How to Operate a Bobcat // Skid Steer Training

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everyone welcome to this episode inside

the sandbox today we're gonna show you

how to operate a skid steer so yes

you've seen a lot of our other how-to

videos we love the feedback we get thank

you guys for giving us the comments this

episode we don't have skid steers off

out at our site very often so we do have

this out here for a special event so we

thought we'd do a how-to we we did run

skid steers for many many years before

but now we don't so we brought the

Sooner in for a special event we thought

we'd do a great how-to video for you a

couple of things first we've already

done the the pre inspection on the

equipment I think that's really key is

to check out your equipment the pre-op

inspection is key we also are in a

controlled environment here so we're

gonna be doing some scoops showing you

some things but we're in a very

controlled way


today we're running a bobcat 550 skits

to your track machine so they rough

they're about 7,000 pounds I will tell

you this from experience skid steers are

actually probably one of the most

dangerous pieces of machinery which is a

little bit scary because it's kind of

easy as you can see we rented this one a

lot of people can rent them it's

deceiving because people think because

they're smaller they're safer I would

actually argue the opposite the larger

the machine it is a lot tougher to get

you know when flip one of those things

over or do whatever they're just a

bigger base on them so when we have like

our big excavators and dozers out on our

site here those are a lot more stable

these little skid steers are really easy

if you don't know what you're doing to

get in a lot of trouble that's what I

want to do a quick how-to video I'm not

gonna go into a lot of details about

this machine other than the question I

get the most is the difference between

you'll see this machine is a tracked

machine versus a wheeled machine so if

you see the two different systems that

we have on skid steers and really it

comes down to two different pieces

typically these track systems are good

for a softer environment like our sand

or a landscape run on grass is gonna use

these because they kind of float above

the surface a wheeled machine you're

putting 7,000 pounds in for points and

they're gonna dig into the ground so

they're better for harder surfaces like

asphalt parking lot whatnot now so most

people ask well then why wouldn't you

just get the skid with the track machine

the difference comes down to cost this

undercarriage alone they're much more

expensive there's a lot more moving

parts these tracks the treads to replace

there's a lot more expensive versus a

single tire is very easy to replace on a

wheeled machine so if you don't need it

you're working on hard surfaces or

anything like that that's typically what

you want to use a wheeled machine not a

tracked machine so that's just a

high-level on that again we're gonna go

over this track machine the controls are

all the same so let's go ahead and get

in the machine okay so I'm gonna open

these now skid steers again from a

safety perspective they're actually kind

of challenging to get in and out there

are some newer machines that now have

side entry with a single arm which are

pretty cool and the reason is

there's a lot to step on here and ways

to get your foot wedged in something so

just be really careful always three

points of contact when you're getting in

and out of these machines first thing

seatbelt again you kind of see their

smaller cabs you kind of wear a skid

steer and then these most skid steers

again had this big arm for the top of

you down right there now Bobcat there's

a key there and I just wait there's

usually an indicator up on the left when

you're good to start we are good there

and we're running now skid steer like

this again cat John Deere Bobcat a lot

of them there's different control types

this one is probably the simplest

structure and this is where they all

you're driving is on your left all of

your boom and bucket control is on your

right hand those are the simplest

there's several different configurations

they can run but that's the easiest and

it also it's very similar to a wheel

loader to an excavator things like that

so now again I got seat belt on this big

thing none of this the machine won't

move at all

with this big safety arm when it's up

above your head so it's a key there is

this will normally be above you have to

pull it down in order for anything to

work outside of that with bobcat here

there's also a parking brake switch up

here on my left right there and then

there's a way to turn on the hydraulics

because I see a little lockout symbol so

this one just there's a button up here

and I see I'm green I'm good to go

everything's live right now so now with

this one there's a couple different ways

to control your throttle and again this

is very common with almost any skid

steer there is a on this one there's a

throttle knob over and you're right they

go up like that

generally most operators actually use

the one foot pedal that's in it's a

manual throttle so you'll see I set my

right foot on there so usually most

operators want to use their foot pedal

just because it saves fuels and you're

