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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all, I've spent the past week mulling over designs for a tiny pull behind backhoe for my son to use in the sandbox. I had one as a kid and remember how useless they were. There was no mechanical advantage and tiny arms only have so much strength.

Well, I just bought a $40 "ride on" backhoe to be the donor. And I'd sure hate for my son to be disappointed in its performance like I was... So it will be powered electronically!

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Here's the general rundown:

I'm going to employ 12V linear actuators to simulate the action of hydraulic cylinders. They're rated for several hundred pounds and can be found for cheap on ebay.

To begin with I'll be using three actuators for lower arm lift, upper arm lift, and bucket arm angle. Obviously I'll need to add a pivot point under the seat for the lower arm angle. No big deal.

Power source will be one of my extra 12V batteries. I'll build a switch panel with on-off-on momentary switches to simulate the effect of using hydraulics. In essence they'll be "up/down" switches for each actuator.

The towable base will be build out of this very solid antique lawn trailer. It's well over 100 lbs and should be a lot less tippy than the base the digger comes with.

That said, I don't want to cut off those uprights so I may to have to get creative...

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This is a rough, not-to-scale sketch of what I plan to accomplish for proof of concept.

If it works then I'll be adding bucket angle and feet on all four corners.

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Discussion Starter #3
Nope! But I'm doing it anyway! ?
 

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Where do you come up with these ideas? Too much time on your hands? Great idea. I had a Tonka toy loader/backhoe as a kid that did a lot of work in the sand box.
 

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Nice project and not trying to be a Debbie Downer. I'm sure you've thought of this but just be aware of the various "pinch points." The 12v actuators will exert a lot more force than a child pulling on a lever. Using it alone isn't the problem but when kids get playing together, anything can happen.
MikeC
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Where do you come up with these ideas? Too much time on your hands? Great idea. I had a Tonka toy loader/backhoe as a kid that did a lot of work in the sand box.
My mind just works that way. I love to build, create, and hot rod anything and everything from amplifiers to automobiles. The only way I've been able to afford or acquire anything that I wanted in life has been to teach myself how to design, build, repair, or restore it.

My brother and I ran our Tonkas loaders and dump trucks ragged as kids. Come to think of it, they may still be in my mom's patio. I'll have to check next time I'm over. I bet the boy would love those too!

One lucky little boy may actually have a toy that works. That is till the battery runs down.
I considered building a 12V charger in too. Just plug in the extension cord and let him go all day!

Nice project and not trying to be a Debbie Downer. I'm sure you've thought of this but just be aware of the various "pinch points." The 12v actuators will exert a lot more force than a child pulling on a lever. Using it alone isn't the problem but when kids get playing together, anything can happen.
MikeC
I have certainly considered that there will be pinch points. There's plenty of ways to address them when the time comes... I just don't see much sense in spending time trying to fix problems I haven't created yet. ;)

It's also worth mentioning that the linear actuators I spec'd move at a sluggish 5.5mm/sec (.21 in/sec). Even with the arm fully extended and using the lowest pivot, I do not believe it will exceed 1.5" inches per second radial speed at the bucket.

On the note about kids playing, this would require adult supervision just like our other ride-ons. If they can't obey the rules about safe operation, then they don't get to use it. Them's the rules.
 

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Brother and I were using a power push mower when I was 5 and he at 7. Took both of us to push the darn thing. Only supervision was mom in the house.
We were under strict order to keep or feet and fingers from under the mower. We survived childhood intact.
How times change.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Brother and I were using a power push mower when I was 5 and he at 7. Took both of us to push the darn thing. Only supervision was mom in the house.
We were under strict order to keep or feet and fingers from under the mower. We survived childhood intact.
How times change.
These days you're facing down a neglect charge if your child ventures beyond your eyesight. Kids can't be kids anymore because the gov't says so. Or else. But I digress...

Speaking of times changing, about 20-25 years ago we used to run around the neighborhood and off into the woods with for hours shooting at each other with full size toy rifles. Of course we'd smash the "stupid orange plastic tip" off the guns because we didn't want to look like sissies. Made perfect sense at 6 years old lol... But can you imagine the reaction nowadays?
 

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Your son will be the envy of all his friends with that...and I bet when those kids' fathers hear about it....they show up to try it out...cool idea...good luck with it
 
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