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World's Smallest Bobcat
"As far as I know it's the world's smallest working skid steer loader," says Joe Gross, an Aberdeen, S. Dak., a skid steer service technician who spent 21/2 years building his 1/4-scale skidsteer loader.
The 4-WD unit is patterned after the Bobcat model 743. It stands 351/2 in. high, 441/2 in. long, and 26 1/2 in. wide. It's just big enough for a small child to squeeze into the cab. Power is supplied by a 12-volt electric marine battery, with a pair of electric motors driving the four wheels which are fitted with 10-in. dia. tubeless tires.
"It does everything a real Bobcat can do," says Gross, who constructed the unit mostly from scrap parts. "I built it because I've worked on skid steer loaders for 15 years and I wanted to build a small one. Others have built miniature steam engine tractors, but the newer generation of kids doesn't understand steam engine tractors. They do understand skidsteer loaders. The steering levers and foot pedals on this loader work just like they do on full-sized models. It's equipped with an adjustable seat, seat belt and seat bar, quick attach bucket and a tipup operator cab. All components are pinned together just like they are on the full-sized Bobcat. it even has grease zerks in all of the right spots. Gear reduction drive limits the unit's top speed to a safe 1 mph and with 4-WD it can push a 50-gal. barrel full of oil. It weighs 450 to 500 lbs."
The muffler pipe is actually a reservoir tank for hydraulic fluid and is equipped with a dipstick. Full throttle turns the hydraulic pump on and idle turns it off. The electric motors that drive the wheels formerly drove the power windows on a 1966 Ford Thunderbird. Gross used the side grille from a Deere 4020 tractor for the loader's back engine access door. He used the front grille from a Minneapolis Moline tractor for the top of the cab.
Gross spent about $850 to build the unit. He's currently starting up a"1/4 scale home-built farm toy club" and plans to organize an annual show for it.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, J. Gross Equipment Sales & Service, 4600 N.W. 30, Aberdeen, S. Dak. 57401 (ph 605 229-4037).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #2