Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

5-14-09

Cyclone Power Pullers team photo.

The students of Iowa State University's Cyclone Power Pullers are, front row, left to right, Karl Moritz, Martin Larsen, Levi Powell, Adam Morford, Brian Balvin and Justin Olmstead. Second Row: Dustin Wickman, Brett Hamilton, Alex Recker, Kevin Cordray, Clint Recker, Travis Koster and Andy Strobel. Photo by Cyclone Power Pullers.

Contacts:

Adam Morford, Cyclone Power Pullers, (515) 313-6668, amorford@iastate.edu

Martin Larsen, Cyclone Power Pullers, (515) 320-0851, martinl@iastate.edu

Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917, mkrapfl@iastate.edu

Cyclone Power Pullers build four-engine "Wild CYde" for tractor competition

AMES, Iowa -- The Cyclone Power Pullers think they've learned a few lessons about designing and building a strong and consistent 1/4-scale pulling tractor.

And so the four-engine machine the Iowa State University students are building in their campus shop features some of the best ideas from their 2007 and 2008 tractors:

Wild CYde under construction.

"Wild CYde" under construction in the Cyclone Power Pullers' campus shop. Photo by Cyclone Power Pullers.

  • There are four-way gearboxes instead of the team's old belt-drive system. The gearboxes add some weight, but they don't slip off pulleys and lose efficiency.
  • There's a new chassis configuration for extra strength. The chassis also features tab and slot construction for easier assembly and welding.
  • There's a hydraulic clutch with a larger friction surface that stays cool -- even when the driver slips the clutch at the start of a run.
  • There's a mechanical hand throttle instead of an electrical system. Last year's electrical system wouldn't stay at full throttle during a pull.
  • And there are four Briggs & Stratton 16 horsepower engines instead of the five that powered last year's machine. Changes in the competition's weight requirements forced the team to lighten the tractor by dropping an engine.

"We've taken the best of the last two tractors," said Adam Morford, a senior from Earlham who's majoring in agricultural engineering and is the team's president. "We're hoping with the improvements we've made to this tractor that we'll be more consistent than last year."

That would be an accomplishment. Last year's tractor finished third overall during the annual competition sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

This year's competition is May 28-31 at the Expo Gardens in Peoria, Ill. Student teams from across the country will not only compete in tractor pulls, they'll try to impress judges with oral presentations, technical inspections, sound tests, maneuverability demonstrations and design checks. The competition also features a separate contest for rebuilt versions of last year's tractors.

It takes a lot of work -- and resources -- to make a competitive run through the competition. Martin Larsen, a senior from Titonka who's majoring in agricultural engineering and is the team's vice president, said the students have raised a total of $94,500 in cash, donated parts and services to build and run the tractor they're calling "Wild CYde." They've also signed up more than 50 sponsors, including major support from Quality Manufacturing Corporation, Sauer-Danfoss Inc., the Farm Progress Show, Vermeer Corp., Hagie Manufacturing Co., Bauer Built Manufacturing Inc., Hub City Inc. and SolidWorks Corp.

Karl Moritz, a sophomore from Pulaski who's studying agricultural systems technology, said the support is allowing the team to try a lot of improvements this year. That takes extra time and work, but Moritz wasn't complaining about the hours.

"I like it," he said. "I'm from a farm and I like playing with the mechanics of these tractors."

And Justin Olmstead, who's from Mitchellville and just graduated with a degree in agricultural engineering and is about to start working as a design engineer for the Vermeer Corp., said the team has come a long way since agreeing on a tractor design over the winter.

"I'm happy it's coming together," he said. "We've run into a few snags, but this tractor should perform really well."

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Quick look

The students of Iowa State's Cyclone Power Pullers are building a four-engine, 1/4-scale pulling tractor for a competition sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers May 28-31 in Peoria, Ill. The team finished third overall last year and is hoping for a better, more consistent performance this year.

Quote

"We've taken the best of the last two tractors. We're hoping with the improvements we've made to this tractor that we'll be more consistent than last year."

Adam Morford, a senior from Earlham who's majoring in agricultural engineering and is the team's president