Saturday, November 15, 2003

Timber Tugger

My two year old made me feel really good today when we were eating together. She encountered a difficult task, (peeling a grapefruit) she took a breath and said emphatically, “I Can Do It”. One thing I am passionate about is telling my kids to say, “I can”

every time that I hear them say, “I can’t.”
One of my past and present dreams is to build my own machines. I started on the project about 10 years ago when I accumulated the necessary tooling, tracks and sprockets from a mini excavator, extra parts and a junked motorcycle. I had been heating with a wood stove and used to beat my vehicles and tractors dragging logs out of the woods, my idea was to build a machine that I could drag the logs with that would be small and powerful. Timber Tugger would be the name of my machine.
I proceeded to build some track frames and roller assemblies, acquired a rear end assembly from a Pennsylvanian lawn tractor (thanks to a friend). I built a high sprocket supported on threaded rods so that I could tighten the tracks by jacking up the rear end assembly on the threaded rods. My engine was a shortcut because I knew that motorcycle engines are high horsepower, low torque engines but I had one to use so I built a frame around the engine and fabricated a drive shaft that ran directly from the output shaft of the engine into the rear end assembly. Sure I would have preferred a diesel with hydrostatic drives but sometimes you just have to work with what you have. Once the final assembly was up and running I rigged up a motorcycle seat, throttle, clutch and planned on steering with the individual brakes.
It worked! Well let’s just say it drove me across the yard like a bat out of hell! The steering was a failure, the engine would only carry the massive weight at full throttle and basically I just held on! I didn’t get to tug any logs; I did get to drive it across the yard enough times for my picture to get taken a time or two. I did get to build my first proto type and there will be a second, with diesel and hydrostatic drives that I can steer.
I am going to build another timber tugger but right now can’t devote the time to it. I have another idea in my head of a type of piston engine that probably won’t be powerful, efficient, light, or lucrative. I thought of it and I won’t know if it will run unless I build it and find out for my self. I don’t question that I will be able to do it because I know as my two year old and my four year old will tell you “I Can” See some pictures of my Timber Tugger.

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