SSTT side ways snake train tractor (idea for a new tractor possibly)
Hey! sorry for long post. i get a typing and it ends up being a brainstorming session for me...
i been working, on trying to come up with a new tractor / implement setup. that completely gets away of current age setups. and starting to get some what figured out, and thought i would broaden my view. and look for other websites, and hopefully find some interesting folks, that may want to help out.
example.... many of the current age implements can have any were from 4 to 20 plus wheels / tires on them. but these wheels / tires are not powered. yet you see a mix of type of treads on them, from R1 Ag tires, to forestery R1W treads (taller treads of an R1) to regular road truck tires, to 1 to 3 bar tires, to other..
example... trying to pull 30 to 60 plus foot implement down the road, and taking up 1.5 single lanes. standard road has 2 lanes, each 8 feet wide approx. plus or minus a few inches, (if looking at wiki for global specs of roads, it is for most part about equal across the world) and then doing the old dodging of mail boxes, guard rails, signs along the road, and the ugly rough edge of the road, that one side of tractor ends up riding. and then the pesky, impulsive dangerous drivers trying to get around you.
example... using this huge honking tractor out in front, were all the wheels of the tractor are located within a few feet of each other, and were all the traction is found. vs spreading the weight and traction out more.
example... dealing with wheel slippage, and wheel hop on bigger tractors that have 12 wheels (3 front right, 3 front left, 3 rear left, 3 rear right) and causing both compaction and loss of traction. due to the drive train not able to deal with individual tires, and allow them to turn at different RPM's vs all the other tires.
example... some folks needing to redo there gates and driveways, and culverts to get in and out of the homestead, and in/out of a field. and some may choose to go with a smaller width setup. vs going with something that is larger, that is not able to fit through the gates and over culverts.
example... dealing with various "bulk materials" containers / wagons, from seed, fertilizers, pesticides, and then harvested crop. and the logistics of it all. and how many drivers you have, vs what actually needs to be done.
i have been working on this "idea" for a few months now. and starting to get things nailed down. but still a lot left to get the "general idea" and overall doings down. and things tend to change daily, one small idea, has caused things to completely change from entirely different setup a few times over.
with above said....
the SSTT (sideways snake train tractor), the name has sort of stuck. like a train with multi cars going down the train track, but in this case, for the SSTT, when in "transport mode", it works like a train going down the road per say. and then once in the field. tires turn 90 degrees, and entire setup is no longer 8 feet wide, 60 feet long. BUT 60 foot wide, 8 feet long, and then implements unfold off the top of the SSTT, for another so many extra feet longer.
i have split the cab, from the main unit and implements. and looking more at a CAB, having a small little engine on it, enough to putt around a few MPH, and when the SSTT is in (transport mode), the cab would kinda look like a semi truck and trailer behind it. the trailer being the SSTT main frame, big engine, and implement. and when in field mode, the cab could disconnect all together from the main SSTT / implement and do a "wireless internet connection like thing for control", or disconnect from the 8 foot end, and connect to 1 of 3 to 5 different spots on the 60 foot side of the SSTT.
to restate above, the CAB, could be a 4 wheeler, full size truck, semi truck, or customized unit, geared directly for farming, and the SSTT. the SSTT main body / frame, would have the 100 to 1000 HP engine on it. fuel tank for large engine. the primary reason to split the cab apart from everything else is physical SPACE. doing a little bit of searching on internet, showed world wide, approx max size is 8 foot wide, 60 foot long, 14 feet high. anything over those 3 dimensions normally requires some sort of special drivers licenses, or you end up getting limited to 1 hour after sun rises, and 1 hour before sun sets, or require vehicles in front and behind, to get down the roads legally. if i split the "cab" from the main unit. it frees up a huge space for folding up implements, and there is less hinge joints, to try and fold up an implement that would be required. also looking at some laws... there are many laws that state how long a trailer or wagon CAN BE, but there is more fluctuation in how long everything can be, when tow vehicle / pull vehicle is connected to the trailer / wagon.
i have drawn up a good amount of sketches, and played around with autodesk inventor. trying to figure out best way of how to fold things up, how to rotate things. and my lastest version....
