Equipment Evaluations on the Francis Marion National Forest
Ultra Light Terrain Grader
A commercially available product, the Terra Master ULTG 12-04 Ultra Light Terrain Grader, was the third piece of equipment we evaluated in South Carolina. It is manufactured by The Shop Industrial, Lively, Ontario, Canada (Figure 9).
The Ultra Light Terrain Grader is based on the successful design of The Shop Industrial's Mogul Master line of snowmobile trail groomers (Figure 10). Its long planing length and grader blades produce a smooth and very flat surface after several passes down the trail. Each rear wheel is independently adjusted manually for the degree of cutting desired, as well as to adjust the slope of the finished grade. Usually, the wheels have to be adjusted only infrequently. Outslope or crowning is possible with this machine.
Figure 10-An electric actuator on the Ultra Light Terrain Grader lifts
the front end to the desired level, setting the depth. Four angled
serrated grader blades plus a rear straight grader blade
pull soil to the center of the trail.
The Ultra Light Trail Grader is designed to be pulled with a four-wheel drive ATV or similar vehicle. The grader's cutting depth and load are controlled by the operator. A handlebar control switch activates an electric actuator that is mounted between the hitch and main frame of the grader.
The Shop Industrial markets the Ultra Light Terrain Grader for use on ATV and dirt bike trails, bicycle paths, roads, parking lots, and driveways, for landscaping, or for any application where the terrain needs to have a smooth, flat finish.
Width: 4 feet 3 inches (1.3 m)
Length: 14 feet (4.3 m)
Height: 25 inches (64 cm)
Weight: 450 pounds (204 kg)
Four heat-treated serrated grader blades
One rear heat-treated straight grader blade
Eight-inch (20-cm) stroke, 12-volt electric actuator
Front hitch with 1 and seven-eighths-inch (48-mm) trailer ball receiver
Control switch and wiring harness
Dual rear wheels with manual "top link" adjusters.
The 1998 price for the Ultra Light Terrain Grader was $2,750 (U.S.), FOB Lively, Ontario, Canada. Customs' and brokers' fees are included in the price. The Ultra Light Terrain Grader is the only grader in The Shop Industrial's line that can be pulled with an ATV. The company has two other models 6 feet 4 inches (1.9 m) wide, and 8 feet 4 inches (2.5 m) wide that can be pulled with a pickup truck. They are designed for road and lane grading. See Sources and Contacts for information about contacting The Shop Industrial.
The Ultra Light Terrain Grader (Figure 11) was too wide and long to negotiate many of the curves in this particular trail without widening the trail or hitting trailside trees. We limited the evaluation to a section of trail with gradual curves and fewer trees close to it (Figure 12). The Shop Industrial representatives said they would be willing to custom build shorter and narrower versions of the Ultra Light Terrain Grader that might be better suited for trail work.
On roads and parking lots, the Ultra Light Terrain Grader was very effective (Figure 13). Where larger graders are not available when you need them, or on narrow roads, drive-ways, and in campgrounds, the Ultra Light Terrain Grader may be a good choice.