Concharty Heritage Acres

A Home For Heritage Breeds Of All Kinds!

   May 15

Building a Forklift Front End for Our Tractor

Any ranch has a lot of stuff laying around, whether it be fencing materials, wire, you-name-it. I’ve taken to storing it on pallets to keep it off the ground. But, then the grass grows up around and through the pallet (if you don’t have a grass barrier) or I just need to move it around. So, I need a forklift.

Now, if I had a lot of extra money, I’d rush right out and buy a skid-steer Bobcat or something. But, that’s not happening… not right now, anyway. I do have a tractor with a front end loader, however. I “could” add on forks to the bucket. But: A. The bucket weighs quite a bit and lessens the load it can carry. B. The bucket gets in the way and makes it harder to see what I’m doing.

So, I decided to build a frame for the forks that could be easily attached after dropping the bucket. Maybe someday I’ll design a “quick hitch” of sorts for our Kubota L2800 to make changing the bucket and forks a little easier and faster. But, for now, it’s just a matter of pulling 4 pins, dropping one, and attaching the other. Besides, I still have to drop and attach implements to the 3 point hitch, anyway.

The forklift isn’t going to be extremely heavy duty, since the tractor can only pick up about 1000 pounds on the bucket. I’m designing the forklift frame to support a little more than that since it will be lighter than the bucket and I’ll be able to use that extra on the pallet. It won’t be able to pick up a full pallet of feed. But, we rarely buy it by the pallet, or a full pallet anyway. Most of the stuff that I have on pallets is probably in the 500-600 pound range. So, I’ll have a little bit of leeway for future needs.

I got a pair of damaged forks from my workplace, for free. The damage is limited to the mounting area on the bottom bracket (which doesn’t support the load in my application). I’ll be pounding it back into place and welding it. The forklift they are from is rated for over 3000 pounds, so I’m safe there. I’ve been collecting the rest of the metal over the past couple of months and trading for it. All together, I think I’ve got about $30 invested in the whole project.

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I got the measurements for the mounting from the tractor bucket:

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As can be seen, it also made for a handy workbench (but don’t leave your bucket in the air for very long periods, because it might cause the hydraulic seals to start leaking). Then, I started cutting up the metal.

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I still need to get a piece of 1″ I.D. black pipe for the pins that connect the fork frame to the tractor arms. So, I’ll have to put off boring the holes for the pipe until I get it and find out what the O.D. of the pipe is going to be. Then, it will be time for welding… (That’s my favorite part!)

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