Have you ever wondered what you could do with an old leaf blower? Sometimes DIYers just get the urge to build something. Anything. If you have a child that has an interest in baseball you will love this project. The do-it-yourself leaf blower pitch machine is a great project for a Saturday afternoon. This machine was designed for children in little league. While this pitch machine isn't as fancy as a Jug's pitching machine you can assemble it from parts you probably have lying around. Once you finish using it as a pitch machine it can return to it's former glory as a leaf blower. Building this slow pitch machine is a great way to have fun with your kids. Dig that leaf blower out of the garage and let your little one bat like the pro's.
For this project you will need some spare 2x4's, a leaf blower, 3 inch PVC pipe, (3 foot), bi-metal hole saw, extension cord, and a 5 gallon bucket of wiffle balls. The 2x4's are optional. You can choose to build a stand for your new pitching machine or use something 3 foot tall that you already own. If you really want to get crazy consider making the pitch machine sit flush on the stand. Little hands could load it easier and you wouldn't have to worry about vibrations from the motor knocking it off.
It is really simple to build a leaf blower pitching machine. Attach a 3 inch bi-metal hole saw (door knob drill bit) to your drill. Mark a center line about 8 inches from the end and make your hole. Once you have the hole in the PVC pipe, remove the leaf blower nozzle and replace it with your ball chute. That's all! Really, it is that simple. In 20 minutes your kids can be outside pretending to be Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire!
This project is a great experiment if you are considering buying a Jug's Lite Flight pitching machine. The Jug's Lite pitching machine will pitch consistent pitches in an indoor setting but it costs over $400. Many parent's can't afford such an expensive piece of equipment, especially for a child who may end up not liking the sport.
You can adjust your new pitching machine to pitch for different children. Lowering the homemade pitch machine stand will simulate pitches for child sized strike zones. Setting a brace under the front to tilt the pitch machine back will simulate drop pitches. The best thing about this homemade pitch machine is that it uses wiffle balls. The balls aren't flying fast enough to hurt your child. They will gain confidence by learning to bat, without the need to be scared of the ball.
Children can load and use the homemade pitching machine. Two foot separates the ball chute from the leaf blower. There is nothing mechanical that little hands can get caught in. With adult supervision a 3 or 4 year old can even retrieve balls and load the machine.
The leaf blower used in this demonstration is a Black & Decker BV4000ï»¿ electric leaf blower. This model is a 12 AMP leaf blower and many brands make one like it. Craftsman sells a similar electric leaf blower for around $40 so if you don't have one already, they are pretty inexpensive. Now that you know a leaf blower can grow up to be a pitching machine there is no excuse for not buying one.