OCDC or grass catcher for 48" WB?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lithnights, Jun 12, 2011.


OCDC or grass catcher for 1/4 to 1/2 acre lawns?

  1. OCDC

    9 vote(s)
  2. Grass catcher

    0 vote(s)
  1. lithnights

    lithnights LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    BASIC QUESTION.. OCDC or grass catcher?

    This may have been discussed before but I wanted to ask since my situation is a bit different than most posts I've read about. I've searched the site (OCDC vs catcher) but there really weren't that many posts.

    Most lawns are 1/4 to 1/2 acre. There are often mulched beds or patios 20 feet or less from each other so when I do two interior cuts, the interior cut from one bed blows grass onto the other. I deal with the clippings into the mulched beds. To minimize, I usually just throttle down while mowing around the beds, but still have to blow excess clippings out. But I want to minimize the clippings even more.

    I have a 48" Gravely Pro 1548G walk behind. I was thinking of getting an OCDC for it but after a frustrating search, only found one directly from Gravely. It isn't cheap. So before I make the investment, I wanted to make sure that a grass catcher wasn't a better option for my situation.

    For example, one property recently put up a nice white vinyl fence. I do two cuts to blow away from the fence but when I come back and do my lines (where an OCDC would be open), I'd still be shooting clippings out that can hit the fence. When it's wet, it sticks to the fence and makes a mess. Thus I am thinking a catcher would be ideal.

    CATCHER: I like the idea of a catcher since most lawns aren't that big and I can easily empty it once or twice directly into compost or trash. And there are times that the grass gets so long (rainy springs with fertilized lawns) that I often spend 15 minutes blowing the grass throughout the lawn to get rid of clumps, even when cutting at 3 1/2 or 4". OR I end up cutting at 4, then lowering to 3 1/2 and cutting again which is a huge time waster. The catcher I've seen is an easy on and off. So a catcher seems ideal BUT, a catcher would add 3 feet or so to the width of the mower which limits some access.

    OCDC: I like the idea of an OCDC since it puts the clippings into the lawn and saves me from emptying. And it doesn't increase the width of my mower. But it won't help me with those rainy springs where I have to mow twice or use the blower on most of the lawn to get rid of clumps.

    So what are your thoughts on these options, especially based on my situation? I read a lot more about OCDC than catchers but I'm not sure why..

    I included a poll.. vote away!!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Greg78

    Greg78 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,010

    Never used catchers. Your properties sound a lot like ours. We have OCDCs on both our mowers 52" eXmark Lazer and 36" eXmark TTHP walk behind and the OCDC work great for us.

    I made one for the Lazer.
    We use this on on the walk behind: http://www.trimmertrap.com/site/accessories/bb-1-wb-blade-blocker.html

    It is universal so should fit to your mower just fine.
  3. lithnights

    lithnights LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    No other comments? I thought this would be an issue with lots of opinions?

    Help! :)

  4. northwestwill

    northwestwill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I had a similar problem finding something to fit my Great Dane Super Surfer 48 deck at a price that I could afford to part with. I ended up making my own from scrap parts and a few purchased pieces from here and there. I'm not a pro and I only mow my own place with the GD so it was worth it for me to put in a little R&D to keep myself busy on a rainy evening or two.

    I wanted something that would be a safe, heavy-duty OCDC that would be even with the base of the deck, match the curve of the deck, wrap the front corner to keep from catching on bushes and such, and overhang the top of the deck when up to provide a little bounce-back safety, and not extend any way over the edge of the mower (a few tight gates around here)... and I don't have an amazing tool shop to work with.

    The plate is made from a scrap piece of plate steel my local machine shop sold me for $9. I cut it down to a rectangle and then trimmed the corners with an angle grinder and bench grinder. I shaped the curve the old fashioned way, with a hammer over the edge of a 2x6, matching it up every few minutes to make sure I was on track. The tabs connect to the chute tabs that were stock on the mower (tip - I put a 4x4 under the deck and lowered it flat onto the board. This way I could just set the plate there and tack weld the tabs easily). The tabs came from an old 90-degree bracket. The upright is a 1-inch piece of square stock from the hardware store and a few bolts into the deck. The connecting rod is a piece of 2-inch flat steel that I took back to the machine shop to have them mill out the channel for my guide (which is a bolt, a steel spacer, and a washer.) It stays put open and closed thanks to the little notch at the bottom for fully closed and the U at the top that the guide rolls over to let gravity do the rest. To figure out where the channel should go I assembled the upright and the plate and then just put a pencil through the hole on the upright and drew a circle at full closed, full open, and where I wanted to bar to sit when "locked" open and closed (note the J type shape of the channel). I drew lines from one to the next and had the machine shop mill on the dotted line. The handle is some PVC pipe and a large bolt.

    Although not in the pictures (a later modification) I added a couple 1/8 inch x 1 inch rare-earth magnets to the front edge to give a good seal to the plate (keeping a bounce from letting grass get in and create balling from the clippings). I used JB Weld to affix them on the inside of the corner. They just slip into the 1/4 inch gap between the OCDC and the deck so they don't touch but they provide a few pounds of holding power keeping the chute tightly down when I want it but not getting in the way when its up.

    The whole project took 3 to 4 hours of manual labor plus about $60 in parts and pieces (Add another $10 if you include the magnets and a can of spray paint for the upright).





  5. northwestwill

    northwestwill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    By the way, for what it's worth I also have the grass catcher attachment for the Surfer. It works great, but it's bulky, takes time to take on and off, and I can't get through the gate at a friends place that I mow occasionally due to the large adapter box from the SS deck. I'm a fan of the OCDC for ease of use and it keeps all the trimmings out of my nice rock walls and flowerbeds while letting me kick them out normally everywhere else...
  6. bc3xx0

    bc3xx0 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    I had the same issues and the ocdc worked good for me. The only downside is if you're mowing real thick or overgrown grass. It starts to get clumpy. It isn't anything a second pass over can't fix though!

    I made my own for basically nothing though.... I wouldn't pay the outragous prices these people charge for them.
  7. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,280

    I have the Toro OCDC installed on my Grandstand. While it is not the cure all, it does serve it's purpose. Because it is made of rubber it does not block all of the grass from exiting the chute. It is also leaves strips of cut grass in high conditions. But it is nice to be able to block the chute off around beds and concrete areas.
  8. Power Chute Design

    Power Chute Design LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    You may be able to eliminate some clumping if you can work an intermediate position into the handle so the clippings are going out at an angle of about 45 degrees. This way you desperse the clippings, but not more than a few feet...Norm

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