From Open Source Ecology
Jump to: navigation, search


The Backhoe is a piece of excavating equipment used for digging holes and trenches.


Backhoe 4

No real plans for Backhoe 4 as of Oct 2013. That's just a place to record ideas for a future version.

Backhoe 3

See Backhoe Prototype 3

Under active development as of Oct 2013

Backhoe 2

Plans and photos from the 6 in 60 campaign. See Cory Shenk Log for iterations of the design.

July 22. 2013

  • We were never able to completely build it but we did complete sections and components. Check Leandra's Log and Luca's Log for any other information. We spent a decent chunk of time working on these together.


Fabrication 086.JPG

  • Parts for the body of the bucket. I used three pieces that were 4 inches wide as you can see in the photo. Two should be replaced with an 8 inch wide piece of the same length. It reduces the amount of welding required and adds strength to the bucket.
  • You can see two pieces have already been welded. This should be cut out of one piece of steel.
  • I allowed myself extra room on the pieces that I cut for the sides of the bucket. This allowed some wiggle room when assembling the entire thing.
  • Step by Step in Photos

Fabrication 089.JPG Fabrication 091 - Copy - Copy (2).JPG Fabrication 095.JPG Fabrication 104.JPG Fabrication 133.JPG

  • The connection points should be revisited for better attachment to the stick. See Stick Design.

Fabrication 138.JPG Fabrication 139.JPG

  • There was often physical conflict where points attached that had square corners (in the case of the bucket and in other areas, usually cylinders). It might be a good practice to simply always notch them off or round the corners with the torch, or fabricate a rounded blade for the iron worker.
  • The teeth of the bucket are bolted on so that they can easily be removed. This seems unnecessary, especially in a final version.
  • I cannot determine how the shape of the bucket will affect its performance. This will need to looked into upon completion.


Fabrication 140.JPG Fabrication 141.JPG

  • Although we never reached the point of assembling the entire Boom and Stick to the Pivot, my guess (based off of many experiences in that workshop) is that there would have been conflict with the bolts and cylinders within the range of motion.
  • To limit the amount of times that this occurs it would be beneficial to draw very exact models of bolts, washers, nuts, etc. Included with these should also be cylinders of various sizes, especially the sizes that would be used frequently.
  • One variable that would be tricky account for is the way that beams and plates fit together.
  • Is it possible to create warehouse pieces that include variables like these?

  • 1Fabrication 155.JPG
  • 2Fabrication 156.JPG
  • 3Fabrication 157.JPG
  • As you can see in photos 1, 2, and 3, the triangular design that allows greater range of motion for the bucket had to be made wide to clear the bolts. This resulted in a lot of side to side movement of these pieces which is not ideal, especially under load.
  • One possible solution would be to weld the two beams instead of bolting. This would allow the triangular component to rotate along the side of the stick, reducing the play.
  • 4Fabrication 158.JPG
  • If bolts are still used then the method of connecting the pieces needs to be addressed. We used threaded rod because we were in a rush and did not have the proper materials on hand. Threaded rod is decidedly weaker than a smooth rod. A tractor pin, or its equivalent, would be better, but it is still a great distance to span.
  • 5Fabrication 159.JPG
  • This design employs 4 points of rotation. I was attempting to mimic the designs that I found in most commercial backhoes.
  • 6Fabrication 160.JPG
  • 7Fabrication 161.JPG
  • Here are some photos that I referenced from a quick Google search:

Bucket and stick.jpg Backhoe-quickhitch-3.jpg


Cylinder - [1]

Tractor Build 001.JPG Tractor Build 004.JPG Tractor Build 005.JPG Tractor Build 010.JPG Tractor Build 011.JPG

  • The greatest difficulty with the pivot (and every other component we tried to build) was that the holes did not line up which made assembly difficult. The pivot had many areas that required bolts to pass through along with two three inch pins. This exacerbated the problem.
  • We found that the best way to assemble was to build the pivot plates AROUND the pin and then bolt the plates to the corresponding tubing.
  • The collars cut for the pivot plate were slightly different in width. This caused an irregularity in plate width once they were welded in place.
  • The greatest challenge that we had with the pivot was coming up with a design to make the pivot move from side to side. Commercial backhoes have a cylinder that runs in between the top and bottom of the pivot and connects to a "C" shaped piece. Due to lack of time we were not able to come up with anything that would mimic this in design or functionality.

