It can be both tantalizing and exhilarating to control an excavator because it is mammoth and the way you control what it picks and the sound of crushing the different particles gives you a sense of overwhelming joy, isn’t it? A lot of people believe that it is quite like flying a helicopter because you end up using both your feet and your hand independently.
When I was driving the climate controlled cab of this massive Komatsu PC210LC-10, I had all kinds of thought. The instructions were being blasted in my ear via the two-way radio. Before I was handed the keys to this one huge machine, I was asked to see the demonstration of the basic operations pertaining to the excavator along with the bulldozer and even the wheel loader as well. I was asked to ignore the two pedals and my sole focus would be merely my hands.
The joystick that is present on the left is meant to control the stick as well as the swing. The one in the right is meant to control the boom and the bucket. The arm has been powered hydraulically and it has three separate parts which give it the robustness of the human limb. The boom can be correlated to the part right from your shoulder down to the elbow and the stick would be the forearm while the bucket is essentially your hand.
Even though I do not have a lot of prior experience with such a beast of a machine before, I excelled in its use and I found it amazingly easy to handle its operation. Of course, it did my ego the world of good too.
I stopped one arm only to violently push the next and the screeching sound made my own head dizzy. This is acceptable at Extreme Sandbox, the company which was founded five years also so that people could pay for screwing around on machines which we have only fantasized about ever since our childhood days. However, to ensure safety, there are instructors who are ready to guide you and give you pre-hand instructions as well.
The 26 ton PC210 is actually your middle of the road excavator. You can find this in a lot of building sites wherein construction is on in full swing. It isn’t too huge but it is by no means small either. Such is the amazing design that moving the stick doesn’t require any significant effort and it almost equates to playing an arcade game. It is the blend of electric and hydraulic controls which has led to this wonder. Even when pulling a bucket that has more than 500 pounds of earth, I expected to feel some kind of strain but such is the engineering marvel that you do not feel the slightest twitch in your muscles.
Ideally, the instructors have been so trained that merely with their instructions, you should be able to handle the machines and carry out the basic operations at least sans any kind of hassles whatsoever.
The history of extreme sandbox
It was back in 2009 when Randy Stenger, now the founder of the company, was driving by construction site along with his 9-year-old son. The boy suggested that wouldn’t it be so great if they could drive those huge machines too.
It was this thought that stuck in his mind. He told about the idea to his brother over a couple of beers and they spent the next few years trying their best to turn this idea into a business model and then spent another year looking for that big space. When they finally opened Extreme Sandbox, they rented three machines on a plot which was on lease itself.
Initially, Stenger used to teach the lessons himself despite not having a background in construction. After their business took off, he hired professionals and even leased more machines too. Almost every kid is likely to love machines and the very thought of driving them for real makes them crazy. Of course, the business was bound to be a huge hit.
It was in 2015 that Stenger Cold called a producer from Shark Tank and he eventually got on the show. This isn’t the only business on this line. Vegas-based ‘Dig This’ is, in fact, his strongest US competitor and he has even managed to beat Extreme Sandbox. Another competitor would be UK based DiggerLand. However, Digger Land is family oriented and mostly has mini-machines and gimmicks.
The latest machine to be added in Texas would be a wheel loader. It would come with a huge bucket on the front which will be used to move dirt and even other unwanted materials on the job site. It has been seen that smaller machines tend to be more accident-prone perhaps because people tend to get a little reckless.
Of course, the company still has a lot of plans up their sleeves to be implemented in the future. This is an ever evolving game and changes are bound to come sooner rather than later. As long as new machines are being added, it will definitely keep bringing in people because humans have been engineered to love tools.