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#180405 - 08/25/09 03:07 PM Mini Excavator
go big Offline
Lunker

Registered: 08/23/09
Posts: 14
Loc: Ontario Canada
Hello,

Would it be feasable to try to dig a 40 by 40 pond 7 feet deep with a mini excavator? I know it isn't ideal but would it work? I can rent one for cheap so it would be economicl. This excavaotor would have a 24 inch bucket.

Cecil, your ponds are small, how did you dig yours?

Thanks

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#180409 - 08/25/09 03:44 PM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: go big]
Chris Steelman Offline

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Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 1839
Loc: Red River County,Tx
You are going to have to excavate at least 300 cubic yards of dirt. If you have a way to move the dirt around efficiently it should only take a few days.

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#180423 - 08/25/09 05:18 PM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: Chris Steelman]
catmandoo Offline
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Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5688
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
I think it depends on how large the mini-excavator actually is. But, I think your project very feasible. Like Chris says, you just need a way to move the dirt once you dig it out of the ground.

I have friend who has done a lot of work at my place with a Kubota compact excavator. It has about a 20-foot digging radius, and can dig about 12 feet down. It is amazing how fast he can dig with that thing. He also has a reasonably large skid steer and a dump truck. Between the three pieces of equipment, he and his dad can move an incredible amount of dirt in a day.
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#180442 - 08/25/09 07:22 PM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: catmandoo]
go big Offline
Lunker

Registered: 08/23/09
Posts: 14
Loc: Ontario Canada
the excavator i would most likely use is a Bobcat 331. Fairly large compact excavator with a 30 inch bucket. Yes moving the dirt is always a problem but I have a FEL that could be used.

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#180949 - 08/29/09 12:33 PM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: go big]
eddie_walker Offline
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Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 773
Loc: Just North of Tyler, Texas
The front bucket on the tractor is about the last resort for moving large quantities of dirt. It will get it done in time, but it puts allot of strain on your loader and driveline. Most compact tractors are not really designed for serious dirt moving, but more towards pulling and PTO type stuff on smaller acerage. I would guess that every hour you put on your tractor moving dirt will be equal to three hours of normal use!!!

Of course, having the tractor means you can do it at your leasure, but if you remove 300 yards, and your loader is 1/3 a yard, that's 900 trips to where you plan on dumping the dirt. How far is it and how rough is the road? Is it level driving or will you be on an angle?

Another consideration is that by starting digging in the middle, you will be piling up the dirt where you will have to dig again. That dirt will have to be removed before you can dig in that spot.

The best thing would be to either buy an older dump truck, rent one or hire it out. Load the dump truck and then dump it. This way you are only handling the dirt once, you are moving it efficitently and once moved, it's done.

I do this with my backhoe. I dig with the hoe bucket and load it into my 5 yard dumptruck. While it's a slow process, I've moved over 200 yards in a day a quarter mile from where I'm digging without too much trouble.

Digging is easy, the real challenge is in moving the dirt that you dig!!!!!

Eddie
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#180956 - 08/29/09 01:11 PM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: eddie_walker]
go big Offline
Lunker

Registered: 08/23/09
Posts: 14
Loc: Ontario Canada
hi eddie, yes dirt is annoying but the FEL is fairly good and the tractor is of fair horsepower. Also i don't have to move the dirt far at all(only 50 feet) so it shouldn't be to hard on the loader. I will be building a dam with the dirt.

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#180979 - 08/29/09 03:46 PM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: go big]
eddie_walker Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 773
Loc: Just North of Tyler, Texas
Then that should be just about right for your tractor. Dump the dirt, back drag it and drive over it with the next load. Try to always drive over a different spot and really work it together. By adding small amounts of dirt every time and spreading it out, then driving over it, you will get really good compaction!!!!!

Good luck,
Eddie
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It's not how many ideas you have, but how many you make happen.

3/4 and 4 acre ponds.

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#180984 - 08/29/09 05:50 PM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: eddie_walker]
JoeG Offline
Lunker

Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 530
Loc: Cambridge Springs, PA
The fastest cycles with your loader will be achieved by dumping going forward and spreading the dirt with the bucket in the dumped position and not back dragging it. Basically you want your load at the proper height so that when you dump, your bucket cutting edge is at the grade you desire and you can push the material in front of you carrying grade as you go. It takes a bit of practice to be proficient at it but once practiced you will be able to easily and consitently carry grade this way and as you are backing up you can return your bucket to a digging position and be ready to load again. Another thought is to rent a track loader to dig your pond, this way you only have to use one machine (someone elses) to dig it and build your dam. IMHO a good track loader with a skilled operator is often more useful than a bulldozer.
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#181052 - 08/30/09 12:38 PM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: JoeG]
otto Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/02/04
Posts: 1074
Loc: texas
Lots of good ideas.. Try something and if it does not work try something else.

