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Tracked Wheelbarrows and/or Powered Wheelbarrows?

 
Michael Helmersson
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Has anyone had real world (or a realistic fake world) experience with "Powered Wheelbarrows", "tracked wheelbarrows" or similar motorized material transporters? I'm looking for an easier way to move dirt 5-600ft from my driveway to a building site and up onto an earth sheltered home. I've done this with a tiny tractor and dump trailer but it is not easy on slopes, particularly when dumping. I'm thinking about possibly selling the tractor/trailer combo in favour of something like the image attached. Any wisdom would be appreciated.  

 
John F Dean
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The one in the pic is a little over 3500 new.   I think i would take a close look at a used tractor with a front end loader. But, to answer your question, I have never used a motorized wb..
 
R Scott
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I played with one at a trade show but have never seen a tracked one on a real job.  I have seen one or two wheeled mud (concrete) carts.

They can be EXTREMELY touchy, the hand clutches and gearing make them a real handful when loaded. That seems to be a big part of the price range is the quality of the transmission and controls.

Most guys I have helped with those kind of builds dump on flat ground and push up the mound with a dozer. You should be able to do the same (slowly) with your front end loader or a box blade.  

I would not buy such a unique piece of equipment unless you find it used for a bargain or you are a thousand percent sure you are going to keep it and use it after the build, as it will be extremely difficult to sell it without taking a huge loss.  Buy a small dozer, use it, and sell it for a few hundred less than you paid for it.
 
Michael Helmersson
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R Scott wrote:They can be EXTREMELY touchy, the hand clutches and gearing make them a real handful when loaded. That seems to be a big part of the price range is the quality of the transmission and controls.
You should be able to do the same (slowly) with your front end loader or a box blade.  



I've built a circular earthbag root cellar/basement above ground and have got about 75% of it bermed now. I started out with my little tractor pulling a 1ton dumping trailer. This worked fine at first for building out the initial apron but got progressively more difficult as the the "cone" was built up. Eventually,, after a few embarrassing stuck moments, I had to switch to wheelbarrowing and that has been challenging for obvious reasons.

Part of the reason that I'm considering a powered wheelbarrow is that I'm on forested land and I'm trying to avoid building roads to accommodate larger equipment. Even my little tractor with trailer require a large area to manoeuvre when turning around or dumping. Maybe there is no easy answer to this problem.

Thanks for your input. The hands-on experience is what I'm hoping to hear more of.
 
Michael Helmersson
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John F Dean wrote:The one in the pic is a little over 3500 new.   I think i would take a close look at a used tractor with a front end loader. But, to answer your question, I have never used a motorized web.



I've got a tiny tractor with loader now but it can carry less than my wheelbarrow. I've also got a small dumping trailer ( muts.ca ) that is fantastic but I'm trying to do things that it can't do.

The project I'm planning is a circular earth-covered home. For water table reasons, it'll have to be built above ground and subsequently bermed and buried. I'm also trying to limit my footprint on the forest, so large equipment and the roads required for them are not a preferred option. The site will be about 600ft from where I can get dump truck loads of cover material, so there'll be lots of small loads to accomplish what I'm planning.
 
R Scott
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That makes a lot more sense now.

There is still a limit to the slope those machines can handle-it's the oiling system for the engine. If you are going to REALLY push the envelope, I'd buy a cheap Chinese clone engine to burn up on the slope and then put the good engine back on.
 
James Whitelaw
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We have an unpowered dump cart for our walk behind tractor (that can be fitted with a variety of tracks) and there are a number of powered (by the PTO) that can navigate hills such as the Earth Tools version (700 lb capacity) & the CAEB “Minicargo” (1,000 lb capacity) effectively creating and articulated walk behind four wheel drive dump cart that can use a bunch of other attachments.
 
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You could also consider renting tomething like this.  It is what I see landscapers using in tight quarters...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tIkD3MtM3ps
 
Michael Helmersson
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Gray Henon wrote:You could also consider renting tomething like this.  It is what I see landscapers using in tight quarters...

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tIkD3MtM3ps



There is a machine similar to that with a dump box. The loader load itself, essentially.
 
