The Story Behind Joe, The Man Who Excavated His Basement Using Only R/C Scale Models

We don’t know what’s more astounding; the fact that for the past seven years, someone had the patience and the know-how to dig his basement using only radio controlled scale models, or that his feat went by unnoticed by the viewing masses for such a long time.

Whatever the case, we were surely amazed by Joe, who prefers to be known by his first name only, and his devotion to his favorite hobby.

After we published the story last week, Joe, who is from Saskatchewan, Canada, came into contact with Carscoop to give us an insight on his incredible hobby and how it became to be.

Here’s hoping that after reading his story that follows below, some readers will rethink their assumptions about Joe and his work.


“First, I would like to make a correction as I have not been digging the basement for 15 years as reported but rather for the past 7 years, as I began hauling dirt in June of 2005. However, I have been into the radio controlled heavy commercial hobby from 1996, and I acquired my first R/C construction model kit in the summer of 2001.

Every year, I excavate about 2 to 3 cubic yards of material. I mine it from the walls during the winter, put it through the crusher, screen it, and then haul it out during a summer’s worth of Sundays.
The equipment stays in the basement. People constantly give me a hard time of how dirty/dusty my equip is, but there is a lot of dust floating around from time to time down there and with electric hydraulics – occasional oil leaks as well… they get dirty!

I would also like to note that the machine you see is not a rock crusher but a dirt lump crusher. This dry clay can be hard as rock, but it will crush to pea size so the dirt is easier to handle. Earlier videos on YouTube show “unloading into a conveyer”, for a few years while I was mining down the east wall, which was how I transported the dirt out. The conveyer angle was quite steep, the finer the dirt was, the less dirt that rolled back.

Once the east wall and part of the south wall were cribbed and back filled, I built a spiral ramp around 2.5 walls to rise 6 feet to get to the window opening to truck it out. Because the conveyer was too quick and efficient, I pulled it out in the summer of 2010 so I had more RC (Radio Controlled models) activity to do. Moreover, I was also growing tired of ducking under and stepping over the conveyer to get to the other side of the basement.

From reading the comments on your site, as well as others, the common misconception here is that the RC’s are not here to excavate my basement, but rather the basement excavation project is here for the RC’s.

What a better place to have an all-weather playground than under your house? It’s just a few steps away when I have time for it, it’s a comfy place to be when it’s –30C [-22 Fahrenheit] outside. I am in no hurry to finish.

I’m a cattle and grain farmer… or rather I used to have cattle as I sold the 150-head herd a few months ago; getting too old and brittle for that cowboy crap anymore. Now I just spend 7 months of the year cropping 3,400 acres and haul out the crop through the winter.

There are weeks on end throughout the growing season with 16-hour workdays and then there are weeks on end during the winter when I have very little to do, but couldn’t travel far with cows to feed everyday all winter long.

This hobby has been as challenging as it has been entertaining. Some of the techniques that I have learned in electronics, welding and machining for this hobby has come in handy for making complicated repairs and improvements in my farming operation too.

I enjoy building these models; it’s been a great escape from every day realities and stress in life. Good times!”

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  • jean luc

    i love it…. what is looking now 2014 ??????

  • I was impressed with this until I attempted to buy a 1/14 Scale DXR2 Hydraulic Earth Dozer and discovered a price of $3,299. Eeeks. I was considering a perfectly functioning Chalmers 20-ton, 12-foot blade dozer for around the same price of the RC version :

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