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Bizarre tractor idea of the day  RSS feed

 
Pearl Sutton
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I was glancing at my email and I misread a subject line. Original was "Collectible tractors for fun and profit" I read it as "Collapsible tractors for fun and profit"  Collapsible tractors!? What an AWESOME idea!! You could put in them in the barn a lot easier if you fold them!!

My head says make the frame like an X type foldable wheelchair, good solid driveshaft down the center, foldable part would be the wheel base and seat parts... That's just my first thought though.

I vote someone figure this out, I want to see this!! :D
 
Peter VanDerWal
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Wouldn't it be easier to just do a wheely in the corner?
 
Todd Parr
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Peter VanDerWal wrote:Wouldn't it be easier to just do a wheely in the corner?


Lol, damn straight.
 
Travis Johnson
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You are about 90 Years to late...

Actually it was not a collapsible tractor, but collapsible implement that RG LeTourneau invented back in the 1920's. What he found was, it took 60 HP to full his scraper, but to fill it another cubic yard would take 120 HP. The reason was the exponential force needed to drive that extra yard inside with the rest of the soil in the way. His idea was, and is still in use today even on modern scrapers was, to make the bucket collapsible. His worked in reverse.

The first yard filled a portion of the bucket, then like a collapsible cup, it pulled out for the second yard, then a third section pulled out. After it was emptied, it was collapsed and the process started over. In this way his tractor was only filling 1 cubic yard at a time.

...

I had a different idea for a collapsible tractor. Lets say you needed to do seed down a 2 acre field and only needed a light, small tractor. A tractor segment would couple to the drill and plant the small field. A minimal of fuel because that was all that was required. But lets say you want to plant 1000 acres of corn and need to till it. 100 tractor segments would be hooked together, and then in unison it would pull as a unit on a disc harrow that was equally coupled together. In that way the right amount of horsepower was always used.

This is not far fetched. We used equipment like this to move ships when I built US Navy Destroyers. The biggest section I saw moved over land was 4500 tons, 1/3 of a ship, about 300 feet long, 60 feet high and 80 feet long.  It was an impressive sight. You can watch the move here. (Watch the wheels move on the segmented transporter)



 
Pearl Sutton
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Travis: That is awesome!! I'd have liked to see that ship move! And I'll think about the collapsible bucket bit, I ran into that problem with my itty bitty Kubota, it has more ambition than HP. Interesting solution...
Thank you for cool information! I'd give you an apple if I could.
 
Travis Johnson
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Travis: That is awesome!! I'd have liked to see that ship move! And I'll think about the collapsible bucket bit, I ran into that problem with my itty bitty Kubota, it has more ambition than HP. Interesting solution...
Thank you for cool information! I'd give you an apple if I could.


It could go beyond that because it could also go to general transportation! A smart car does not work because sometimes it is just plain too small, and a pickup does not work because it is just too darn big for most travel tasks, and lets face it, not many of us have a big rig in our back yard for the big stuff we moved now and then.

Let's say I break something and I need to run to town to get a bolt. Just me, and something I can carry. I grab a single segment, zip down into town and get it. No extra fuel, a vehicle just the size I need and no more.

But then lets say I want to take my family of (6) to the store. One segment is not enough, so I put 4 segments together and zip into town. It is a little bigger, but not too big, and made of people transporting design.

But what about when I have those times I need a pick up? If the segments could come as people movers, but also some as flat beds, well I could put a people segment together for me to operate, then a few flat bed segments to transport the stuff I need to for my farm.

But it could get better! What if I have an occasional need to move something big, like lots of logs to build a WOFATI. I could puts lots of segments together to transport what I need. Some could be on highway segments, some could be off highway segments, some could be flat bed segments, some could be dumpbody type segments, heck they could even be RV type segments. The imagination is the limit!

And just how would a person afford these segments to do what they need? They would simply buy the ones they use the most (say 4 to transport their family, dividing or adding them as they needed too), maybe borrow a pick up segment now and then or have one or too for the occasional need, or RENT! Yep, if you need a ton of segments to do a really big job, you just go down to the segmental rental shop and rent them for the day, week, month, etc. Normally only licensed truck drivers could do the big moves with specialized equipment, but today with the advent of GPS and autonomous driving, that massive transporter for your WOFATI project could drive itself, no Commercial Drivers License needed.

