homebilt fork lift?

I want to build a forklift attachment for the loader on my farm tractorfor handling pallet sized bins of apples. Today when at the bottle recyler's I
looked over a factory fork lift and the forks appear to be 1"X4" or so at the back tapering in thickness to the front. They looked to be one piece from the tip of the forks back then bent 90 degrees to form the rear uprights.
Question 1: Is it feasible to make these out of hot rolled steel or do I need something special?
Question 2: would welding at the right angle at the rear be strong enough or would each fork need to be bent, perhaps hot, out of one piece? Do I even need the rear uprights or would the loader bucket be adequate back support?
Question 3: Is the tapered thickness necessary and if so how can it be done short of hours (days?) of grinding?
Thanks for any thoughts or ideas. John
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wrote:

Lots of forklifts get scrapped every year. Buy a set of surplus forks and build your unit around them. They are cheap.
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Thanks for the comments. I'll keep my eyes open for a scrap set of forks, but it appears that scratch built forks might be a winter project.
John
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You can find a good set of forks for 100.00
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vaguely proposed a theory ......and in reply I say!:
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Wot the uvvers sed. In a word. No.
Disclaimer. All of my advice is given without cost, and you get what you pay for. I have no qualifications in any of this, and have freqent failures when applying my ideas to practice.
I looked into building fork tines. They are built from quite specialised steel, and I was told by a foundry that the makers are pretty cagey about the materials they use, the metods of shaping them, and then how to harden and temper them to very high "strength" without warping, because the manufacturing puts a lot of stress in them. The makers do them by the dozen, so they can afford to be pretty special bout them.
How much does a crate of apples weigh? Will you _ever_ try to lift as much as the tractor can? In the end you have really to set yourself for that time when you hook a chain over the end of the fork and lift as much as the FEL can lift.....but of course _you'd_ never do _that_! <G>
Depending on your load, it is _feasible_. But those forks on lifts are made out of stuff that is at least as strong as spring steel. They are either high carbon steel, or alloys.
If it was 1" x 4" I would not expect more thana ton capacity, if that.
You need to look at a beam programme, then assume that the _root_ of the beam is bearing the load at the tip, because this is what _could_ happen. For safety's sake you should probabnly double it. There would eb standards for this. Use straight steel and you will get a much thicker beam size. Weight.
Welding? That's up to you and your welding skills. And then I would be adding straps and gussets, because I assume that even a good weld is the weak spot in any situation, and it's also the point of max strain.
As far as the taper goes, if you think about working with forks, then yes, of course.
I am building hollow ones out of alloy that is about 3.5 times unltimately stronger than "300" structural steel. I am actually doing a "log/rock basket" for a loader, with many tines. Otherwise I would have bought a pair of forks. But at Aud$150+ per set, 15 or so of them gets a little expensive. <G>.
So I just potter away at it.
You could also weld up several thinner pieces and make a taper that way. You either weld shorter and shorter pieces top-on-top to cause the taper, or cut the taper into thinner pieces and weld them side by side. But watch for warpage.
Setup? Most guys who add forks to tractors make them just taller than the bucket on the back bit, then hinge them down from pins on the top of the bucket to sit against the front lower lip. Flip them out of the way when not wanted. The pins are usually quite long, so you can move the forks in and out. They therefore are quite thick. I'd be looking at axle steel for that. Obviously you will need to work out a way to make a bearing on the tine to take the axle. Not easy. Welding could be real trouble. I would bolt something to the top of the tine. I would also bolt on any extension that was needed to take the tine to the top of the bucket. If I was using standard steel, I would make the extensions maybe 1.5 times the depth and equal to the width of the tine.
Just things to think about.

***************************************************** I know I am wrong about just about everything. So I am not going to listen when I am told I am wrong about the things I know I am right about.
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vaguely proposed a theory ......and in reply I say!:
remove ns from my header address to reply via email
Oh alright! I built a pair of very serviceable forks by using channel. 100mm * 50mm with a 10(12?)mm wall. They were probably 800-900mm long.
I cut the 50mm sides down using a circular saw and an abrasive blade, so I had a taper. I then welded a flat piece on the bottom, and a solid tip of maybe 12mm steel whbich I ground round. I built my own frame, as I wanted it on the back of the tractor on the 3PL. the uprights were also channel, with a flat piece on the back. They were welded and _not_ gusseted to the fork tines.
I can't say how long it took. It was a long time ago, with limikted equipt, and I built the whole frame as well.
I lifted some pretty impressive logs and root with those forks.
In the end I broke one, but not on the tractor. It was on the FEL of a small backhoe, crowding not lifting. Much more powerful. It broke at the weld. With gusseting and reinforcement it might have made it.
I guess all I can say is before you base too much on it, build a tine and see if it's strong enough. ***************************************************** I know I am wrong about just about everything. So I am not going to listen when I am told I am wrong about the things I know I am right about.
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Apples you say? I've been a picking more than a bin a day all by myself for over a month now. Got a couple helpers picking four more a day each. <I'm up in the middle of the night cause my back is giving me hell>
I've made two fork attachments out of 2 x 6 x 1/4 wall steel rectangular tubing. Made each fork stick out 42" and leave 6" behind the elbow of the fork. With this material you'll need a reinforced gusset behind the elbow section of the fork.
For the tip of the fork, cut a 1 1/2 inch angle iron at a 45 sloping in on both sides on each end so the piece is 6 inches long. Then squeeze it in the vice until its 2" high across the sides of the angle iron. It will kind of round the metal some. Weld this to the end of the 2 x 6 fork. Get out your angle grinder and smooth it out. Looks just like a professional tip end - except its much better for field work - doesn't want to dig in the ground.
I've also built a fork attachment by buying a scrap fork lift and mounting the mast on the back of a tractor, very handy.
Karl
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I have made two so far... Put the forks in the back of the tractor... It works much better... Old Farmmal dung forks work great for small lifts...
Frount mount...
http://user.pa.net/~kbeitz/Kevin/Tractor%20pictures/Going%20up.JPG
Rear mount...
http://user.pa.net/~kbeitz/Kevin/Tractor%20pictures/Unloading%20the%20Gravely.JPG
Electric walk behind forklifts make great attachments for tractors...
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Kevin Beitz wrote:

http://user.pa.net/~kbeitz/Kevin/Tractor%20pictures/Unloading%20the%20Gravely.JPG
Those look great! Nice implementation.
I noticed the super disks on the nose in the Gravely.jpg - no wheel lugs (so it seems) on the other.
Martin
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wrote:

You can find plans to build a 3 point hitch forklift at cadplans.com. Look in the New Products link.
Richard
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a little tip, forklifts are scrapped all the time, find a used set of forks

tractorfor
I
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I've got 3 'stacker' forklifts here getting rusty,each with 2 sets of forks as the owner can't seem to come up and take them away( each weighs 2000# !!)
I've made a pallet lifter for my D-14 and it hauls spare loaded tires just fine. Also handy to lift the JD140 into the air to clean the bottom of the deck !!!
Jay
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