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  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    236
    Location
    Purcellville, Va
    Tractor
    B7200D, B8200D

    Default Bucket forks, but wait! These are different!

    Well, kind of. I wanted a set of forks, but didn't like any of the clamp on designs, and didn't want to pay for a dedicated set since I have a pin-on bucket. Fork material was 1x2x.125 box, welded into a 1x4 rectangle, because I had some left over from a previous project. Finished length came to about 3.5' past the bucket edge. Then came the mounting style. I came up with about 19 different designs before I ever put pencil to paper, then asked a couple of budding (college) engineers for their input, and revised mine a couple more times. Finally I decided on a plan, and set to.
    The forks were going to sit inside the bucket, but not necessarily rely on the cutting edge for strength. They were cut to follow the natural angles of the inside of the bucket, and in operation hang from a 3/4" pin inside the bucket. Terrible explanation, but the pics should explain all.
    I was going to drill 3/4" holes in some 1/4" strap steel, cut to 6" lengths, and weld those perpendicular to the back of the bucket, vertical relative to the ground. That turned out to be hard, so I quit. Then I looked through my metal stack and found a bunch of 5/16"x2" brackets with three almost 3/4" holes already punched. Score! I finished reaming the holes out to 3/4" and started grinding the bucket paint for welding. I am using pins that are about 6" long, so I placed the first bracket 6.5" from the edge of the bucket, the next 4" away from that, the next 4" away from that. This gives me a wide and narrow position. I thought about putting the fork right at the edge of the bucket and drilling through the side, but for some reason I don't like the thought of doing that. Personal hangup, but I want it reasonably watertight. I also considered, and may still, put a pair of brackets in the middle for a spear position.
    Next, I put a piece of .25x1" strap across the bottom of the back (inside) of the bucket, under the upright brackets. This is what the bottom of the back of the forks rest against, to distribute the load. Again, a pic tells the story so much better than words.
    Still have to paint everything up, but I've already tested it well beyond design limits and they held up so I'm happy. Future plans for the forks are slide-on clamps that will add both uprights to keep stuff from rolling back on me and will have a lip that does clamp the bottom of the cutting edge, so that I can use the downforce of the loader.
    Design advantages: Multi position, self-aligning, inherently laterally stable at the tips. Can't fall out of the bucket. Can fold up vertical for transport. Easily removable. Distrubute the load along the strongest part of the bucket rather than concentrating the force on the cutting edge of the bucket. Brackets lend themselves to other attachments; pin-on toothbar, bucket extension for loose material, 2" receiver hitch, etc. Adds little weight to bucket. Doesn't compromise bucket watertight integrity. Used stuff I had mostly laying around (total cost: a couple bucks for the pins)

    Now for the pics, the pic names tell the story.
    That rock was too heavy for the loader to lift by itself (the loader's only rated for 730lbs, that rock has to weigh as much as the tractor) but once I slid the forks under it and popped it out of the ground, it could curl the tips of the forks up a bit. Once they did, I drove over to a nearby stump and slid the forks up the stump, curling and lifting as I went. Once I got it off the ground, the tractor could keep it there, but couldn't get it any higher. Look at the front tire!

    Edit: My bucket lip is bent slightly, which is why the right fork looks like it rests on the bucket lip. It doesn't, but it does bend down onto it with load, as does the left fork. The difference is, it uses the lip as an overload helper, and as a fulcrum; weight applied to the tip of the fork pushes down against the cutting edge, which becomes a fulcrum and pushes up against the mounting brackets, putting my welds either in compression or shear rather than tension. If I need to, I can add a strap from the upper mounting point to the fork above the cutting edge to transfer all the force, but for now I prefer to have the ability to fold the forks up.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Veteran Member BTDT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    2,209
    Location
    North Texas
    Tractor
    IH M Farmall-propane powered, H Farmall (father-in-laws), Ford 1300 diesel

    Default Re: Bucket forks, but wait! These are different!

    That is impressive. That looks like a workhorse that got to be the guinea pig for your project too. Nice to have an idea, and be able to have the tools and means to bring it about. Good job.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    25
    Location
    Vaughn, Wa
    Tractor
    Mitsubishi MT1801D

    Default Re: Bucket forks, but wait! These are different!

    That is, all in all, a VERY nice job of planning & execution on what looks to me like a very different and also very GOOD design!..Unpinned easily to allow full use of bucket, these forks will allow most usage without even being removed, simply by being tipped up! (You might create a lock to keep them there) Kudos for coming up with a new and effective design! Now you need to design a grapple to pin on those brackets! ;-) See if you can use a mechanical (4 link) system so it doesn't need more hydraulics! That bracketry also lends itself well to a set of teeth which you could tip UP to clear the front cutting edge..So much potential there!! I am sure someone out there in Tractorland will find something "not good" about your design, but I think it has the potential to become a "System"!!!! Mike

  4. #4
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    236
    Location
    Purcellville, Va
    Tractor
    B7200D, B8200D

    Default Re: Bucket forks, but wait! These are different!

    Thanks! For keeping them up, when in the up position my bucket hooks on the top are just to the outside, so it's just as easy to run a chain from one to the other to hold them. I love playing with metal! All told, the brackets only add about 5 lbs to the bucket, so very little lift capacity lost. I figure they'll be a bit of a pain to keep crap out of the holes, but that's better than buying a QA setup, or making another pin-on setup. I do love that little kub, sad day though; it's little brother (my B7200) goes to it's new home tomorrow. Have to sell one to be able to afford the other.
    I admit that my forks are nowhere near as strong as many of the other designs available, but when taken in context of a small tractor with a 730lb capacity loader, I think they're a perfect match.
    As far as them becoming a 'system' that's nominally what I plan, using them as the main attach points for all bucket related items. How's this grab ya, a set of 3-point arms on the left and right bottom brackets, and a modified toplink in the top center? The ability to use non-pto 3pt attachments, without taking off the bucket? Put my scraper blade in backwards for pushing snow, using the landscape rake to reach into brush, etc?
    whodat

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    25
    Location
    Vaughn, Wa
    Tractor
    Mitsubishi MT1801D

    Default Re: Bucket forks, but wait! These are different!

    Well, THAT'S too perfect! the chain hook thing works. As for crap on the bracket holes=add more pins! (or plugs)..Just keep the holes full of stuff that's easier to remove. Gee, there's always that hose by the barn..That'll clear them out! Now get going on that grapple! (hee hee) I need a good design for mine..Right now I'm working on a way to change my pin-on (Koyker) bucket to a quick change so I can slip over to my forks more easily. But that's another post! Mike

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    1,924
    Location
    NH seacoast & Coos County
    Tractor
    Kioti DK45S

    Default Re: Bucket forks, but wait! These are different!

    I have clamp on forks that are on loan to a friend who is going to build his own. Just called him to hold the welder until he sees your design. Looking thru the pics I was doubtful. In the folded position they look too long until I saw the rock. Nice outside the box thinking. MikeD74T

  7. #7
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    236
    Location
    Purcellville, Va
    Tractor
    B7200D, B8200D

    Default Re: Bucket forks, but wait! These are different!

    So almost four years later these forks are holding tough. They're now about 4" shorter, because I was using them to pop a stump out of the ground and bent one. It was easier to cut the bent section out and weld it back together than to try to fix the bend. That said, to bend it I had to stick the fork under the stump and drive forward in 4lo while trying to curl the bucket; so far beyond their design parameters that I'm still impressed they only bent a little bit.
    Last edited by whodat90; 11-17-2010 at 04:35 PM. Reason: date wrong
    I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't it, and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me.

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