The Sidewinder and the Snow-Motor

Charles Shopsin is a New York City-raised and Brooklyn-based software developer. In his spare time, he runs the Modern Mechanix blog. OK, I admit: a forklift is not exactly standard fare for a gadgets site, but the Airtrax Sidewinder is pretty cool. It uses a set of four individually powered Mecanum wheels that allow it to move in any direction, including sideways and diagonally. I was reminded of this video by a commenter who posted another video a couple of weeks ago on my blog. It's a 1926 snowmobile kit called the Snow-Motor. It seems really agile and looks quite fetching when slung under a Chevrolet.
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19 Responses to The Sidewinder and the Snow-Motor

  1. tcadell says:

    I saw this on a Discovery channel show called Prototype This! They showed off the forklift, then built a set of the treads onto a truck and made it park sideways.

  2. dr.hypercube says:

    Also, the ZiL-29061!

  3. LightningRose says:

    Charlie, Interesting brains seem to run in your family. :)

  4. Brainspore says:

    That’s a pretty innovative lift, but comparing its importance to the invention of the WHEEL?

  5. MikeyHammond says:

    Shagohod from Metal Gear Solid 3 anyone?

  6. LightningRose says:

    Awesome find, blatantdisregard @#18.

    Sadly no longer available from Amazon, but they can be found on eBay.

  7. blatantdisregard says:

    Tyco Terrain Twister available on

  8. LightningRose says:

    Hi Charlie,

    That was moi. Thanks for the 15 seconds of fame. :)

    Although I don’t see a lot of similarity between the forklifts omnidirectional wheels (as cool as they are) and the RUC’s/snowmobile’s counter rotating pontoons.

    The snowmobile’s pontoons allow steering similar to a tank/Caterpillar tractor treads, except they allow the snowmobile to “float” on top of the snow instead of digging in.

  9. Charles Shopsin says:

    @LightningRose – Thanks! They’re not really similar at all, my brain just randomly associated them.

  10. LightningRose says:

    Dr. Hypercube @#6,

    Please see the Chrysler RUC on page 3 at:

    Which is pretty much what started this. :)

  11. dr.hypercube says:

    @Lightningrose – thanks!

  12. TedJohnson says:

    I’d pay $50 to be able to play with either one of these for half an hour.

  13. MonkeyFez says:



  14. ackpht says:

    Trundle down to your local rent-a-center and get yourself a skid loader. Great way to move dirt and play Junior Tank Commander at the same time.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Very cool, but the whole time I was watching the Snow-Motor all I could think of was the horrible and inevitable potentiality of becoming ground meat when, whilst showing off doing donuts, you fell and slipped between the chassis and the bladed drum. Also, I think most people of that era could have easily imagined the realities of a horse in deep snow, they didn’t need to be assholes.

  16. Chrs says:

    Totally awesome. Random alternate traction is cool!

  17. Capissen says:

    Snow-motor ’26 Chevy: added onto my list of shit to build should I ever become independently wealthy.

    That thing is just cooler than words can describe.

  18. cabbotage says:

    The first time I saw those forklift wheels in action it kind of blew my mind.

    Also, the video of tractor ice donuts are topped only by the statement at 2:24: “Roads are not needed, Snow-Motor builds roads.”


    Forklifts rock. Every motor head and gadget freak should have the chance to run one. It’s dead easy, and a blast. Pick up heavy stuff. Drive around. Put it down. There’s something so satisfyingly basic about it.

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