But then while I am being futuristic, why not just throw in the idea that all these segments could be hovercrafts and do away with the wheel anyhow?

 
Pearl Sutton
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Travis: I'm up for hovercraft!! I get tired of tires, plus it would make it much easier to do my tractor if it didn't have ta stay on the ground, I have a bad phobia of it tipping over, so I'm always scared when it tilts even a little bit. Hovercraft would fix that! Hook me UP!! :D

Modular makes a lot  of sense in cars. I agree with you there. That would make my current life MUCH easier. When I moved I bought a tractor, so I have only one engine to maintain, and can attach whatever I want to it, including weird things I make. Our cars and the trucks, though, each do one thing really well, with 4 engines to maintain. I want modular cars. Hook me UP there too! :D

In our house (when I get it built, soon hopefully, finally got codes clearance!) I'm making our furniture modular, and on wheels. Me and my mother are both "rearrange the furniture!" types, and if I make it all hook together interestingly, we should be able to do some cool arrangements as needed. I'm adding features like outlets and cords, so they plug into each other, reading lights that stay on our favorite chairs, so no matter where you roll them to, the light is set right. Couple of the modules will have glass windows above a set of shelves only 3 foot high (probably with my pretty china on the shelves), just for pretty partitions, that move around. And you really only need coat closets and boot benches half the year, I vote for roll them out into the garage in summer :) Most of the modules will be the same size, or made to nest together neatly. This is a fun project, and I have been running amok with it in my head for stress reduction. Thinking on things like making the paint patterns repeat and match up no matter how they are arranged...

Can I live in your futuristic world too?
And someone gave you an apple for me!! YAY!! Thanks whoever did it!! :D
 
Travis Johnson
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There is no reason NOT to have hovercrafts today. I think the problem was, operating on a cushion of air, as the ground underneath pitched and rolled, the hovercraft would slip and slide with it. But today with autonomous driving, as soon as the hovercraft began to slip, side thrusters could correct for the drift. In short, while we might not be able to control all functions of the hovercraft fast enough, computers could!

Myself I have gotten away from tires on my "tractors". I suppose that saying is misleading because several have tires like my skidder and farm tractor, but I am modifying my bulldozer to do more and more. Finding a bulldozer with a three point hitch is like finding a hens tooth balancing precariously on the horn of a unicorn. So...I fabricated my own. The ability to put various 3 point hitch attachments on a machine that can go through mud, brush and areas teeming with tire-puncturing-debris has a lot of merit. It can handle a lot of weight too. It does not even notice a big round bale of hay on the front of it, nor 500 pounds of lime on the back! It is not the total answer to farming I know, but for the interim, it does help.

I am kind of like you, I am nervous about flopping my equipment over which is why I like my bulldozer, it is impossible to flop one of them over, but my tractor...that is not so hard as you can see.

DSCN4921.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN4921.JPG]
 
Pearl Sutton
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Oh gads! That's my nightmare right there! I have steep ditches (that belong to the city, but I'm going to modify the angle anyway) and a long slope that I have had to learn to be creative to deal with. I have an itty bitty Kubota (17 HP, smaller than yours I think) and the wheelbase is very narrow. I may at some point figure out how to move the back wheels farther apart (I have them on the last peg already) for stability. I have only had it for less than a year, I  have learned to put extra weight on it to keep it a little more stable. Kinda weird to need to move dirt, so I put on the brushcutter and toss some weights on it, but it works. 

I think you need make us 3 point equipped hovercraft :) There's a market for them! Can you imagine being able to advertise "Never get stuck in the mud again!" The farmers would LOVE it!!

Only problem I have been having with your hovercraft tech comments is I'm not a fan of autonomous driving machines. I just think that's an evil camel nose in the tent, and don't like the idea at all. If they were done well and no additional laws came about, they might be ok, but the odds of that are too low. I just am too much of a cynic to like that tech being developed. The theory is SO nice, but I fear the reality. That said, make me one! I'll be your beta tester :D

This thread is being WAY more interesting than fixing the leak under the sink in this #%$^ rental this morning... Thank you for playing with me!
 
