HOW IT WORKS
1) Two Power Cubes, each a 28-horsepower gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic pump (inset), lend the LifeTrac its muscle. Quick-connect mounts let users swap cubes into other machines.
2) Hydraulic motors drive the wheels, which operate in pairs to move the 4,000-pound tractor on tank-like treads. When equipped with two Power Cubes, the LifeTrac can drag two tons of weight.
3) LifeTrac's creators designed their multi-purpose tractor around a frame of sturdy, four-inch-wide steel tubes. Loader arms made from the tubes can lift loads weighing up to four tons.
4) Versatility defines the LifeTrac. In addition to a simple shovel, Open Source Ecology is prototyping attachments such as seeders, rototillers, well-drilling rigs, balers, and brick presses.
Maintaining a fleet of machines with different engines is arduous and expensive. The Global Village Construction Set attacks both problems with a single, versatile power source called the Power Cube. Below are a few of the machines and capabilities that a cube could enable by 2015.
WARNING: We review all our projects before publishing them, but ultimately your safety is your responsibility. Always wear protective gear, take proper safety precautions, and follow all laws and regulations.
Gene Roddenberry envisioned this kind of collaboration for Star Trek as well.
Instead of individuals focusing on personal wealth and how to beat the next guy, humanity shifted to the concept of unselfish collaboration with the goal of making humanity better as a whole.
Of course in Gene's vision, replicators are what leveled the playing field and made the quest for money to support basic needs unnecessary.
I.m not sure why you would build something like this when there is a lot of tractors with loaders out there for less than $6,000 dollars and most have independent ptos 3 point hitches and hydraulic systems witch would do the same thing you are doing maybe better. Look at tractorhouse and tell me that there isn't a surplus of tractors floating around. I would think buying a used tractor would be better for the environment because you are recycling. Look at all the attachments you can get to fit onto a tractor literally thousands. Why reinvent the wheel just recycle an older tractor. Plus it is much safer than what you have going there and safer to operate. And you could have one today instead what time it takes to build this. If you have the know how to build this i'm sure you could fix an old tractor.
People would want to make things like this because they want to make them. WHy not create your own open source tractor then buy one?
He explains why he decided to build something like this in plain English. When he started out, he bought one of those "used tractors" that you wrote about and it promptly broke down. After he had it repaired, it soon broke down once again. With his design, he knows how it works so he can fix it himself should it break. It uses a central power plant that can be used for various other machines that he and those working with him on this project have designed.
Due to your comments, I question whether you've read the whole article above or perhaps you just passed on watching the video?
If he had called it a skid steer and not a tractor he would have been a lot nearer the mark, take a look at a Bobcat and the similarities are plain to see, now look at a conventional tractor and there is no comparison. The vast majority of tractors built around the world share one common design evolved by an Irishman named Harry Ferguson seventy five years ago.
Skid steers are designed primarily to operate on concrete or the black top their tractive performance in the field is poor to say the least, on wet grass the Life Trac would not pull you out of bed and as for ploughing or hauling or a myriad of farming tasks it would only make a fool of itself. The hydrostatic drive is also a mistake for draught work and a bolted together chassis is an accident waiting to happen.
All in all an exercise in self indulgence with an eye to the great unwashed.
I've done pretty well farming by fixing up tractors and combines that are older than I am.
The problem is any current tractor is a big pile of scrap metal without some electronic controllers. Now there are open-source engine controllers like http://www.diyefi.org/ that I could use, but for me to be able to continue farming, I have to be able to have an open source toolchain like what http://www.efabless.com/ is building, and eventually build myself a silicon fab.
If you try to build an engine *without* electronic controllers, let me know. Even the steam engine designs (which will burn a hell of a lot of fuel per acre) proposed by the OSE project use Arduinos for controllers.
Where's that microcontroller in the arduino going to come from? Am I going to be able to even buy an ATmega in 15 years?... Only if I build the damn thing myself.