SDSU Quarter-Scale Tractor Team wins national title

BROOKINGS, S.D. — A New Ulm man, Caleb Dinse is part of the South Dakota State University Quarter-Scale Tractor Team that won the 2018 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition held May 31-June 3 in Peoria, Illinois.

Each competing quarter-scale tractor team must submit a written design report before the competition. The teams are given a 31-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of Titan tires. Following that, the tractor is left to the students to both design and build. A panel of industry experts judge the machines on innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, safety, sound level and ergonomics.

In addition, the teams present and sell their design to a corporate management team, played by the industry experts. The machines are judged on performance in three tractor pulls, a maneuverability course and a durability course.

“Other tractors at the competition used generators and electric motors instead of gears like we used. There were even some tractors that had front and rear suspension and others that utilized a hydrostatic transmission. Some also had the driver located at the front of the tractor and Iowa State had an articulating tractor,” said junior mechanical engineering student Brian Prchal, who is from Montgomery, Minn.

“We built a two-wheel drive, independent front suspension, two-speed power shift, four-speed transmission tractor this year. Although our A class and X class tractors might look slightly similar, the way they each transfer power to the ground is very different,” he continued.

SDSU’s quarter-scale tractor team is not linked to any university class or lab fees to help support its expenses. Additionally, the students do their own fundraising and sponsorship efforts. The team receives some guidance from faculty and staff, but overall is self-run.