"hydraulic rotatory vane actuators", instead of a typical hyd cylinder, you see on various tractors and implements that extend / contract. a rotatory vane actuator, causes limited amount of rotation, from any were near 330 degrees, to 160 degrees, down to i want to say 60 degrees. and behaves much like a regular hydraulic cylinder extends / contracts, but instead rotates. the less max degrees that are needed, the more pistons per say (vanes) can be placed into it, to allow for more torque to happen in a smaller size. if the rotatory vane actuator does what i want it to do, it removes a lot of extra "parts" and bars and linkages. that reduces overall "height" height is a big one, for the main frame and connect to wheels. less height = not as long of linkage bars needed to connect to implements, allowing implements to almost set right next to wheels, when implement is loaded. and less longer linkages, means i can fit more implement on top of the SSTT when in "transport mode".
another issue has been needing to get power down to the wheels. were a wheel hub motor (motor that replaces the rim of a tire). the tires, will need to be able to turn little over 360 degrees maybe near 400 degrees. so when SSTT turns from transport mode to field mode or vice vs, i can keep the "tread pattern" going in correct direction. and at same time allow for SSTT to turn either on the road in transport mode, or in the field. there is a kicker....in field mode, the SSTT does not have to drive straight down the field. if you turn all the wheels say 20 degrees. and have a 60 foot wide implement on the SSTT. the implment now becomes... 56 foot long going through the field. it may only be 4 feet, but if ya dealing with hard compacted soil and loosing traction.... 4 feet may be just enough to get ya through the field.
getting back on track, the rotation of the tires, and getting power down to the tires, has been tricky, and i am not completely decided of what to do. if i go with electrical wheel motors, per tire, i can reduce complexity and cost of dealing with say 3000PSI max pressure of trying to send hyd oil down to each tire. the con of electrical, is needing to deal with "explosion proof" electrical motors and connections. a simple spark, and dealing with all the "dry dust from harvesting time" to dealing with wide range of chemicals. one little spark and BOOM! with that said, if i do electrical wheel motors, i have to rely on water cooling, and needing to get antifreeze / water mixture down to the wheels. i really can not rely on a fan or air cooling, due to tires are going to be deep in the mud, and mud caked onto the tires and motors. which would reduce overall ability for heat to dissipate from the motors.
electrical or hydraulic wheel hub motors, debate, is thorn in my side, not sure what i will end up dong. and have placed more emphasis on "traction" and wheel slippage and reducing compaction of the soil. and in that wanting as high possible response time, from some computer chip, to take sensor inputs of RPM's and torque, and allow for smallest degree in change of RPM's and torque possible. so when a tire hits dirt clod, or rut, that individual tire either speeds up or slows down, as it goes over the bump or into the rut and out of the rut. the goal is, to turn the tire, so it "rolls over" the obstacle, vs ram rodding, and doing a hip hop, skip and a jump over the obstacle. if ya ever been on a dirt bike, or 4 wheeler and hitting a rut or bump, you either have been or nearly tossed off the bike or 4 wheeler. well, i want to reduce that effect within the field. to both gain traction and reduce compaction.
another issue has been low MPH from say creeper gear, and moving a few feet per minute, to 2 to 10 MPH, and then needing a some road gears for higher MPH in transport mode. at moment i am still setting my sights up to 55MPH. it may not be possible, but that is were i have set my sights for now. but with that said, trying to place some sort of limited amount of transmission per wheel, has been challenging, and also complexes things to point of higher chance of failure. and in that i have went on looking for more of a "direct drive, no gearing" setup. and have went through a good amount of general scribbles (2 year old chicken scratch ideas) and i am more inclined to go with electrical wheel hub motors. vs hydraulic wheel hub motors for the tires. hydrualic oil, can get air within the oil (causing reduced capacity of hyd oil), and it can take longer (how much i do not know) between a sensor reading and physically opening / closing a valve, to cause more/less RPM and torque. vs going with an electrical motor.
the issue with electrical motor besides needing to be "explosion proof" (completely self contained motor (no air vents or like), and needing water cooling). has been, the "cogging" or rather how an electrical motor actually turns, and how torque is developed. and the vibration an electrical motor could possibly cause. at more looking at multi phase setup. not simply 3 phases but more phases. to try and reduce cogging / vibration, but also allow for extremely slow speeds (a few feet per minute) to high RPMs that allow for 55 MPH. and enough torque to allow for it all.