For the Future

  • make sure the holes align
  • build around the pin
  • streamline the pivot (it is very heavy)
  • Design with side to side motion in mind

Backhoe 1

Main page for the Backhoe 1.



They are typically mounted on the back of a tractor or front loader, this one is mounted on a LifeTrac. It consists of a digging bucket on the end of a two-part articulated arm. The section of the arm closest to the vehicle is known as the boom, and the section which carries the bucket is known as the dipper or dipperstick (the terms "boom" and "dipper" having been used previously on steam shovels). The boom is attached to the vehicle through a pivot known as the kingpost, which allows the arm to slew left and right, usually through a total of around 200 degrees. Modern backhoes are powered by hydraulics.

The backhoe is one of the most basic dirt working tools and is a common attachment to many small tractor and skid-steer vehicles. It can be used for digging trenches for foundations, digging up material to make compressed earth blocks, digging waste pits, and many other common building/farming tasks. Furthermore, by attaching a chain to the bucket, the backhoe can be used to lift and transport heavy loads such as engine blocks, battery packs, long pieces of pipe, etc.

Commercially manufactured backhoes vary greatly in their size and capabilities and therefore vary significantly in price. A quick google search seems to indicate that relatively small, simple devices like the one we are considering range from 2 to 4 thousand dollars with more sophisticated attachments approaching 10 thousand dollars.

Product Ecology

Made with



See Also

The Global Village Construction Set
Habitat CEB Press Cement Mixer Sawmill Bulldozer Backhoe
Agriculture Tractor Seeder Hay Rake Well-Drilling Rig
Microtractor Soil Pulverizer Spader Hay Cutter Trencher
Bakery Oven Dairy Milker Microcombine Baler
Industry Multimachine Ironworker Laser Cutter Welder Plasma Cutter
CNC Torch Table Metal Roller Rod and Wire Mill Press Forge Universal Rotor
3D Printer 3D Scanner CNC Circuit Mill Industrial Robot Chipper Hammermill
Drill Press Induction Furnace
Energy Power Cube Gasifier Burner Solar Concentrator Electric Motor Generator Hydraulic Motor
Steam Engine Heat Exchanger Wind Turbine Pelletizer Universal Power Supply
Nickel-Iron Battery
Materials Aluminum Extractor Bioplastic Extruder
Transportation Car Truck

Imprimante 3D Scanner 3D Extracteur d'Aluminum Pelleteuse Four à Pain Presse à balles de paille Extrudeuse à bioplastiques Bulldozer Voiture Presse BTC Betonnière Broyeur à marteaux Imprimante de circuits électroniques Table de découpe numérique Trayeuse Perçeuse à colonne Moteur électrique Gazogène Faucheuse Râteau à foin Moteur hydraulique Fourneau à induction Bras robotisé Poinçonneuse Découpeur Laser Laminoir à plaques Microcombine Microtracteur Multimachine Batterie Ni-Fe Machine à granulés Torche plasma Power Cube Presse hydraulique Laminoir à barres et fils de fer Pulvérisateur de terre Scierie Semoir Concentrateur solaire Roto-bêche Moteur à vapeur Echangeur de chaleur Tracteur Fraiseuse de tranchée Camion Alimentation électrique universelle Rotor universel Poste de soudure à l'arc Plateforme de forage de puits Eolienne

Key Design Planning Prototype Almost done Full Release