When driving a backhoe, most people would just take the long way around when they encounter a ledge in their path. Not this guy. He just drives up to the ledge and moves the arm down to the ground below to prop his CASE backhoe up so he can lower it down off the ledge. Of course, this is easier said than done. It’s a maneuver that takes some serious skill and could easily end in disaster. You not only have to get the bucket securely planted in the ground, but also have to move the arm slowly and smoothly as you come down to avoid a jarring crash. Before seeing how this backhoe operator goes about getting down from the ledge, let’s take a look at some of the history of the backhoe and how it’s design makes something like this possible.
The Origins of the Backhoe
When Vaino J. Holopainen and Roy E. Handy, Jr. invented the first backhoe in 1947, it’s probably safe to say they didn’t foresee it being capable of doing what this guy in the video does with it. In June of that year, they invented the hydraulic tractor-mounted digger, and then invented the backhoe swing frame just a month after that. In 1948, the Wain-Roy Corporation (named after the two founders) made 24 backhoes, and would go on to sell about 7,000 more by 1954. Also invented by Vaino J. Holopainen, the backhoe shovel version of this machine was created in 1950. He then invented the first reversible seat in 1951.
Further Backhoe Development over the Years
Backhoes continued to be improved upon throughout the 50s and 60s. In 1959, Hi-Dynamic built their purpose-built backhoe loader, the Dynahoe Model A, which had these specs:
- 14,000-pound operating weight
- 14-foot dig depth
- 6-cylinder engine with 65 horsepower
Fast-forward to the early 90s, and backhoes were more capable than ever. In comparison, the Dynahoe 200-4 developed at this time offered the following in comparison:
- 36,000-pound operating weight
- 20-foot dig depth
- 4-wheel drive
When looking at different types of backhoes, it’s interesting to note that they can be built as backhoes from the ground up, or they can be the result of a rear backhoe and front-end loader being added onto a farm tractor, which was the case with the earliest backhoes.
CASE Construction Origins and the 580N Model
CASE backhoes, which is the backhoe the guy is operating here, date back almost as far as the first backhoes of 1947. Established in 1957, CASE improved upon the backhoe design with their patented “Extendahoe” invention to make the machine capable of extending the dipper by an additional 4 to 8 feet. Currently, CASE is one of the major backhoe manufacturers and have facilities around the world in addition to here in the US. Currently, CASE sells 5 different backhoe models. We don’t know the exact model this guy is working with, but we can look closer at the popular 580N model to give you an idea of its dimensions and capabilities:
- 4-stroke, turbocharged diesel engine
- 90 gross horsepower and 306 gross lb.-ft. of torque
- Top forward speed of 24.6 mph
- Top reverse speed of 29.4 mph
- Dig depth of 14 feet 8 inches
- 6,800-pound lift capacity to full height
- Dipper stick transport height of just under 11 feet
- Reach from front axle center line of 6 feet 10 inches
The 580N is also designed for comfort and visibility, which definitely helps in this situation. It has a large cabin with floor-to-ceiling glass and rear-quarter opening windows. CASE also says that their operator controls are the most ergonomic in the industry and also offer faster response times. They also have several attachments available:
- Grader rakes
- Snow blades
- Power forks
- Hydraulic hammers
- And more
Where’s He Headed?
This guy’s backhoe skills are pretty impressive as he answers the question of whether or not he can get down from the ledge successfully. But another good question is where is he trying to get to exactly and why? There’s a few inches of water on the ground below the ledge, so it would be interesting to know where he’s going and how he’s going to get back out. It would be impossible to get back the same way though without gravity helping him out, so I would guess he’s not trapped in some type of pit. Maybe he doesn’t have anywhere to go but is just showing off his skills. Take a look and see what you think.