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Author Topic: Building a tracked skidder  (Read 22170 times)

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Offline sprucebunny

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Building a tracked skidder
« on: March 23, 2005, 10:01:54 PM »
OK ..... I admit it ...... I'm a little obsessed with tracked vehicles ;D

The biggest problem I have with my tracked ATV is that the winch has no height to lift a log I want to drag out . The other problem is not enough cable.
I've got this 1974 Thiokol Imp. It came with an A-frame and tons of hydraulics.


And I've bought a MM hydraulic winch. Plan on mounting both the winch and the A-frame on top of two 2x2x3/16" pieces of square tubing to tie the forces together and distribute them to the frame.

You can see the fairlead in a proposed position.

I made a mock up to explore the mechanics and dimensions of the "skidder-plate" I want to build.
I had hoped that the cylinder would pivot the whole plate to the ground to act as stabilizers but it needs extendable legs. I figure on a square tube inside another one and pins in holes.
First ...the cylinder in place

Next ....side view of mock up showing legs

And this is a rear view


The pieces of wood DO NOT represent pieces of metal but define the space.
There would be slots cut at the top of the plate to recieve choker chains then 3-4 logs could be lifted and skidded out.
I'm only dealing with spruce/balsam up to 15" so the logs don't weigh alot. The land is very soft and already bears huge scars from wheeled skidders.
I plan on having a lower fairlead , also and realize that the A-frame needs some diagonal bracing

I'm looking for suggestions. ....  What would you do different ?
MS193, MS192 and an 026  Weeding and Thinning. Gilbert Champion sawmill

Offline Mike_P.

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2005, 07:50:59 AM »
Wow, Joan.  I am impressed.  You have put a lot of planning into this.  It appears to be an ingenious idea.

My only concerns would be the need for additional weight on the front of the machine to counteract your load, and whether the bogies, sprockets are stout enough to handle the work on a sustained basis.  Will the steering mechanism hold up under load?  Having said that, I am demonstrating my ignorance since I am not familiar with the Thiokol. 

BTW, there is nothing wrong with an obsession with tracked vehicles.  At least that is what I keep telling my kids.

Mike

Offline moosehunter

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2005, 07:54:43 AM »
SB,
 I share your obssesion for tracked vehicles. I run a Bombardier BR160 to groom the local snowmobile trails.
 That looks like it would make a good light duty skidder. What is the drive system on that machine. One thing to consider if you have hills to climb while skidding is a mechanical drive system (non-hydrostatic) will not turn onder load without some outside forces. look at the equipment a local snowmobile club has & see if they have "ram steer", you will see what I mean. No hills? don't worry about it!
 Your idea seems sound. A hydralic winch may be kinda slow but should pull your house around if you need it to!
MH
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2005, 07:58:06 AM »
Generally when you see a tracked vehicle skidding, its attached to an arch and the winch cable passes through it for the winching and lifting.
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Offline WH_Conley

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2005, 08:10:22 AM »
Joan, from the looks of things you probably already know it but just a reminder, when putting bracing in, keep it as close to a 45 degree angle as possible, can use lighter bracing for same effect, farther away from 45 beefier it has to be.
Bill

Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2005, 08:46:17 AM »
Thanks for your input.  :)

It is mechanical drive but the hills are mild. The brake bands DO rob alot of power to make it turn. Hadn't worried about that much but most of my experience with these machines has been grooming alpine ski areas and those are hydrostatic drive and much more powerful machines. Also figured on being able to let the load out to make a turn , then reeling it in again.

I had thought of the fore and aft weight problem . But don't know how to figure the weights.

Jeff, do you have any pictures ;D ??? That's a good idea. One reason I was hoping to skid with the cat is that backing up is not my specialty  ;) and I'm not sure I could horse an arch around in rough, soft terrain.

I'm going to think about all of your comments today and maybe try some experiments :o
 
MS193, MS192 and an 026  Weeding and Thinning. Gilbert Champion sawmill

Offline redpowerd

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2005, 08:55:23 AM »
you could allways winch the arch up onto that flatbed for backing up to a log. or backing anywheres, shouldnt be hard to ramp even a large arch up short planks with your winch. an arch with snowmobile skis might suffice. how does that thing like mud?
good luck and cute little machine, btw, where do them transmission lines run?
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Offline redpowerd

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2005, 09:00:24 AM »
ive also seen mini forklift mounts for fourwheelers, it attaches so that when you lift up, it distributes weight across all four wheels, keeping the font end down, might work for your app. if you want to pick the butt up. if interested i might be able to find a link, think i seen them in a farm mag.
i think your having too much fun logging anyways ;D
good luck
NO FARMERS -- NO FOOD
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2005, 09:06:21 AM »
Actually, backing up with a skid is usually not a consideration other then when using a forwarder, you just dont back up with a skid. You plan on your path before hand.

Joan, actually I have a lot of photos but they are of the variety I can't post because of copyright restrictions. They are in the book "catapillar 60"

Here is a link to the book on Amazon
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Offline redpowerd

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2005, 09:27:35 AM »
just drive up to the log, spin the cat around, and drop your arch over it.

i suppose it would be like a grapple with wheels. certianly would help keep the weight off the back.
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Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2005, 10:48:49 AM »
Thanks ;D

I hadn't planned on backing the logs up  :o but I also hadn't thought of using the hydraulics to lift the empty arch.... great idea !!! I was going to incorperate a trailer hitch and all I'd really need is a triangular gusset on the arch tongue to lift it ..... Got me thinkin' now ;D  ( Danger zone !! )

Thanks for the link , Jeff. It's on my wish list.