Travis Johnson
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I got a bulldozer to work on so I do not have much time, but you CAN invert the rear wheels on most Kubota's.  The wheels are dished in at purchase, so to to dish them out, and make the stance much wider (and thus more stable), jack up the rear of the tractor so you can remove BOTH rear wheels; rim and all. Then put the right wheel on the left side, and the left on the right. This changes the dish of the rim and you gain about a foot of stability. It makes a HUGE difference and is free!

Of all my equipment, my skidder is the most prone to roll-over, and while I have never put it on its side, I seem to get pretty close with it being on 3 wheels. Fortunately it is typically working in the woods so trees should keep it from going all the way over.

Last year I did a job where I cleared forest into a pasture on the side of a mountain and I was forever worried I was going to flop my excavator over. With those machines weight transfer changes as the boom moves in and out. Hook onto a stump and swing out full boom length and you might tumble down the mountain. I always kept my thumb on the thumb switch so I could (and several times did have too) release the stump so I did not careen over the edge. It was steep enough so that in places to climb the ledge, I had to hook into a stump and drag my excavator up the hill because there was nothing for the tracks to bite into.

It was a tough job, one I did not make a whole lot of money on, but a satisfying one. A guy said in the beginning it would "take 5 years to finish", and it took 5 weeks. 200 Hours in the dozer, and the same in the excavator, but it got done. I got a picture of the excavator after I climbed my way to the top somewhere, I just got to find it.
 
Pearl Sutton
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OH COOL! My tractor's gonna get jacked up and messed with!! THANK YOU!!

I'd love to see the picture off that job, sounds hairy.

I need to learn exactly how far my tractor can lean safely, because my head says "Not at ALL!" and I catch myself panicking when I hit a hole on basically level ground. I know I'm safe, but I still panic. It gets old. And even knowing that I'm probably ok doesn't stop the fear. Tight wheelbase and seat up high just hits all my rollover triggers. I rolled a truck once, and the feeling of going over is still burned into my brain, I still have nightmares of that feeling 30 years later. Which is interesting, as I don't often dream about a different wreck 35 years ago that did a LOT of damage to my body that I am still in intense pain from. Brains are weird things.



 
Sebastian Köln
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The last time I checked hovercrafts, they required a ridiculous amount of fuel. And they have no traction... that would make a very useless tractor.

I have been thinking about putting tractors on legs instead of wheels. (Think of a large spider, with the engine as the body.) It should be possible to make them step over obstacles and walk on slopes (unless they are very steep, without places to stand on).
They may not get the same maximum speed, but otherwise it could work (and it does not require that much weight to have traction).
 
Travis Johnson
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I am not sure if this helps or not, but when I flopped my Kubota tractor over (pictured) it was so slow that I literally stepped off it as it was going over. In my case I was on a pretty steep hillside, had a deep furrow developed from plowing, and had my bucket up to avoid hitting the fence. What happened was, my front tire popped out of the furrow, so when I went to cut it back in, it dropped down into the furrow and it was just enough to make me go over. I never rolled a skidder, but guys said they go over just as slow.

 
Travis Johnson
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Sebastian Köln wrote:The last time I checked hovercrafts, they required a ridiculous amount of fuel. And they have no traction... that would make a very useless tractor.

I have been thinking about putting tractors on legs instead of wheels. (Think of a large spider, with the engine as the body.) It should be possible to make them step over obstacles and walk on slopes (unless they are very steep, without places to stand on).
They may not get the same maximum speed, but otherwise it could work (and it does not require that much weight to have traction).


Yeah depending on what the tractor is used for, a hovercraft might be useless.

For high tractive effort tasks like disc harrowing and pretty much any ground engagement work, it would not work, but for other tasks it would be a dream. Like haying, no ground compaction, no heavy towing, especially if the baler was hovercraft as well. Just drifting along through the fields picking up hay. And of course logging because the tractor would not drag the log through the woods, it would pick it up on a cushion of air and tow it along effortlessly.

