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Trail packer for snow season

 
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I think I thought of another neat one.  Getting around the homestead in the winter (for us) involves either tromping down paths, show shoeing or shoveling a path.  When it's time to tap maple trees I'm snow shoeing or tromping through deep snow back in the woods, dragging a sled behind.

The invention is a variation of a walk behind plate compactor to pack down the snow and form a path.  Instead of a flat plate though, it would be a big drum-like wheel that turns slowly and vibrates.  So it is self propelled and you just drive it down your desired path through 2-3 feet of snow.  It has ribs on the outside so it can keep clawing its way forward and then as it vibrates or pounds up and down, it compresses the snow enough to walk on.  
Staff note (Mike Haasl) :

I split these posts off of the "Inventions you wished existed" thread. See more awesome ideas here:
https://permies.com/t/91680/Inventions-existed-drop-ideas

 
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Mike Haasl wrote:

Getting around the homestead in the winter (for us) involves either tromping down paths, show shoeing or shoveling a path.

Awesome, but it needs to work in the heavy, rained-on snow of the Pacific North-wet Coast! (The "s" is missing intentionally! Our snow tends to be a close relative of slush.)
 
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I think the wetter the snow, the better it would work.  It's hard to pack down powder.....
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:I think the wetter the snow, the better it would work.  It's hard to pack down powder.....



Agreed - but, it will also need to go uphill, easily, and downhill at your pace, rather than its own... Soooo... you're doing this, Mike???
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:

I think the wetter the snow, the better it would work.  It's hard to pack down powder.....

I'm thinking you take an old rototiller and replace the blades, which damage the soil anyway so shouldn't be used, and put some sort of drum on with knobs on it so the compacted surface isn't too slick, and the suggested tines sticking out for traction - there, are we closer?
 
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Well, this thread is just for inventions you wish existed or thing "someone" should make.  I'm posting it here so that hopefully someone builds two and gives me one of them

I'd be happy to collaborate on the design though.  Here's a start:
Snow-packer.png
[Thumbnail for Snow-packer.png]
 
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Sorry Jay, I was drawing and didn't see your post.  Yes, a rototiller could be a good start.  I think the tines may spin faster than we'd need.  I'm imagining the drum turning at a walking speed.  Maybe there's a way to gear down a rototiller to turn at a slower speed and use the excess energy to do the thumping.  I'm assuming it needs vibration or pounding to pack the snow...
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:Well, this thread is just for inventions you wish existed or thing "someone" should make.  I'm posting it here so that hopefully someone builds two and gives me one of them

I'd be happy to collaborate on the design though.  Here's a start:



That was invented and used about 150 years ago. (LOL)

They were pulled by horses so that the snow would pack, then freeze up, so that the sleighs of yesteryear could slide along on the roads. They have one up at the Coleman Transportation Museum in Hermon, Maine. Theres, as most are, use saplings as the packers because they are bolted to (2) wagon wheels for use as the axles.

Here is a picture of pone, but it is made out of planks instead of saplings. The old logging books I have show them made out of saplings.

v7877-1-.jpg
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Carla Burke
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Travis Johnson wrote:

Mike Haasl wrote:Well, this thread is just for inventions you wish existed or thing "someone" should make.  I'm posting it here so that hopefully someone builds two and gives me one of them

I'd be happy to collaborate on the design though.  Here's a start:



That was invented and used about 150 years ago.

They were pulled by horses so that the snow would pack, then freeze up, so that the sleighs of yesteryear could slide along on the roads. They have one up at the Coleman Transportation Museum in Hermon, Maine. Theres, as most are, use saplings as the packers because they are bolted to (2) wagon wheels for use as the axles.

Here is a picture of pone, but it is made out of planks instead of saplings. The old logging books I have show them made out of saplings.



Awesome! Now, we need it on a smaller, human-powered scale, so we can do walking paths, to the barns (maybe even to hook up a pulling critter to the bigger version!), henhouse, mailbox,  and such...
 
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Carla Burke wrote:Awesome! Now, we need it on a smaller, human-powered scale, so we can do walking paths, to the barns (maybe even to hook up a pulling critter to the bigger version!), henhouse, mailbox,  and such...



