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A humbling 1st experience in a mini-x

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Stonehenge, Aug 29, 2001.

  1. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    We started a small retaining wall project today and I wanted to do the excavation with a mini-x to see how they ran, and how effective they are. I rented a NH EC35 - it was about 7,000 pounds or so.

    What a humbling experience!! I was so bad at running the thing that it would've almost been faster to dig by hand. Now in my defense it was on a hill, in a cramped space, but jeez! After awhile I just parked the thing and used the forks on my skid loader to loosen up the soil then dig it by hand.

    What's the learning curve on something like that? Before I'd ever consider buying one I'd need to know that it wouldn't take me a year to figure out how to run the darn thing!
  2. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    Once you get the hang of it these machines are quite effective. I too was slow when I first started using them. Then again being careful and patient is important when working with a new piece of equipment. They may be small but they can cause a lot of dmage. Now that I have the hang of it I am quite fast and will never go back to the excavator bucket on my skid steer when I can get a mini-x into the job.
  3. cat320

    cat320 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    They aren't bad to run It took me 15-30 min to get full control of one .Different controls will be hard if you go from one machine to another that has different ones.As far as digging on hills it is great I used the dozer blade to level and I would deffently rent another one.But once you learn to run one good you will want to buy one belive me.:blob3:
  4. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    But the mini-x is the best thing since sliced bread! :)

    It took me an hour or so to get used to the controls. After I had to reteach myself and get out of the backhoe habit and into the excavator controls, I realized there is a switch in the Bobcat mini x to change the controls to backhoe. I don't use it though.

    Anyway, once you get used to it, and find a good flat grading bucket that angles you can put up the shovels and rakes. I've done a lot of work on base with it and most of the times only a shovel and broom comes with me, and thats usually just for around fire hydrants and valve boxes.

    Hope this helps!

    Don't give up, you'll get it sooner or later. Practice Practice, Practice!
  5. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    The first mini I rented had the backhoe type controls. Pretty easy to get usd to. Then an excavator buddy let me play with his JD 450, not a mini for sure. Had the excavator,(do they call these the ISO controls?) controls. WOW did I geek around with that thing. Now I have a job where I need to dig next to a foundation and put in a drain box in a yard. My local Cat dealer has the best deal on a rental and I'm anxious to try it. Now I'm also a little nervous. Thanks:eek:
  6. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    Monkeys could pull levers on a machine, thats the easy part! :)

    Once you get that down you need to know how to use it to its maximum potential and get the most you can out of it.

    I know a lot of guys that can run machines with their eyes closed but you put them on a job and all they use the machine for is to tear stuff up and make more hand labor!

    Well thats another lesson! Anyway, good luck, and like I said, with a little bit of practice you'll get it in no time! I promise.
  7. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    I use it for everything from digging holes, to lifting equipment, to setting stones and pipes. I have even removed the cage and used it inside a warehouse to dig through the floor for new piping. Finese is the key with these machines.
  8. racerdave

    racerdave LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    Guido, I have an idea for you!

    It's called: Guido's Excavating for Dummies!!

    I'll buy the first copy:D

  9. Aspen Snow

    Aspen Snow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 120

    We have a Bobcat 334 Excavator. It has the control switch. You can switch from standard to ISO control. It works great. I personally prefer ISO control (Cat style). Our mini-excavator is one of the best investment we purchase for our company. Every time I think the machine is questionable for a job it proves me wrong.
  10. new-man

    new-man LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 63

    took me 5 minutes from the first time i had ever touched one of these to when i got the hang of it- it was a cat 304.5 i put about 1 hour on this sucker

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