Zero Turn MicroTrac

MicroTrac achieved zero turn motion. If one walks around rapidly, one can turn the walk-behind tractor around in place. MicroTrac is turning out to be a beautiful freak:

To do this, we added two small, freely-turning wheels to MicroTrac. This replaced the rigid wheels from the first test run. In that test run, we discovered that we want a greater degree of turning flexibility, because MicroTrac is so long – hence the zero turn wheels.

The zero turn wheels don’t hold up, though. They are rated for 300 lb, but when they are in a sideways position, it is easy for the powerful forward drive to bend them out of shape. Note that we are doing this testing in idle speed of the 18 hp gas engine.

The other minor fix will have to be adding a muffler to MicroTrac. We eliminated the muffler because it did not fit within the tight cage of the Power Cube.

CEB construction, tillers, spaders, mower, and hay equipment are all forthcoming as we move ourselves up to 100% food sufficiency. This is done with grains, goats, chickens, garden, and orchard – plus LifeTrac and MicroTrac. That’s a combined force of 70 slaves on this plantation.

We want to show that scalable food sufficiency can be attained with 30 minutes of labor per day to grow/culture the entire menu – with one person equipped with 70 slaves worth of power. Logically – if that horsepower is used wisely, shouldn’t it be trivial for one person to do this – and feed not only one but 8 people with a full, year-round diet? Crazy and unheard of? Absolutely yes. I call it delivering on the promise of technology – in making lives easier. We aim to carry this experiment out next year in full – to see if it is true. To make it happen is not magic, it’s just efficient production. The predictions do not include harvesting – just growing – and harvesting is fun in itself.


  1. Do the work of 70 slaves! | GENOMICON

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  2. Brent

    Out of curiousity is there some specific historical reference you’re making with the 70 slaves thing? I’d be interested in learning more how old plantations operated myself.


  3. Marcin

    No historic reference, just the labor equivalent of 50 and 20-range horsepower machines to one slave per horsepower. That’s a conservative estimate. The point remains, however, that if the machines are used wisely to their capacity – their promise of liberating human toil should be realized. This is absolutely not true today, where people are working increasingly long hours. Somewhere human organization systems have messed up, and we ask, where?

  4. Brent

    OK, I ran some numbers and I generally agree with the average you’re using. Also I agree that our economics are out of kilter, I could pinpoint where in a long history lesson but it’s really moot. I support what you’re all doing, I”m an avid follower of your progress. I also have some rather interesting ideas to allow you to produce energy and a bunch of other goods independantly of the greater economy while still interfacing with it, i.e. siphoning funds out so you can buy what you can not yet produce. Email me if you’re interested at all.


  5. Sam Rose

    ..also, think about how simple automation of watering (that comes from rainwater capture) feeding distribution (fertilizer from ag waste) could free up even more labor hours.

  6. Pressing Times | Open Source Ecology

    […] we turn on the Power Cube – which you see in the background in the above photos riding on MicroTrac – for the first time in the real CEB application, and press bricks using 10 gallon per minute […]

  7. MicroTrac Challenge | Open Source Ecology

    […] machine of a different size. This implies that a MicroTrac may be based on the same design. See our previous work on MicroTrac – which is based on one driving […]

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