not running at a higher rpm all the time

so usually I'm gonna use my right foot

here when I need to go faster or not

again it's it's more increasing the

power to the engine which doesn't

necessarily translate to speed although

it will usually make things go faster

but that's all gonna be controlled to my

my joysticks but it does give you more

power so when you're trying to lift

material whatever you're have loaded

there you're gonna want to use your foot

pedal to give you some more power now

everything is live right now again if I

start with my right hand right hands

boom and bucket so if I pull back raises

my boom up

right hand forward brings the boom down

then if I go right hand I'm gonna bring

it back up

right hand to the right opens the bucket

right hand to the left closes the bucket

and then bring it back down now I call

this driving position which is really

important obviously you know you don't

want to be necessarily all the way down

to the ground usually the bottom will

actually drag a little bit so you want

to be a little bit above the ground here

but you also don't want to be any higher

you know get some people to driving up

higher and there's a couple of reasons

first of all you'll notice I can't see

so it's really tough to see where you're

going the other thing is we're going to

show you this though the way you get in

trouble in the skid steer it's really

with the center of gravity the higher

you have that tool in the front the more

likely are you can tip the machine so

generally you want to be low and tight

to the ground so right about here now

that's my right hand

okay there are accessory hydraulics on

here for switches you know the great

thing about this gets there like a Swiss

Army knife you know you can swap it up

with different tools on there these you

would have buttons on there to control

that left is driving again this is a

simple driving mechanism you push

forward goes forward pull back goes

backwards and then left and right

however hard you go left or right that's

how the machine is going to turn so it's

very very simple like that okay other

than that again you'll see there are

control settings up on the Bob here we

can change the configuration of how

those controls again we're running ISO

controls right now

I also call cat controls but there's

other things like that you've got all

the fuel when all your gauges are

usually up in the corner of one of the

machines sometimes there's a backup

camera sometimes there's a rearview

mirror things like that

and then down low again we're in a

climate-controlled cap which this one

all the climate controls down low there

so let's go up here I'm going to show

you real quick so now I'm just with my

left hand going forward a little bit

and again I give it my foot pedal give

it a little bit of gas a little faster

or slower

now when you come up here the key you

know right now my bucket is curled up

you know that's obviously not gonna if I

drive straight in I am NOT gonna really

get anything so this is no different

than a wheel loader you get to open that

bucket up so you kind of flying it out

so it's flat to ground then you drive

forward and I give it a little bit of

gas now this is similar to a wheel

loader we can be pulling up a little bit

while curling that bucket you're just

trying to get a really full bucket it

fully scoop in there so now once I have

it I'm gonna back up the key is don't

keep pulling up on this now with this

machine there is no auto level on this

one and what I mean by that cement when

you pull back in your right hand you'll

actually have the bucket wheel uncurl a

little bit to keep it level this one

does not and what that means is some

material is going to come right over the

back right over your cab which is not

great if you're a new operator to do

that at job site I'll show you that in a

sec but again low and tight so I'm down

below me now I back up

bring it over a little bit


and then to dump it where it's gonna

pull right hand back now again without

that Auto level you need to be I'm going

to the right a little bit to open that

bucket up as I'm going up now you really

just need enough room to dump and have

enough room to open the bucket so you're

talking maybe four or five feet and then

I'm driving forward here slowly

right there and then I'm just going

right hand to the right and this will

dump my bucket I can also be pulling

back at the same time to dump it all the

way there's a full scoop and then at the

end you curl it all the way back up

I'm breaking it down a little bit and

then my left I'm just pulling back

Kanna can be tougher visibility and a

skid steer can be a little bit more

difficult just because you got the arms

on both sides so this is where again a

rear view camera is helpful or the

mirror but just make sure you know where

you're going with that machine

so I'll do another one here

same thing lightening a little better

this is where if I see I'm getting more

power you can see how my hydraulics have

more power right there now I'm just

gonna keep this one here really the only

time you're gonna get in trouble in a

skid steer it's again when that bucket

is up above you this is the biggest

mistake I see so right now I am fully


so you see I raise it up here the

