Walk behind crawler mower project

Recently, one of my mowing customers gave me a self-propelled walk mower, and, in order to gain more traction, I put spikes on the drive wheels. I do have
more traction now, although, since it would just be a matter of time before I started tearing up sprinkler heads, I've decided to put crawler treads on my mower wheels.
Today, I went down to the local Tandy leather craft store, and purchased a leather belt strip. Then, I went to the Home Depot, and got some aluminum strap and angle, some bolts, nuts, and a drill bit.
What I have in mind is to use the belt in a continuous loop as my hinging material. I will use the aluminum angle on the inside to wrap around the wheels, thereby keeping the belt on track. I'll use the aluminum strap on the outside, to provide me with stiff sections, which will flex only at the hinges. I would have gotten aluminum U-channel, had it been available. I still would have needed the aluminum strap, though, to hold the leather down flat all the way to the edges of each section.
Well, I now am left with the task of hacksawing what for me is a fairly large amount of aluminum, although I have just made a realization which has now brought a smile to my face. The wheels of my mower are, of course, already traveling at a fairly low speed in relation to the crank. The wheels, in fact, have speed reduction gears inside of them. Well, if I fit the rear wheels into a V, and then set the front, drive, wheels onto a rotating drum, I could then bring the speed down even more.
What I am leading up to here is that I have decided to do a power-take-off from my mower's drive wheels, and then I will use it to build a power hacksaw for cutting the metal for the tracks. So, I guess that makes the power-take-off the next thing for me to do. I would appreciate any comments which might be made about this crawler project.
Mike Mandaville Austin, Texas
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On 01 Jul 2004 06:47:33 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (MikeMandaville) wrote:

Tell me how long you need the tread diameter to be, and Ill dig out some double sided timing belts or cogged belts with the features on both sides. Sure be a hell of a lot easier doing this than with leather.
Gunner
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Hello again, Gunner.
I probably will eventually design some sort of rubber track system, for a number of reasons. For one thing, rubber would be more gentle towards my customer's lawns than metal. Also, I do think that a cogged belt system would be a good choice, since the cogs, in this application, would obviously be treads, either inside, outside, or both. My mower wheels are 1 3/4" wide, and I doubt that you would have any belts which are this wide, although, what I could do is to attach more than one belt side by side against a backing with some sort of adhesive.
Right now I am pressed for time, though, because although I have not yet run over a sprinkler head with a drive wheel spike, I think that it is just a matter of time before I do so, and I also am convinced that I will be able to put something together quickly which will work temporarily while I continue to design a more satisfactory system.
Mike Mandaville Austin, Texas
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On 02 Jul 2004 05:54:40 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (MikeMandaville) wrote:

Actually, I have them 30" wide <G> Many of them are the "tubes" of material you simply cut a belt of whatever width you wish from. Belt length is actually the diameter of the "tube"

Just keep it in mind.
Gunner

"The entire population of Great Britain has been declared insane by their government. It is believed that should any one of them come in possession of a firearm, he will immediately start to foam at the mouth and begin kiling children at the nearest school. The proof of their insanity is that they actually believe this." -- someone in misc.survivalism
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material you simply cut a belt of whatever width you wish from. Belt length is actually the diameter of the "tube"

over a sprinkler head with a drive wheel spike, I think that it is just a matter of time before I do so, and I also am convinced that I will be able to put something together quickly which will work temporarily while I continue to design a more satisfactory system.

Gunner,
Being able to cut the belts/tracks to the designed width will certainly be an advantage, since this should insure that the cogs will be properly lined up, so as to be able to grab the matching cogs on the pulleys/crawler-wheels. I probably will be getting in touch with you later about this.
Mike
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Is there a reason not to use wider pneumatic tires?
Ron Thompson On the Beautiful Florida Space Coast, right beside the Kennedy Space Center, USA
http://www.plansandprojects.com
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. --Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)
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I question this also, my experience with tracked vehicles is that they tear up the grass while turning.
Lane
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Hello, Lane.
Okay, you have me curious now. What sort of tracked vehicle were you using on grass? Inquiring minds want to know.
Mike Mandaville Austin, Texas
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tear
using on

Mike I wasn't using it, but I saw a Bobcat with tracks installed tear up a lawn. The very nature of a tracked vehicle turning means that a portion of the inner track has to turn in place, meaning sideways motion. Of course I could be completely wrong. Anyone else have more experience than I.
Lane
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Hello again, Lane.
If necessary, I'll just build a half-track. When I turn, only the rear wheels are touching the ground, of course. With a half-track assembly up front, I would have more weight to lift, naturally, but I've already decided to put an extension on the handle, which is something which I've done before, and which, of course, will give me increased leverage. My mower has a lightweight 3 1/2 horse engine, by the way, with lots of low-end torque.
Mike Mandaville Austin, Texas
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On Fri, 2 Jul 2004 20:38:59 -0700, "Lane"

