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    Sled-Type Transportation Equipment for Arctic Operations

    Encyclopedia Arctica 2b: Electrical and Mechanical Engineering

    Unpaginated      |      Vol_IIB-0109                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Sled-Type Transportation



    Fig. 1. “Michler Common-Sense” No. 9, Extra Heavy Duty

    “Modified” Sleigh Chassis
    Fig. 2. Elevation of bob sled 2-a
    Fig. 3. Plan of bob sled 3-a
    Fig. 4. Pipe running sled 3-a
    Fig. 5. Standard “Michler Go-Devil.” 3-b

    001      |      Vol_IIB-0110                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Palmer W. Roberts



            The use of sleds or sleighs for handling heavy cumbersome loads over

    snow roads, sometimes iced, has long been the practice in northern and western

    communities. Prior to the introduction of motor vehicles, cutter-type sleighs

    were used with horses as public conveyances, and sleds were utilized on farms

    and in logging operations for handling large loads in the winter. In the

    Arctic, light sleds pulled by dogs or reindeer served admirably to meet the

    needs of the people of the Far North.

            Today, sleds find their principal use with tractors in areas beyond the

    reach of modern highways, on many western ranches, in mining and logging camps,

    and on most of the large-scale operations in the arctic and subarctic regions.

    The principal types of sleds in current use are the bobsled, the pipe-runner

    sled, the “go-devil,” and the toboggan. Each of these types meets a particular

    need and all, except the toboggan, may be used together with tractors when re–


            The bobsled , Figure 1, is an enlarged and much heavier version of a sled

    that was developed in the late 1800’s for use with horses in the logging camps

    of the northern States and in southern Canada. It consists of two sets (pairs)

    of runners joined by cross chains, with a low stationary bolster (beam) connect–

    ing the runners of each set. Each fixed bolster supports through a king pin a

    movable bolster on which the sled bed rests. A drawbar frame connects the

    leading set of runners to the prime mover or tractor.

    001a      |      Vol_IIB-0111                                                                                                                  

    Fig. 1. “Michler Common-Sense” No. 9, Extra Heavy

    Duty “Modified” Sleigh Chassis. Made by

    the Michler Sled Company of Fond du Lac,

    Wisconsin. Note Sled Beds, left center.

    002      |      Vol_IIB-0112                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Sled-type Transportation

            For the smaller sleds, runners are usually made from white oak timbers;

    for the larger ones, the runners are fabricated from laminated high-grade kiln–

    dried white oak. Manufacturers differ as to the type of shoe, and they are

    therefore furnished with either oval or flat shoes of heavy mild steel, the

    latter, however, being usually preferred. For heavier sleds, steel nose and

    top plates are welded or bolted on the runners with countersunk bolts, and the

    runners are protected with steel side plates riveted through the runner.

            The bolsters were originally built of yellow birch or oak. They are now

    made of steel plate welded into a massive box section strengthened with vertical

    Fig. 2 v f ins and steel gussets (Fig. 2).

            Fig. 3 The drawbar tongue and spreader (Fig. 3) are fabricated from steel pipe

    and braced with a smaller-diameter pipe arch welded to form the drawbar assembly.

    The drawbar is inserted in the tongue and held in place by a bolt. The hitch

    plate attached to the drawbar swings on a drawbar bolt. Steering chains extend

    from the hitch plate to the spreader and front runner connection.

            The sled bed (Fig. 3) is built from white oak joists, with fir planking,

    and is provided with pipe sleeves to accommodate stakes. The size of the bed

    will vary with the different sizes of sleds. Chains, bolts, and rivets are

    all made from mild steel. General specifications for various sleds, made by

    The Michler Company, are given in Table I.

    002a      |      Vol_IIB-0113                                                                                                                  

    Fig. 2. Elevation of Bob Sled (Michler Co.)

    002b      |      Vol_IIB-0114                                                                                                                  

    Fig. 3. Plan of Bob Sled (Michler Co.)

    003      |      Vol_IIB-0115                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Sled-type Transportation

    Table I. General Specifications for Various Sleds.
    No . Description Bed size Width

    of tread, ft.

    clearance, in.

    Length, ft. Width, ft.
    6 Medium 12 8 5, 6, or 7 12 10-12
    6 Heavy 14 8 5, 6, or 7 14 12-15
    7 Medium 14 8 6 or 7 12 15-20
    7 Heavy 16 8 6 or 7 14 20-25
    8 Heavy 20 8 6 or 7 15 25-40

    Extra heavy

    24 8 6 or 7 17 50-100
    10 Special 30 14 10 18 100-150
    “Go-devil” 12 8 7 25-30
    “Go-devil” special 20 8 7 30-40

            The pipe-runner sled , developed by the Arctic Contractors of Fairbanks,

    Alaska, has found use for mounting repair shops, shallow well drilling equipment,

    Fig. 4 and wanigans. The sled is of sturdy construction (Fig. 4) built entirely from

    steel pipe. The frame size is varied to meet the requirements of the bed of the

    shop, drill, or hut. Runners are fabricated from 4-in. to 6-in. pipe with a flat

    shoe of mild steel welded in place. This type has a higher ground clearance than

    other sleds and has certain shock-absorbing qualities not inherent in other sled


            The “ go-devil ” is the simplest type of sled to construct (Fig. 5) and con–

    sists of two large oak timbers shaped and armored with mild steel shoes and side

    plates. A solid platform is attached directly to the runners and provided with

    pipe sleeves to accommodate stakes. The runners of certain types are built en–

    tirely of steel box frame construction reinforced with vertical fins. The

    spreader, tongue, hitch plate, and steering chains are constructed in a manner

    similar to the bobsled. This type of sled provides a low center of gravity, lower

    ground pressure than the bobsled or pipe sled, but is limited in cargo-carrying

    capacity by bulk. The runners have no oscillating feature and therefore absorb

    003a      |      Vol_IIB-0116                                                                                                                  

    Fig. 4.

    003b      |      Vol_IIB-0117                                                                                                                  

    Fig. 5. Standard “Michler Go-Devil”.

    004      |      Vol_IIB-0118                                                                                                                  
    EA-I. Roberts: Sled-type Transportation

    no shock. Cargo must, therefore, be limited to heavy nonbreakable items.

    “Go-devil” capacities vary with size of unit from 10 to 40 tons.

            The toboggan is a runnerless type of sled and is built from plywood,

    plastic, or light metal sheet. They are usually provided with tie-down

    rings to secure cargoes. A feature of the toboggan is the low bed, which

    facilitates manual loading. This sled offers low ground pressure but presents

    the greatest resistance surface. It is, therefore, very good in deep snow, but

    not satisfactory for towing when the ground is not fully covered with snow. The

    toboggan is satisfactory for use by personnel and may be towed by one or more

    men. Cargo toboggans developed to date have proved satisfactory for [ ?] towing

    by crawler-type tractors with reduced ground pressure or by track-laying person–

    nel carriers.


    The Michler Company

    Adapted by Palmer W. Roberts.

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