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pollinator
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I saw this video and thought it was a pretty neat idea. I was going to build something similar for moving fruit to my pressing area after seeing people in Cambodia making a fold out rail system to get goods to and from thier shop but I like this idea better in some ways as the monorail blends into the environment and uses less material for the track.

 
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In the Moselle wine region of Germany i saw something similar. 

 
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It is an interesting idea, but I do question the statement about being cheap and easy to do. I am a welder by trade and know what steel costs. I think a very similar idea could be done, but with wood, making it a lot cheaper and easier to build, especially if a person lacks welding skills. Some benefits of steel wheels on steel rail would be lost as friction on wood is greater, but I do not think it would be overly so. I also question a monorail system over twin tracks as it would seem to me, not having to balance a load would reduce effort more so then reducing just rolling friction.

Not one to knock someone else without suggesting my own Permicultural solution, I am wondering if a cheaper approach would be to:

Cut your sleepers (also known as cross ties) from 2 x 4's maybe 12 inches long
Set up a dado blade on a radial arm saw and cut a 1/2 inch slot 1 inch deep, (2) of them 8 inches apart
Buy a sheet of plywood and cut into 2 inch strips
Insert strips of plywood (rails) into the slot, then from the bottom secure to the 2 x 4 with a screw starting at 1 foot, but placing 2x4 sleeper every 2 feet (so the ends do not land on a tie)


This would give you a section of twin track 8 feet long, and 8 inches wide with the rails standing up vertically

To secure sections of track together, cut (4) plywood pieces 1-1/2 inches by 4 inches and screw to ends of plywood rails to make rail joints

Doing a rough estimate, I came up with $50 for every 96 foot section of track I am envisioning.

For "wheels" to run on the track, just use pulleys with bearings (like clothesline pulleys). With a little ingenuity the wheel of a persons wheelbarrow could be replaced and it would be less tippy, and easier to roll since there would be a lot less friction.
 
gardener
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I like this idea too.  I wonder how often he reconfigures it.  I don't think the mono rail aspect of it is that much of a hindrance (vs a double rail).  If the double rail was well spaced out, it would help with balance but if the rails are only 8" apart it would still be tippy and require careful operation.

My initial thought was to wonder if you could build it with EMT conduit.  Use wooden or metal dowels to connect the conduit.  Maybe use 2x4 sleepers as Travis suggests.  Possibly do shallow dado grooves in the 2x4's and then screw up into the conduit with long sheet metal screws to attach it.  That was just my initial thought, need to think about it more.

I move firewood around a lot and there are other tasks that could use that technology.  Wonderful fabrication techniques that gentleman used.  I loved the interlocking end joint and the switch over contraption.
 
Travis Johnson
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Mike Jay wrote:I like this idea too.  I wonder how often he reconfigures it.  I don't think the mono rail aspect of it is that much of a hindrance (vs a double rail).  If the double rail was well spaced out, it would help with balance but if the rails are only 8" apart it would still be tippy and require careful operation.

My initial thought was to wonder if you could build it with EMT conduit.  Use wooden or metal dowels to connect the conduit.  Maybe use 2x4 sleepers as Travis suggests.  Possibly do shallow dado grooves in the 2x4's and then screw up into the conduit with long sheet metal screws to attach it.  That was just my initial thought, need to think about it more.

I move firewood around a lot and there are other tasks that could use that technology.  Wonderful fabrication techniques that gentleman used.  I loved the interlocking end joint and the switch over contraption.



I agree 100%, it has so many other applications as well.

I worked on the railroad for years and it even amazed me that we could take a 25 ton locomotive truck and roll it under a locomotive with a simple 4 foot lining bar...steel wheels on steel rails roll pretty easy! I loved your idea of conduit too.

I just used 8 inch gauge as a number, but 12 inch, or 16 inch would work too IF balance was a concern. I often thought that track gauge set up the same width as a self-propelled rotortiller would work good. Just remove the rubber wheels and use the rims on the rails as a cheap locomotive. But if a person does that, why not just build a sulky and not bother with the tracks at all?

