JCB 3CX 4×4. Next project?

by John

I am still waiting to pour bronze to make a 1:10 scale Ottoman bombard. I have all the equipment and materials ready to go. But, held up by 1. needing some dry, wind free days, 2. ability to have a friend on hand to assist with the pour. I need 2 successive days for making each mould and doing the pour. Waiting, waiting. Meanwhile, SWMBO has had me breaking up a concrete drive, manually loading the broken up concrete, and transporting it to the recycler. It took 3 x 2 ton loads, so far, and still more to go.

Then in lockdown, we decided to fix a leaking balcony at home, and replace some rotting, ceiling boards under the leaks. At 71, I dislike working on ladders, above my head. Almost finished, thank goodness. And no more broken bones.

The leaks have been fixed. And the 8×2 beams are intact.
Fortunately I was able to buy some boards to match the old ones. Doesn’t look much, but those patches took 4 sessions of about 4 hours each. Even more fortunately, SWMBO does not trust my painting skills, so she will do the painting after I have fitted the corner mouldings.

The lockdown restrictions eased a bit last weekend, permitting me to visit my workshop. I have been waiting for some suitable weather to burn some rubbish, and it was not too windy a couple of days ago, so this was the first task…

First weeks of spring, and with a fire permit obtained from the local authority, I had some fun with this. But even so, I had to put out some spot fires in the surrounding grass, which has already started to dry off. I am glad that I did not wait another week or two.

I have been considering my next modelling project. Nothing really is grabbing my attention. But I had to use the JCB backhoe to load the concrete onto the tipping trailer and I was aware that the JCB is looking really tired. Not surprising, considering that it is 36 years old, and has 7200 hours on the clock. I bought it third hand, more than a decade ago, and used it for general farm jobs, including manure handling, transplanting mature olive trees, as a yard crane, moving machinery, digging trenches. As a general farm machine it was incredibly useful. When the farm was sold, it was just about the only big machine which I retained, because even on 5 acres it is still used occasionally.

Transplanting a 10 year old olive tree. Even with many cut roots, they transplant very successfully.
Handy for heavy lifting. My tractor at back was not getting any use so it is on permanent loan to a neighbour.
4 way bucket at the front, can lift 1.5 tons. One of the rams has developed a leak, and will need resealing. The Perkins diesel starts easily and runs well.
The back end is slightly loose, but not bad for its age. The tyres are down to about 15-20%. As you can see the paint work is ready for renewal, but there is no serious rust. The white roof is worst, so that is the first item for repainting. The rams are all good.
I made this grab attachment for picking up vegetation trash, heavy beams etc.
…like this heavy RSJ…
I do not know what this plate is called. It secures the boom during travelling. It has been welded/repaired more than once, but as you can see the left hand yoke is broken and non functional. It is a casting. I have been searching for another one from a wrecked JCB, but no luck so far. So I am drawing up plans for fabricating one from 20mm steel plate. Some more laser cutting and mig welding required. (ps. it is called a “slew lock”).
The interior of the cabin is not too bad. All of the controls function. The rapid steering knob was missing, so today I fitted this gear stick knob from my “might be useful one day” collection. It has a large spider embedded in the clear plastic.

So, until some new model engineering project takes control of my life, I will spend some time and TLC on the JCB.