Speaking of paddlewheels vs. propellers...

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Village_Idiot, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. Village_Idiot
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Village_Idiot Senior Member

    Ok, this is a bit off-topic, but...

    Isn't it interesting that the snowmobile industry went to paddles rather than propellers?

    What? You say you didn't know the snowmobile industry experimented with propellers (screws)?

    Check this out: 1926 Fordson snow tractor

    With modern technology, I'd think something similar but much more durable/efficient could be built that would have great application for snow/ice rescues, including out on the lakes, etc. Seems like it would be more efficient than an airboat.

    Or to go one step further - how about a pontoon boat with rotating screws for pontoons? It would be semi-amphibious, and great on thin ice. For those of you who enjoy ice-fishing, you know how tempting thin ice can be...
  2. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    It's an impressive machine. I suppose that it lost out to the tracked snow cats.
  3. robherc
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    robherc Designer/Hobbyist

    It looks quite DOABLE to me, but I don't see it ever having the efficiency of a track/belt. Also, a drum-design like that, would seem (to me, at least) to require a LOT more space than a track/belt with equivalent traction/grip.
    The big advantage I could see for a drum-propulsion "screw" device like this would be for amphibious craft. There, since you need the flotation anywise, it might be "just the ticket." But, then again, it looks like Tom beat me to that observation. ;)
  4. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    That was ingenious. :)
    Though much more cumbersome and mechanically complex respect to snowmobiles.
    I always find these old documentary-style commercials so affascinating. Really another world compared to nowadays 15-seconds clips which, if you pay attention, say absolutely nothing about the product.
  5. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    What we did not mention is that the tractor is a standard Fordson and can be changed from summer to winter use and back again. That is a big advantage to a farmer.
  6. Guest625101138

    Guest625101138 Previous Member

  7. clmanges
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    clmanges Senior Member

    It's already been done in a more modern version, and was a market failure. Looked like one of those little six-wheeled swamp buggies, but with a screw thing on either side, like the old thing in the vid. Each screw was controlled independently forward and backwards, like the tracks on a tank. Great for mud and snow, so-so for water -- no good at all on dry ground, and even worse on pavement -- unless you didn't mind going sideways.

  8. drmiller100
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    drmiller100 Junior Member

    for snow, the ground would need to be pretty level side to side. I don't see what would keep it from sliding down the hill sideways.
    also, you need "outies" on the screws, not "innies" for traction.
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