Whether you are hiring a mini excavator to dig out a pond in your backyard or you need to dig trenches as a part of your job to lay pipes and cables, you might be wondering how on earth you’re supposed to use these machines. Whilst they are mechanically similar to a backhoe, only smaller, they do have separate controls for each of their movable parts. This can make the operation of an excavator a little more challenging for those unfamiliar with them.
In this article, we have outlined some basic instructions that can be utilised for the safe and correct operation of these machines. Keep in mind that different models may have slightly differing controls, so it’s always a good idea to read the manual before proceeding.
- An excavator utilises articulated steering. This means that, to move the machine forwards, you will need to push both of the levers forwards. To move the machine backwards, you will need to pull both of the levers backwards. Moving only one of the levers at a time will allow you to turn the machine in the desired direction.
- Position the mini excavator so that the furthest point that you need to dig is just within reach of the boom. If the machine has been equipped with stabilisers, ensure that you deploy them correctly. Drop the front blade until it pushes against the ground, lifting the machine slightly. This will provide additional stabilization when moving the boom quickly.
- Move the boom away from you, so that it extends about halfway to its reach limit. Then, move the bucket on the boom forwards until it is extended about two-thirds to its reach limit. Extend the boom forwards again until the bucket almost touches the ground. Curl the bucket towards you, so that its teeth make a 45-degree angle with the ground.
- Pull the boom back towards you whilst also curling the bucket towards you – this will cause it to scoop into the ground and fill with soil. To lift the bucket from the hole you have created, you will need to raise the boom. Turn the mini excavator to the side and empty the bucket in the desired location (such as a pile or even a trailer).
- Repeat these steps as required until you have dug the trench or other type of hole to the desired depth. When digging a trench, you will need to reposition the machine along its length as you excavate, which means that the project can be quite time consuming. When digging a hole, you will often be able to dig from the same position.
We hope that the instructions provided above have given you a better idea of how to operate a mini excavator. Once you’ve played with the controls a few times, you should find that they become familiar and you will be able to operate the machine without any problems. Just ensure that you exercise some common sense and safety precautions when operating an excavator, as this will ensure that everything goes smoothly and no accidents occur.