Sunday, November 6, 2016

About the Little Tractors...

 
 


 
 
 

 Hello, I thought I'd address a few questions about these custom, hand made, half scale tractors. When you reach the bottom of this page, be sure to click the "Older Posts" link for more tractors...

My name is Kurt Smith, I grew up on a 1,600 acre farm. In 1996, at the age of 19 I left the farm to pursue a career in Graphic Design. I started a family, and wanted to have a fun toy for myself. So, in 2007, I set out building my 1/2 scale IH 826 from an old Cub Cadet, which was finished in 2008. I showed it at a few tractor shows, and had a lot of questions about it, one of which was "where's the John Deere?" So, in 2009, I set out to build the John Deere 2030 for a friend. I finished it, and kept it for a season of tractor shows.

At one tractor show, a nice gentleman asked me what I'd charge to build a little John Deere 430. I gave him a rough idea, and didn't think I'd ever hear from him again. About a month later, he showed up at my place with an old Cub Cadet to start working on. Then I started thinking, "maybe others would like miniature tractors built." So I ran an ad, and created a new blog devoted to these "little tractors."

I'm 39 years old, and started making things on the farm when I was 9 years old. My Dad taught me how to weld when I was 10... Let's say those first few projects, when I was a kid, were... interesting, and didn't seem to work all the time. Now, I design the tractors on the computer so I have minimal "surprises" when I build them. They are completely hand made by me, and I enjoy every minute of it.
I don't have an "inventory" at all. I will build what ever color tractor you'd like. Each one needs to be quoted individually, because of the amount of work that may need to go into the build.

Each tractor would take anywhere from 1 to 3 months to complete, depending on how busy I am with other projects. I require $300 to lock a customer's name in the schedule, 60% down once construction begins, an additional 25% when the tractor's ready to paint, and the balance upon delivery. I will work with the customer on delivery, I have a few trucking company's that I work with, or if preferred, the customer can arrange all the details, or come and pick the machine up at my shop.

Please feel free to call me with any questions 734.368.3273, and also feel free to leave comments here on the blog.

I just wanted to mention the reason I am making "little" tractors for a living. I am a Christian, and in the fall of 2010, I had a very "heated" discussion with God about my state in life. I hadn't had a regular pay check in almost 2 years with no decent prospects, a wonderful wife, a 5 year old and a new baby in my home to take care of and provide for. When I say I had a heated discussion... there were quite a few expletives in it. :) Literally 2 days after that conversation, it dawned on me, (I was enlightened with the idea...) to give the "Red Power" magazine a call, and find out their rates. I know the power of a well placed ad, and discovered the ad space there was very reasonable. I decided I'd give it a shot, talked to my wife, and placed the ad. I have been counting my blessings ever since. I'm not becoming rich building these "little" tractors, but we are making it, and I'm enjoying every minute of it.

I count this chapter in my life as a testimony to how well God knows me, and how He can and will take care of His kids when they ask Him to. Jesus has the power to move mountains, even today.

I get to talk to people from all over the country, from all walks of life, in all stages in life, and we all have one thing in common, agriculture. Some are farmers or retired farmers, some grew up on a farm, and moved on to another career, others worked on their Grandparents or Uncles farm in the summer... Tractors mean something, the memory of these tractors takes us back in time, when some one we loved was still with us. When Grandpa taught us how to drive, to days in the potato field, or cutting hay. They help us connect to our past. That is why I built my tractor, and that is why I've built so many "little" tractors as well.

I am thankful to the God of the universe for caring enough for me, to use the talents He's give me, to bless others.

Thanks for looking,
Kurt

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The Little Tractor Co. World Headquarters...

It's kind of funny, people think I have a high tech machine shop when they see the tractors I build... I thought I'd share some pictures of my huge (875 sq. ft.) shop...

This was the first building that my Grandpa Smith and his little brother, Gus, built at this location for "Smith Brothers Farms." It was constructed in 1955, and was their shop until the mid- 1970's
I use good old farm boy ingenuity, not high tech tools... I have a plasma cutter which is worth it's weight in gold, a mig welder, and a 3' break. I also made a break for all of the radius bends. When a part gets to precise for me, I have an awesome machinist who does fantastic work. I also have a diesel mechanic who is amazing with any machine you give him.
 

My shop is rarely this clean... I finished the 2 Oliver's and the customer came to pick them up... So I took some photos. :)

Kurt

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Minn Mo M670 Super

I pulled the next one in the shop... It will be a 1/2 scale Minni Mo M670 Super when it's done. I am starting with a Cub Cadet 147 (14 horsepower - hydro) as a base...

Here is my customer's real tractor...
 
 The starting point for the mini Minni...




Hood is done and trimmed...
 "LPG" tank

 It's just a dummy... a normal gas tank will sit inside the fake one.
 Scratch built front axle...

Fender...
More later,
Kurt

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Minnie Mo "U" wheatland...

This one is going to be a challenge... This is a photo of the real tractor that I'm going to recreate.
 This is the first step... again my mechanic Less Grodi has worked his magic and combined 2 pieces of machinery that were never meant to be connected. This is another 3 cylinder Kubota gas engine, mated to a Cub Cadet manual rear end.
 Less fabricated the bell housing from about 8 or 10 pieces of steel...
 Here is my first step. This will be the front axle. I drew the axle up on the computer and made a pattern to cut out of 1/2" steel.

 Then I bent 1/4" x 1" steel to weld to the top and bottom...

I'm making headway on the front axle mount...


 I got the nose from a bone yard in Il. Here are my measurement lines...
 All cut down...
 Tires mounted on her...
 
 
 




She's running in these pictures!!! I wanted to test the drive train before I painted everything.
I got some parts back from suppliers... The top piece, I cut down and then had my body man finish for me. I bent the "grill" to shape then had my machinist cut the louvers in it.




Progress on the hood...
 

 

Fenders...

 Operators platform...
Seat is mounted...
 Starting the paint process...

Putting it back together...


 Final shots...








LTLC 0001 and LTLC 0041... the first and most recent... The owner was very happy with the "U". He was happy to load it up and take her home to Canada.
 
Check back later,
Kurt

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