the main frame of the SSTT. has been problematic, and has seen more changes than anything. at 60 feet wide, and dealing with hills there needs to be some "flex" within the frame, or joints, that allow the frame to bend, so as to allow for everything to roll through the field better. and also allow form the implements more so, to stay on the ground and follow the ground even better.
i have not completely made up my mind yet, of splitting the 60 foot into THREE 20 foot sections, or going with FOUR 15 foot sections. and say up to 15 degrees +/- of freedom of up and down, between each section.
there is also another problem. and that is, making sure implements, from bottom plows, discs, planters, air seeders, to other, what ever is in physical contact with the ground, as the sections of the SSTT bend to deal with hills and slopes, making sure the implements do not end up leaving a gap between the sections. kinda like a finishing mower deck, that has 3 blades, and normally the center blade over laps the 2 outside blades. but in this case, i am trying to remove the need for the overlap. so besides the rotation of the 15 +\- degrees. i will also need to add in some sort a hydraulic cylinder. that extends / contracts, a few inches, to pull or push individual sections apart from each other. to make sure that the implements will stay side by side, and keep nice even spacing of say 10 inches or 14 inches, or 15 inches, or 30 inches.
BUT then it gets more complicated.... as soon as the SSTT goes into transport mode and gets on the road. i need to be able to lock the sections together. so if say i apply the front brakes, all the sections behind, do not try and "jack knife" like a semi truck and trailer, were the semi slams on the brakes and begins to turn, and the trailer just keeps on going....
the same issue goes with needing to "lock" the hydraulic rotatory vane actuators that control wheel eight and rotation of the tire (not the wheel hub motor) for the rotatory vane actuators, i am more looking at installing "wet disc brakes / clutch" so as to allow for a way to physically lock things into place. and either use electricity or compressed air. to deal with these wet brakes.
(gets even more complicated), say you have complete power loss going down the road, i need to make sure, the front set of tires, when in transport mode. you can still be able to steer left/right and apply brakes. so you do not end up crashing but able to pull off side of road and come to a stop, ((this is were the cab comes into play)) remember i want to split the cab from the main body / frame of the SSTT. but when in transport mode, the cab is attached to the 8 foot width end. and in that it basically turns the SSTT main frame/body into a trailer and cab as a tow vehicle. but i should be saying, it turns everything more into a "school bus" were the cab has 4 points of contact with the SSTT main frame / body. and there is no degrees of rotation between cab and the SSTT. what i have now, might more resemble, those "mobile cranes" going down the road. that has individual tire rotation control from the cab up front. and able to make even sharper turns, by adjusting how each individual tire turns.
counter weight... going back to grade school to learn about fulcrums, and the old "teeter totter" this has played a roll in overall design of the SSTT.
current age tractors. have this large bulky tractor out in front, that weighs most likely more than what ever it is pulling.... but for the SSTT, the main frame, and tires and then implements are going to be right next to each other when out in the field. some implements rely on weight to bust the ground up and keep the implement in the ground, while others try to reduce weight, by using implement tires. many times using the implement tires like gauge wheels, to control depth of how far implement goes down into the ground....
well.... there is con's and pro's. lets take a "disc" how many times have you looked back and see "shiny streaks" within the dirt. were the cutting of the disc has dragged across the dirt. for myself, i have noticed if i stop the tractor and go back, and use my hands to remove the "fluffy" dirt on top, that the marks left by the disc, tend to be "hard" and compacted, while ares between the discs, tends to be less compacted.
what i am looking at is trying to off set the weight of various implements. to the SSTT main frame and wheels on it. so that any compaction that does happen, goes through the tires on the SSTT main frame / body. and not happening at the implement. in another way of stating it, i want to put weight were it could be used for traction. and get compaction done out in front of "tillage" like equipment. so the tillage will remove the compaction. and not re-apply compaction as the tillage equipment is doing its thing.