If you where moving a lot more dirt I would be worried about how long it took to do. But with 300 yards-- if it takes one day or a day and a half so be it. Like the gang said be sure it is packed and ----- have some fun.

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#182440 - 09/08/09 09:56 AM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: otto]
hiramabiff Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 09/08/09
Posts: 2
Loc: Pawhuska,Oklahoma,USA
You got to be kidding me are most of you on here contractors Why would you not just hire a good dozer man

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#182445 - 09/08/09 10:12 AM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: hiramabiff]
jeffhasapond Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
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Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 7613
Loc: Pond in No CA, Me in So CA
Hello hiramabiff and welcome to Pond Boss. As an answer to your questions:

1. No most of us here are not contractors. However Go big is getting advice from folks that have quite a bit of experience in building ponds. Eddie Walker is a contractor and built a beautiful pond of his own. Otto is a contractor considered one of the best pond builders known to man, read some of JoeG's threads and you'll realize he has plenty of experience building ponds, Chris Steelman also has plenty of experience building ponds as well.

2. Some folks like to do things themselves, sometimes for economic reasons, other times just because they have the time and some equipment and want to give it a try.

When folks ask for advice, then advice is given.
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#182778 - 09/10/09 04:42 AM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: jeffhasapond]
otto Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/02/04
Posts: 1074
Loc: texas
Welcome aboard-hiramabiff

300 hundred yards of dirt would take about 2 or 3 hours with a dozer guy-unless he is on site or next door it would cost more to move one in than do the work.
Also 300 yards has got to be in a very space maybe not enough room.

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#275666 - 12/18/11 02:10 PM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: otto]
inthedirt Offline


Registered: 12/18/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Indianapolis, IN
I agree that moving the dirt after digging the pond will be the most work, especially if you are renting equipment. I really like mini excavators for projects like this. They are compact and more versatile than the larger version. For moving the dirt, have you considered using wheel loaders? This might be an option at your rental store for a relatively cheap price.


Edited by inthedirt (12/19/11 06:42 PM)

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#286373 - 04/01/12 09:25 PM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: inthedirt]
Jayzonk Offline


Registered: 04/01/12
Posts: 1
Loc: London, Ontario, Canada
Hi Guys, I'm brand new to the forum, and am I ever glad that it exists! I've just read through a few posts, and am realizing just how valuable all of you are. I know I'll be asking a lot of questions at the start, but I'm hoping I can share my experience here as time goes on, and help others!
I'm looking at digging a pond of about 3/4 of an acre. I've read through this post, and realize that my pond is bigger than the 40 X 40 pond mentioned in this thread. Would a pond of 1/2 - 3/4 acre still be feasible to dig with a mini excavator and a 5 yard dump truck? I'm planning on using the excavated material to build up the sides of the pond. I want the center of the pond to be 12 feet deep, but have it gradually slope up, in sort of a "soup bowl" fashion. I'm also planning on building a house, and a driveway, and trenching in power, so I'm wondering if a mini excavator would be the right toy for the job.
All input is TOTALLY appreciated.
Cheers,
J

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#286392 - 04/02/12 12:39 AM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: Jayzonk]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24029
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Welcome to the forum!

If you owned it, and had lots of time on your hands, it would work for getting the dirt out of the hole. But, I think it'd take a lot of time. You'd need other equipment to compact the pond basin, and something to help contour the bottom.

The mini excavators don't have a large bucket, so it'd take a while to fill even the 5 yd dump truck.
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#286419 - 04/02/12 08:33 AM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: esshup]
catmandoo Offline
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Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5688
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
A 3/4 acre pond may be a little ambitious with a mini-excavator, but it certainly can be done, especially with a dump truck. A good friend of mine has a medium size Kubota excavator, and that thing sure can move a lot of dirt. Typically, he and his dad work in tandem. He will dig with the excavator and pile up the excavated dirt. His dad will use a skid-steer to load the dump truck. The excavator can usually out dig what can be loaded and hauled a short distance in the dump truck.

Also -- welcome to Pond Boss.

Ken
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#287824 - 04/13/12 08:20 PM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: catmandoo]
virginiaagent Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/18/08
Posts: 36
Loc: VA
Anything is possible, with any equipment, with enough time. I could have hired someone to build my .2 acre pond, but I wanted to do it myself. With a large backhoe (The same one as Eddie Walker has) I dug and moved the dirt. It took me two months, but I like being able to say I did it. And like Eddie said, the digging is easy, moving the dirt takes a LONG time.

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#287982 - 04/16/12 01:34 PM Re: Mini Excavator [Re: virginiaagent]
RC51 Offline
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 07/06/09
Posts: 4237
Loc: Arkansas
I used a 331 bobcat to dig my septic with and my leech lines. It had a 2 foot bucket on it. Not a bad little machine. I dug a 8x8 hole 7 feet deep in a couple of hours. Course I was been more careful towards the end and I had never used one before. I dont think I would take on a 1/2 acre pond with one though let alone a 3/4 acre pond. That's just me though.
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