Michael Helmersson
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James Whitelaw wrote:We have an unpowered dump cart for our walk behind tractor (that can be fitted with a variety of tracks) and there are a number of powered (by the PTO) that can navigate hills such as the Earth Tools version (700 lb capacity) & the CAEB “Minicargo” (1,000 lb capacity) effectively creating and articulated walk behind four wheel drive dump cart that can use a bunch of other attachments.



I just spotted that website this morning. A BCS type machine would be a good fit for my projects.
 
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Michael have you seen this thread? https://permies.com/t/67212/Garden-Monorail

If you're going from afixed point to another fixed point it might be worth looking at some sort of rail and winch system. It should have far less impact on the ground.
 
Michael Helmersson
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James Alun wrote:Michael have you seen this thread? https://permies.com/t/67212/Garden-Monorail

If you're going from afixed point to another fixed point it might be worth looking at some sort of rail and winch system. It should have far less impact on the ground.



Thanks James. I'd seen that thread long ago but didn't think about it for my current project. It would suit my needs in terms of going between fixed points (about 500-700 ft) but I'd still have a challenge at the end of the monorail in climbing and circling an ever growing berm. There would be a tremendous coolness factor attached to it, though. This makes me go "Hmmmm". I really appreciate the suggestion.  
 
Lisa Sampson
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I think you're trying to use one device to solve 2 vastly different problems.  Problem #1 is transport from the road to the site.  Problem #2 is transport from the ground at the site up to the work area vertically.  

You might consider building some thing like the old mine carts to move the materials up the drive way to the structure.  Take the steel I beam and flip it on its side and bury in the ground so that its like a U-channel.  Use something like machine skates to let the load roll.  Then you can fabricate a long skinny thing that will hold what you need to move but still fit in your confined transport corridor.  That should at least get you to the work site.

Once you get to the work site, you have a variety of options for lifting the materials up to where you need them to do work.  A frame with an electric winch.  Some version of a medieval crane.  Depending on the height, even one of the commercially available gantry cranes might do the job.  

A tractor with a front end loader or a small skid steer should be able to move them from your makeshift rail line to the lifting device in all but the tightest of areas.  

Machine skates - https://moveheavystuff.com/machine-skates-lp?gclid=CjwKCAjw6qqDBhB-EiwACBs6x3i61zpNhZd2PhHBUVVci1Y3320lGlna7z3pTgYKP2cY4Sd1LrsFMxoCMHAQAvD_BwE
 
Eric Hanson
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Michael,

What kind of tiny tractor are you talking about?  I used to own a subcompact diesel tractor and it was highly maneuverable in the woods and amazingly powerful/versatile.  Maybe one of these would be an option?

Eric
 
Michael Helmersson
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Eric Hanson wrote:Michael,

What kind of tiny tractor are you talking about?  I used to own a subcompact diesel tractor and it was highly maneuverable in the woods and amazingly powerful/versatile.  Maybe one of these would be an option?

Eric



I've got an 18hp diesel Case IH 235H. It is very agile and I love that it can fit through doorways (almost). I also have a manual dumping trailer that will carry 1 ton. The problem is how difficult it is to get the trailer backed up to where I want the dirt. I'm trying to minimize my footprint and not clear trees too far around the site. I estimate that to berm a 30ft diameter structure I'd need to clear at least 80ft in diameter.  

I could use the loader to pick up and distribute the berm dirt but I think my machine is not quite enough to do that easily. As it stands, I can't lift a full bucket (4cu ft?) of gravel, so it would take a long time to move all that berm material.

I really prefer doing less with machines and more manually if the efficiency is not terribly different. The powered wheelbarrow was only of interest because I thought I could do everything with that one tool--haul from driveway to build site (500-700ft), motor right up the berm to where I want the load and dump it. Repeat about one thousand times.

I should also mention that my tendency is to way overcomplicate things and then gradually whittle my plans down to something a normal person might do.
 
Michael Helmersson
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I meant to attach this photo of the trailer that I use. It has been fantastic and has endured hundreds of loads hauling gravel, soil, firewood and other miscellaneous stuff. I met the guy that designed it and runs the company selling them, and he helped me load it on my truck when I bought it. It's really nice to buy from a human being and not a faceless corporation.

Muts.ca is his website.
 
Rick Hatchh
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Princess Auto used to carry an electric wheelbarrow that was rated for 800 lbs, and it was around $800. It seems to have gone from their website. I was drooling over that for a while, especially when in the middle of a big soil moving project. The downside was the lead acid batteries.
 
Michael Helmersson
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Rick Hatchh wrote:Princess Auto used to carry an electric wheelbarrow that was rated for 800 lbs, and it was around $800. It seems to have gone from their website. I was drooling over that for a while, especially when in the middle of a big soil moving project. The downside was the lead acid batteries.



They show this:  https://www.princessauto.com/en/660-lb-power-wheelbarrow/product/PA0008724981

Not $800 any more.

It's amazing how many different companies are making these things now. There are many variations, too. What I drool over is the type with a loader bucket out front that can scoop dirt and load it in the dump box. They look pretty slick but are pretty pricey.
 
Rick Hatchh
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I can't find a photo of the one I was looking at, but it was based on the platform of the one on the right in this photo, just with a wheelbarrow bucket instead of a flat deck.

65314624_10156310672553341_6266094922491756544_n.jpg
[Thumbnail for 65314624_10156310672553341_6266094922491756544_n.jpg]
 
Rick Hatchh
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Here it is(was)
7e4feaac9cf459273cdc596775d82498.png
[Thumbnail for 7e4feaac9cf459273cdc596775d82498.png]
 
Rick Hatchh
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Here it is in an old flyer, $899.
img022.jpg
[Thumbnail for img022.jpg]
 
Michael Helmersson
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Rick Hatchh wrote:Here it is in an old flyer, $899.



I would probably buy that right now at that price. Amazing how they jumped in price. I could spend $3500 to get pretty much that same thing today.
 
Michael Helmersson
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webpage

If money were no object.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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Michael, how about using a conveyor to get the soil UP onto the top of the berm?
You could feed it at ground level, possibly using the dumping trailer to not handle it twice.
Then you could use a rake or hoe to drag soil DOWNHILL to get it in the correct place if needed.

Probably best to just rent one. You might find an old, used one, but that could be a project itself...
 
Michael Helmersson
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:Michael, how about using a conveyor to get the soil UP onto the top of the berm?
You could feed it at ground level, possibly using the dumping trailer to not handle it twice.
Then you could use a rake or hoe to drag soil DOWNHILL to get it in the correct place if needed.

Probably best to just rent one. You might find an old, used one, but that could be a project itself...



I'd thought about that briefly but I'm just too far from a decent sized city where there might be one available.

Here are my goofy ideas thus far:

-I've thought about building a jib-style crane that could pivot around and reach all areas of the berm. This would require some sort of dump tray/bucket.

-I've thought about just giving me and my wheelbarrow an assist with an anchor winch. These typically have up to a 40lb lift/pull capacity--maybe that's all the help I need to get up a modest slope. Some have a wireless remote that I could attach to the handle of the wheelbarrow to control the winch.

-Last night, I dreamed about building a monorail using 1 1/2"-2" peeled spruce poles. I'd make the joints by drilling into the two ends and epoxying a short piece of 1/4" steel in the holes and butting the ends together.

-The powered wheelbarrow

-*This space left blank intentionally*
 
Kenneth Elwell
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How about a simple earthen ramp. Dirt cheap, and a gentler slope to push a wheelbarrow up.
Afterwards, you dig it away and use it for the last of the berm, or just spread it out. Maybe it is made from topsoil, not sand and gravel, to use for a final layer on top or some gardens.
The ramp could also just wind around the berm, and just remain as a feature and be an easy pathway to get up top, for all the reasons you will need to in the future.

Other ideas for a temporary ramp:
a big pile of logs to be cut into firewood later, maybe with a board walkway on top
a big pile of stones to be used for building a wall later, with a board or soil walkway on top
earthbags that would be used in another structure nearby (or carried up and dumped for the final covering)
a stack of shipping pallets, maybe with a board walkway on top. later use them as a fence or for firewood, or give them away.

gift
 
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