Machinery and Equipment

Learn about the maintenance and selection of machinery and equipment used in construction, agriculture and horticulture industries. Select the right tool for the right job! ACS: teaching engineering since 1982.

Course CodeBSC105
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn about Engines, Machines and Tools

Machinery and Equipment (Engineering 1)

  • Explore better ways of doing work

  • Keep your tools and machinery in perfect working order!

  • Study from home and at your own pace

This course develops your understanding of equipment, and ability to manage the selection, operation and maintenance of tools and machinery, with particular reference to professional gardening, agriculture and horticulture. Learn the use and operation of tools, equipment and machines to keep them running smoothly by yourself.



Course Summary

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Engine Operation  

    •  History of Engines

    • Measurements and mechanical principles

    • Load, Force, Pressure, Atmospheric Pressure

    • Gravity, Centre of Gravity, Specific Gravity

    • Density, Volumetric Efficiency, Vacuum, Work, Power, Energy

    • Bore, Piston Motion, Piston Displacement

    • Compression Ratio

    • Converting Imperial Measurements to Metric

    • Understanding a Petrol Engine

    • Engine Operating Cycle

    • The Transmission System Stages in 4 Stroke Spark Ignition Engine Cycle

    • Stages in 2 stroke spark ignition Engine Cycle

    • Engine Efficiency

    • Understanding Electricity

    • Circuits

    • Measuring Electricity; current, voltage, resistance, Ohm’s Law

    • Power

    • Electricity Supply; batteries, mains power, generators, solar cells

    • Electricity and Engines

    • Electric Motors

  2. Hydraulics

    • What is Hydraulics

    • Simple Hydraulic System

    • Pumps

    • Tractors

    • Hydraulic Tappings

    • System Valves

    • 3 point linkage on tractors

    • Pressure

    • Measuring Pressure

    • Pressure Head

    • Friction Loss

    • Calculating Friction Loss

    • Calculating Discharge or Flow

    • Velocity

    • Water Hammer

    • Submersible Pumps

    • Irrigation

    • Measuring Water available to plants

    • Irrigation Calculations

  3. Machinery  

    • Components

    • Parts of an Engine

    • Lubrication System

    • Cooling System

    • Fuel System

    • Ignition System

    • Transmission System

    • Examples of Mechanisation; potting machines, planters and drills, harvesters, graders, mowers

  4. Hand Tools

    • Lifting objects manually

    • Scope of tools and equipment

    • Secateurs

    • Hand Saws

    • Rakes

    • Spades and Shovels

    • Forks

    • Aerating Equipment

    • Rollers

    • Hoes

    • Wheelbarrows

    • Sprayers

  5. Power Tools

    • Types of tools

    • Drills

    • Grinders

    • Power Saws

    • Compressors

    • Hedge Trimmers

    • Chain Saws

    • Brush Cutters

    • Mowers

    • Mulchers

    • Rotary Hoes

    • Tool Safety

    • Tool Maintenance

  6. Tractors

    • Choosing a tractor

    • Choosing implements and attachments

    • Mini Tractors

    • Tractor Parts

    • Clutch

    • Transmission

    • Tractor safety

    • Tractor operation

    • Tractor Engine Fault Finding

    • Common operating faults

  7. Equipment Maintenance

    • Cleaning and Sharpening tools

    • Secateurs and branch cutting tools

    • Shovels and spades

    • Saws and Chainsaws

    • Rust protection

    • Maintaining timber handles

    • Plastic handles

    • Storage

    • Maintenance Procedures and Schedules

    • Training Equipment Operators

    • Rules for Operators

    • Engine Oil Additives

  8. Specific Workplace Requirements

    • Machinery Specifications

    • Application for an Industry Sector


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Engine operation
  2. Hydraulics
  3. Machinery
  4. Hand Tools
  5. Power Tools
  6. Tractors
  7. Equipment Maintenance
  8. Specific Workplace Requirements

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


The Operating Cycle

In any internal combustion engine there are a number of essential parts there are arranged so that a basic series of events occur. This series of events is usually known as the operating cycle.

The internal combustion engine is a form of heat engine. Heat energy, produced by burning fuel within the engine, is changed into mechanical energy. Different types of fuel include petrol, vaporising oil (V.O) or diesel.  While different types of fuel are used in different types of equipment, this does not alter the basic operating cycle.

The essential parts of an engine are:

  1. The cylinder – fuel is introduced into the cylinder for burning

  2. The piston – this moves up and down within the cylinder

  3. The cylinder head – this seals off the top of the cylinder

  4. The crankshaft – this rotates

  5. The connecting rod – connects the piston to the crankshaft

  6. The inlet valve – allows entry of fuel into the cylinder

  7. The exhaust valve – allows the exit of gases

  8. A camshaft – this opens the valves

  9. Valve springs – these close the valves

  10. The flywheel – this is fitted to the crankshaft to help it rotate

Internal combustion engines work by a rapid series of explosions taking place when fuel and air are mixed together inside a cylinder chamber (or chambers) and ignited.

The fuel/mixture comes into the cylinder when the inlet valve or port is open, the valve or port then closes, and the mixture is compressed by the inward movement of the cylinder. The mixture is ignited by a spark from the spark plug (if the fuel is petrol or V.O). It expands rapidly and this expansion produces pressure that forces the piston out. This in turn causes the crankshaft to rotate. The rotation of the crank shaft forces the piston in and out of the cylinder. The momentum in the movement of the original engine part is aided by a weighted flywheel which returns it to its original position for the next explosion   which then forces it out again....and so on.


This course is relevant across wide industry sectors and is useful for those working in:

  • Agriculture

  • Professional gardening

  • Horticulture generally (e.g. nursery, crop growing, irrigation etc)

It develops your understanding of equipment, and ability to manage the selection, operation and maintenance of tools and machinery. Learn the use and operation of tools, equipment and machines to keep them running smoothly by yourself.


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Rosemary Davies

Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c
Martin Powdrill

25 years working in Telecommunications, IT, Organisational Development, and Energy Conservation & Efficiency, prior to setting up his own Permaculture consulting business. Martin has a Bsc (Hons) Applied Science (Resources Option), MSc Computer Studies, P
John Mason

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.
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