I have a Kobelco SK007 mini excavator, rubber tracks, and it chews up lawn when turning in its own length. It is much heavier than a lawn mower at 700 kg so it probably does more damage. Great machine for its size, for sale in Perth, W Oz area. Alan in beautiful Golden Bay, Western Oz, South 32.25.42, East 115.45.44 GMT+8 VK6 YAB ICQ 6581610 to reply, change oz to au in address
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Hello, Alan.
The Kobelco is a very attractive looking machine:
http://www.airindosakti.co.id/airindo_02.htm
I am in the habit of mowing in a clockwise pattern. With a crawler, I probably will start at the front of the lawn, mow a row to the back, put the machine in reverse, mow the second row from the back to the front, and so on.
Yesterday, I went back to the store, and got the model of what I thought was a platform crawler, but which actually turns out to be a walk-behind style crawler. The official name is Rescue Heroes Rescue Gear Construction Pack Mini-Construction Tool. I removed the crawler assemblies, which are fastened together with three beams, and now it is rather easy for me to visualize how I will be able to design a walk-behind crawler mower with a crawler of the same proportions.
What I have in mind is to build the crawler with the engine mounted in between the tracks, and a pully mounted on the main shaft of the engine. The main shaft pully belt will go to a pully mounted on the mower deck, which will be forward of the deck. My mower deck is just twenty inches wide, and this will keep the entire machine just twenty inches wide, thereby giving me good maneuverability. I'm sure that this will work out just fine, though it will take me awhile.
Mike Mandaville Austin, Texas
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Ok, stopped by the HD and found they had 3 machines (the accessories were 3 sizes of augers including ~20"!, scoop, tiller, and trencher). 2 Power house brand, prowler and prodigy (which has wheels instead of treads). And the Toro Dingo 420.
http://www.powerhouseequipment.com / http://www.toro.com/professional/sws/loader/400/index.html
Notice on the powerhouse page they have those tracks for wheeled vehicles.
Let us know how it turns out!
Joel. phx
wrote:

lawn.
could
GMT+8
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Hello again, Joel,
Today one of my mowing customers gave me a kayak, so I also went to the Home Depot, to get a rope, and I checked the rental area, but there were no tracked vehicles. There are lots of other places I can check, though. It's very useful to have a model to work from, either full-sized, or scale.
the Prowler platform crawler is the one which interests me the most. This, of course, would be the next step up, after the walk-behind crawler. I'm sure that I will want to build a platform crawler also, after I build a walk-behind model. I will study this design very closely.
I will certainly keep this group posted regarding my progress. This is my twentieth year of mowing grass, and I have already decided to never go back to a push mower again. My nephew gave me an air-conditioned compact pickup a couple of years ago, and my life has been steadily improving ever since.
Mike Mandaville Austin, Texas
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MikeMandaville wrote:

The whole idea of crawler tracks on a mower is a bit ludicrous. They have no advantages for mowing and many disadvantages. The zero turn radius design is the most maneuverable on the market today and does not damage the turf in the hands of a skilled operator, as long as the ground is not too wet.
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On Mon, 5 Jul 2004 7:47:46 -0700, ATP wrote
<GIANT SNIP>

Please keep the ideas coming. I've been working on a tracked wheelchair (For handicaped people)(Me) for several years now. Biggest problem so far is tracks coming off while turning. This thread has triggered several ideas, plus I'll take all the help I can get.
Thanks.
Roger in Vegas Worlds Greatest Impulse Buyer
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Roger Hull wrote:

Hasn't this been done already? You might look into the over the tire type tracks made by Loegering and others for skid steers, they wrap around the tire, some enterprising welders have been making their own and selling them on ebay.
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Roger, just this afternoon, I was down the hill on my old property cutting grass around my shop, when an older neighbor rode over on his golf cart to chat. He told me he had inherited a mini-dozer from an old friend who had passed on, and asked me if I would be interested in seeing the thing. Since it was 95 degrees about then, a break was in order. We rode over to his shop, and sitting there was the cutest little bulldozer I had ever seen. The whole thing was about the size of a riding mower. The dozer used belt drives to power the tracks in forward or reverse as needed, to create the turning. Here's a link to the one he has, in case it will give you any ideas about drive methods. He has the MD1200 model, and the pdf shows an exploded view. I hope this might be of use to you.
RJ
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Duh, here's the link http://www.magnatrac.com/support.html#Parts RJ
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advantages for mowing and many disadvantages. The zero turn radius design is the most maneuverable on the market today and does not damage the turf in the hands of a skilled operator, as long as the ground is not too wet.
Hello, Walter.
A couple of weeks ago my mower broke down, so I switched to my back-up mower, which was self-propelled. This is what got me to thinking about mower propulsion systems in general. Well, a couple of days ago, my back-up mower broke down, so I now am using my second back-up mower.
What I always liked about the Snapper is that since the Snapper propulsion system takes its power from off of the main shaft, when the engine did give out, I was able to just replace it with an engine from a push mower, and then keep right on being self-propelled. I never had a bearing go out.
I never did like the heavy weight of the Snapper, though, the idea of which, I am sure, was to gain traction. Among other things, this weight put extra strain on the engine.
Well, the mower I am using now is the first one which I have had which both takes its power from the main-shaft, and which also is not a Snapper, so it is not heavy. It is a front-wheel-drive machine, though, and, before I do anything else, I probably will give it a rear-wheel-drive, even though I know that this will make it more difficult to turn, until I work on that problem also.
I am at the point where I am willing to make any compromise in order to gain more traction. I can always regain what I have lost later on, with some additional work.
Mike Mandaville Austin, Texas
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