How to Build a Low-Cost Homemade Mini-Tractor (part 2)

MOTHER's article shows you how to build a low-cost homemade mini-tractor, including deciding on the type of tractor you need, step-by-step instructions and building dimensions, tractor brakes and detailed diagrams.

| September/October 1982

Here's the next installment in our series telling you how to build a low-cost homemade mini-tractor.(See the detailed mini-tractor diagrams in the image gallery.)

In the last issue of this publication, we described building a low-cost homemade mini-tractor that one of our research staffers designed and built for less than half of what it would have cost him to buy an equivalent factory-made piece of equipment (see MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 76, page 122). That first installment also detailed the fabrication of the vehicle's frame and drive train, as well as the selection of the engine and running gear.

This article, then, will go on to describe how we cut and formed the sheet-metal body parts (with the help of a special bending brake that we'll show you how to build) . . . hooked up the electrical, brake, and control systems . . . and installed a versatile, sturdy bar hitch to the rear of the tractor.


Nearly all of the body components used in this project consist of precut sections of 14-gauge sheet metal, which were bent to the proper shape by means of the made-from-scrap manual brake detailed in the diagrams in the image gallery. By referring to our illustrations to determine the appropriate dimensions and crease points, you should be able to duplicate our results in your own workshop . . . or — if you've chosen to modify our tractor's design by using a different powerplant, wheel size, frame length, or whatever — to use our plans as guidelines for fabricating sheet-metal parts to suit your own needs.

The Volkswagen steering box mounts to a 2 inch square tubular steel adapter on the floorboard (its column, in turn, is fastened to an extension attached to the dash panel), and the standard pitman arm has been modified — using a 1/2 inch by 1-1/4 inch by 9 inch flat bar bent in an offset — so it can connect the box to the drag link described in issue 76.

The brake and clutch pedals are made from sections of 1/4 inch by 1-1/4 inch flat bar, cut and bent to shape, and 1/4 inch by 3 inch by 5 inch plates serve as foot pads for these levers. An 8 inch-long section of 7/16 inch rod — with a 7/16 inch by 2 inch bolt welded to one end and a piece of 3/4 inch rod fused to the other — provides a fine throttle control unit . . . once a 1/8 inch by 1 inch by 2-1/4 inch flat bar is fastened to the end of the pivot bolt to regulate the accelerator cable.

10 O'Clock Acres
3/20/2018 12:38:20 PM

WTH --- not all old things and old ideas are bad, but can't we also move forward? This thing is a nightmare of parts scrounging, metal working and nearly ancient engine technology. Sure it CAN be done, but WHY? I've got an old General Electric Electrak - yes, an electric mower and garden tractor from the 1970s. Its great, but aging. It would be far more interesting to have a series on rebuilding a small mower as an electric runabout, or taking a burden carrier like a Motrec or Taylor Dunn and converting it to farm and field use.

12/30/2017 8:28:10 AM


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