good Karma for the backhoe.