Hi all! Severine asked me to throw this conversation up here -Will
On Feb 14, 2013, at 12:17 PM, Etienne wrote:
Hi guys !
I hope everything's fine for you on the other side of the atlantic. I'm Etienne, currently working for ADABio autoconstruction which is, as you probably know, the french cousin of Farm Hack. Julien gave me your e-mail addresses, I'm not sure you'll be all concerned about this topic so sorry about that.
With my workmates and some of the active members of our organization, we 're very interested in the culticycle you're showing on your website. We promote a way to grow vegetables that could be helped by the use of such a great machine ! This tool could be used as well for lot more purposes, exactly the kind of machine we're looking for.
You say on your website you're thinking of a new version. What do you think of sharing the work ? That may be helpful to think together of a strong, easy-made and easy-to-use version. In that case, we would think seriously about courses for this tool next winter.
If you think that it could be a good idea, a good way to look in the same direction, don't hesitate, I'm personally very enthusiastic and ready to start designing !
Hope to hear from you soon !
-- Etienne ESCALIER
On 2013-02-15 16:09, Severine wrote:
You and your workmates seem to work in similar ways to us
I"m cc'ing you to TIm, who made the Culticycle.
And to LU and ROB. who are the other bike-oriented drivers. I hope you can talk to them about bike stuff.
And yes. We are working on the next phase for our website, particularly designing around the " workshops" of local groups who are driving this system forward. - RJ is the designer of the website so far.
And in terms of developing a pilot project . a mobile- teaching facility, to bring farmhack skills to vocational skills..
But I think its time to talk on the phone.
Could we make a time? It would be amazing to collaborate across the ocean.
What about sometime next week? I will be in France with Jude Becker-- pastured pork farmer from Iowa in the first weeks of July. I'll be in touch with you a bit later on about seeing if we can come visit you in person to talk this through as well.
On Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 5:03 AM, Etienne wrote: Hi all !
I hope that everything's alright for you. Here in France we're organizing the last courses of the season. Next months will see the first triangular hitch courses : we'll go directly to peasant's farm with our van to convert all their tools. Depending on how many tools and volunteers, it should take 1 or 2 days. As I know that you're interested in this hitch, I'll let you know how it's been going and how to make those courses easier. Don't hesitate to ask for more informations.
About the culticycle, we had a talk yesterday. A lot of people here are interested, but we (ADABio autoconstruction workers) have currently too many work to spend a lot of time on it. But we don't want to forget the idea and we'd like to share what we think. The first thing is that we think that making a culticycle is sustainable only with an electric help : I guess that it's the same in the US : in France farmers are very busy when it's time to do the job. Even if the idea of using less the tractor is great, they don't want to loose too much time, and they'd like to keep their knees safe. And it's easy to use a solar-loaded battery.
As all the tools we make, we totally agree with the moto "the more modular the better". Our last tool is a bar where a lot of tools can be hung easily (http://www.adabio-autoconstruction.org/outils/tous-les-outils/barre-porte-outils.html). The same kind of bar, much more smaller and lighter could work quite well.
If you want to send pictures of the protoypes, I could post it on the forum and see what people think of it.
Keep in touch !
From: tim (green tractor farm) Subject: Re: What about working together on the culticycle ? Date: March 6, 2013 8:32:37 AM EST
Hi Etienne and everyone, The triangular hitch is amazing and I've been telling all my neighbors about it. And the picture with all the modular toolbars together, equally amazing. Farmers who see these things instantly get the idea - the next step is that I usually say, "You know, there's a welder right down the road, you could have these things built the way you want and it would be cheaper than buying new equipment." So people are thinking, and the impact that you and Farmhack are having is profound. As for the culticycle, it's true that electric assist would make it faster. Dorn Cox suggested a built-in flywheel to store power, which would also make it faster. Certainly anything that makes it either faster or easier will only increase its appeal. Probably around June I'll have enough frames available to try a few technologies on. Here's what I've concluded lately from looking at my 2012 notes, and they relate only to the one, gangly, cobbled-together prototype:
The lighter and springier the better. Most people ask why the rebar? Tube or channel would be stiffer. But in the field, the flex action is very helpful. The rebar frame is like a backup spring helping the toolbar springs, especially when a tine hits a rock. I don't mean to say rebar is ideal, only that the frame should have some flex action.
Of the 3 body positions, recumbent, upright, pitched forward, the first 2 aren't so good at overcoming the resistance of the soil. They work well on pavement when there's momentum; but here there is constant resistance. In other words using a bike to cultivate is like riding a bike up a hill. As soon as a bicyclist hits a hill, the body rotates forward, weight is shifted to arms and quads. This position can be maintained for long periods without undue stress on knees or wrists, and actually feels pretty good. Everyone agrees there's too little good exercise on the farm: it's all weightlifting and not very aerobic, and often it's necessary to stay in the same bodily position for too long.
What's the price? Why would anybody want this compared to a Cub? Even if a culticycle could be made faster and stronger, it will never pull a trailer like a Cub. I think there are other selling points, for instance it's a great tool for farms with volunteers and interns, or that annoying CSA member who's there too much because it's fun. It's a good teaching tool that gets work done, and can be produced cheaply enough that a farm can have multiple versions. And as we've been saying, the more modular, the more versatile.
Anyway, I'll keep building and we'll see how it goes this year. I'll send some more pictures but it will take some time, I can't lift anything until April (surgery last week, went fine). I've had a great time getting into this inspiring circle of innovators and I really appreciate what you all are doing. And hopefully I can meet more of you soon. Take care, Tim