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Lil' Giants Construction Company
February 13, 2012 7:03 PM   Subscribe

Since the Spring of 1997, Joe and the Lil' Giants Construction Company have been excavating his basement, one truck load at a time. Joe uses Wedico, Tamiya and Stahl RC trucks, bulldozers, excavators and a dirt lump crusher to build, remove, repair and sculpt his basement. You can follow Joe and his progress here and on his youtube channel.
posted by lilkeith07 (36 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
You buried the lede, I did not know that RC stood for "remote controlled" This is neat.
posted by jessamyn at 7:07 PM on February 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I thought RC was radio controlled, rather than remote, as I understood it. Remote controlled can have a wired connection.
posted by Brockles at 7:14 PM on February 13, 2012


Ah so it is. Cooler still!
posted by jessamyn at 7:19 PM on February 13, 2012


That is a cool hobby. I got to wonder how you get started doing this. I like to think that he always had a rough plan to finish the basement andnever go around to it. One year someone buys him a toy dump truck as a gag, to help with the basement, and the guy just goes nuts assembling his minature excavation crew.

There has got to be other people doing stuff like this right? Are there people building minature construction equipment with miniature forges? Is there a miniature mining operation in some other guys basement?

Has he done any minature blasting? what happens if he hits a rock too big for the trucks?

I am really fascinated by this.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:21 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


These machines are amazing (and I want to play with them!) but, 15 years?
posted by Flashman at 7:24 PM on February 13, 2012


Ah so it is.

My quickness to the punch is fed by years of being desperately upset as only a fledgling teenager could be at the fact that I could only get to follow my car around at the length of the wire while my (richer) friends blasted through the undergrowth with seemingly infinite range...

Also, can you imagine how freaky that would be for the neighbours before they knew what was going on? The guy is obviously sitting in the basement itself (and so invisible to the outside world) so the trucks that go into his yard and empty stuff and return inside will be completely unaccompanied. How unsettling would that be to see tiny, unattended, trucks go about their business all alone?
posted by Brockles at 7:29 PM on February 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ah yes, that should be radio controlled, sorry about that.
posted by lilkeith07 at 7:31 PM on February 13, 2012


I really want to see him get four other enthusiasts out there, get some good lighting in that basement and see the whole miniature symphony take place.
posted by Phantomx at 7:35 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


something something minecraft
posted by odinsdream at 7:36 PM on February 13, 2012


I can't watch more than a minute or so of any of these clips. The inefficiency gives me the screaming abdabs.
posted by unliteral at 7:42 PM on February 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's missing something...
posted by Big_B at 7:44 PM on February 13, 2012


That forum is amazing

here is a guy making his own hydraulics and milling all his own parts.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:45 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honestly it's not that much slower than a video of an actual mining operation, the problem is just that he's only operating one piece of equipment at a time. (And, presumably, he doesn't have the fleet of dump trucks that it would really take to haul the spoil away from one backhoe. Although, perhaps he does.)

Some of the big model RR layouts take multiple people to operate; he should totally get a team going and see how many cubic-feet-per-hour they can get going.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:47 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't watch more than a minute or so of any of these clips. The inefficiency gives me the screaming abdabs.

That was my first reaction. Then I realized its more of a model train set that he built, except at some point he gets a bonus basment out of the deal.

Poster child for enjoying the journey.
posted by JimmyJames at 7:49 PM on February 13, 2012 [14 favorites]


Phantomx: "I really want to see him get four other enthusiasts out there, get some good lighting in that basement and see the whole miniature symphony take place."

Amen, brother! If he got enough support he could make something like a "This Old House" type TV show. I'd watch.

A micro cam in the cab of each truck would be cool as well.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 7:50 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wanna snark about boyz/sandpits/arrested development etc but, IT'S JUST SO COOL.

I can't watch more than a minute or so of any of these clips. The inefficiency gives me the screaming abdabs.

I know! When I watch something like this [warning, Jimmy Barnes 'Shipping Steel' soundtrack] at the opposite end of the scale, it now gives me the same reaction.
posted by honey-barbara at 8:05 PM on February 13, 2012


I love this.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:07 PM on February 13, 2012


I hope he has some tiny permits.

