LifeTrac III/Research Development

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Tractor Tractor Research and Development



Speed 5 mph in 4 wheel drive
Power Power Cubes, 14 gpm auxiliary hydraulics per Power Cube, 1 channel
Motors Four 32 cubic inch hydraulic motors
Weight 3000 lb
Attachment QA Plate
Modularity Power take off, hydraulic - 0-700 rpm

LifeTrac IV Design Analysis - Design Analysis for the next generation of the LifeTrac



  • Lifetime design
  • Scalable
  • Modular
  • Easy to maintain

General design goals

  • Skid loader concept
  • Articulated steering
  • 4 wheel drive
  • 2 wheel drive for doubled speed
  • Front-end loader
  • Backhoe attachment available
  • Well-drilling attachment available
  • CEB attachment available
  • Hybrid between a skid loader, agricultural tractor, and construction tractor


The LifeTrac tractor has a number of features that set it apart from traditional skid loaders, making LifeTracs suitable for agriculture. Its main features for use in agriculture are a 3-point hitch, power takeoff, and high-flow hydraulic takeoff. These features allow the LifeTrac to use a variety of agricultural implements. Its hydraulic drive eliminates the need for a transmission, eliminating a common source of expensive breakdowns in traditional commercial and farm tractors.

LifeTrac is designed with a winch, and is also designed to be equipped with well-drilling equipment with 10-foot drilling pipe sections.

These features give the Lifetrac high utility and versatility, combining the power of skid loaders with the multi-purpose utility of agricultural and construction tractors. The Compressed Earth Block press and backhoe are also designed for compatibility with the Lifetrac.

The unique features of the Lifetrac are its do-it-yourself manufacturability, modularity and design for dis-assembly. Priority one is lifetime design, where the tractor can be built and serviced by a person with minimal capital for materials and problems can be troubleshooted and readily repaired without the many tens of thousands of dollars to buy a new or even used tractor and thousands more in expensive repairs when something breaks down.

Components are made of standard steel wherever possible, with the goal of enabling any user-owner to perform their own maintenance. No issue in LifeTrac should be more expensive than US$250 to fix. Standard steel components (sheet, tubing, shaft, etc.) are used for repair and construction of the OSTrac, with no forming or machining outside of minor welding and lathing.


  • Flash-steam bladeless turbine drive being explored
  • Flash-steam electric hybrid drive being developed

Wanted: Brief description about the highest version of the LifeTrac


Wanted: Brief paragraph regarding the reasoning behind adding this tool to the GVCS

Relevant Links

Wanted: Sources for information regarding relevant technology

Conceptual Notes

Wanted: Ifs, ands and buts.


For us at Factor e Farm, LifeTrac will be the backbone of our agricultural, agroforestry, and land stewardship operations. It will also be used in construction, power generation, and possibly other workshop tools. Interestingly, hybrid hydraulic drive also applies to cars - here's an example [1]. The identical hydraulic design, minus agricultural implement features - can be used with a car - simply by using faster, lower-torque wheel motors.

The basic drive is all hydraulic, and all implements are run hydraulically as well. Three hydraulic motors - PTO motor, high torque motor, and winch motor are used for accessory power applications. These can drive the following devices which we are also building contemporaneously:

Other implements that we are preparing are:

The unique feature is that the motors can be mounted on the front-end laoder quick-connect plate - which serves, in effect, as an implement attachment mechanism that is much more versatile than a tractor 3 point hitch. All implements may be mounted on the quick-connect

As of 5.24.08, the current working program surrounding LifeTrac is: LifeTrac program.jpg

Cost Comparisons to Industrial Counterparts


  • NOTE: Industrial prices are taken largely from Northern Tool catologue - [2] - your local, global supply chain.
  • Commercial hydraulic rotary well drilling rig quote - [3]
  • Note: Tractor and Bulldozer add up to $9k, for an infrastructure that shares wheel motors, controls, and Power Cubes. Power Cubes are $1750 each for 27 hp using off-shelf components. For about 100 hp of drive, this is $7k.
  • Note: Since Power Cubes are not included here, the real cost of the package should be closer to $40k for the GVCS implementation prior to the ability to melt steel into virgin metal. This ability, combined with advanced CNC machining, will bring the cost down to about $5000 for 50,000 lbs of steel obtained from scrap sources.
  • Note: Each device takes on average 1 week to fabricate after optimization to digital fabrication. This implies a total labor time of about 20 weeks for the devices above, or only $15/hour at the labor cost given. This may be acceptable for DIY value, but is a low rate for market production.


  • Yearly maintenance costs designed to be no more than $100 with heavy duty usage
What are the key points in a maintenance check?
What are the skill sets required to perform a systems check accurately?

Bill of Materials for Industrial Counterparts

  • One tire and rim - a flat proof one - costs $500 for skid loaders - [4]. Compare to $5 used truck tires with $35 for open source chains - under $50 for a tire. The latter affords the same traction, at 10-100 times less cost, depending if you count the chains or not.
    • Which is more cost effective over a lifetime?


The concept was inspired initially by CADTrac, a set of plans that you can buy:


But it is redesigned thoroughly by enlarging the size and making construction simpler, to fulfill OSE Specifications for Post-Scarcity Economics.

Industry Standards

Industry Standard LifeTrac
  • ISO 26322-1:2008 Tractors for agriculture and forestry -- Safety -- Part 1: Standard tractors. Specifies general safety requirements and their verification for the design and construction of standard tractors used in agriculture and forestry. These tractors have at least two axles for pneumatic‑tyred wheels, with the smallest track gauge of the rear axle exceeding 1 150 mm, or tracks instead of wheels, with their unballasted tractor mass being greater than 600 kg.
  • ISO 730-1:1994 Agricultural wheeled tractors -- Rear-mounted three-point linkage -- Part 1: Categories 1, 2, 3 and 4. Describes the dimensions and requirements of the three-point linkage for the attachment of implements or equipment to the rear of agricultural wheeled tractors. Specifies four categories to be used on different ranges of agricultural tractors.

Loader Arms


Wanted: List of expenses for prototyping and documenting LifeTrac

Peer Reviews

Wanted: Peer reviews from the scientific community regarding the R&D of LifeTrac

Experiments and Prototypes

Wanted: Empirical data on performance

Experimental Results

Prototype Notes, Observations, etc.

Failure Mode Analysis

Testing Results

Recommendations for Improvement

New loader arms: done 12/21/11


Quick attach wheel 12/23/11:

Based on this forum exchange perhaps the LifeTrac could get a righteous set of proper tank treads. Take away the 4 hub motors and convert the wheels into idlers. Install new (bigger) motors on the rear pillar. Install sprockets on the new motors. Make longer metal tracks that go around the two tires and one sprocket (on each side). Now you've got something that maximizes the useful torque and grip available in the design. A company called ASM has this steel chain sprocket that fully engages every link and actually looks simpler than a normal sprocket.

Lifetrack tank tread.jpg

I'm not sure what the math is on this idea.

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