Jon, I still need the height to winch the logs out and after months of thinking, I can't figure out how to do it with the ATV. The powerlines are on the Me /NH border in Fryeburg looking East. There are lots around here and I couldn't say where they go... that one makes a 70* turn about 1/2 mile away. On my land further North there is not only powerlines but gas lines.... about 20 acres worth ....

I'm going to get the winch and A-frame mounted and ponder the log handling part

Thanks again for the light bulb  ;D  :D
MS193, MS192 and an 026  Weeding and Thinning. Gilbert Champion sawmill

Offline Murf

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2005, 12:33:17 PM »
Joan, just a thought, but as an Engineer type I would think the easiest way all round would be to mount a goosneck hitch in the center of that deck and use that to haul a triangular skid, with the single point forward being the hitch.

You say the Thiokol has lots of hydraulics, then it would be easy to make a steering mechanism for the skid, this would help with both negotiating in close quarters and the reversing problem. It might even be easier than lifting it.

By skidding that way you also put the logs back away from the machine a safer distance, and can distribute any weight because the hitch would be forward of the last axle, not behind.

You could also then make some sort of drop down brake device to steady the Thiokol when pulling with the winch.

Besides, you can pull (or trailer) a LOT more weight than you can carry.
If you're going to break a law..... make sure it's Murphy's Law.

Offline GregS

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2005, 08:35:11 PM »
Murf,
I understand the amount of thought that goes into a design like this and trying to keep in within a limited budget makes it all the tougher.  If your anything like me you lie awake at night thinking about it.

The pivot arm you have looks perfect but remember to make sure that the end of the cylinder travel needs to happen before the pivot arm starts to rotate under too far.  If the cylinder rod is force by the rotation of the pivoting arm to bend it will...! 

The idea you have to put square tubes with drilled holes for extendable stabilizers is a good one but I think purchasing trailer jacks with drop pins is well worth the money.  I recently purchased 4 of them from Harbor freight for a sawmill project I am doing and they were $29.99/piece.  They would give you the ability to have more adjustment and I find opening a box sometimes easier that fabrication  :o.

Good luck, and I hope you don't have to cut too many fresh welds.

Offline Sprucegum

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2005, 10:50:59 PM »
The drop-down legs are OK for vertical lift but if you put sideways stress on them when skidding a log they will likely buckle ,which was addressed in an earlier post about beefier legs. I am seconding the motion I guess :)

BTW I have 30 years experience welding and 5 minutes experience skidding logs so my suggestions may be 3% right 19 times out of 20 ;D

Offline J_T

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2005, 12:05:50 AM »
Could you put a blade type device on the rear on a set of arms with a hyd. simler to a miniture three point hitch let it down to winch pick it up to travel  ???It would act as a skid plate to keep logs from sliding under or into the tracks  ???
Jim Holloway

Offline UNCLEBUCK

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2005, 01:28:44 AM »
Hey sprucebunny that is a awesome machine you have !  I skid logs sometimes with my old farm pickup and nothing fancy but a homemade hitch about 4 feet from the ground off the back end and away I go , no winch,no nothing , just enough to keep the log bouncing off the ground once in awhile and I have pulled a 30 foot x 30 inch white oak but I do leave the butt end kind of pointed until I get close to where I drop then I square up and clean up the ends of the logs. Very cool machine , very cool !
UNCLEBUCK    bridge burner/bridge mender

Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2005, 07:50:43 AM »
Check out his page it has some nice little video of a machine called the Forcat 2000

http://www.tdb.bc.ca/forcat2000.htm


Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2005, 07:57:52 AM »
With that machine can you go in say the dead of winter and still haul out a decent amount of logs. Will it travel over soft snow and will it lay down a good path after a few trips or will it make the path gradually worse and worse.

I am looking at a machine called an F-4 Dion tracked with a trailer and log loader but I don't know if it will go in deep snow. I must do all my logging in the winter as the land is too soft during summer.  My plan is to cut during the months of sept to nov then haul during dec and jan before th esnow gets too deep.We were thinking of running 2 machines 24 hours a day to keep the trail open until all the logs are hauled. Just in the planning stage yet.


Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2005, 08:56:19 AM »
UNCLEBUCK-- Thanks ... It is cute. I don't have anything big or heavey to haul with it. Mostly need it to get a bigger/higher winch out there to get the logs out to a skid trail.

Paul--- I've seen that Forcat website but can't get the videos to work . I have QuicktimePlayer.... don't know what the problem is.
I can't say how the F-4 Dion will go. I'm sure it has a bit more weight per square inch than this . Your plan sounds good and once the ground freezes you should be all set but you know how unpredictable the weather can be..... Once you are there, if you kept the snow packed and let it freeze overnight sometimes, I would think you would be able to operate until March if the cut logs aren't too buried.
You might want to have a roller or drag to smooth out your trail occaisionally. If I was going to make money, I would be very interested in the Forcat and F-4 .I'm going to try this in the summer on some very wet land and I'll let you know what happens
;D
MS193, MS192 and an 026  Weeding and Thinning. Gilbert Champion sawmill

Offline Fla._Deadheader

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Re: Building a tracked skidder
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2005, 09:24:06 AM »
 You are quite the innovator, Joan.   8) 8)

Biggest problem I see is the "rocking chair" design you built into the machine. As someone pointed out, the bracing HAS to be ahead of the axle that will have ground contact. Old Winch trucks have the brace poles fastened ahead of the rear axle. Still, when dragging, the front will rear up. I think you will have the same problem, especially if you snag an old stump or rock while truckin. It will happen so fast, you could have trouble.

  Carrying the end of the log closer to the ground, so you can not rear up very high,  would be my choice, and a strap and snatch block to snake the log to the trail would be my way of doing the dragging.

 Being that I never played with logs in the snow, on hills, I have no idea what I am talking about. Just trying to point out trouble spots in your design. Good luck. I like innovative folks.
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