I also hope that some crazy internet person wires up some life-size trucks with RC. This guy can do the jobs of like three drivers at once.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:09 PM on February 13, 2012


This was like kind of fucked up dreams I have when I'm way behind on a deadline.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:10 PM on February 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


this is surprisingly engrossing. truly, a dirt odyssey. or some kind of post-wall-e zen garden.
posted by notesondismantling at 8:11 PM on February 13, 2012


I hope he has some tiny permits.

I work with building inspectors. They would seriously geek out on this. Building inspectors are geeks. They would find any excuse to pop on by and view progress. I'd just be concerned that you'd constantly have to be renewing your excavation permit.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:47 PM on February 13, 2012


MY TODDLER LOVES YOU lilkeith, and I love you on his behalf. Boy do we have our Valentine activity all set now.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:47 PM on February 13, 2012


I wonder how difficult it would be to hook a bunch of these up to network-enabled Arduino boards instead of the remotes and then crowdsource some of this. I bet you could find a lot of people who would go absolutely crazy over the opportunity to participate in something like this, and I think it would be wild to have a mini construction site in your basement that basically never stopped. Can't sleep? Crush some rocks! Load some dirt into a truck!

It'd be like a real life Sims game. Or Minecraft. But still on the computer. I would pay money to watch an awesome time-lapse of it.
posted by Osrinith at 10:00 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, I'm a software geek, and I really badly want to build a program that runs his machines autonomously.

A truckload an hour, around the clock, would move a massive amount. And be cool to design.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:10 PM on February 13, 2012


Ahhh it was bugging me. I know what I'm being reminded of! The Doozers.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:24 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Osrinith: "I wonder how difficult it would be to hook a bunch of these up to network-enabled Arduino boards instead of the remotes and then crowdsource some of this. I bet you could find a lot of people who would go absolutely crazy over the opportunity to participate in something like this, and I think it would be wild to have a mini construction site in your basement that basically never stopped. Can't sleep? Crush some rocks! Load some dirt into a truck!

It'd be like a real life Sims game. Or Minecraft. But still on the computer. I would pay money to watch an awesome time-lapse of it
"

Yeah, because that would never turn your basement into a real life miniature of the 4chan boards.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:35 PM on February 13, 2012


For the past 15 years (!), Joe has been digging out his basement at an average annual rate of 8 to 9 cubic feet using nothing more than RC tractors and trucks!

And we're talking about the whole nine yards here


Never has a completely obscure idiom been used so incongruously correctly.

I think it would be wild to have a mini construction site in your basement that basically never stopped.

mods are asleep

tunnel to neighbor
posted by dhartung at 11:53 PM on February 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Osrinith: "It'd be like a real life Sims game. Or Minecraft. But still on the computer. I would pay money to watch an awesome time-lapse of it."

I imagine it would devolve into Robot Wars pretty quickly.
posted by the_artificer at 12:02 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


he should totally get a team going and see how many cubic-feet-per-hour they can get going.

Perhaps cc's/hr would be a more suitably scaled measurement.
posted by fairmettle at 3:21 AM on February 14, 2012


mods are asleep

tunnel to neighbor


It's Saskatchewan. The neighbour could be a long way away.

It could explain why someone would spend time doing this.
posted by srboisvert at 3:25 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


All I can say is, that man has the most patient wife in the universe.
posted by LN at 6:21 AM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's dedication.
posted by brand-gnu at 6:28 AM on February 14, 2012


Jessamyn also buried the lede, since I assumed "remote controlled, but still full-size".

Tiny construction!
posted by DU at 6:44 AM on February 14, 2012


OMG, I so want to do all my vegetable gardening this way!
posted by Mngo at 9:50 AM on February 14, 2012


And when he's done, a tiny Mike Holmes comes by and ends up re-doing the work with even tinier equipment.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:06 AM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, can you imagine how freaky that would be for the neighbours before they knew what was going on?

What's he building in there?
posted by joecacti at 11:28 AM on February 14, 2012


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