Rear view of a backhoe loader

The name “backhoe” refers to the action of the shovel. A backhoe digs by drawing earth backwards, rather than lifting it with a forward motion like a man shoveling, a steam shovel or a bulldozer.

Backhoe – a piece of excavating equipment or digger consisting of a digging bucket on the end of a two-part articulated arm. They are typically mounted on the back of a tractor or front loader. The section of the arm closest to the vehicle is known as the boom, and the section which carries the bucket is known as the dipper or dipper-stick. The boom is generally attached to the vehicle through a pivot known as the king-post, which allows the arm to slew left and right, usually through a total of around 200 degrees.

Horizontal stabilizers are deployed to prevent the vehicle from tipping laterally when the arm is extended.

That’s engineering

  • two-part articulated arm
  • Horizontal stabilizers – deployed to prevent the vehicle from tipping laterally when the arm is extended.

Engineering ideas

  • stabilizer, articulated, pivot, hydraulic power, curling movement, extendable boom, hydraulic thumb, chassis

Do It
Challenges for you to work on…

  • design and build a model backhoe. Illustrate dipper curl and boom extension in your design.

Learn more…

  • Backhoe (video 3:20) – song, description
  • Backhoe – a piece of excavating equipment or digger consisting of a digging bucket on the end of a two-part articulated arm.