Towable digger, excavator and backhoe website. Features Fleming Micron, Powerfab, Mantis, Benford, Roughneck, Gopher, Smalley, Tow-hoe, Standard Muscleman, Termite, Mitchell Cotts, Mini Gigant, Baromix, Euromach, Bronco, JPB, Digger 50, homemade and other small diggers. Links to current manufacturers such as Groupe-FCM and suppliers of plans for the Ground Hawg Homebuilt Backhoe and CDP Excavator. Includes other plant and mechanical information, Digger Bucket Page, Plant Photo Gallery, Dumper Restoration Project and useful links for Digger Spares and Repairs. Extra information and pictures to add to the site always appreciated. Also includes a section dedicated to preserving information about Johnson Machinery Limited.
Roughneck was a British company based in Watford, UK. They produced a wide range of towable diggers from 1984 which shared many similarities with the Fleming Micron, Powerfab and other competitor machines of the day. The information and pictures on this page were supplied by Wayne who was one of the founders of the company. He also helped me a great deal with other information and literature from his time in the business.
Roughneck 2000 excavator. What a great marketing line - designed to make your pick and shovel obsolete!
Prototype Roughneck 2000 excavator photographed in 1982.
June 1982 - work started on the prototype of the Roughneck 2000 excavator. 2 Metre digging depth, 130 degree slew and separate trailer.
July 1983 - Roughneck 2000 excavator starts field trials and continues until 5hp Honda machine is ready for production with purpose built trailer, 8, 12 and 16 inch buckets and narrow access wheel kit.
January 1984 - marketing of the machine starts and production begins. Machine officially launches at 1984 SED, Hatfield, Herts.
Prototype Roughneck 2000 excavator being tested in 1982.
Prototype shown on its trailer behind a good old Austin Maestro.
Production Roughneck 2000 excavator and trailer ready for work. The blue and white colour scheme looks much better than the green on the prototype.
Roughneck digger loading from a stockpile. This picture shows very well the rear digging anchor and hydraulically raised and lowered wheels.
Here the founders of the Roughneck company are testing out the narrow access wheels. Looks like hard graft in the slippery winter conditions.
Roughneck 2000 digger. These machines have a separate trailer like the Fleming Micron. Note the anchor under the rear of the machine which digs into the ground when the hydraulically operated rear wheels are lifted clear. The opposite arrangement of many of the other designs which had hydraulically operated anchors. This machine had maximum digging depth of 2 metres, a 5hp engine and 130 degree slew. The early 5 hp units used a Lamborghini pump model HLPD 124c or equivalent Marzocchi & the 8 hp units used a larger displacement pump.
In September 1985 the 2000 became the 2000T which was a self trailering unit without a separate trailer.
In 1986 the Roughneck 2000 "Laser" excavator launched with power take off for hydraulic tools.
1986 - prototype TXD skid steer concept excavator built. This is comparable with a Powerfab 125WTD. This machine was self propelled, had hydraulic front legs and full 180 degree slew. Patent office website http://gb.espacenet.com - check out Patent GB1123157 for details of 180 degree slew post design as used on Roughneck TXD.
Roughneck 2000T excavator this machine is self trailering unlike the earlier 2000 model.
Roughneck TXD digger with driven front wheels, hydraulic legs and 180 degree slew.
1987 Roughneck 2600T developed - 2.6M digging depth and hydraulic front legs, self trailering design but still 130 degree slew. Has 8hp engine.
Roughneck 2600T excavator this machine is self trailering and is more powerful and can dig deeper than the 2000 model.
Honda engine as fitted on the 2600T.
This picture taken in 2008 is of Jonathan's Roughneck 2000 digger seen here loaded onto its trailer ready for towing on the road. Thanks for the picture.
In January 1990 the company was sold to Portsmouth Aviation Ltd who continued to produce the skiploader, a small quantity of 2000T excavators and to develop a 1 tonne four wheel drive loader.
Original Roughneck Sales Brochures click here
Someone told me about this digger some time ago. I finally got around to going to have a look and found it to be a Roughneck 2000. It is at the "very ambitious" end of the restoration spectrum but a deal was struck with the owner and I went back to recover it in the pouring rain on the 29th March 2010.
I borrowed my Dad's trailer and went armed with plenty of ropes, wooden blocks and pieces of plywood. Luckily the owner of the digger had a Marshall tractor with a loader and lifted the digger onto the trailer for me.
Roughneck 2000 as found in the brambles!
The very handy Marshall tractor and loader.
The digger is loaded onto the trailer, chocked up and tied down securely. Enlarge image.
The boom was pulled up using a hand winch. I can't stress the importance of roping the digger onto the trailer securely enough. Its a fair old lump of iron if it comes loose.
The Roughneck still has its makers plate and seems to date from July 1984.
I plan to get the Roughneck working again as and when time permits. Initial inspection reveals that the rams are in a bad way, the valve block is of Kontak make and saveable, the Briggs and Stratton engine is the wrong one (should be Honda) and there are lots of pins and bushes to replace. All but 2 of the hydraulic pipes are ruined. The legs and bucket are missing but copies can easily be fabricated.
Roughneck also produced the "Skiploader" - the worlds first micro dumper, this was 5 horsepower. This one is an SL8 with Honda engine.
Roughneck 2000 digger and Rougheck SL7 (Kubota powered) Skiploader working together.
Thanks to Wayne who provided the original Roughneck pictures and information for this page. Further Roughneck stuff always appreciated.