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Hacks Develop Into Farm Business
Malcolm MacLean has been hacking stuff since he was young. The first modification he recalls was adding duct tape tabs to his rubber boots to pull them on. Fast forward to 2023, and Malcolm’s Ranch Hacks Facebook page has 19,000 followers and has drawn millions of views.
“As far back as I can remember, I’ve modified and built things,” says MacLean. “At 9 or 10, every time my dad went to the local dump, I’d hop on and look for bicycle parts to build 3-wheelers or chopper-style bikes. By the time I was 12 or 13, I was picking up lawn mower and dirt bike parts, rebuilding and selling them.”
MacLean credits his farmer/rancher grandfather as an inspiration. “He believed that a person should be able to do everything for themselves, from mechanics to welding, to carpentry,” recalls MacLean.
Malcolm’s Ranch Hacks grew out of his constant desire to do tasks faster and more efficiently. He and his veterinarian wife began posting his tools online. With the help of an area welder, he’s starting to fill requests for the tools he’s made or modified.
Some of MacLean’s most popular hacks include a farm jack post puller kit, a hammerhead fence plier, and a combination wire cutter/staple puller.
Several of his hacks involve high-lift farm jacks. The post puller has a U-bracket that slips around the post. A second U-bracket with a choke chain to loop around the post slips over the lift plate. Jacking it up lifts the post out of the ground. Another high lift jack has its lift plate modified with a flat steel plate and chain hook. That jack’s original base was replaced by steel tubes in an H-design to spread weight over a wider area.
MacLean’s horseshoe barbed wire gate post grabber is a major upgrade from traditional wire loops. It consists of a horseshoe around the post with a second horseshoe welded to it for leverage. Springs linked to the first horseshoe wrap around the end post of the fence line.
His “contraption” is a cow path variation of a powered wheelbarrow. The in-line wheels are mounted to a platform for carrying chainsaws, supplies and other tools. The drive wheel is off an old Rokon 2-WD motorbike. The rear is off an old quad.
“I bought a little 77cc gas motor at Princess Auto for about $120,” says MacLean in a video. “I put a gear reduction box on it to bring it down about 6 to 1. Then I slowed it down even more with a small sprocket on the gearbox and a bigger sprocket on the drive wheel. With the gear reduction, I don’t have to run behind it, plus it gives me the lugging power I need for steep hills.”
MacLean went with direct drive chain drive instead of a centrifugal clutch for reduced maintenance. It also lets him use compression braking downhill. Starting is easy too. He put the throttle and kill switch at the handlebar end. When he wants to go, he gives the cart a push and compression starts the motor.
“I welded some horseshoes on each side to carry T-posts into tough areas,” says MacLean.
Followers wanting to buy a particular tool should direct message MacLean via his Facebook page. He assures followers that the welder who fulfills orders does a better job than he did on his original hacks.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Malcolm MacLean, Alberta, Canada (malcolm6maclean@gmail.com; Facebook: Malcolm’s Ranch Hacks).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #3