Excavate Your Basement Using RC Equipment

basement excavation

Although it could be debated as to whether or not this is a “hack,” since the equipment used is built for excavation, the scale of it seems deserving of a mention. In the linked article, [Joe] is quoted as saying, “the common misconception here is that the RC’s are not here to excavate my basement, but rather the basement excavation project is here for the RC’s.”  This could be a motto for most makers/hackers in that projects are frequently not done for the resulting product, but for the experience of making something your own.

According to [Joe], he excavates 2 – 3 cubic yards per year with his little RC vehicles.  Living in Canada as a rancher and farmer, he’s required to be near his home to feed his hungry animals even during the cold winter months. During this time, there can be very little to do. After sometimes working 16 hour days during the summer, he needed something to keep him occupied close to home. Be sure to check out the excavation video after the break, or check out the original article for even more pictures and video!

Comments

  1. Mulvane says:

    This is amazing actually. I’ve been looking to build soem bots to do something similar under a portion of my house so I can throw down eventually a sheets of plastic and then make it usable storage space. Have a lot of rough spots that need to be leveled and cleared out before doing that. This would take forever, but it shows how easily it could be done with some work.

  2. thatcherc says:

    I guess this would be defying the point, but it’d be even cooler if the two vehicles could communicate and interact with each other. Make a miniature pit mine in the basement, or something!

  3. StrucPE says:

    From a few of the pictures, it appeared he’s severely compromising some of the footings for support piers.

    Last time I had “Harry Homeowner” try to dig out a basement for himself, the complete floor above started developing cracks from the exact same beginnings this guy is starting from.

    Train wreck waiting to happen.

    • Wm_Atl says:

      I was kind of wondering about the foundation myself. I guess it depends on how deep the foundation is and the other supports. From one picture it looked like there was a door that opened into a basement room.

      Still cool to have actual scale models that actually do, in miniature, what the full size equipment can do.

    • if the ceiling’s getting lower it just means you’re not digging out the floor quick enough

    • Wm_Atl says:

      Now that I looked at all the pictures. I would be a little concerned about the foundation stability. \

      Still cool though to see the little machines working .

  4. Hack Man says:

    Repost.

  5. Aaron says:

    Oh my God, are you serious? Best thing ever! I wish I knew this guy!

  6. rue_mohr says:

    Cool toys, are they 3d printable yet?

    video spoiler: no, none gets to the truck.
    Mind you dont undermine your foundation eh?

  7. Dax says:

    Takes a tremendous power of will to not just grab a shovel and toss the dirt out.

    • gabe says:

      yeah. i was thinking “this is genius! just program them with some crude AI and let them on. working for months.” …but then i understood that the guy operated the controls for months… man. just get a shovel.

      • smilr says:

        Work a 16 hour day doing physical labor, then go home and contemplate grabbing a shovel to dig your new basement.

        Now contemplate it again with several RC trucks / excavators sitting right next to the shovel – which would you choose?

      • xorpunk says:

        a paid laborer could do this in 1-2 hours and be drastically cheaper than running these things.

        Can you use them to feed you food too? XD

        make a vid where one is babysitting a kid and bringing it food and drink

  8. ginsublade says:

    I’d like to know how much maintenance he has to do over the weeks,months,years…

  9. TopCat2021 says:

    I’m not sure that I would be excavating under my house BUT MAN I sure wish that I would have had something like this when I was a kid… all those Tonka and Buddy L toy trucks and loaders that I filled and moved by hand this would have been cool,but I had fun back then anyway
    Dan

  10. BatonRouge says:

    If he somehow made them autonomous using a arduinos and Kinects, it would be interesting… And yes, I’m picturing primitive DRD’s (Farscape).

  11. JB says:

    Cool. I hope he knows what he’s doing.

    I look at this as a “high resolution excavation” :P

  12. They live by a code, and it's usually SMPTE says:

    My gran lived in a largish town, and there was a guy who did something like this – he basically excavated his basement using a tiny conveyor belt.
    I walked past it as a kid, then drove past as an adult.

    It took him ~20 years to complete, if you could call it completed. Then he sold the house. The new owners bought the house, hired a company to raise the place and redid the foundations in about 10 days, ripping out his cement block monstrosity.

    I don’t doubt that robots will be doing foundations soon, as I regularly see large R/C graders in my area.

  13. jim says:

    Swarm-bots would be more efficient!

  14. Treehouse Projects says:

    Wow, this is one of the most inspiring projects I have ever seen!

  15. n0lkk says:

    Accomplish a task[eventually ;)] or watch a model train run on a track to nowhere, but personally I’d get dirty with manual labor, to kill time by excavating for a basement. I click out of the video before the hoe scraped enough loose dirt away to to fill the bucket. I didn’t see a photo where a footing was undermined. In some the excavation looked to be close to a footing, but chances are the home can set that way for decades without a problem, as many have.

  16. soopergooman says:

    I have those exact Tonka Trucks! This is simply awesome!!

  17. soopergooman says:

    this sent me on a tour of youtube and has rekindled my love of all things r/c, also gave me a tv show idea. thanks.

  18. joeisi says:

    I cannot believe how amazing this is. I have been to a few real life quarrys in my life, and this is quite impressive. Hats off to Joe! And ironically, my name is Joe also. So nice job Joe!

  19. elwing says:

    It’s definately the way to go to build your underground mad sciensist base…

  20. xorpunk says:

    one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time

    it’d be cool if he did contracting and showed up with these, or excavated random people yards

  21. gleen close says:

    This is an oldie but glad it is finally up here on HaD :) It seems like a really fun project and a great way to stay out of trouble during the cabin fever months of winter :) Here’s to hoping his project continues with success!

  22. torcue says:

    Totally always wanted q swarm of these for this
    -people die every year from cave ins digging their own bomb shelters.
    To run a swarm, seems camera computer and remote controls would be the quickest cheapest easiest, maybe ID lights on each vehicle for recognition?

  23. biozz says:

    this would be an awesome thing to do if he automated it XP just place these small things in a hole and let them do the rest over the years you suddenly have more space XXD

  24. Roger Wilco says:

    Nice, I like it, But i would get tired after a few days. Seven years is a long time for doing one basement.

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