A tractor with legs though has been developed, and just for the reasons you cite! Both TimberJack and John Deere have working prototypes so that they can log in environmentally sensitive areas like swamps and on steep mountainous terrain. Spider excavators also exist and are not only a prototype, but in production. In fact I would rather have a Spider Excavator then one with tracks, but am not sure where I would get one on this side of the pond.



 
Pearl Sutton
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Oh neat!
I LOVE where this thread has danced off to!!
I hate video, rarely watch it. I just watched both of those all the way through. Wow. I'm fascinated!

I'd love to see one of the permies who doesn't have land yet, buy one of these, tell us all, schedule it, and go cross country stopping and doing whatever any of us will pay them to do...  "Have spider loader, will travel!" Imagine how fast that could build an awkward pond, or hugelculture bed!! That would be a fun job for some of these younger folks who are still looking and thinking about where to buy land. Specialize in permie type work. It's annoying to try to tell a non-permie type what you want him to do with his tractor, it's just alien to them. "And don't cut those volunteer fruit trees down!!" "Lady, it's a brushcutter, it cuts everything down. And they are just American persimmons, just a weed!" We are on different planets. Would be awesome to have excellent equipment run by a permie.

I hope I never roll my Kubota to find out how slow it goes, I wear a seat belt, makes me panic a bit less, but would make it harder to get off if I had to. Looked at a picture of my tractor (it's not at this house) looks like I can flip my wheels out like you said :D Have to think about how to jack it right. Last time it got jacked like that, they used a forklift. I consider my tractor female ("If it has tires or testicles, you'll have problems with it." It already has tires, ain't having testicles too) and seeing my Lady of Steel in a compromising position with that forklift, oh my!! I'm surprised she didn't end up having a litter of lawnmowers. I'll have to think how to get her up easy without a forklift.
 
Travis Johnson
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I was actually hoping you were not upset where this thread went since your originally context was kind of morphed. A Spider Excavator is not really a collapsible tractor, but it has been an interesting topic as the posts have developed.

I would love to do what you propose. I have a heart for people and would love to use my farming experience to help others first starting out, but atlas I have a wife, 4 young daughters and my own farm that has a lot of needs unto its own.

But to be able to say, "Hey Pearl, I'll be down your way in two weeks, we'll swap your tractor tires around then", and then actually do it, would be a blast. I am a workaholic so work does not bother me, I love chatting with people, and to help people out...what better thing could transpire?

But again I have responsibilities here. I am trying to finish a book I started on agriculture. It is about taking a farm to the next level. I realized after trying to find a book on the topic, that none existed. Oh plenty of beginner farmer books were out there, but none for the next step. After a bit I realized I was qualified to write it considering what me and Katie have done. I did finish up the chapter on equipment, and while it was not about outside-the-box type of tractors, it did go into depth about homemade implements. I retired from a shipyard building US Navy Destroyers so I figure if I can weld battleships together, I can weld implements and have made several of my own. They work well.

Myself; I have an out of control bulldozer fetish, but realize the perfect one does not exist. Maybe before I die (or we all get hovercraft tractors) I will build one. Mine has a PTO, 3 point hitch, reverser, and blade on the front, but a double manual/auto transmission would make it ideal.
 
Pearl Sutton
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I'm totally into where this gone! I was just amused by my original post, misreading words and thinking "what a cool idea!" Now I want a hovering modular spider excavator! :D

I'll probably settle in real life for swapping out my tires if I can, and wishing for a traveling excavator. That might be a fun kickstarter for someone. Not my thing, I have land, and a life I'm trying to do, and not into traveling much anymore, did a lot when I was young, got it out of my system, want a stable life now. I'd donate to a kickstarter though (hint, anyone reading this, there ARE people who would do this!!)

I'm hoping at some point to have energy for meeting local permies, just haven't had energy, it's one of those thing if I met people I might get help, but since I have no help, I work too much to have energy to meet people. I have social issues, and people take a lot of effort for me, and when I'm tired, I don't have energy for the effort. The closest ones I have seen on Permies are 40 miles away, I know there are closer, just don't have a clue who they are or if they do anything I could be invited to, not sure how to locate the wild reclusive permies in this area. Met someone the other day who may be a finger into that group, but have not met any yet. Would be interesting if we could do something like stamp our foreheads so if we see each other in the lumberyard or the grocery store we'd know we want to meet :) I don't wear shirts with stuff on them, so that's not happening. Saw a guy I thought about talking to in the hardware store, he was grubby, really muddy, looked tired and annoyed, and was buying plumbing repair parts. He's probably someone I could relate to :) He looked really busy though, so I didn't bug him.
 
