The 7 Most Needlessly Terrifying Pieces of Heavy Machinery
If you never dreamed of driving a huge tank fitted with a giant chainsaw while growing up, then congratulations on having been a well-adjusted kid. As for the rest of us? Well, people like us grew up and built these machines for real. That's why right this moment, somebody somewhere is behind the wheel of ...
The Chain Trencher, aka Chainsaw Tank
This looks like a battle tank used to fight a Cyclops, or a giant chainsaw with tank treads (which is exactly what you would use to fight a Cyclops). Either way, we imagine it can push its way through gridlocked traffic in spectacular fashion.
What It Is:
Actually, this one is exactly what it looks like -- a giant goddamn chainsaw with wheels. The chain trencher makes large gashes in the earth, usually used for laying pipe (heh).
Also, there are giant man-portable trenchers. The Warhammer guys totally called that one.
Vermeer, the company that manufactures the trencher shown above, makes models that can dig trenches up to 18 feet deep and four-feet wide, which is roughly the size of a fat giant. But that pales in comparison to the Tesmec 1675, shown in this video ...
Imagine all that dirt was Nazis, and you'll have some idea of how awesome our Wolverine screenplay is.
... which at its deepest can dig down 24 feet and as wide as 5 feet. This should give you a good foothold for building a subterranean lair.
It also kind of looks like a giant robot chainsaw penis.
Now, as terrifying as it looks, it can only go through dirt -- it won't help you cut through solid rock. No, for that you'd need ...
The Rock Wheel, aka God's Circular Saw
This looks like something The Shredder built to rob banks, or a vehicle from a future world where the only currency is violence.
What It Is:
A rock wheel. It's basically a giant circular saw on treads, and it's used to cut trenches through concrete, asphalt and, you guessed it, solid rock. So really, robbing a bank still seems like a practical application.
Seriously, this has never been written into a movie before? Villain uses one of these to saw into Fort Knox and take all the gold? Hell, we're surprised nobody has done that in real life.
We're not saying the rock wheel will give you a better shot at taking over the world, we're just saying we don't understand the point of taking over the world if it doesn't give you the opportunity to own things like this.
You can't look at this and not scheme.
The Walking Harvester, aka the Tree-Eating Robo-Spider
This thing will poach your nightmares with its horrible claw and fling them screaming back into your face. We expect that at any second, Ewoks will emerge and start throwing rocks at it. It looks like it should be guarding Dick Jones at OCP headquarters, ready to throw a goddamn tree at RoboCop's head. Really, it looks like anything but a lumberjack.
What It Is:
A lumberjack, more or less. Existing logging machinery can't get into every place that trees grow. The idea behind the Plustech/Timberjack walking harvester is that it can cross terrain that a machine with wheels or treads wouldn't be able to and clear out trees like a giant green Jean-Claude Van Damme in a head-kicking contest.
Go ahead. Try to take those logs from him.
Also, the harvester won't tear up the ground around it like a track or wheel, making it about as environmentally conscious as a machine designed for eating a forest can be. Currently it's only a prototype, and there aren't any others in existence, but the benefits of walking technology almost guarantee it a place in future machinery, not just in forestry but in other applications, such as construction and the military.
The Feller Buncher, aka the Tree-Ripping Mega Claw
Obviously, this is a robot brontosaurus with a saw on its head. Left to fend for itself, it satisfies its bloodlust by bursting into two-bedroom houses, holding the occupants down with its mighty claw and shearing their faces off. An army of these could conquer the world using nothing but fear, because anybody who looks at one would assume that conventional weapons are useless against it. And trying to hide from one in the forest is clearly ridiculous, so really, the mountains or a desert would be humanity's best hope for survival.
The word "hope" feels so meaningless when you stare into the face of a feller buncher.
What It Is:
The feller buncher, like the Timberjack, is a logging harvester. It cuts through trees like grass -- and we're not exaggerating. It takes less than a second to bite through a tree trunk, and it can cut through them in bunches, grabbing one after another in its massive claw. It really does need to be seen in action.
