Note: This feature is in the July TT&C 2013 issue.
Chad Zachmeier holding the 1/25 Bobcat model his father gave him. This is the model that Zachmeier built all of his accessories for.
Backhoe attachment with all moving parts. This was also made using Popsicle sticks and toothpicks. The backhoe is attached to Zachmeier’s 1/25 scale Bobcat.
This may look like a chain saw, but it is actually Zachmeier’s scratch-built trencher.
Chad Zachmeier is not your average teenage model collector. In many ways, he is the type of collector that one might have expected from Thomas Edison if Edison had collected or scratch built models.
Zachmeier is a dreamer, an inventor and a builder. He said, “I do not collect any store-bought models. I have built all of my models by hand, everything in my collection.”
Like many young collectors, Zachmeier played with models as a little boy, but even at a very young age he wanted to scratch an itch that production models simply could not scratch.
“I started out playing and building with Legos when I was just a little boy,” he said. “At that time my dad, Chuck, worked for Bobcat Company [he worked as a machinist in the engineering department at Bobcat for 18 years, which may explain some of Chad’s machinist ability]. So he was always bringing home little 1/25 scale model Bobcat toys. My only problem was I had no attachments for the Bobcat and I wanted the realism that only attachments could give. I tried to make attachments out of Legos but they didn’t turn out so well, so I started making my little attachments out of Popsicle sticks and toothpicks.”
From this small beginning, Zachmeier decided to build more advanced attachments for his models. He began with what he later called his first major project. “I started making the basic pallet forks and snow bucket for the small model toys, but even these weren’t enough to satisfy me. I decided to make my entire scratch-built attachments collection clip onto the machine just like real attachments do. And while that might have satisfied most collectors, I decided to take it a step further and make every piece move just like the real full-size attachments move. I kept building one attachment at a time, usually looking at a picture from a Work Saver magazine. As time progressed, all of my attachments became more and more complex. By the time I finished building them, I had completed 33 attachments including pallet forks, dirt bucket, snow bucket, rock bucket, large dump bucket, grapple fork bucket, brush mower, lawn mower, road grader, vibratory roller, snowblower, trencher, wheel packer, cement breaker, dozer blade, brush saw, street sweeper, post-hole auger, tree spade, high dump bucket, excavator attachment, rototiller, box scraper, forestry cutter, landscape rake, scarifier and an ice scraper.”
Want to read the rest of the story? It's available in the July TT&C 2013 magazine!
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