Travis Johnson
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I am the same way. I actually live in what I call the "Permiculture Capital of the World."

Our local college is one of the top colleges in the nation for Earth Sciences (Unity College) and where we used to farm was sold to the Maine Organic and Farmer and Gardening Association, or where they have the Common Ground Fair. Every year some 70,000 Permies go there for the annual fair over 3 days. It is a huge event.

So I know there are Permies around, but I am odd. I grew up farming and come from a 9th generation farm, so I have a lot of conventional farmer in me. But I also know we cannot keep doing things we always did, because I have seen so many conventional farmers fail. As I like to quip, "It is not 1985 anymore", so I am part Permies...probably getting better, but really feel left out in terms of being a farmer. My conventional farmers laugh at me and my farming methods, and yet I have enough conventional farm methods that many Permie's farmers would laugh at me. How am I supposed to meet others in those contexts? But I really want to. Since I retired I talk to no one but myself. No Joke! I literally talk to myself because I work alone ALL THE TIME. Last week a neighbor needed me to use my log loader to take down a wood stove from his deck high overhead to the ground. I did it,but i was having such fun talking to someone besides my wife Katie, that I did not want to leave.

Lately energy has really been a problem. I am going under the knife next week for a Thyroid issue, and I am really hoping it changes things. I am so tired all the time. I can't sleep, my throat always hurts, my voice is breaking all the time because the tumors are pressing on my vocal cords. But this week it has to be an all assault so that in the coming weeks I can rest up. Right now I am clearing land so we can have more sheep, so it is not like the work I do is light tractor work. I am not sure if you have logged at all, but logging is brutal. I love Katie, but she does not understand. I am about beat, and yet she is out buying oil and diesel fuel right now (evening) so the skidder is fueled up tonight so I can get an early start tomorrow. I am just hoping this surgery does what it needs too because I can't do this the rest of my life.

 
Travis Johnson
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Well if you cannot decide if you want a bulldozer or a tractor, you can just have both with this old square wheel tractor! (I know you hate videos, but I could not find a picture, just a video. Sorry).

 
Pearl Sutton
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You have officially induced me to watch more video today than cumulative in the last month!! :) I would have had to find a video of that to see how it moves, that's awesome. I love how it works, at first I thought those were rods, but it's cables, that makes total sense. I'll keep how that works in mind for if my tractor blows tires, bet the rims could modify pretty easily to do that. Getting the cable tension exactly right has to be tricky.

I understand talking to yourself, I make up stupid songs while I work, often about what I'm working on. When I do talk to anyone (see social issues comment, above) it's REALLY hard to not explode with all the stuff that bubbles up in me all the time. Makes human contact even harder, trying to not only gear down my words for normal conversation, and gear down the concepts for normal minds, but then not explode at them... I fail fairly often, and I don't realize it till later (if ever) and that makes it harder next time.

I hope your surgery helps, I am some shade of fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue/lyme/lupus type illness (although I pass all their tests, so the doctors say I'm just crazy. Ummm. Maybe you just have the wrong tests?) so I know how bad fatigue is for your life. A lot of what I'm doing with my life right now is taking advantage of a possibly temporary spell of decent health and making a reality where I can cope, whether I get bad again or not, whether the world stays sane or not, whether I have money or not. I put a lot of thought into what it would take to make my life work for me, and that's what I'm doing. Just as when you start permieing up a piece of property you start with the earth works, get your base patterns laid out, then you go from there, I am currently putting in my base patterns for a lifestyle that I can deal with. I hope your repair lets you go back to the lifestyle you prefer :)

I'm out of town for a couple of days, not snubbing you if you reply :) Picking up more of my seriously underpriced bits of things to build a house with. I have grand dreams, and a low budget, but I'm VERY creative and resourceful.

 
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