Friday, September 12, 2014

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 37 years old, and started making things on the farm when I was 9 years old. 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 my talents to bless others.

Thanks for looking,
Kurt

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Minneapolis Moline G750

Well I'm not afraid to say that I'm very excited about this project. A customer has asked for a Minneapolis Moline G750 to show along side his real one. I've never seen one of these in person... that may be because there were just over 200 of them made. All of the sheet metal will be the same as the Oliver 1650 that I did a year ago, but the grill will be totally new, and of course the paint color. :)

This is what I'm replicating no roof nor ROPS though.
 This is what I'm starting with... a Cub Cadet 125. 12 horsepower Kohler with a hydro transmission.
 The end of the first day of work...
Making some progress on the front end...


 I got a good start on the grill today...

More later,
Kurt

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Red Power Roundup 2014

My Dad and I went to the Red Power Roundup in Huron South Dakota. We had nice weather for travel and the show. We took 2 orders at the show, and 2 more once I got home. All in all a very successful show for The Little Tractor Co.
 Thanks Dad, I couldn't have done it without you! :)
Who'd have thought that you teaching me to weld when I was 9 or 10, would lead to me building huge toys!

Kurt

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Monday, April 7, 2014

John Deere 4020s...

I just pulled in the next pair of tractors... They are both going to be John Deere 4020's, but will be significantly different. The AWD tractor will be used as a maintenance machine for a home owner. It will have a front end loader, and a mower deck. It will also plow snow in the winter. It needs to function as a useful yard machine. The other one will be a toy, just like most of my tractors...


 
 I finished the hood sheet metal...
 

All done...




I'm going to make some "old" Deere logo stickers for the loader arms.
 

 This isn't the final hood, but the "blank" that was made to make a fiberglass mold. I should have the finished part by Monday.
  She's all done!



 
More later...

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

IH 1206 AWD's taking over... 3 at once... and a Row Crop.

Well, I've been working on these for about 3 weeks. I'm building 3 AWD IH 1206's. One's going to California, one's going to Iowa, and the third is headed to Ontario Canada.

They certainly don't look like much before I start working on them. This is a "Satoh Beaver." I've worked with this chassis before, they are very stout little machines. Rugged, and easy to work on. The best part is they start like a dream. I had one chassis sit in the barn last winter for 5 months, climbed on it this past spring, gave it the glow plugs, and it started right up.



This is the Yanmar, she's all done and ready to be picked up and painted in Canada...

All done...




 I couldn't resist... this tractor is headed to sunny California... I doubt it will be climbing snow drifts there.

 
More later,
Kurt

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Oliver 770 orchard, and Oliver 1650 tricycle...

 
I've been working on these two tractors for quite a while now, but haven't taken the time to post them.

I'm starting with a Cub Cadet 104 chassis and am going to make an Oliver 1650 tricycle, row crop. The dimensions are pretty much the same as the IH's I've built in the past. The fenders will be different shapes, and the grill and sheet metal are all different from the IH's though.

The challenge is going to be the orchard. I'm going to start with a Cub Cadet 105 as the base... The only thing left "stock" will be the way the transmission mounts to the frame rails. Everything else is custom built, and when I say everything else... I mean it. :) The engine is going to be a 2 cylinder Kubota diesel, and everything is going to be wrapped in sheet metal.

What a cute little diesel...
Steering wheel and seat are mounted...
 Scratch built front axle. This is how the real tractors axle is made...
The lever to the left of the steering wheel controls the direction of the tractor...
 
I finally got started on the 1650. The fenders are done...
Here are my initial drawings, and parts for the grill. It took 6 hours to complete the drawings, and cut out these parts.
About 14 hours total, and almost 50 pounds of steel, and I'm almost done with the grill. The grill is made entirely from 1/2" solid steel. The full size tractor's grill was made with 1" cast iron.
 At this point, I have 24 hours invested in this grill.
I started to fabricate the hoods today... 7 hours invested in 2 hoods... They are a little complicated. :)

 Exhaust pipe will be chromed

  Back from the blaster...
 
  I've never worked with Oliver green... I kind of like it.


Dropped the engine back into the orchard...


 Removing the orchard from the stand...

 It's alive, and very fun to drive!
 Final paint on the final parts...
Just about done...


 All done... these are the photos I'll use for my advertising... These 2 tractors were so much fun to build. Very challenging, but very rewarding. The customer was very happy, he couldn't stop smiling.







 
 
 More later...

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