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International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition

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Photo credit: Katie McDonald Photography

Celebrating Our 21st Year!

The International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition is unique among student engineering-design contests in that it provides a realistic 360-degree workplace experience. Teams of students are given a 31 hp Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of Titan tires. The design of their tractor is up to them. A panel of industry experts then judge each design for innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, safety, sound level, and ergonomics. Teams also submit a written design report in advance of the competition, and on-site, they must sell their design, in a formal presentation to industry experts playing the role of a corporate management team. Finally, machines are put to the test in three performance events -  three tractor pulls, a maneuverability course, and a durability course.

The Durability Course is a timed event through an oval course of bumps and loose soil while towing a weighted cart. Teams will compete in the timed event by individually completing a quantity of 8 laps on an approximately 250 ft (76 m) course in less than 12 minutes. A single lap consists of 80 ft (24 m) of rough conditions, and 80 ft of loose soil conditions. The remainder of the course is flat dirt. The rough track is created using a random array of bumps no taller than 2.5 in (64 mm), and the loose track is created using 8 inches (203 mm) of sand depth.

Through involvement in the competition, students gain practical experience in the design of drive train systems, tractor performance, manufacturing processes, analysis of tractive forces, weight transfer and strength of materials. In addition, they  also develop skills in communication, leadership, teamwork, fundraising and test & development.

The Awards
The competition concludes on Sunday evening with an awards banquet where the top five overall finishers are announced, along with a multitude of awards for various category winners. The top five finishers received cash awards as follows:

1st - $1,500
2nd - $1,200
3rd - $900
4th - $700
5th - $500 


General Information

 Pulling Tractor   Judges
Photo credits: Katie McDonald Photography

Design Experience and More
One of the primary concerns of industry today is that many engineering students are entering the workforce with little or no practical knowledge or design experience. Student design competitions and projects are an important key to help prepare students to be effective professional engineers.

In the International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, students are challenged to harness the power and torque of a specified stock engine in order to maximize performance during the tractor pull.

Design Fundamentals
Design fundamentals such as strength of materials, statics and power transfer will be major factors as the students design their frame, drivetrain, hitch, clutch, weight brackets and other parts. Although the size and shape of the 1/4 scale tractor is similar to that of a typical lawn and garden tractor, very few parts will be used directly from a commercial machine.

Manufacturing Processes
Not only will students gain practical design experience by participating in this competition, they will also obtain valuable experience as they manufacture and present their own designs.

Many manufacturing departments cringe when design engineers simply throw their designs "over the wall" and assume they can be easily manufactured. Through hands-on experience with numerous manufacturing processes, students will gain an awareness of the capabilities and potential pitfalls in the design for manufacturability and design for assembly.

Professional Skills
With a project of this size and magnitude, the students' skills in communication, teamwork and time management will be greatly challenged and developed through necessity. This project will graduate students who can excel and perform under adverse conditions and pressures, with professional skills valuable to any employer.

Getting Started - How to Request an Engine and Tires
Each team is given a 31hp Bringgs & Stratton engine and a set of Titan tires. Teams are allowed to use multiple engines in their designs. Please contact Tina Schultz to request an engine and tires.

How to Register a Team
If you'd like to enter a team in the competition, please send the following information in an email to Tina Schultz. If your school will be entering an X-Team (junior teams who modify their first team's previous year's tractor), please send the same registration information below and identify it as an X-Team.

Team Name:
-Advisor's Name
-Advisor's Phone Number
-Advisor's Email Address
-Team Captain's Name
-Team Captain's Cell Number
-Team Captain's EMail Address
-Shipping Address for Tires & Engine (if different than Advisor's address) - must be a university address

1/4 Scale Competition Informational Brochure
Sled Configuration
Important Competition Information

Past Results -
1998-2003  2004  2005  2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011  2012  2013  2014  2015  2016

2018 Competition

Schedule of Events

Date & Location
May 31 - June 3, 2018
Expo Gardens Fairgrounds, Peoria, IL 

Competition Hotel
Embassy Suites East Peoria
100 Conference Center Drive
East Peoria, IL, 61611
800-EMBASSY or 309-694-0200

-Two-room king suite: $118.00 single or double; $128.00 triple or quad.
-Two-room suite with two double beds: $128.00 single or double; $138.00 triple or quad.
-Please add sales tax to all room rates. 

