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  #1  
Old 04-12-2006, 12:58 PM
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Default New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

All the credit for the good aspects of this project go to MadReferree. I made some modifications due to some limited materials supplies so if my modifications suck it is all my fault. This is my first full welding project so I learned a lot and will share some of the mistakes I made.

There are four pictures. One picture has some letters that indicate what I'm talking about below:

A. In MadReferree's plans these bolts should have gone on the underside. Ooops number 1 - forgot that step. I think they will work OK.

Welding around round things is harder than a straight line. I think good welding has a lot to do with being in a comfortable position.

I think I stacked up too much weld on these and got the nuts too hot (or at least one of the nuts). I had to re-tap it to get the bolt through it. Either that or it was just a bad nut. I don't remember testing them before welding them so that is a good thing to remember for future projects.

B. Oooops number 2, I also forgot to weld the pipes for the loader lip on until after I had the top section in place. Getting the tip of the welder into a small area and getting a good weld is also hard to do. Time will tell if I pulled it off.

C. MadRef's plans used some square tube stock in the center of this area but I just cut down some 3/8 flat bar and made and "H" type center section and then welded two more 3/8 sections on the outsides. Hopefully, this will be good enough. I'm not planning on lifting anything too heavy with these. Famous last words.

I spent around $100 in supplies and had enough metal to make four forks but I decided to only make three and save the extra metal in case I wanted to do roll stops later. Of course, if you include the new Millermatic 175 welder in the cost then it cost a little more but I think I'll use the welder for other projects.

I plan on using the three forks for moving brush piles from the 55 Douglas firs that I have to dispose of. I think three across the front of the loader will work fine.

Yes, I waited until everything was painted up so I could mask some of my uglier welds (or at least try to). I am in no way a good welder - yet.
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

They look good! Nice Job. They look very much like the ones I paid big bucks for from Paynes.

Why don't ya add some pics with them on your tractor! Tractor pics are always wecome! :)
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:22 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PBinWA
There are four pictures.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc
Why don't ya add some pics with them on your tractor!
I think we need to be patient Doc... There's only 3 pics in his post so the 4th pic must be them on the tractor.

Nice job PB!!
Want to make me a set?
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Old 04-12-2006, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Very nice work. I'm hoping that mine are strong enough so that I do not have to build a set of these too.
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Old 04-12-2006, 04:36 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bczoom
I think we need to be patient Doc... There's only 3 pics in his post so the 4th pic must be them on the tractor.

Nice job PB!!
Want to make me a set?
Nope - my loader is all covered in dirt and they are freshly painted. I think I just want to stare at them for a while before I scratch the crap out of them!
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Old 04-12-2006, 04:45 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bczoom
Want to make me a set?
Ha! Are you sure you want me to do that? I just taught myself to weld a few months ago. I'm not sure anything I did is going to stand up to an actual load.

For all I know they are just going to explode under load!
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Old 04-12-2006, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PBinWA
Nope - my loader is all covered in dirt and they are freshly painted. I think I just want to stare at them for a while before I scratch the crap out of them!
Hey, that's cheating...

Mount them and let's see what they can do!

If they don't hold up, mail my set 1/2 way across the country to Dargo's so he can touch up the weld then send them the rest of the way East.
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Old 04-12-2006, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Good job PB! I've found that when welding nuts on, that if you screw the bolt or threaded rod thru, then weld it, the nut tends not to distort.
How ya like that 175?
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Old 04-13-2006, 08:30 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Ditto on using a length of threaded rod in the nut while welding. Also when welding long pieces that overhang, place a block under the end not being welded to help prevent distorting the metal downward.

A MM175 works well for this type of project. I used one but now I have upgraded to the MM251. More power, more power.
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Old 04-13-2006, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadReferee
Ditto on using a length of threaded rod in the nut while welding. Also when welding long pieces that overhang, place a block under the end not being welded to help prevent distorting the metal downward.

A MM175 works well for this type of project. I used one but now I have upgraded to the MM251. More power, more power.
Thanks again for the great plans! The measurements were right on and everything went together well. The stuff I forgot to do was my fault and not a result of your plans. I just got excited to stick it all together that I forgot a few things along the way.

I was originally going to do it with my Clarke 130 amp welder but realized I would have to do a lot of multi-passes. I found the Miller for a great price and sold my Clarke welder for what I paid for it. All around a great trade up.

Thanks again,

PB
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Old 04-13-2006, 09:01 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadReferee
Also when welding long pieces that overhang, place a block under the end not being welded to help prevent distorting the metal downward.
Won't this distortion actually work to my favor? When the rod is tightened against the loader the flat bar straightens out. I think it acts more like a spring with the slight curve.

Of course in some projects you don't want that distortion.

PB
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Old 04-14-2006, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

If the part distorts too much you may not be able to get the fork over your toothbar.
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Old 04-14-2006, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadReferee
If the part distorts too much you may not be able to get the fork over your toothbar.
It's less of a problem since I forgot to mount the bolts on the underside of the bar! It gives me more clearance!
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Old 04-17-2006, 10:13 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Here's the requested action shot.

There are also two more shots that show that my welds are stronger than 3/3 flat bar . . . but they also demonstrate what happens when you try to lift too much with the forks.

Question for MadReferee and/or Dargo: Do you think I should reinforce the part that bent or just bend them back and use that as safety to prevent me from trying to lift more than my bucket can handle?
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Old 04-17-2006, 10:57 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

PB, I did something like that when I forgot I had the clampon trailer mover on the bucket. I lowered my bucket to the ground, and bent the same piece. I used a big Cclamp to straighten it, and welded a piece of 3/8" flat, vertically from the nut, to the end. Hasn't bent again on me.
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

If that's 3/8" steel and bent like that from tightening the clamp then you have over tightened it. If you want it stiffer then straighten it out and weld a sister length to the existing piece that goes from the front end to almost the threaded rod.
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Old 04-19-2006, 10:42 AM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Thanks Mad and John,

That's my plan. I needed something to do to test out my new Miller Big Window Elite Helmet (review to follow)!

PB
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Old 04-19-2006, 10:44 AM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Clarification: The bend occurred when I tried to lift up a log that was way to big. I just tightened up the clamp in order to finish off the project I was working on.

Thanks again PB.
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:07 AM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PBinWA
Clarification: The bend occurred when I tried to lift up a log that was way to big. I just tightened up the clamp in order to finish off the project I was working on.
Since the bend is upwards your comment on how you did it does not make sense. The force should have been downward which would have caused the back tip of the forks to be forced upward towards and against the bottom of the bucket. If anything, the clamp should have become loose and nothing would have been bent.
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:15 AM
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Default Re: New homemade clamp on pallet forks.

Heck, I just saw this thread! :o I didn't know that you had made some clamp on pallet forks and I didn't know that you own my first choice of a tractor outside a big 3 tractor (duh, I should have noticed both before - and I just noticed this morning, from the other place, that you likely know that Mahindra is my first choice outside the 'big 3') I need to wake up! Great job on the project!

Where the horizontal piece of flat stock goes back to your bucket and bent, can you weld a 1/2" or so piece of flat stock along that piece in a vertical position the length of the piece on either side? That would eliminate any bend you are getting there. Even relatively thick mild steel will bend easier than I usually think. If you can put a couple of runs of flat stock down either side of that in a vertical position I would think that your only limiting factor would then be the relief pressure on your loader. If you don't reinforce it where it bends, it will eventually break there; probably when you least want it to. For me, that would be when I have something over the side of my pickup but not yet over the bed.
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