digger advice

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by Clam Chowder, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. Clam Chowder

    Clam Chowder New Member

    Hi. Im hiring a 1.5t mini-digger to level out a patch of ground and then dig the footings for my small outhouse.

    Does anyone have an advice on diving one of these things or anythign to look out for?

    The area (8m x 8m) has a gentle slop (about 8" differnce across the whole area) and I'd like to get it level before I dig the footings. Should I bother and if so, what is the best way of doing it?

    I notice that diggers also have a big shovel along the length of the front. Is this used for anythign in particular ?

    Also - what fuel do you use incase I need to top it up ?

    Thanks guys.
  2. Pikerray

    Pikerray Member

    I would suggest you hire the digger with an operator it should not cost more than £200 a day - they would best know how to tackle it and you have piece of mind :)
  3. Clam Chowder

    Clam Chowder New Member

    Well for £200 I can get it for the WHOLE week and learn myself so I wont ever need to shell out for someone else to do things in future?

    Also, I'll have the satisfaction of doing it myself.
  4. Padai

    Padai New Member

    I notice that diggers also have a big shovel along
    the length of the front. Is this used for anythign in
    particular ?

    Sorry, - when you're asking questions like this it really is time to let somebody else take the strain. pay for a digger with driver - the result will be tidier, safer and done in a fraction of the time.
  5. TonkaToy

    TonkaToy New Member

    I hired one for a week to do some groundwork last summer, they aren't that difficult to drive. The Hitachi 1.8T I had controlled the boom, bucket, and cab rotation with two joysticks, and the dozer blade/track width with a lever and a button to select the function. They're tracked so you drive them with two levers both forward to go forward (assuming you've got the cab which rotates through 360 pointing the right way lol) and both back to go back. Gradual steering, you move the right track lever further forward than the left to go left and vice versa to go right. To spin it on it's base you can make one track reverse and the other go forward.

    The one I hired came with three buckets. A wide ditching bucket (no teeth on the leading edge), a medium sized trench bucket and a narrow trench bucket (both with teeth on the leading edge. To level the ground, mark it out and use the ditching bucket to scrape the grass off (don't try to take too much at one pass), then use the same bucket to remove topsoil again taking small amounts at each pass until you have a rough level. Use the medium trench bucket to dig the footings and again, don't try to take too much at each pass. Make sure the tracks are spread out to the widest setting before you start to dig, and rotate the cab/arm so that the dozer blade is at the front and lower it so that it just sets down - this will help to stabilise the machine as you dig.

    The biggest problems will be in marking out to ensure that your trenches are dead square, and disposing of the spoil. Every cubic meter of compacted spoil you dig out will need about 1.5 cubic meters to dispose.

    They are immense fun to learn to drive and it's very satisfying to do it yourself. Take your time and have fun :)
  6. TonkaToy

    TonkaToy New Member

    Oh yes. Fuel. I live in the country so my local garage sells red diesel (which is what the local hire company uses) so I bought a jerry can of that. They use surprisingly little fuel though. If you don't have access to red diesel, then regular road diesel is fine but check with the hire company first.
  7. Pikerray

    Pikerray Member

    so I wont ever need to shell out for
    someone else to do things in future?

    :^O So your a jack of all trades then are ya ?

    Dont ask stupid questions then, seems you know it all :O
  8. Clam Chowder

    Clam Chowder New Member

    Cheers Tonka. I spoke to a couple of people who have self-driven hired diggers and asked if I should just get someone in instead of trying myself. They all said that they are easy to drive after a few hours and should def do this myself. Im looking forward to it. Thanks for your tips!

    Pikerray - no need to be horrible, mate. Everyones got to learn/start somewhere. Whats the matter, worried that if everyone starts doing learning to do things for themselves, that you will be out of a job?
  9. handcraft

    handcraft New Member

    your only levelling 8 m square rotovate it and do it with a shovel otherwise your guna make a rite mess hand dig foundations in case there are services

  10. J.T. Builders Ltd

    J.T. Builders Ltd New Member

    **** easy to drive mate.

    is there anywhere you can dig / mess around just to get used to it?

    this will then mean you won't mess up the footings / leveling / digging out for the oversite.

    how deep are you diging?
  11. ­

    ­ New Member

    and where is the excavated soil going?
  12. ­

    ­ New Member

    oh, and do you know what to do if you hit a:

    Water Main
    Public Sewer
    Private Drain
    Telecoms Cable
    Underground Electrical Supply
    Gas Main

    etc etc?

    Have you heard of 'Dial before you Dig'?

    What insurance have you in place for any of the above possible damage?

    What insurance do you have in place if the digger gets stolen? (or damaged?)
  13. extremelycleverman

    extremelycleverman New Member

  14. HappyDayz

    HappyDayz New Member

    As TonkaToy says, it is not difficult. I ended up buying my own 1.5t Bobcat from the local gravedigger. A few suggestions.

    1) When leveling a plot the digger needs to be level otherwise you can only work up and down the slope and not along it. If you arrange the digger with the dozer blade on the downhill side, you can use the blade to raise the digger, so leveling it.

    2) Keeping to a trench line is difficult. Marks on the ground get obliterated and stringlines break. I used a cheap laser level to give both line and depth. As the digger would be in the way I had to offset the laser by about two feet and so I attached a piece of white plastic to the boom with tie wraps and drew a cross on the plastic. When the laser dot was on the cross I knew I was in line and to the right depth. It worked a treat with the only drawback being that the dot is hard to see in bright sunlight.

    3) Being risk averse I took the trouble of getting asset maps from all the services but it did take a few weeks, worth it though.

    4) Especially at the start, keep the revs low so that things happen slowly and if you ever feel uncomfortable with what is happening take your hands off the controls. That's one thing I love about diggers, let go and everything stops instantly.

    5) Plan your work so you are not having to get too close to trenches that you have already dug. I found that one out the hard way, scared the life out of me and I ended up at an angle of about 45 degrees.

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