Picture of Remote controlled excavator
I grew up with earthmovers and I have operated excavators for many years. My favorite machine is the hydraulic excavator. However, I changed jobs so I don't operate excavators anymore. Unfortunate, because I still regularly get itchy hands when I see these machines running. Unfortunately, buying a real excavator is not an option for me. Now there are remote controlled excavators for sale that run on model-hydraulics, but they cost a fortune. So there was only one thing to do, build one myself!
First i looked on the Internet if there were more people that had this idea. Sure enough, after some searching I found several videos and pictures of working RC excavators that did not cost thousands of dollars.
They were converted excavator models from "Bruder". Yes,  childrens toys, but I must say that these models are very detailed. So i bought one and got to work.

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Step 1: How it works

Picture of How it works
This excavator works with hacked servos, that can spin indefinitely. These servos are connected to wooddrillbit thats running in an aluminum tube, with a steel pin in it which engages in the drill. This makes the turning movement from the servos to a Linair movement for the cylinders.

Step 2: Servo placement and controle

Picture of Servo placement and controle
You could use the controllers that are in the servo's. There are allot of people that operate the excavator just with the hacked servo's. But i prefer the use of CTI controllers. They just give more smooth and faster movements.
So you have to  replace the servo controllers for a CTI controllers. 

You will need six hacked servo's in totall. Three for the boom, one for swinging and two for driving the tracks. In the pictures you can see how i placed the servo's in the boom. 

You have to reinforce the boom with aluminium plates in serveral places, otherwise it will twist when you are digging.
A really interesting project, I can see similar techniques being useful for lot's of applications.
Amazing, I have wanted one for years. One big problem is I could never build this.
lgarza31 year ago
very cool