The Minnesota Twin fishing machine

Lynn Hammer built the “Minnesota twin” fishing machine from two Polaris snowmobiles.

I like hand-crafted and home-made. When I see something made one at a time, by one person and done well, it means a lot to me; that product
can be food, a wood product, something made of metal, etc. The point
is, when I see a hand made object, I know it was created out of
passion. It means the craftsman behind the project built it because
of a need-perhaps even mild obsession. I know this obsession in
myself and recognize in others. I recently recognized a healthy
obsession and want to write about it this week.

Lynn Hammer spends much of each summer working in the excavation
business. He told me he spent one of those summers plus three more
seasons thinking about a self-propelled machine from which he could
fish. Hammer considered building this machine from the ground up but
eventually decided to orchestrate several proven technologies into
what he wanted; a tracked, heated, ice fishing beast he would
eventually name the “Minnesota Twin.”

The are four snap-holes from which to fish, two between the snowmobiles and two in the back near the rear entry door.

The ‘Minnesota Twin” fishing machine is so named because it is based
on two Polaris Indy Classic snowmobiles. The two snowmobiles were
married together while each retained one outside ski but share an
inside ski. While there are two snowmobile bodies, there is only one
engine. Hammer spent a lot of time developing a system that includes
a short power take-off shaft and two universal joints so the right
side sled can power itself and it’s partner on the left. Hammer used
a combination of plywood and dimensional lumber to create a cab which
mounts on top of both sleds. The cab was covered with rubber-backed
carpet from the inside and a very bright, heavy tarp from the
outside. There are four snap holes from which to fish, two in the
decking between the sleds and two in the rear deck by the entry
door. The shaft connection means that both tracks drive at the same
speed so there is no differential to make turning easier. The
steering for both snowmobiles is controlled from one station and
Hammer told me that the machine turns just fine with two occupants
but takes a bit more planning when four people are on board.

Lynn Hammer also built a second cab snowmobile on an Arctic Cat Pantera sled.

I should also mention that Lynn built another snowmobile cab on an
Arctic Cat Pantera chassis. Many of the parts for the cab came from
John Deere donors-mainly an 8850 tractor and an 8820 combine. It is
also done professionally with plenty of window area and gaskets
around panel edges.

Okay, here’s the thing. I saw some pictures of the “Minnesota Twin”
and at first assumed it was a professionally made product or kit. I
did a little digging and found out that this machine was instead made
by one man with a passion. The interior of the machine has almost a
“fit and finish” look to it and obvious care was taken in making
everything just right. It speaks well of any person when they takes
the time and pains to make what they want and to make it right. It is
my guess that Lynn Hammer had as much fun building the “Minnesota
Twin” as he does driving it on Lake of the Woods. There’s quite a few
of us building and creating in shops all over the country and when
one of our group builds something this nice, we all need to look up
from our benches and pause. Good job, Lynn!

A “fit and finish” interior awaits the fisherman.

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