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 Post subject: Adapting a Champion EasyBird Oscillating Base to Wheelybird
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:41 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:00 am
Posts: 55
The Champion EasyBird Oscillating Base is not compatible with their Wheelybird Auto-Feed Trap (40909) but that didn't stop me from trying. Reports of success elsewhere on the Internet are short on instructions or meaningfully detailed pictures.

Here's what I did.

If you think about it there are at least eight possible configurations for fitting the oscillating base to the Wheelybird: 90° in each orientation * 2 for right side up or upside down. Since all the thing does is oscillate back and forth I don't think there is any particular advantage to any of those possible orientations, but what I ultimately decided upon seems as though it would require the least amount of work.

Mounting upside down advantages: That surface is flat so there wold be no need to drill an enormous clearance hole for the center pivot shaft (more on that later). Also the motor remains stationary so you don't have to worry about cables getting caught. However, the trap mechanism still rotates so there's that. Worse, the oscillator motor housing is taller than the wheel radius, and even mounting it forward of the wheels won't leave enough ground clearance. Then there is the increased likelihood of contaminants entering the oscillator motor's plastic housing. I determined I'd need much bigger wheels or a rather large spacer (more weight, less stability) so given all those concerns I quickly lost interest in mounting it that way.

Mounting with the smile rearward (as shown in this Amazon picture) is arguably next. Disadvantages: The handle can't be in the center (not without spacers anyway) but even the stock WB doesn't have it centered anyway. Needs more holes, I think, but that reviewer was short on detail. The weight will be less centered between the wheels, but overall it's not a bad arrangement. I might have done it that way if the reviewer had only included some more detail.

Mounting with the smile forward (as shown in this post) is probably next. +1 for "You can mount an oscillating base, just have to be creative." Big advantage: No need for a clearance hole. Disadvantages: Large, possibly heavy steel channels used to avoid that clearance hole, and I'd have to drill them too. The entire thing grows taller and less stable. Also, there was no attempt to mount the stock WB handle since it's on a cart. I want to be able to lift the entire finished product into a pickup bed or trunk of a car so minimizing weight was important.

By far the most challenging aspect was the requirement to drill or punch a clearance hole for the center pivot. It's 1 1/4" diameter + paint thickness so anything larger than that will work. I ended up using an electric drill and a 1 3/8" step drill bit since that's all I had or could reasonably acquire. The drilling operation went pretty easy until the hole reached about 3/4" in diameter, after which the handheld drill became very difficult to control, while throwing smoky red hot steel shards no matter how slowly I operated the drill. If you must use this method I recommend using lots of cutting fluid, and hold on tight!

All the other holes are 5/16" and were fairly easy to drill. My motivating factors were to keep the mount as compact as possible, maximize the reuse of existing mounting holes, minimize the number of new holes I had to make, and minimize the ugly factor.

Pictures follow.

Finished product first.

Image

Thrower support bracket, bottom. This is the surface you don't see when it's all assembled.

Image

This is the thrower support you see once it's all assembled.

Image

Looking at the rear of the thrower, showing how the handle is attached along with some additional thrower support bracket detail.

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This shows the front of the thrower, showing how the axle shaft and front part of the handle attach to the oscillator base. No new holes were required for the axle shaft itself. Yay!

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This shows the rear of the thrower from the bottom, including the front axle shaft and handle assembly. Note the handle is perfectly centered on the center pivot, which I think helps stabilize the entire unit.

Image

Final thoughts: The horizontal (left / right) dimension in the mounting holes that create the rectangular pattern for the trap support bracket are not precise, but they're close... within 1/16". While the Wheelybird uses four 5/16" bolts to mount the support, the oscillator base included four 3/8" bolts. Reusing the WB's 5/16" bolts resulted in an acceptably secure attachment.

Champion uses all Grade 8 hardware. Thank you Champion for not saving a dime here and there like most manufacturers do! You will need to buy a few more bolts than can be reused from the WB, so I recommend you do the same. Aside from ones used for the handle, they're all 3/4" long. Longer bolts may interfere with the oscillator mechanism, so verify all clearances before operating anything.

Disclaimer: I began this post with the fact this oscillator unit is not compatible with the WB. That's Champion's official word, which I surmise means they made no attempt to evaluate or verify its longevity, safety, or suitability for this purpose or any other. So that's my official word too 8) I also might someday decide it was a dumb thing to do. I might do it differently next time, or I might not do it at all. What you do is your responsibility, not mine, theirs, Shotgun World's, or anyone else's.

The purpose of this post is to describe what I did. It probably contains mistakes too. I make lots of mistakes.

Edit to update links




Last edited by v35 on Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Adapting a Champion EasyBird Oscillating Base to Wheelyb
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:44 am 
Diamond Grade
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Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 7:19 pm
Posts: 1935
Location: Indian Head Country Wisconsin
Nice detailed write up. Should help others if they want this modification.


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 Post subject: Re: Adapting a Champion EasyBird Oscillating Base to Wheelyb
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:29 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2005 11:25 pm
Posts: 2380
Location: Attica, Mi
That is one fine write up - thanks.

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