DIY Tug

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Lawson Laslo, Feb 3, 2021.

  1. Lawson Laslo

    Lawson Laslo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thought I'd share my homemade tug I created
    Its very powerful and pulls my little Ercoupe with ease, wouldn't doubt it would pull a Cirrus or heavier.
    I made the frame an old lawn edger but it could easily be welded from square tubing.
    I made the arms from the steel from an old bottom tracking from sliding hangar door

    Parts
    The motor is a gear reduction 24 volt 350w motor from ebay
    2 12v batteries
    Motor speed controller and throttle
    DPDT toggle switch for forward reverse switch
    Square stock steel
    Wheel with sprocket and chain
    7/8" tubing
    2 STEEL conduit butt joiners

    Let me know if you have any questions!
     
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  2. Lawson Laslo

    Lawson Laslo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    upload_2021-2-3_21-1-26.png
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Lawson Laslo

    Lawson Laslo Pre-takeoff checklist

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  4. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route

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    Did you make any plans or have photos? I’m interested.

    Cheers

    Edit: posted before your photos showed up
     
  5. Lawson Laslo

    Lawson Laslo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes, Im uploading photos now, it was saying the file was too large
    They should be up now
    Tomorrow I will take more detailed photos
    I am working on creating a wiring diagram also
     
  6. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route

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    Thanks
     
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  7. Lawson Laslo

    Lawson Laslo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    upload_2021-2-3_21-43-5.png
    Here is wiring diagram I created
     
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  8. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Looks like a great tool! You might have found a "cash cow!" :)
     
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  9. 1000RR

    1000RR Pre-Flight

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    What he said ^^^^^
     
  10. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I like! Plans, parts list and sources? Better still how about a kit.

    I am thinking about a modified version that is compact enough to stuff in the baggage compartment of the Aztec so I can use it to back the plane up a slope into transient airplane parking slots when I am travelling. The plane is too heavy to move by myself, and my home base tug is waaaay too big to carry with me. A Redline Sidewinder is about $2000. I am sure I can put something together for a lot less than that as a variation of your interesting design here (e.g. change the large handle, one battery to reduce weight, etc.).
     
  11. Lawson Laslo

    Lawson Laslo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    upload_2021-2-3_22-40-40.png
     
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  12. Lawson Laslo

    Lawson Laslo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Definitely like the idea of making them and selling them, wonder how much I could sell one for? would cost me just over $200 to build.
     
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  13. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Check out the tug prices, maybe Aircraft Spruce. Also I have a turntable tug from Supertugs that has a Briggs and Stratton gas engine. Noisy. But check out their prices too.
    I'm seeing more and more electric tugs at my airport, and that seems a great application since you don't need to drag the plane very far each time.

    I really like what you did, and would like to make a smaller, portable version for short distance movements at remote airports for my twin!

    Where did you source the speed control?
     
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  14. Racerx

    Racerx Line Up and Wait

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    I like. Need a parts list! I can fabricobble and tig weld a nice all aluminum frame. Maybe make it fold up
     
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  15. Lawson Laslo

    Lawson Laslo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Here’s a similar one to my speed control
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/333722057355
     
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  16. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    What does the "gear selector" do, given you have electric switch reversing and a thumb operated speed control?
     
  17. Lawson Laslo

    Lawson Laslo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The gear selector is a DPDT toggle 3 position (forward, neutral, reverse)cycles the positive and negative wire coming out of the speed controller and into the motor thus making motor move clockwise and counterclockwise
     
  18. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    since this is electric, can you add a feature where it pipes out gas powered engine noises like the tesla? thanks!
     
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  19. Lawson Laslo

    Lawson Laslo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes, I’ll make a 12 cylinder Merlin the standard sound for the future tug kits:goofy:
     
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  20. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You need to adapt a "Soundracer"... Just ask Shonky.

    But, nice job on the tug!
     
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  21. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    Nice job, there is clearly a market for your design. You'll need to do research to make adapters to other airplanes. Remember to price it high enough to make a profit but not so high that others will undercut you. And then you'll get sued because someone will try to pull a 747 and get hurt.
     
  22. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    As you order the parts in bulk to build your cost should decrease. But as of now, double the cost and add another 100% in addition to packaging, shipping, handling, state & federal taxes, and also don't forget to offer an extended warranty that covers nothing that could ever break ... :D

    PS: Additional revenue for replacement parts. Warranty is only valid when genuine Laslo LLC parts are used.
     
  23. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    :popcorn:
    Waiting for the round engine boyz to protest...
     
  24. Briar Rabbit

    Briar Rabbit Line Up and Wait

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    I made an extended tow bar for our centurion several years ago so that we could push it in the hangar by putting it against our belt line. It is three times longer than the commercial ones and works great. Instead of the 7/8 inch aluminum pipe and conduit I welded a 7/8 inch nut at the bottom of each arm. Then I cut the head off of two 7/8" bolts, threaded them into the nut with the shank going into the axle of the wheel. This made it easy to adjust the width of the pins to match the wheel assemblies of different airplanes. Quick and easy!
     
  25. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Fixed that!

    https://www.besttugs.com/pages/a-2-info

    From google -
    The Alpha A2 and A3, starting at $2,995, are dragger style tugs, useful to move lighter aircraft with a maximum weight of 3,600 pounds
     
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  26. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    After looking at the competition I believe my earlier estimates were too low. But If these could be built and sold at $995.00 it seems you would own the market as everything similar is hundreds of dollars above that ...
     
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  27. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Even if the OP delivered plans and a kit of parts for $500, he'd do very well. I will say the single skinny wheel makes me wonder how well it would do with a larger aircraft.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2021
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  28. Fracpilot

    Fracpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’m looking for a tug replacement for my 310. I’m using the Robotow now. It does the job but barely.

    https://www.robotow.com/Products.php

    It would be great to have something powerful enough for a 6000lb plane and portable.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  29. JC150

    JC150 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Personally, I’d say do a GoFundMe and offer them at $399 for those willing to invest in you. Then undercut your competitors. Then once you own the market, increase your price so you have higher profit margins
     
  30. A1Topgun

    A1Topgun Line Up and Wait

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    I LIKE it! My summer project.
     
  31. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Does anyone know of someone that sells plans for a DYI “robo tug”? One you remotely control...
     
  32. Rcmutz

    Rcmutz Line Up and Wait

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    Can you produce one that only uses one 12 VDC battery? Deep cycle batteries run around $150 each. Does the unit have a charger associated with it? Would want to recharge the battery in the hangar.
     
  33. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Or DIY
     
  34. Lawson Laslo

    Lawson Laslo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Most motors run off 24v, haven’t seen any 12v motors that would work, it just uses a simple charger like a electric scooter would use.
     
  35. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Pre-takeoff checklist

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    upload_2021-2-8_0-23-19.png

    You don't need to charge based only on the cost. Charge what the market will bear.

     
  36. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    What is the aircraft? Is it really heavy enough to require a tug? It doesn’t look likes heavy plane.
     
  37. Lawson Laslo

    Lawson Laslo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    900lb Ercoupe:dunno:
    Doesn’t need a tug, but I had most of the supplies and needed to practice my welding so figured I’d make something useful
     
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  38. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  39. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Okay! You did a great job! I get it.