Recently a user named @Tractormad101 was looking at a few of my past builds…
Well, if any of you have looked back (or perchance remember!), I always prefer modeling real objects (my Peterbuilt 379, 4-wheeler, Batmobile, and Formula 1 car being just a few of my favorites )
Anyway, as I grew up in the country doing every kind of farm work that there is, I thought I’d make something in honor of both Tractormad AND the people who won’t shut down for this virus – or any other national disaster: farmers.
Okay, so I’ll ramble later about my process and why I like this build, but first a few teaser photos and and a short video link.
Guess I’ll ramble on then…
For those of you who are “re-builders” like me, I thought I’d mention that this is actually build #1! Yes, I know: that’s crazy!
All I can say is that the linkages came together great, with only a few adjustments to beam lengths to get the fulcrums, pivot points, and motions I wanted. Meanwhile, scaling, motor incorporation, brain placement, cable pathways, (etc., etc., etc.!) are all still in the wings.
However, as I ALWAYS prefer to start with something basic - something that moves and “feels” right before adding the other stuff, this post is intended to demo that. Note the natural sweet spots that “hold” the loader up. Even the bucket / forks will support my makeshift cube pallet without any power. Somehow this build, unresolved issues and all, already WORKS for me. It really is about simple mechanics.
Okay, so I’ll admit that this one may not look simple, but it truly started that way - with a simple lever arm for the loader. I spent a few hours just walking around with it in my hands while I did other things, occasionally moving it back and forth, and even using it to wave to my wife while my brain “worked” through a few more ideas.
That simple lever can be modeled to kids. It’s the kind of example that I like to keep lying around my build area. Finally, that “play with it” process really IS valuable (well… as long as that’s not ALL your students are doing!)
From there, the model just came together, adding bit by bit, with the scale roughly based on the rear tires. BTW: Vex really needs to offer something like these!!!
Um… Product ideas?? Got a few
I also considered heating some acrylic straw material and bending it to follow the paths that normal hydraulics would use and then “pushing” a flexible filament material like PLA through it. Hmmm. That’s another product idea. With appropriate ends, those filaments and straws could become modular, allowing builders to create different lengths and pathways AND they could be snapped into existing holes in vex gears and beams to create all kinds of creative builds, transfering power “outward” while keeping motors, center of gravity, etc. low and “inward” nearest the brain. Possibly those straws could fit through existing stand-off ends. That was my first thought for allowing rotational options… Anyway, just another idea if anyone from design is reading this…
Oh yeah, almost forgot: steering is an old design. No suspension; no AWD; nor is it properly trigged out for the wheelbase’s width, but I CAN drop it to the carpeting from three feet up without damage. Yep.
The front end of this baby is STURDY and will support waaaay more stress/weight than my loader will ever handle!
As always, thanks for indulging my ramblings!