Jack Vernon of Lakeview, Ore., purchased a state-registerable electronic scale in 1992 and had a local machine shop make it into a portable cattle scale by mounting an eccentric axle, cattle rack, tongue and four 1-ton gear jacks on each corner. The certified scales made cattle management on his operation much easier and is rented to other ranchers who have no access to state-licensed scales. Unfortunately, the scale was unstable and the gear jacks soon stripped out.

To solve the problem, Mr. Vernon designed, built and attached hydraulic cylinder jacks to raise the scale platform. This enabled the axle and wheels to be rotated so the platform could be lowered to the ground.

The hydraulic lifts were made by placing two 2-inch by 18-inch hydraulic cylinders inside 4-inch by 4-inch channel iron 23-inches long. A 12-inch square plate then was welded on the end as a foot. A 3000-PSI hydraulic hand pump was bolted onto the right hand side of the scale. Once the scale is lifted, the wheels are rotated and then lowered to the ground. It takes less than five minutes to raise or lower the scale and turn the axle for support. The platform is no more than 13 inches off the ground when weighing, so no ramps are needed.

The tongue is removable but to save time it is covered with 2-inch by 10-inch boards and a 3/4-inch rubber mat held in place with angle iron, and a hitch cover to prevent damage or injury.