machine you see us um spilling over the

back there

this is where your very unstable so this

is where new operators get in a lot of

trouble it is really not that difficult

to flip a skid steer and if you haven't

done it if you're a new hopper it will

scare you it's again if your seatbelt in

it is there's a way you can write

yourself there but obviously you don't

want to get in that situation period so

this is your most critical time when

you're up like this that you're very

top-heavy so you should only be inching

forward slowly and then you can dump

and then I'm bringing it back down

drive around

I'm not gonna go a ton into grading with

these again I really just want to go

over very basic controls here but the

skips here again you just basically you

can see your blade and you're generally

trying to keep it flat and then you're

just driving along the ground there

you just wanna you try to want to avoid

letting it dig all the way in


kind of similar to a bulldozer you do

want to have some material in front of

your blade generally now what happens

here if you go too deep you'll see what

happens I can just dig it straight in

and you're gonna create a big pothole

right there so that's why you're really

got to be careful now if you are trying

to lay material down gravel whatnot

sometimes the best way raise this up so

you can actually see underneath it

gonna be cautious when you're top-heavy

but this is where I'm getting it right

up in front of me

and you can see this is where almost

shaking I do this kind of shaking with

the hand open and close you can lay a

row of material I'm not doing it great

here didn't have a

trying to avoid doing a full clump but

you can see

and while you're trying to watch going

backwards but generally you can drop

gravel if you have a nice even bucket

there you can spread it that way again

not the best up

and then the final thing is floating the


this material now these machines you can

backtrack a couple different ways again

if I get that bucket all the way I can

see the edge of that and I can just pull

back on it

you obviously want to be careful you

don't ever pull that bucket all the way

in you don't want to be too close so

it's basically kind of straight at a

little bit of an angle just so you can

see the corner

just like that I come back to it

now floating the blade really two

different ways

so again almost similar to the wheel

loader even a dozer you can usually

disengage the hydraulics turn

you can disengage so there's a way to

disengage the hydraulics here it's

called flow so you set it down flat and

on the Bobcat there's a little button

here a yellow button on my right

joystick I hold that in and kind of jam

the joystick forward and now I've

disengaged hydraulics so I know you do

and sometimes I have a bucket open a

little bit

I can back straight up in the blade

itself and the boom is floating there's

no a power that so you see how I get a

nice smooth surface there and then at

the end I just pull it out a float by

pulling back just a little bit keep

backing up

right there so that's one way

the other way if you've dealing with a

really rough surface the other way you

can float the blade is with the blade

angled down so same strategy I'm gonna

put it down the ground flat same thing

hold that right yellow button go like

this and I can actually roll the blade

up again I'm just trying to be able to

see behind it you do not want to keep

rolling that in you never want to be

over a 45 degree angle but now I back

same strategy here I can actually see

behind I'm getting a little bit of dirt

behind the bucket

this is good if it's really rough and

you're really

to fill in some holes


and then at the end here I'm just

pulling it out of float again but again

you don't I don't just want to pick it

out so if I do I'm gonna leave a big

pile of dirt so I'm gonna slowly it's

how to float now let me keep dragging it

out and slowly get rid of that material

that's there

there you go again two different

strategies for how you can float that

blade and use the back of them so so

we're gonna go ahead and park it here a

couple of things and I speak from

experience here where you don't want to

look like an idiot

make sure your buckets all the way

around again with these front most skid

steers nowadays are you access it from

the front door what I see often they'll

drive up and see if I go a little bit

further here you'll see I actually am

hitting hitting the hydraulics so you

actually need to make sure you're all

the way down it's a pretty common

mistake that I see rookies make so

you're all the way down usually you

flatten that bucket out so you're not

stepping into something that's pitch

like that then we're gonna go ahead lock

out the hydraulics put parking brake on

and then we're good to go

this goes up first

turn that on really important for three

points of contact getting out hopefully

you guys enjoy that again by no means

are we experts this is kind of what

we've learned out here we teach

customers how to use these things we'd

love to hear your comments let us know

any tips and tricks there's probably a

lot of very proficient operators out

there let us know how you learned how to

use a skid steer again thanks for tuning

in we'll see you in the next episode