Posted 11 months ago
My latest custom-build. I started this project late in 2012 and finished it just this past weekend.
The NYLINT Corporation built a prototype Crawler-Trencher in the late 1950s, but decided not to mass-produce the complicated and expensive-to-build construction toy, and the original prototype eventually made it to the collection of a fellow collector friend of mine. I have oft secretly (and not so secretly) coveted his special Trencher. He's never going to sell me his jewel, so I decided to build my own.
This was quite a project. Everything forward of the tracks (the actual trencher unit) was hand-built from drawings transferred to AutoCAD drawings and sent to Derig Metals in Fort Wayne, IN to be cut out by a 60,000 psi Water-Cutter. I couldn't believe how nice the parts were when I received them. Crisp lines and perfect dimensions.
Most of the parts of the actual Crawler are vintage Nylint. The motor housing, seat and dashboard is from a early Tournadozer, and the base from a later Power Shovel. The steel wheels and steering levers come from the Michigan Tracked-Shovel, and the lift-mechanism from the Traveloader Missile Carrier. After a lot of custom-fabrication, the machine was ready for powdercoating and assembling.
This was, perhaps, my most advanced custom. Turning the large silver wheel on the side actually rotates the large trencher wheel. The original Nylint prototype Trencher also has a nifty mechanism to move the rubber conveyor. I considered adding such a mechanism to my machine, but after realizing how much work and fabrication it would require, I left it off of mine. It's going to be a static-display model, so I'm OK with the conveyor being for display only.
I'm happy with the final result. The crawler-trencher is HEAVY as I needed to add quite a bit of weight to offset the weight of the trencher mechanism. It's the heaviest machine I've built.
I hope you all enjoy, and I look forward to your comments. Thanks for looking.