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How well do these dig holes-footings/post holes etc..

Discussion in 'Mini Skid Steers' started by IHI, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W Senior Member

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    Michigan
    I like this thread... though I apologize for asking the question that kinda took things a bit awry... ;)

    Disclaimer -- I'm just writing my opinions here, so don't get offended if they've already been tried or if I don't have enough experience to back up them with proof that they'll work.

    Having subscribed to Construction Equipment Magazine for, what, seven or eight years, now, I still think it's the best magazine on the market. I like the stories, I like the style, and I like the layout of the magazine. It seems professional, current, and also looks crisp (unlike certain other excavating magazines). I also understand, Larry, why CE can't reasonably do competitive comparisons. I'm sure this has been debated ad naseum among the CE editors or executives; for that reason, it doesn't bother me (as much) that I can't take my five-top skid steers and have someone do an exhaustive competitive analysis on them. (A side question would be this: would any manufacturers ever be willing to compare their products? For instance, would Cat ever agree to a Deere "magazine challenge" of their product C versus Deere's D? If the manufacturers can pay for the costs of equipment and operators, would that be a possibility.)

    As for your question about Hands-on Earthmoving, I like it -- IFF (if and only if) the stories tell the entire truth about a machine. If, for instance, in the Bobcat ZHS article you posted, if the operators felt a small nuisance was that the machines didn't [seem to] have power while turning but that comment was left out, I wouldn't appreciate the article as much. If I can't get into the seat of a machine, I'd rather hear as much weight placed on its negative aspects as its positive aspects. Although everyone's experience and opinions is different, it's easy enough to read about the positive things on a machine on manufacturers' web pages or literature. It's the almost "yellow journalism" that keeps readers wanting to know which machine to buy, in my opinion. (You don't need to reveal that some machine is completely and utterly incapable, as was the case a few months back, but if an operator has harsher comments, I'd like to hear them. Of course, there may be a publicity problem with touting all the disadvantages of a new machine, but the manufacturers should know that operators will have to be as objective as possible. This would be a matter of trust, I guess.

    Finally (for now, until someone brings up a good point that I want to blather more about), the one aspect of CE that I truly miss is the Field-Tests -- the extensive old-versus-new comparisons of a particular machine. I know those take time, and again, money, but those were really interesting insights as to the capabilities of a new machine. I know the E-series article I posted earlier was similar, but it seemed a little short and low on actual details of the test (probably because it was really Cat's PPG testing, which is, erm, guarded very, very closely).

    Thanks for watching this site (and all your other CE cohorts!), Larry... I think your magazine is phenomenal at worst and would consider an annual paid subscription if it came down to that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2006
  2. CEwriter

    CEwriter Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    journalist
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    St. Louis, MO
    Tigorotor,

    First, no need to apologize, to me at least. I'm diggin' all the feedback.

    Second, regarding:

    There's been no intentional dropping of the Field Test format. Equipment manufacturers have been pinched between a Conexpo year (2005), which is always very distracting, and the steep demands of having to meet Tier 3 emissions regulations by the first of 2007. Tier 3 applies to everything over 100 hp, which is a very tall order for most of our usual Field Test subjects. They've just been very busy, making it hard for us to line up the Field Test resources.

    There are Field Tests in the works, though. So look for them in future issues. You can find all of the Field Tests (evaluations where CE does the testing) and Field Reports (various other types of evaluations that do not typically include CE testing) on this index page

    http://www.constructionequipment.com/community/862/Field Test/23400.html

    ADios
     
  3. Tigerotor77W

    Tigerotor77W Senior Member

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    Michigan
    Just thought I'd bring this up (Larry, feel free to add information as you see fit). In last month's Construction Equipment magazine, there was a question to the editor about why the specific results of the mini-skid study weren't published -- one reader had his letter published, along with an editors' reply. The reply, paraphrased, basically went as Larry has already said: the conditions simply didn't warrant enough time to go out and really do a true apples-to-apples comparison.

    Although the last line was to the effect of, "We will see what we can do in the future..."

    Maybe one day, some companies will be blushing because of pure investigative construction equipment journalism. :notworthy
     
  4. KSSS

    KSSS Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
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    Occupation:
    excavation
    Location:
    Idaho
    I see nothing wrong with picking a machine an having 2-3 guys run it through a set series of excercises and see what the thought is from the three guys. It would prevent some of the issues with head to head competetion, yet still allow for the reader to gain some working knowledge about the equipment, rather the canned response from a press release. I think the excavation orientated publication that can become known for supplying unbiased, clear, concise information about new machines being released will dominate the others. No one at least that I get mags from does that consistantly.

