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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    864
    Location
    Raleigh, NC USA
    Tractor
    Massey-Ferguson MF 1220

    Default Is there a market for a mini-loader/mower?

    Hi folks:

    I've been toying with the idea for a while of building a light-duty "tractor" that would have two primary functions: front-mounted mower and a light-duty front-end loader. I would tend to think that mowing and loading would be two of the most desirable features for a homeowner, especially if the piece of equipment could be sold in about the same price range as a reasonable lawn tractor (around $3000-5000).

    Tell me what you think. Is there a residential market for a small mower/loader? By small, I mean around the same overall size as your basic lawn tractor, weighing in at around 1000 lbs, front-loader able to lift say 300-500 lbs, small gasoline engine, etc.

    It would seem to me that there's probably a huge market for something like this, given that the price is in the right range. What do you think?


    Thx,
    Dave

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is there a market for a mini-loader/mower?

    I think there are a whole bunch of inexperienced knuckleheads out there that will promptly overload the FEL and [censored] near kill themselves.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    125
    Location
    Denver foot hills
    Tractor
    MF 1215

    Default Re: Is there a market for a mini-loader/mower?

    IF you can get it to market for under $6K you will sell all you can make. I would be concerned that the good folks at OSHA will kill your margins, but maybe not. It sounds like you're thinking along the lines of the skid steers with out front mowers and all the attachments you can run off the hydraulics. Something in between the job site tools that Toro and Gravely have and a compact tractor or small skidsteer. Is the picture on your post a prototype? Lete's see more of it!

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    864
    Location
    Raleigh, NC USA
    Tractor
    Massey-Ferguson MF 1220

    Default Re: Is there a market for a mini-loader/mower?

    Stonewall said <font color=red>IF you can get it to market for under $6K you will sell all you can make.</font color=red>

    Well, I'm wondering if that's the case. I have a feeling that it may very well be so. For validation, why do you think this is true? Why did you choose $6K as the magic number? Tell me more about your opinion...

    The machine in the picture is an old Power-trac 1418. Here's a URL: http://www.power-trac.com.

    Dave

  5. #5

    Default Re: Is there a market for a mini-loader/mower?

    Dave............care to reply about my comments???............I don't mean to be a smartass or negative towards your design........but I really do see a potential for the many inexperienced people out there to get themselves in a pile of trouble because they don't have a clue about weight transfer............after all you're talking about a lightweight machine with a &gt;&gt;front end loader&lt;&lt;..........................I hope you can make it work.

    Good Luck, Bob

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    864
    Location
    Raleigh, NC USA
    Tractor
    Massey-Ferguson MF 1220

    Default Re: Is there a market for a mini-loader/mower?

    Bob:

    No offence taken! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img] Your comments are valid.

    I dunno what the right answer is. Clear markings and warning labels that say "don't do this"? An "FEL for dummies" video? Any suggestions?

    I suppose one approach might be to install some sort of relief valve that would disallow a load large enough to tip the thing forward. But that still doesn't answer how to handle someone carrying what would be a safe load on level ground down a hill forward and tipping the machine forward. Perhaps some sort of level indicator as a warning?

    Perhaps the lift height should be so low that you couldn't possible get yourself into too much trouble? Of course, that would drastically reduce the utility of an FEL. Or, perhaps some safety mechanism to limit lift height that can be removed by the user if they so choose?

    At some point, persons have to take responsibility for their own actions. Unfortunately, our society in general doesn't see it that way: "always look for someone to blame for your own stupidity".

    I'm open to any suggestions...

    Thx,
    Dave

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Posts
    1,720
    Location
    Columbia county NY
    Tractor
    87 Ingersoll 444, 84 Ingersoll224/'44 GreavlyL/60'sGreavlyL/49 Ford 8N

    Default Re: Is there a market for a mini-loader/mower?

    <font color=red>At some point, persons have to take responsibility for their own actions. Unfortunately, our society in general doesn't see it that way: "always look for someone to blame for your own stupidity". </font color=red>

    I could not have said it better myself. My feeling is people with money can be dumb also. If some dumb guy wants a loader, and maby would get that 6k, small loader, cant get it becouse it has never been made, goes out and drops a lot of money on a CUT to get the FEL. Is he any smarter then if he got the 6 grand tractor? If anything, the bigger, taller, stronger tractor can get him into more truble. I think the saying goes, makeing something fool proof, just makes bigger fools. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  8. #8

    Default Re: Is there a market for a mini-loader/mower?

    I am looking right now to buy a riding lawn machine with a belly mower & front loader capable of about 300 lbs load. Put an overload valve so it won't overload if that is a concern. Front and rear PTO with belly mower for half acre home site. Too small an area for garden tractors starting at about $15 to $18K or so but a small mower (24hp or so) primarily a belly mower capable of loader front and cultivator ect. rear under $10K with a reasonably small turning radius is right up my alley. I have been looking for last two months and they are out there. Just have to look for used, made from about 1980 to early 2000's it seems. Nothing on the market new currently. Everyone thinks you need a "garden tractor". Let's get into business together and get this product to the people.

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    554
    Tractor
    New Holland TC 29D

    Default Re: Is there a market for a mini-loader/mower?

    Quote Originally Posted by davesisk View Post
    Bob:

    No offence taken! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img] Your comments are valid.

    I dunno what the right answer is. Clear markings and warning labels that say "don't do this"? An "FEL for dummies" video? Any suggestions?

    I suppose one approach might be to install some sort of relief valve that would disallow a load large enough to tip the thing forward. But that still doesn't answer how to handle someone carrying what would be a safe load on level ground down a hill forward and tipping the machine forward. Perhaps some sort of level indicator as a warning?

    Perhaps the lift height should be so low that you couldn't possible get yourself into too much trouble? Of course, that would drastically reduce the utility of an FEL. Or, perhaps some safety mechanism to limit lift height that can be removed by the user if they so choose?

    At some point, persons have to take responsibility for their own actions. Unfortunately, our society in general doesn't see it that way: "always look for someone to blame for your own stupidity".

    I'm open to any suggestions...

    Thx,
    Dave
    How about some kind of variable relief valve connected to one of the arms on the FEL? It could be rigged so that as the arms are raised, the max pressure to the lifting cylinders is reduced. That way, a heavier load could only be lifted to a low hight but a lighter load could be lifted higher.

  10. #10
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    214
    Location
    Winnipeg
    Tractor
    John Deere LA105; John Deere 140

    Default Re: Is there a market for a mini-loader/mower?

    In regard to the OP, and ignoring the safety problems (valid but...). If you were to build a machine with a bucket and mower standard, and an optional 3PTH and PTO on the back, and made it fit through a 36" gate, I'd not only buy one but tell everybody I met about it. I'm sure you'd sell a million of them, especially if you kept it simple. At the price point you're talking about, they'd fly out the door.

    Getting into tight areas is a constant headache for me. I often end up taking out a section of fence just to get into a yard, and fences being what they are that usually leaves me doing free repairs to half-rotted fences.

    As for the safety thing, if you could link the height of the FEL to the speed somehow, so it couldn't be lifted too high when going faster, that would help.

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