Please refer to ASABE 1/4 Scale when making room reservations to get the room rate, and make reservations by May 8, 2018.

All rooms have a bedroom and separate living room with a queen-sized sofa bed, two TVs, a workstation, refrigerator, and microwave. Complimentary wifi will be provided in all guestrooms.

Registering a Team
If you plan to enter a team in the 2018 competition, please send the following information in an e-mail to Tina Schultz as soon as possible. We will ask for more detailed team information in March 2018. If your school will be entering an X-team (junior teams who modify their A team's previous year's tractor), please send the same registration information below and identify it as an X-Team.

Team Name:
-Advisor's Name
-Advisor's Phone Number
-Advisor's E-mail Address
-Team Captain's Name
-Team Captain's Cell Number 
-Team Captain's E-Mail Address
-Shipping Address for Tires & Engine (if different than Advisor's address) - must be a university address

Additional information concerning the schedule of activities and other events will be forthcoming. 

We look forward to seeing you in June! Good luck with your designs. 

2018 Competition Co-Chairs
Curt Thoreson, John Deere 
Kent Thoreson, Vermeer

Important Documents
Competition Handbook - Final Release
A Team Rules 
X Team Rules
FMEA Template

Student Resumes
Graduating Spring 2018
Graduating Fall 2018
Graduating 2019
Seeking Internships

2017 Competition


Congratulations to first-time competition champions from Purdue University!

2nd Place - South Dakota State University
3rd Place - University of Nebraska
4th Place - Oklahoma State University
5th Place - Kansas State University

Team Photos   Group Photo
Candid Pulling Photos (courtesy of John Lumkes, Purdue University)
A Team Results
X Team Results

Press Releases
Twenty Is the Magic Number for Purdue - 6/10/17
Teams Collect Honors at 20th 1/4-Scale Tractor Contest - 6/9/17
ASABE Annouces 20th Annual 1/4 Scale Contest - 5/5/17



Sponsorship is more than just a demonstration of a company's investment in the community or a show of their commitment to educational development. Corporate sponsorship is an investment in a company's future.

Students who participate in this design competition and others like it, are highly sought by major corporations because they will accomplish the following:

  • Receive hands-on experience in both design and manufacturing processes;
  • Learn how to manage, finance and document a design program from start to finish;
  • Learn how to communicate professionally with peers, industry and professional engineers through fundraising and competition events;
  • Enhance team building skills as they design, build, and test their tractors; and
  • Develop time management and multi-tasking skills as they balance their rigorous school load with the demands of an in-depth design project.

Sponsorship is an excellent way to identify and establish contacts with some of the most highly skilled engineering students in the country, students who are already interested in the machine systems. As you may know, these students take most of the standard mechanical engineering coursework, but specialize in agricultural applications such as off road machinery and lawn & turf equipment.

Also, as a sponsor, you will receive immediate promotional benefits as listed in the sponsorship chart.  

Interested in a becoming a sponsor? Please contact Mark Crossley.

Competition Sponsors

Platinum - $8,000 + in cash or in-kind donations

AGCO      Briggs  Case  Deere


     New Holland          SolidWorks        Titan       

Danfoss     Caterpillar      Campbell Scientific  

                Thomson            Kubota

Gold - $5,500 - $7,999 in cash or in-kind donations


Silver - $3,000 - $5,499 in cash or in-kind donations

AGCO         GSI                 Katie McDonald Photo               Claas   MacDon



Bronze - $1,500 - $2,999 in cash or in-kind donations

             Central City Scales                igus                   Miller


Site - $1,499 or less in cash or in-kind donations

A.C. McCartney Farm Equipment

Kelly Sauder Rupiper LLC

Kondex Corp.
Martin Sullivan Inc.
Precision Planting 

RCI Engineering
SJ Smith Co. 
Star Equipment
Walz Scale

Team Websites

     Pulling Tractor 2  Maneuverability
Photo credits: Katie McDonald Photography

Participation in this list is voluntary. Please click the school name to visit the website.

Iowa State University

McGill University

North Dakota State University

The Ohio State University

Texas A and M University

University of Illinois

University of Manitoba

University of Saskatchewan

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

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