Hi guys, I just found this forum and it looks right up my alley! I've been playing with electric bikes and building related things for over 10 years and now I'm interested in making some work machines. One of my current projects is this mini loader I'm making with the main purpose of shaping natural dirt trails for mountain biking and also some landscape work in my yard. The quick details: Walk behind with handlebar for maneuvering Based on an electric power chair chassis/motors. Speed is 3-4mph with the stock 24v motors. Front loader is a 26" wide bucket I am fabing from scratch (pic below). Lift height of bucket will be 36" to load a wheelbarrow or cart. Bucket will have 2 cubic foot and 200lb capacity. I'm going to make it as an attachment so I can later put other tools on it such as an auger. Lifting mechanism will be 3 electric actuators assisted by 2 gas struts. Tilt will be a manual release like on the small tractor scoop from husquavarna / craftsman.
I know its on the very small end of the spectrum but I am prioritizing manueverability and efficiency and using battery power. I just love the benefits of electric operation. (I use to run a battery powered lawn mowing operation in my city, which worked very well). My goal for this machine is for it to do the work equivalent of 4 laborers. I do have other versions in mind with more powerful motors and hydraulics like a mini articulating loader in the 2000lb range.
Pics: bucket frame made of 1/8" and 3/16" steel. I've been using the cheapest 90amp flux core welder from harbor freight but I'm upgrading to a decent mig this week. Power chair chassis : barely any work done to it yet. It has enough power (1200watts)to push a 160lb concrete block on dirt. I will probably use a higher power controller and triple the peak output. Motors are rated at 700 w each. So 2100 w peak each isn't unreasonable. That's 6hp with all torque available.
Lightweight for sure, BUT sounds like it would sure save a lot of shoveling. I had ideas of something like that a few years ago only use the base of an old riding mower with 16 hp engine on it. You mention wheelbarrow,--- I came up with a power barrow---almost have it done. You could probably make something like that and instead of gas motor use electric if you wanted. These small machines would be super handy in tight work areas. I made a couple of creepers to use in garden and one is just 2 bikes welded together and powered by a hand crank---always wanted to power it with some sort of electric motor --- cordless drill wont move it so I hit dead end on that idea!
"A machine you build yourself is a vote for a different way of life. There are things you have to earn with your hands."
Yes the battery powered wheelbarrows are available now. I'd definitely either make or buy one if I had a lot of work to do. Most are low power (under 500watts) so I dropped the idea of using one as a base for my loader. The hardest part is digging up the dirt and loading.
I may use a riding mower frame but not sure. I'm curious about the transaxle efficiency compared to roller chain and sprocket reductions. Bicycle chain is 98% efficient if clean and straight alignment.
I'm getting into welding now and so ill probably just fab up a heavy duty frame to my exact desired dimensions.
I've had a tendency to want to repurpose things especially free or curb finds. But $100 of new metal is nothing for a well built machine.
I've got most of the bucket finished, just need to design a coupler. I used a mig welder for the first time to put the back plate on. I'm definitely happy I switched from flux core, so much easier clean up and no spatter.
you might want to think about cooling the electric motors..they will be working much harder than in a wheelchair..maybe a small muffin fan say 3"diameter blowing on each motor..use a Klixon thermal switch mounted to the case of each motor to switch the fan on/off? if you could control this with a wireless pendant it would be wild!
watch your wire sizes,use the largest you can to maximise efficiency..Id have the fans on a thermal switch or temp controller to eliminate any dc fan draw unless needed..you can use a small electronic module to control the fans,they are on eBay, they use a RTD or thermodevice you could mount on the motor(s) to monitor heat and control the fans (FWIW on eBay they are about $4.00each module-all the work is done for you item#203067392271) I couldnt even build em that cheap myself.