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Open Source Walk Behind Tractor ?


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#1 GT_hacker OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 09:21 AM

After a few years of looking at Marcin at open source ecology struggle to bring viable ideas for open source equipment to the common man I have to ask why haven't there been more info on the net about building a simple 2 wheeled tractor? OSE's tractor ideas are no where near ready for the common man to build or afford and he forgets his target market demo that usually have more time and skills than money. I want to build a walk behind tractor for my 10 acre plot. I already have a 5'x9' dump trailer frame that I will build to be pulled by this said tractor. If anyone has seen the pictures of the asian walk behind tractors that are a bit larger and heavier duty than their bcs or rapid counterparts, that is what I am going for.

So my question about the design of this tractor is mainly about the drive system setup? I don't mind a simple differential and chain drive system with a clutch. Id like it to stay as simple to build as possible. The frame and chassis will be the simplest portion of this project to build from steel.Id like 18" implement tires on it. The great thing about these tractors is you don't need a huge motor to drive it..a 13 hp 420cc gas engine clone from harbor freight would do. I would probably also need a gear box to gear it down of course. I need some help figuring out what the best way to design this tractor would be if you were looking to source the parts from some place like Surplus Center. Any assistance would be appreciated.
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#2 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 09:46 AM

Welcome to GTT. My question is why try to engineer something that has already been engineered. The cost, especilly in time to build your own 2 wheeler will be alot greater than if you pick up a quality older one. Try for an old David Bradley walk behind. They can be found for a reasonable price. Attachments are plentifull. For 10 acres I'd be looking at a full size farm tractor. Good Luck, Rick
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#3 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 10:04 AM

I'm wondering if Rick has identified the reason why they went with a larger more complicated tractor. Working 10 acres by hand with a big walk behind wouldn't be an easy task.


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#4 Jehtro OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 10:58 AM

I don't know if I really agree with the Marcin project, its all good if you have a complete weld / machine shop available to you. But if you did , you probably won't be building one. Also the designs I don't think would fair well in our climate up here.



#5 Lauber1 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 11:04 AM

Well in the 30's, Sears sold the Handiman, and proclaimed the tractor was for farms of 5 to 20 acres. I think the time factor in the modern age, has gotten everyone to thinking bigger , better, faster. Sometimes this isn't the case. You can plow a lot of ground in a day with a walk-behind model. Mostly I would guess it would boil down to whether or not you think your up to the walking.  I personally farmed 12 acres with almost all walking tractors. The only work I didn't do was to plow, and for that I used a small Ford tractor.


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#6 GT_hacker OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 11:48 AM

I was hoping I would get a few mpre constructive posts regarding thw question in my thread. I have my reasons for not just settling for a david bradley tractor and also my want for a two wheeled tractor in general. First and foremost my 10 acres will not be covered in crops. My needs are for utility and the walk behind could be used to haul a small trailer that will transport my logs, dirt and tools around the farm. Secondly the idea of buying a david bradley would be fine if I didn't mind scouring the earth for reasonable replacement parts that aren't easy to find. The cost of nostalgia is high these days.
So if anyone could recommend the simplest and best way to build a drive system regarding this tractor I would appreciate it. I am not here to debate whether I should buy a larger tractor. I don't want one, the cost to maintain and dangers of using them on hilly ground is too high for me. From my point of view I would much rather keep the project as open source as possible that way if I need a new part I can easily find it in a surplus center catalog.

My idea is to weld a simple square frame chassis up with a longer handle system like the asian two wheeled variety. I will also have a braking system built in. I assume a differential axle setup with a sprocket and chain to the motor/ clutch will be sufficient for my needs. I just would like some brainstorming to understand what this build encompasses.

Edit:
Northern tool and surplus center have an assortment of axle and clutch options. I can also use a go cart brake system to add some stopping power. There is a local gearbox company in my town that could probably have a specific gearbox to gear down my build when I need it.

Edited by GT_hacker, April 10, 2014 - 12:17 PM.


#7 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 12:26 PM

Well, for the differential, they sell go-cart diffs different places, but who knows how much power that will accommodate.  You will have to make a decision on your wheel diameter before you can really nail down gear reduction, a 16 inch diameter wheel will not travel as far during one rotation as a 26 inch diameter wheel.  I'd at least make my first reduction off the engine via a belt, belts and pulleys are cheap.  Final reduction could be via a chain and sprocket setup.  Personally, I think your biggest challenge will be getting a differential that will hold up to the power and demands you are placing on it.  