rotatory vane actuators for individual tires, play a roll in this "counter weight balance" by changing how far front tires may stick out in front, to how high SSTT main frame is stays up off the ground. to adding the "boxing counter weight" boxing as in the type of sport of busting someones head open. again i am limited by 8 feet wide, 60 feet long, 14 feet high. for dealing with roads and bridges and getting under electric pole wires. the "boxing counter weight" would be a couple arms with hyd cylinders. (like your shoulder down to your wrist, and hyd cylinders being the muscle) and instead of hands/gloves, it would be counter weight, say steel, to concrete. and the "boxing counter weight" would unfold out in front of the SSTT. the further they unfold out in front, the more "counter weight i can get" (going back to fulcrums / levers or rather a kids teeter totter) again goal is reduce compaction, if i can reduce overall weight needed to counter balance an implement by sticking less weight needed further out in front. the happier i will be. and if i can control on demand, amount of counter weight needed, as the soil changes through out a field or fields. the more happier i will be.
tires and diameter of them.. and width of them...
still limited by 8 foot width, 60 foot long, 14 feet high. i can only make tire diameter of them so big. along with width of the tires....
examples.... dealing with row/crop and needing to get in field, and keep tires off your crop. as you spray or what ever you are doing.
examples.... needing to be able to rotate the tires 360 degrees, so tread stays in correct direction for max traction in the field and on the road. i been having a hard time stating "front and rear" for the SSTT. due to there really is no front or rear. from transport mode to field mode. it can drive in multi directions.
with above said, i have went with a "caster wheel" design style. were the supporting frame work, almost snugs the sides of the tire. so that a tire can go past its axle / center point. and not get hung up as much. this allows me to use say a 24" inch diameter tire, and maybe get 16" deep mud. and still keep on going vs getting hung up on drive shafts and axles when tire only gets in a 8" deep mud.
SSTT has another thing going for it vs regular current age tractors. and that is tires are not located right behind each other in a small space apart from each other. but rather spread out across 60 feet. so as long as you do not take a mud hole dead on, you should still be able to keep going by keeping a couple wheels up on higher ground and out of the mud hole. and if you truly get stuck, you could always "walk" the SSTT out, using the linkages going to the tires like legs of a spider, and lift / lower tires and hopefully get unstuck.
i am still hopeful to say switch between 12" width tire to say up to 24" tire, to running TWO 12" tires (duals like rear of a pickup truck or semi truck). and possibly going with "tracks" that are approx 24" long 12 to 30 inch wide. but it will not be a "rim and tire swap with perhaps spacers" but most likely an entire swap out from tire all the way up to connection to the main frame. it more has to do with physically size and length of everything, to make sure it all "works" and having space for everything. sadly it would drive up cost. but there is not much way of getting around it. i never did say you could not simply add more tires. and take up space along the 60 foot length of the SSTT. but there will be a limitation between connection points for tires and there linkages, and then linkages for implements and being able to fold / unfold implements.
i have attempted to turn the SSTT into a combine, but frankly my knowledge and experience is zero. and complexity of say a header for a combine to thresher in the combine is above me, and more than i am wanting to get into at this time. but i am more tempted to turn the SSTT into a "wagon". the SSTT would be taking the place of the larger tractor in the fleet of equipment a farmer uses. and during harvesting, that larger tractor tends to be the chase tractor with a wagon behind it. i am more tempted to turn SSTT in a wagon, due to it would already be setup with wheels and control to reduce overall ground pressure being placed on the soil. and for the most part when SSTT is stripped down to the very basic doings, it would be a frame work for a trailer. all you would need to do is add a bottom and 4 sides, and it would be a 8 foot wide, 60 foot long wagon, say 8 to 10 feet high. (semi box trailer other words). hydraulics and electrical would already be there, to add conveyer belts, or augers.
for hay cutting, to windrowing hay. the cutter head would hook up just like a plow or disc or planter would. but SSTT would be drive in opposite direction. so cutting happens, vs driving the wheels over the hay and smashing stuff into the ground.
air seeders, this has been a big one, my recent mind change for not trying to turn SSTT into a harvester. has set me back some in how and were to mount bulk containers for seed / fertilizer. and it may come down using a regular wagon like container. and hooking it up to 1 of the 3 to 5 spots along the 60 foot length. were cab would hook up when SSTT is in field mode. and it would most likely mean adding expense to make the tires on the wagon have motors in them. so the wagon is not pushed, but helps kinda pull the SSTT through the field.
