2023 - Volume #47, Issue #4, Page #04[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
2-Wheel Tractor You Can Build Yourself
“The license to build option is similar to the current one for the Oggun tractor,” says Horace Clemmons, Ronnie Baugh Tractors. “We have orders for three assembled units. Information on ordering has been posted on Facebook and LinkedIn.”
RUNT was developed in collaboration with DAUST (Dakar American University of Science & Technology) in Senegal. The goal was a low-cost, 2-wheel tractor that could be built (and repaired) with a wrench using all off-the-shelf components.
“We designed it with a toolbar that will allow attachment of most implements used by small 4-WD tractors, including planters, cultivators, tiller/spaders, and roller crimpers,” says Clemmons. “Even old BCS implements can be modified to work with it.”
The tractor is designed for easy modification of clearance and row spacing/center of gravity needs. Dimensions include a ground clearance of 8 1/2 to 27 1/2 in. and between the wheel widths of 33 1/4 in. to 41 1/4 in.
The frame is 40 1/2 in. long, while the total length of the RUNT is 93 3/4 in. from the front of the frame to the handlebar grips at the rear.
“We wanted a design that would let the user decide what clearance height or row spacing they wanted,” says Clemmons. “It also allows the user to slide wheel mounts forward or backward to adjust weight distribution and counterbalance heavier front-mount implements.”
While the RUNT was designed primarily for limited-income farmers in Africa and Asia, Clemmons sees its open-source and off-the-shelf nature as having value throughout the world. Supply chain interruptions have created shortages and backlogs of products from international suppliers.
“With our open-system architecture, we’re providing a platform that can be assembled with any compatible part,” says Clemmons. “Builders of the RUNT can use any component they want as long as it meets or exceeds the specifications of the recommended part. We’re all realizing that if you can’t make something locally, you probably won’t get it in a timely fashion.”
The RUNT is designed to take advantage of its zero-turn capability with all controls at the hand grips, including a dead-man switch. Clemmons notes that fine-tuning the hand controls was one of the bigger challenges.
Another design requirement was to ensure that new technology could be field upgraded, e.g., more horsepower or electric drive.
“We didn’t go with a geared transmission, so we needed a stepped control system,” says Clemmons. “That took time to figure out.”
To make the basic design, Clemmons and his collaborators looked at competitive units in all price ranges. They identified needed features and modeled their design accordingly.
“It’s been fun as we do things and learn from our mistakes,” says Clemmons. As with all open-source designs, every model is to some extent simply the latest prototype. We welcome any design suggestions that we can include as we move along,” he says. “We continue to learn with every prototype we introduce.”
With ongoing increases in steel prices and other components, the Oggun 2 4-wheel tractors are now priced at around $23,000 (gas engine only) fully assembled. By comparison, the RUNT is currently priced at $7,250. Clemmons notes that a RUNT manufactured in the local economy under license would cost much less due to shipping costs.
“We’ll provide a list of suppliers for the components we’re using with the license to build for personal use,” says Clemmons. “In many cases, we can get wholesale prices. If our prices are cheaper than what a customer can get for a quantity of one, we’ll sell the component at our price.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Horace Clemmons, P.O. Box 58007 Raleigh, N.C. 27658 (ph 256-655-8792; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ronnietractors.com; Facebook: Ronnie Baugh Tractors).
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