Mainer's are incredibly cheap and we are well known here for our "two footers" which were extremely narrow gauge railroads that had rails laid 2 feet wide. Most railroads are 4 ft 8-1/2 inches wide, while narrow gauge railroads were 3 feet wide. Mainer's used 2 foot railroads because it saved a lot of money on grading, less money on ties, could have tighter corners, and use smaller locomotives. A lot of two foot railroads here were quarry and logging railroads, but some moved people as well. Only one is still in service though...
 
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I could use one of these for getting my honey supers out of my apiary to the road. Love it.
 
pollinator
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Dont forget ( if you knew ) that rail were originally wood and came about a hundred years before trains .  They were horse powered and used in mines and transporting ores short distances on the surface. https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-railroad-4059935
 
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I saw this video and thought about the expense and the complexity of the joints.
My response would be hose or tubing,for continuous long stretches of track.
Concerned about the hose deforming under weight made me think of adding concrete-which might be better on it's own.
Poured 8' at a time with reusable forms, bent plywood forms for the curves, seems very doable.
Maybe two parralel peices of  tubing could be the form.
Reuse them,or leave them in place as conduits for water gas,or electric.
Could the profile of the track be a rounded top triangle,as to fit different sized wheels?
That's another advantage of a monorail as well lower costs, any suficently wide wheel will do.
 
steward
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those monorails in the Moselle video are all over rural Shikoku, too. probably elsewhere in Japan as well, but that's where I've seen them.
 
David Livingston
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Travis hope you like this one I used to live near it
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romney,_Hythe_and_Dymchurch_Railway
 
Travis Johnson
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I do like it...

My understanding is the guy that had that idea for that railroad, came to the USA and tried to get ultra narrow gauge railroads going here, but failed, until he got to Maine. Here we have a lot of rock, steep hills, and very frugal people, building smaller gauge railroads made sense to us! So we are known for our "2 footers". I actually have a book on them.

On my own farm, I have often thought of building my own railroad well into my woodlot to extract logs and pulpwood. With logging a cord of wood is a cord of wood is a cord of wood; the less money you spend getting it out, the more money you make because it does not matter if you use a forwarder or a horse, you make teh same money per cord. A rotortiller locomotive train set could easily move wood on a scale that would make it cost effective. Like any railroad, it would have to be laid out to glean the most use from every foot of track laid, but I could easily envision it being worthwhile to do, especially if after a landowner is done, they convert the locomotive into a mode of transport for their food forest. As it traversed the contour of the farm to avoid adverse grades, it could easily ride upon the tops of swales which follow the same contour. Darting in and around trees and plants, it could be a very practical mode of transport.
 
David Livingston
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  for Travis
 
Michael Cox
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RH&D Railway is right around the corner from me. We go a few times per year. It is still used as a commuter train for local school kids.
 
Henry Jabel
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Found a photo of the one I saw in Cambodia for transporting goods to the shop over the pavement/sidewalk. Not the best photo (as I was just passing) but I remember they were using box section which would keep the weight and cost down. It was set up in just a few minutes by a couple of people.
DSC_0141.jpg
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I`m guilty of making the 'over expensive/complex Monorail in the heading video. I`m familiar with a number of small monorail concepts; and like the Japanese 'Monorak' by 'Nikkari' in the 2nd video,but thats seriously expensive. Both my monorails are operated by women who find them easier to use than a wheelbarrow. Ballancing is not a problem,even someone with one arm could operate it. At the first site she regularly alters the track layout to suit job in hand.My Facebook page,    oimindustrialrail        covers both the Garden Monorail and my15"gauge more conventional rail stuff.You Tube,    wayoutwest blowinblog       will also cover.
 
William Bronson
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I looove your YouTube,thanks for sharing your projects!
 
chris shilling
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Garden Monorail follow on:-  For those limited in tools/workshop who wish to make their on garden monorail trolley I tried the following; buy a commercial platform trolley ( Clarke/B&Q/ Silverline,etc Mine was the smaller 150Kg capacity one costing 49 Euro.Conversion is very simple . I will shortly have details on my Facebook page:-   oimindustrialrail
OIM-M1-31.JPG
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Garden Monorail Simple Trolley Conversion
 
chris shilling
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The Garden-Monorail is expanding. The first has requested a further 100ft of track. A third person has requested 100ft of track, as a starter. I`ll lend them the red trolley until they get time to make their own. A trolley to deal with sharper curves is under development, and will hopefully be trialled this summer, at the third line,with some of the new 2M radius curves and points. If you like this idea please spread it worldwide. If you want to make and sell it please do so. Construction details at  www.garden-monorail.simplesite.com
 
pollinator
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This is pretty cool, but I don't really see how a mini track setup, monorail or whatever gauge conventional track, metal, wood, conduit, or cement, is really practical on this scale.

How is this easier or cheaper than building a two-wheel barrow on a center axle, in the asian style?

In both cases, you still need to clear a path first. Especially in cases where the track needs to be moved regularly, the only thing that's changed is that weight and hardware on the barrow has been exchanged for infrastructure on the ground, which you need to build or move to where you want it before you can use it.

I think, like the rail systems that preceeded metal rails and wheels, and the steam engine, the appropriate application of this technology will be niche, involving tight spaces, heavy loads (for which lighter track systems would prove inadequate), or daily travel.

I think a large wheelie bin modified with small bicycle wheels would work better in most cases.

-CK
 
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Chris Kott wrote:This is pretty cool, but I don't really see how a mini track setup, monorail or whatever gauge conventional track, metal, wood, conduit, or cement, is really practical on this scale.

How is this easier or cheaper than building a two-wheel barrow on a center axle, in the asian style?



By any chance do you have a link to plans (or better yet a DIY video) for this type of wheel barrow? Or just some general guidelines?
 
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Here's some general info on chinese wheelbarrows.  Shouldn't be too hard with some ingenuity. 
http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2011/12/the-chinese-wheelbarrow.html/

 
Chris Kott
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Thanks K.

The premise is simple. You put a pair of large wheels under the centre of mass, and make sure that there are stands to rest either end on the ground without tipping it.

To lift the resting end, all you need do is push down on the opposite end. Lever arms that can be socketed into either end make it even more versatile, and the added length decreases the amount of weight needed to lift the grounded end.

I wouldn't go with the traditional design. Imagine instead a pair of bicycle wheels on a centre axle, with the bottom of the barrow bin extending down on either side of the axle such that when it's balanced on the wheel, there's ground clearance equal to half the radius of the wheel on either side. Apart from the walls of the container and the brackets that hold the movable lever arms, that's pretty much it.

The garden monorail is a fun idea, but it lacks practicality. The barrow would be easier to build, and would go more places more readily, and without first moving track. The only reason I could see it being superior is situationally, and where a machine could be used to pull a loaded cart the length of the track by itself, like with a winch or something, while people do something else, like loading the next cart.

Besides, what is the maximum weight that modified cart will take?

Honestly, if I can carry more load in my two arms using large blue Ikea bags, why would I go to the trouble of building something that would take more of my time to build and use, and would take more trips, besides?

-CK
 
chris shilling
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Chris Kott,..You might be Mr Tough Guy but the 2 women who have the 2 existing monorail systems have used them because the existing ground conditions are quite unsuitable for any wheelbarrow. They can also move more than even you would want to carry. The next system is for a guy and his workers to use on a smallholding.
 
Chris Kott
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My opinion stands. I would rather build a wheel barrow as I have described rather than a flimsy cart and track system, comprising much more material to build, and requiring an output of labour to move the infrastructure before the vehicle can even be used.

As to the women you mention, did you know one of these wheelbarrows can be designed with a platform on the operator's side, allowing the rider to propel it by kicking off the ground regularly, like a giant skateboard?

And of course I am Mr. Tough Guy, but I am also Mr. Practicality. The quantity of materials required, and the need to disassemble and reassemble the track system in order to use it in different places, or the need to build track that will sit unused, otherwise, makes this idea a niche one at best.

To address the issues raised regarding the suitability of terrain, I would point to the many different configurations of the Chinese wheelbarrow, reflecting the many different types of terrain they evolved to conquer. This is all available with a search of Google Images.

There are definitely reasons rail came to be. It is great for moving large quantities of people and things over varying distances on a constant basis. I just think that the garden needs to be huge, and the planting, tending, and harvesting ongoing to justify the expense of effort and materials, especially if the track needs to be designed to last longer than a season.

-CK

 
William Bronson
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I would love to see the cart that Chris described.
By using a waste bin,I imagine that  fully loaded,the center of gravity might be too high.
I've seen the Chinese wheelbarrows, but only used by work hardened men.
The better prepared the path, the easier the load is to move.
Clearly you can't get more prepared than a rail and cart system.
The  Chinese barrows often have a single wheel in order to navigate narrower paths.
A single wheel requires balance in two  axis, rather than one,so the work is a little harder.
A double wheeled barrow is easier to use, but needs two parallel paths or one wider path.
Either of these options beg the question, why not use a 4 wheel wagon?
No energy expened on balancing means more left to pull the cart.
 
chris shilling
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Fine, I know a monorail is not for all applications, but nor is a chinese wheelbarrow.
 
Chris Kott
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No single tool is good for all things. I don't use a hammer to drive a screw, I use a screwdriver.

I refer to such thinking as panaceic, or seeking a single, magic bullet solution for all problems and situations. I find it ubiquitous with human problem-solving, and it's one of the most common ways people let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

I would probably consider a track-based system in conjunction with a food forest system, whose bones don't change much. If I don't need to move the infrastructure for it to be useful, a rail system becomes more practical.

Use is also a factor. If I am doing farm tours, I would totally want a rail system. If I have large harvests of anything, it would be a benefit to be able to load carts on the tracks to take them to the barn/farmhouse for processing. If I am moving a chicken tractor or something like that between non-adjacent paddocks, I could see it being a real benefit to load the chicken tractor onto a flatbed cart on the tracks to take it where it needs to go.

I could see a paddock-shift chicken tractoring system wherein the chicken tractor is built upon a flatbed rail cart of its own. The rail spur would run the length of the paddocks, through the middle, such that a door opened on either side of the chicken tractor would offer access to different paddocks.

And thinking about it, were I moving barrels full of compost extract or moving large quantities of amendment or mulch, I could have it all stored centrally, and load bins as I need to, using the track to move what I need where it needs to go.

Absolutely the only part of the idea I think is, well I'm not going to say unworkable, because that's obviously an exaggeration, but sub-optimal, is the part where cheaply made track (not a criticism, it needs to be cost-effective to be useful) gets moved around.

I think I would look at stationary track. I think it would probably be poured concrete, but hopefully moisture-sealed rammed earth could be used. I would excavate a trench, fill it with whatever medium was to be used, and then form that medium with a groove running down its centre (for a twinned track system, as opposed to a monorail, I would probably dig two trenches).

I would probably shape that groove to fit whatever the standard size pneumatic wheelbarrow tire was most widely available to me, and cast it in lengths of eight feet or so, longer if I have the materials to make longer forms.

Taking a flatbed rail cart as an example, were I building a monorail, I would mount wheelbarrow wheels inline with the centre of the cart, front and back, so that it would ride the groove track. I would also mount roller wheels on each corner, so that should the cart hit the ground on either side on turns, the roller wheels on that side would cushion any impact and keep the cart rolling.

One other thing I would look at would be the bearings. I definitely wouldn't cheap out on them. In a well-built system, they might be the source of most rolling resistance, and the biggest regular failure point, all else considered.

With wheelbarrow tires, a drive wheel is also possible.

I didn't intend to suggest that this tool wasn't useful, only that a track system that was cost-effective, movable, and durable enough to withstand relocation is a tall order, and in situations where track would otherwise have to be moved, a properly designed wheel barrow and a path might be a more efficient solution.