    Some keys to success as I see them.

    Knowledgable operators in the equipment being evaluated. Getting a 25 year blade operator to run and evaluate a mini excavator will not mean much.

    The reader should know the operators backround. I would even want to know what brand of equipment he normally runs. That way I can decide for myself what biases he may bring to the evaluation.

    A set type of evaluations: If the evaluations were standardized, indirect comparisons could be made between past evaluations as well as simplifying the evaluation process. Example would be all TLB evaluations will involve a truck loading excercise both with loader and backhoe, followed by trenching, craning excersise or whatever. The important thing is that it is the same everytime.

    Have an OEM representive present that is knowledgeable about the piece of equipment.

    The OEM's if this were done right would be all over this. It would be similiar to doing an equipment demo except it would be to 100K readers who are interested in what your sellling. It would certainly expand circulation for the mag. and provide useful information to the reader.
     
  5. thejdman04

    thejdman04 Senior Member

    Joined:
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    582
    Location:
    Illinois
    Compared to a 2 man auger , or the 2 man head and hydro power unit these are the cats meow, they do really well. If you hit something a rock etc wont throw you. Its not as good as a skid steer if your going through super hard stuff, but w/good teeth on the bit they do well.
     
  6. IHI

    IHI Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
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    14
    Occupation:
    general construction
    Location:
    Waterloo, Iowa
    Last year my main rental place actually got a Toro tracked mini, and he says I'm his best customer for renting it LOL!! We used it ALOT last year, our soil conditions here vary but are forgiving compared to many other soils outside the midwest...mainly black dirt/sandy conditions/clay...not too much rock at all aside from old construction debris buried years ago when older homes were first built.

    I've used it with 12"-36" augers and all go to our required 42" footing depth. The Toro unit has had some scarey moments since last year it was a literal walk behind...no platform for the operator, first job I had to tear out an old post/beam system and used the bucket that came with it....only way I could get the machine to work the old posts up and all the concrete stuck to them was to get the back of the machine 2' or so off the ground and jerk the bucket so the weight of the machine was "ratcheting" the posts up and out. A few times the bucket would slip off and down the machine would come with a bang...I expected and anticipated it, but I could see the common grunt/homeowner getting themselves into trouble and getting hurt since we all know common sense is'nt too common. With the bucket, I ws not impressed one bit...just not enough weight and digging force to move existing hardpack, it took alot of time to dig out a 12x14 area where we built another deck close to grade, would've been a 10 minute job with a full sized skidder..but we had the mini and it worked..just took a little longer and was far better than digging by hand:)

    I was going to buy one, but after talking with some other contractors the market, at least in my area, just did'nt seem to be there so I gave up on buying a unit since every season is different project wise, and it's hard to justify the expense for a machine that will sit for months at a time not bringing in revenue. We can rent this unit and any size auger for a very reasonable rate that is figured into a job anyhow, so I'll continue this method for the time being. Here are some pictures of the unit I've been renting. This particular job required 31 post holes all 12" with 4 16". From the time I fired the machine up until I loaded it back on the trailer was 48 minutes and we were fresh as daisey's and were able to set all the sono-tubes and get inspected by lunch...

    http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-9/824085/miniskidder001.jpg

    http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-9/824085/miniskidder002.jpg

    http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-9/824085/miniskidder003.jpg

    The one thing noticed when encountering debris under ground, just like the big skidders, it wants to re-position the auger and get it off track. Resetting it to go straight down again is tough if not impossible once the hole is eggshaped with junk hitting the auger, so I'd get it as close as possible and then finish up hand digging. I've actually stopped the auger on more than one occasion hitting roots or large concrete chunks and it want to buck the machine, so I'm anxious to try it now since he added the platforms to stand on, should make it a little safer and much better visablity IMO..but I wont know anytime soon since all we have is additions and attached garage additions line up this year...not a single deck.
     
  7. s185

    s185 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Hey

    You should check out this web site. www.paumco.com and look at the quick spade combo. I picked one up last year and man is it nice. I can't believe how fast it is.

    How much is a good price for an 18"