I agree!!

I have said for years it is absolutely silly for society to be scraping snow off mother nature just so we can walk and drive on dirt. I know it has some benefits, but come on, we sent people to the moon, can't we figure out how to work with snow instead of spending billions to move it?

Incidentally, I answer my own question. We went to the moon in 1969, and put wheels on luggage in 1975. (I can hear it now, "Hey, you know 6 years ago we flew to the moon, what do you think Ed if we took the LUG out of luggage, and put wheels on it instead?) Maybe we are not so smart as a society after all? (LOL)

(In my haste to post my previous post, I forgot to put a smiley face on my replay, now added, so that I do not convey a nasty tone. I read a lot of old books, and scour the US Patent office for ideas, so I see a lot of old stuff.)
 
Mike Haasl
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Travis, did they weigh them down so that they'd pack the snow or were they heavy enough on their own?  My problem is that my horsewife gets grumpy if I ask her to pull stuff through the snow.  

I could see something motorized that pushes the front wheel along to compress the track.  But then we're building a small vehicle.

I guess if we had a motor/engine turning that wheel, and the wheel had enough traction to drive itself through deep snow, and there was enough weight on it, it wouldn't need to vibrate to pack the snow.  

So now I'm wondering if a person could take a large diameter lawn roller, weld angle iron treads to it and somehow power it so it turns at a walking pace.  Hey presto, we're done...
 
Mike Haasl
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I merged your stuff with the following thread. I hope that is okay by you.
 
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So, Mike, what you're saying is... you're ready to go into production?
 
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It sounds like we're somewhere between a horse drawn vibrating lawn roller and a garden tiller.  I don't think I'm ready to go into production until we pin it down a bit more...
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:Travis, did they weigh them down so that they'd pack the snow or were they heavy enough on their own?  My problem is that my horsewife gets grumpy if I ask her to pull stuff through the snow.



Just do what I did...buy her some shoes so she can get that snow out of the way. I mean hey, what woman does not want a new pair of shoes? At one time, Katie belonged to (3) shoe-of-the-month clubs...and yes they actually have them!(LOL)

All joking aside, the ones I saw were pretty heavy so they packed the snow down just by their sheer weight.

They actually served two purposes. The first was for packing down the roads so horses cull pull sleighs to carry people to church and whatnot, but the other was in logging. That was quite the process! They would pack the snow down, then go over it with a rutting machine. This had a series of plows and runners that formed a rut in the snow that the two sled log scoots could track on. Then a sprinkler system was run over that which put ice in the ruts. This is how two horses could pull such massive loads of logs. And all this had to be done after every snowstorm, and done at night when it was freezing cold.

The biggest issue with packing snow is not that a person cannot then walk over firmed snow, but in the spring. As everything else melts and is down to dirt, there will be a few inches of snow/ice. This will also make for deep mud. Of course back in the old days it did not matter as the horses would slog through the mud, but when cars came along, with their narrow tires and all, they got stuck pretty bad. That is kind of the down side of snow packing.



toe-plow-snow-plow.jpg
[Thumbnail for toe-plow-snow-plow.jpg]
 
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Yup, last year I packed trails around our place with my feet.  At spring thaw I had to choose between the frozen high parts of the trail, the muddy/wet melted patches or the soft snow on either side of the tail.  If I had this machine, I'd just run around and make a new path to the side of the failing one to get through that two weeks until everything's melted.

Any guess as to the ideal diameter of this spinning wheel?  I'd imagine that you'd likely run it around the paths after every decent snow so it should only have to pack a foot of snow.  But then again, when it's syrup season and you want to go deep in the woods, it might be packing virgin March snow and have to work on 3' of snow.  

I'm imagining a 3-4' diameter may be about right.
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:Well, this thread is just for inventions you wish existed or thing "someone" should make.  I'm posting it here so that hopefully someone builds two and gives me one of them

I'd be happy to collaborate on the design though.  Here's a start:



That looks a lot like a cover crop roller.
 
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Are there walk behind, low tech, human scaled cover crop rollers?  I have seen those on the front end of a tractor and they do look about like what we're after...
 
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