This is a great idea, generally speaking. The only part I think is less than workable is the moving track part. If the track were fixed, it could be made more cheaply and more durably than a movable one.

-CK
 
William Bronson
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I like the idea of a poured cementious or earthen track,but a groove isn't as good as a raised track.
Debris, snow,rain all will accumulate.
A raised rail sheds all if these,and it could use less in the way of materials.
Wheelbarrow are often discarded because of flat tires.
The rims are generally fine,and shaped to accomdate a rail.

20180322_172012.jpg
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Could tracks be cast,kind of like this?
 
Chris Kott
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That's certainly true about the grooved earthen track, but I think a cow catcher or snowplow fender could easily be rigged to clear the groove ahead of the wheel.

I was looking at using pneumatic tires within the grooved track to reduce wear on the track itself, especially if I was using a natural water-sealed rammed earth track. I would rather replace tire tubes than pour or ram more track or replace metal parts, and a monorail running on a raised cement or earthen curb would require twice the number of wheels.

I also think it important to have an inset groove track system because then I could refer to it as "my groovy monorail."

-CK
 
chris shilling
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Well Chris, you`ve just spent a long time contradicting and making difficult. As it happens I regularly hammer in screws; I also once made a wood 5 bar gate using a screwdriver (and hammer of course )as I had misplaced the chisel.Have you any photos of your Chjnese wheelbarrow in use that you can post for us.
 
chris shilling
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2 very good points William.
 
Chris Kott
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No, actually, I have consistently maintained my opinion that track or rail-based systems that need to be moved are probably less efficient than a wheelbarrow designed for the situation, because track that needs to be designed to move will be less durable than track designed to remain in place.

There is no circumstance where I would see moveable track as anything but a downside due to wear considerations.

-CK
 
Chris Kott
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And I am currently in an urban area, so am making use of wheelie bins. If I can find a picture of my last rig, I will definitely post it, just a heavy bicycle trailer with some custom brackets for walls and handles, but those were the days before smartphones, so don't hold your breath.

-CK
 
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I remember touring the Woodford Distillery many years ago and they had what they called "barrel runs" that are something like rail tracks and they could just start the barrels of whiskey rolling and they would go right on to the next place in the production sequence.  Of course the places that the barrels needed to go was a fixed, rarely changing path.  The rails were pitched slightly so gravity did the work.

 
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Jerry Ward wrote:I remember touring the Woodford Distillery many years ago and they had what they called "barrel runs"


That setup is a thing of beauty.

 
Tim Bermaw
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chris shilling wrote:Both my monorails are operated by women who find them easier to use than a wheelbarrow. Ballancing is not a problem,even someone with one arm could operate it. At the first site she regularly alters the track layout to suit job in hand.


There's a fine balance between portability and toughness, and I think you've found it.  The coefficient of rolling resistance for rubber tyres on sand/soil is orders of magnitude higher than that for steel on steel, and the multitude of benefits are obvious to anyone who has ever used one.

Aluminium would be perhaps the ideal material for portable light (mono-)rail systems, but is prohibitively expensive (compared to steel).  As far as a DIY option is concerned, I can't think of anything that would be better than flat bar stock and angle iron (for straight sections).  Great choice.

Not that it is, but if balance was an issue — as it might be if transporting fluids, animals, or other unstable loads — it would be trivial to attach some spring-loaded wheels or skis/skids to the cart to keep it stable at all times.

I always look forward to rail-related videos on your Way Out West Blow-in blog.  Keep up the great work!
 
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I have used a hammer to drive a screw in!
I think that German monorail was great, bearing in mind the terrain. I would not bother with building it in wood.
Cheapest is not always the best value when it needs replacing. It seemed to be 6-8 feet off the ground at times and I reckon it was wonderful.
 
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Anyone else have Conan O'Brien and the whole town of Springfield singing "Monorail" in their head as they read this thread?
 
chris shilling
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Interesting barrel mover.Most would buy a forklift now.The German monorail is so expensive I can`t see how it pays in its main use, farming; I got a price of them for their cheapest truck.
 
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