box planters, were seed is in a container directly above the working end that drops / puts the seed in the ground, should not be a big problem and connect like a disc or plow would to the SSTT.
bottom plows, i have taken a dramatic change in how bottom plows are setup. it comes down to try and fold a bottom plow up on the SSTT and keep it all within the 8 foot by 60 foot area. i am holding off for now from saying to much about bottom plows...
discs and setting them at a different angle. has taken a change, again limited by 8 x 60 and needing to fold the disc up on top of the SSTT for transport.
chisels to rippers and crumblers, there is not much difference to them.
it should be possible to turn the SSTT into a self propelled sprayer. but dealing with "corn" more so after the corn has grown a couple feet high there maybe a problem. to simple clearance under the SSTT. the same goes for potatoes and dealing with "hills" that the potatoes are grown in. after hills and tops of the potato plant gets so high. there may be some clearance issues. i might be able to add some sort of spacers some place. but really have not given it much thought yet. the higher everything sets, the less room i end up having for implements to fold up on the SSTT. due to everything ends up needing to be longer to connect SSTT to the implements.
might be possible to turn SSTT into a liquid manure spreader, just toss a tank, on top and connect some sort of rippers / chisels with injectors on one of the 8 foot width ends. and get a going.
should be able to put a box and chain and paddles, to turn SSTT into a solids handling manure spreader
bed shappers / hillers should be good to go.
again goal of SSTT is to reduce compaction, and dramatically change how current age tractor implement setups are done. a good portion of all of it, is treating the SSTT like a "trailer frame" and using say a fork lift for boxes to turn SSTT in a wagon, to using hitch connections with linkage arms. that fold/unfold implements from on top of the SSTT to down on the ground.
there is going to more emphasis placed on "prep work", there will be no backup and connect. but a little more involved in hydrualic hose and electrical connections. and perhaps pins,pending on what your next task would be. with that said, more prep work, but hopefully higher efficiency when actually doing the work.
example possibly being able to drive the "cab" to town, fill up on diesel. and go back to the farm. and bulk transfer diesel to the SSTT larger bigger tank. or possibly being able to control two or more 60 foot SSTT units with a single cab, in the same field. keep in line with only a few minutes between driving into a field and working the field to getting done with field and ready to go down the road to next field. to getting to the point of having the SSTT be "drones" and everything is done via computer. and at most, a "dead man box cab" is placed on SSTT. just enough room for someone to set, and have ability to push an emergency stop button in case something happens.
i am looking for higher level of soil sampling, (on the fly soil sampling) every so many feet or inches (pending on soil sample), and being able to use different types of fertilizers to pesticides to seeds during tillage / planting based on, on the fly soil samples, part of air seeder wagon, and placing the air seeder wagon out in front, and the planter portion behind the SSTT, i am hoping that soil samples can be taken quickly enough so when the planter arrives, over that spot. direct automated fertilizer type / seed can be done.
to "controled" re-shaping of the field, to help remove high spots, and fill in low spots, and then maintenance upkeep of a field. that is done over years. so when ya disc or bottom plow to chisels, when the soil is worked, perhaps a little more dirt here or there or deeper here vs there. is done. so instead of breaking out the dozer, everything happens over so many years. so overall erosion can be controlled, and soil characteristics can be maintained.
also looking into "transplanting" were a seed is grown at some nursery / hydroponics setup. and being able to "transplant" millions to billions of 1" to 5" tall plants into fields. the low profile of the SSTT once implement is un folded, and being able to easily hook up some sort of wagon out in front. (as long as wagon has wheels on it that have a wheel hub motor on them) make this idea more feasible.
legal mumb jumo..*ughs* been told i should put something on this, and for most part. treating this like how "free to use programming code / open source code" is done, with statement of, free to use, but not able to reproduce for $$$. other words anyone able to use idea, but your not allowed to make money off of the idea, without written permission by me.
example someone building there own machine / implements but not able to sale the machine or implements or specific parts to anyone else, that are based on this idea.
to above, eventually sooner or later i would like to bring something to market / get funding to build protype to other, but at same time keep things out there in the open, from failures of trail and errors to final product. "why try to re-invent the wheel" move on and move past that.