Here is a hack to improve the flow of material near the H-Frames, where it gets compacted and makes tough going for the cutting bar.
The grating openings are 2″ x 4”, except at the ends of each Bed Frame. There, the gratings were cut to fit the frame, leaving 2″ x 2” openings. Harvested material can have difficulty dropping through the smaller openings, so it accumulates above the H-Frames. Over time, it becomes dense and compacted in that area.
We found that enlarging the openings along the H-Frames improves the flow of harvested material. This works where two H-frames butt up together at a joint, and also at both ends where the cutting bar stops near at End Frames.
For models before 2022, the gratings are typically welded to the Bed Frame at every third rung where the rungs are doubled up. The rungs in between that are NOT welded to the frame can be removed, making the openings 2” x 6”. This allows material to drop through the grating more easily and reduce the tendency for compacted zones to form over the H-Frames.
To make this modification, lay down a tarp along the edge of the CFT near the legs, and wear protective face covering. Use a reciprocating saw with a metal-cutting blade. Or in a pinch, an angle grinder with a cutoff blade will do the trick.
After enlarging the openings, you can loosen the dense material above the H-Frames before running the cutting bar. For this, use an auger drill attachment, which breaks up the hard material and pulls some of it out. A small augur bit less than 2” wide works well.
Loosen the material for a few inches ahead of the cutting bar. If needed, repeat a few times until the cutting bar can work its way through the compacted material.
From then on, the cutting bar will move more easily through these zones. Keeping to a regular harvesting schedule reduces the chance for these dense spots to form. Also excess moisture contributes to compaction.
All CFT models starting in 2022 have this feature already built in.