Monstrous Mechanical Marvels: 9 Enormous Gadgets

Monstrous Mechanical Marvels: 9 Enormous Gadgets

By Brian X. Chen 10.05.09, 8:00 PM

When it comes to phones, notebooks and portable game consoles, smaller is nearly always better. But sometimes a gadget just needs to be really, really huge.

True to their size, gigantic contraptions accomplish tasks enormously useful to our everyday lives. Take for example the Bagger 293 (above), a 31.3-million-pound bucket-wheel excavator capable of mining 220,000 tons of brown coal in a day. And if the only cost-effective way to get the Bagger 293 to the mine is to drive it across the Rhineland countryside, so much the better. Because people love to gawk at gigantic machines.

Ever seen a giant wind turbine? Any idea what a crawler transporter does? How about a building-sized solar furnace? Read on for a glimpse at some of the biggest, baddest “gadgets” on Earth.

Bucket-Wheel Excavator Towering 310 feet high and weighing 31.3 million pounds, the Bagger 293 holds a Guiness World Record as the largest and heaviest land vehicle in the world. The machine, shown above, looks and sounds intimidating, but its operation is actually quite simple: 18 gigantic buckets are attached to a giant wheel; when the wheel rotates, the buckets scoop up earth and dump it onto a conveyor belt. Each bucket is capable of holding 1,452 gallons of earth — about the equivalent of 80 bathtubs. The Bagger 293 now resides in brown-coal mine in Hambach, Germany, awaiting the day when it will again be free to roam the Earth.

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