At 20 seconds, the feller buncher starts cutting down its first tree. Before 21 seconds, the tree has been cut through and is securely in the grip of the machine. At 25 seconds, the machine starts on the second tree, and by 26 seconds that tree has been lopped down and secured. Two trees in six goddamn seconds. Somewhere, Captain Planet just shit his pants.
Not that he had anything left in his bowels if he previously saw ...
The Forage Harvester, aka Destroyer of Worlds
Finally someone listened to all of our articles about the inevitable zombie apocalypse and took some action. The only vehicle more specifically designed for undead destruction was the bus in the Dawn of the Dead remake, only with this one, the chance of accidentally chainsawing one of your own guys is pretty slim. But, God help them if they step in front of you.
What It Is:
It's a forage harvester, and the unfortunate truth is that the only thing it's meant to eradicate is corn.
"FUCK YOU COOOOOOOOOOORN!"
The harvester shreds the corn into silage, which is then left to ferment and eventually become food for livestock. And we've officially made a complete turn from awesome to boring. Nice try, forage harvester, but there's no way to make farming exciting. Unless you're raising dinosaurs, in which case this would make an excellent pooper scooper.
The TBM, aka Planet Earth's Vibrator
It probably isn't clear what this one does if you've never seen it before. For all we know it could be Voltron's penis, horribly dissected for all the world to see. Whatever the hell it is, those guys in front are really, really proud of it.
When you absolutely, positively have to give a volcano a prostate massage.
What It Is:
That is a TBM, or tunnel boring machine, and as its name indicates, it's a machine used for boring holes through solid ground, or even rock in some cases, to create tunnels.
The one pictured above is one of the largest in existence, with a diameter of about 47 feet. There is currently talk of a bigger one being built to bore a tunnel under the Bering Strait. This could potentially link Russia with Alaska via a rail and pipeline system, opening up a whole new world of commerce between the U.S. and Russia, which for some reason is a good thing. Here's a video of a TBM in action:
When the TBM breaks through at about 1:20, it looks so otherworldly that we half expected a hatch to open to allow a swarm of aliens to come pouring out and start vaporizing everyone. That TBM was just finishing boring one of two mile-long tunnels in the Netherlands for the construction of a four-lane highway. The tunnels took just under four months to drill. Before TBMs, it could take years to excavate tunnels that long.
They look sort of like a cruiser from Star Wars on the inside.
The Continuous Miner, aka Satan's Rock-Eating Battle Tank
This looks like the personal vehicle for every member of the devil's staff, and it appropriately enough appears to be climbing out of the very depths of hell itself. At the very least it should be chasing Mad Max down the freeway or battling Truckzilla in a destruction derby. Just looking at the snaggleteeth of destruction at the front will freeze you in your tracks like a deer in headlights, leaving you open to being so intensely obliterated that you will disappear from photographs like Marty McFly's brother.
What It Is:
That is a continuous miner. Its primary purpose, other than starring in your nightmares and stealing children's ability to laugh, is ... well ... mining, continuously. That spinning wheel of metal teeth knocks the coal loose; the coal then gets scooped up onto the ramp below and is collected by the gathering arms on the ramp that you probably didn't notice before because you were too horrified by the metal teeth on the cutting drum to care about anything else.
What were we talking about again?
Then everything is moved by conveyor to the back of the machine, where it is pooped out onto a shuttle car waiting to collect and remove the payload from the mine. Here's a video of one in action:
Also, if you listen closely, you can hear the agonized screams of the damned.
Here the continuous miner is, breaching the barrier between hell and Earth.
And be sure to pick up our book. It's the only thing on Earth that can destroy these machines.
For more devious machinations, check out 20 Japanese Robots Probably Intent on Murdering You and The 7 Creepiest Real-Life Robots.
And stop by Linkstorm to learn how to arm yourself against these things.
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