 

For ease of design and robustness, I'd look at a single wheel drive set-up.  I know Gravely started with a single wheel walking plow.  Also, I'd look closely at the David Bradley "Tri-Trac" design, which had a single rear wheel and dual front wheels for stability and steering.   Redesign that a bit around a 26 x12 x12 wheel,  or an ATV 25 x 10 x 12, put the operator low to the ground for added stability, and the outrigger axle out front can sit up kind of high for crop clearance.

 

I think even if you insist that you don't want to ride, yet still be able to pull a cart, that a single wheel tractor could be designed to be incorporated to drive a trailer if you started from the ground up.

 

Keep us posted on your progress

Howard


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#8 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 12:43 PM

Also, 13 Hp is a LOT of power for a small 2 wheel tractor, you won't use that much.  Also, I decided that if you are set on using 2 wheels, you might actually be better off with two engines, and two drive trains, no complicated differential then.   Plus, that would give you some differential type action, yet still keep both tires powered so you are less likely to get stuck.

 

And while you said you want belts and pulleys, you might want to think about how the zero turn mowers work.  Individual hydraulic motors with the engine driving a single pump.  Again, no need for an open diff axle.

 

Another suggestion would be to look around at some of the electric conversions which have been documented on this site.  Pack a couple of batteries and a twin electric motor set-up with twin controllers onto a two wheel setup and you've got plenty of tractive weight to use.  If you need to run the tractor all day, use a small thrifty gas engine to drive an alternator that can charge the batteries while you are out in the field.



#9 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 01:17 PM

If your familiar with the Wheel Horse tractors from the late 60s thru 70s , I could easily see removing the front axle and shortening the frame so the engine is where the dash and battery box would be. The rest is easy. An 8 hp Kohler engine would be great.



#10 Mike Unwin OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 01:33 PM

I thinks this gentleman is doing just that........http://www.smokstak....ad.php?t=130447

 

I thought a diff unit from a Bolens 4 tractor would be a good place to start to build a home brew walk behind as it has a lockable diff.



#11 GT_hacker OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 01:51 PM

Howard,
Thanks for your input. I am not totally set on the single axle and chain and sprocket setup. I really like to the hydraulic setup idea and the electric drive motors with alternator assist from a small engine. These are the reasons I came to this forum. I need some pros and cons to the whole idea. Ill keep everyone updated. Depending on the power delivery system I use will decide my tire and wheel size. I have a set of 2 extra 16" wheels for my nh lb620 backhoe that I could use. They are a bit bigger than I want but well see.
At the moment I really like the hydraulic route. I wouldn't need any overkill horsepower and the torque should be good for my application.

#12 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 02:49 PM

Have you thought about one of the Gravely 2wheel tractors instead of the DB. They are very capable machines and since they are a bit newer and were used in commercial applications it may be easier to get parts. If you are using surplus parts to DIY you will need to buy spares to ensure parts availability. Designing a 2 wheel tractor that will perform as well as established designs is not a trivial task and could end up taking a long time to get dialled in. 


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#13 GT_hacker OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 02:52 PM

So I am looking through surplus centers hydraulic wheel motor offerings and they seem to be a perfect fit for my needs. So I would build a mount for each hydraulic wheel motor on the frame..then run the motors from a hydraulic pump. My question what type of pump would I need? What is a double hydraulic pump? I assume the hydraulic power would fit my needs for a low speed high torque operation. The pump would then be mounted to a gas engine. Like someone said earlier an 8 hp would probably do. Anyone have anything to add to this hydraulic route idea? I could also add a pto pump that could use certain attachments from the likes of earthtoolsbcs..I like the hay baler and wrapper, although its high dollar it looks useful. Anyhelp with hydraulics setup would be appreciated.
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#14 GT_hacker OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 03:01 PM

I have thought about finding a gravely or david bradley. I can find more DBs it seems but im sure I could find a reasonable gravely. Its just I want something a bit different..mainly I will model it after the asian two wheeled tractors that they use with trailers and other implements. I just dont understamd why the only two wheeled offerings in america are the small and too frilly bcs type tractors instead of the ones that I see being used in asia.
Google the asian walking tractors and youll see what I mean. There is a difference in the design of those and the walking tractors of bcs and rapid

#15 Alc OFFLINE  

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Posted April 10, 2014 - 04:06 PM

Would a old zero turn mower have the wheel motors pump and valving your looking for ?
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