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He Builds Erector Set Toy Tractors
Howard Sie, who lives in Holland, has an unusual hobby - he builds toy tractors and implements out of Meccano toy "erector sets".
On a recent visit to the U.S. he displayed a pair of his "erector set" tractors and implements at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kty., including a Ford 7000 tractor pulling a ptodriven rotary tedder and a Challenger 65 pulling a pto-driven harrow. Each tractor is powered by a 12-volt electric motor (the Challenger has two) that allows the tractor to move forward or backward and to turn. The motor also operates the 3-pt. hitch and pto, allowing the implements to work just like the real thing.
"I built them entirely from Meccano parts, except for the motors and dual rear tires on the Ford tractor," says Sie. "I tried to build the tractors with as many working features as possible so that they perform just like the real thing. For example, all the controls, including the clutch pedal, throttle, and 3-pt. lever, are in the right position and both tractors have working steering wheels. Each tractor weighs about 18 lbs. It took about one year to make each model."
Sie started making Meccano toy erector sets when he was six years old. His first models were draglines and dump trucks. He has also built a Caterpillar D11N dozer and a Ford 4-WD "County" tractor.
The Ford has a working clutch, gearbox, and differential that allows 12 forward speeds and 4 reverse. It also has a suspension seat. The rear tires are 6-in. dia. "tire" ashtrays. Power for the 3-pt. hitch and pto can be used with the tractor in neutral or as it travels.
The Challenger is equipped with rubber tracks and a Mobil Trac-like drive system made with Meccano parts. Instead of separate track links hinged to each other there's just one continuous belt on each side that's made from rubber molded over steel cables. The outer surface of the belt is ribbed to grip the ground, but the inner surface is smooth and is driven by smooth rear wheels. The front axle is spring-loaded to keep the tracks tight so that they can be driven by the rear wheels.
The Challenger has a planetary steering differential and can travel in 8 different speeds that are controlled by one lever. The pto and 3-pt. are independent of the drive system.
EDCOR, a parts supplier for dealers headquartered in Chesapeake, Va., encouraged Sie to show his toys at the company's exhibit at the Louisville show. The company discovered Sie's work at a farm show in Holland.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Howard Sie, Colensostraat 13, 1092 JE Amsterdam, Holland (ph 011 31 020 6633183).

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #3