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  1. #1
    Gold Member CowwFace's Avatar
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    Conifer, Colorado
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    Kioti DK45SE HST, 401FEL, RB40-96 pivoting Rear Blade

    Default Tire Chains, Home Made Anyone done it?

    Hey List,

    I've looked at the threads on tire chains and I've seen one case where a guy made his own (right here in Colorado) back in 2006. Looks like there was some questions about how hard the cross link chains were?

    Has anyone built their own tire chains? and what did it cost compared to buying them?

    My back tires are 13.6 - 24 and Tirechain.com has them in the $300 to $400 range from duogrip I would probably go with the 2 link ladders for $350.00 a pair plus $74.00 shipping (can opt for next day air for $999.00).

    Do you guys think I could build them for less from scratch? Any thoughts on where to get the bulk chain?
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    Kioti DK40SE HST
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  2. #2
    Super Member crazyal's Avatar
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    Northern Vermont

    Default Re: Tire Chains, Home Made Anyone done it?

    I doubt you could build your own for much less than what it costs to buy them. Once you have the machines that can cut, weld, and bend chain as required there really isn't much else involved. With the engineering work of how long, which link to tie the cross chain to, and a table to do the work on with guides to keep from making mistakes the actual labor to assemble a set isn't very much.The companies buy chain in bulk at a much cheaper cost from who knows where in the world.

    If you're thinking of trying it I would suggest finding a skidder repair shop and try getting a used set of chains from them. Around here they give them away, if you can find them as most times they break in the woods and just get left there. Often the loggers will just get to a point where it's cheaper to replace them than repair them as they don't want to loose the time to repair them. If you can get a set you can buy some chain and repair them. With a little time and if your handy at welding you can cut them to size and fix them up without replacing all the chain. Plus you get the binding system.
    Kubota L4240,Case 580K backhoe, Case 450 Dozer

  3. #3
    Platinum Member mwb's Avatar
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    Ottawa Ont Canada
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    3940HST Montana

    Default Re: Tire Chains, Home Made Anyone done it?

    I made my own for my truck many years ago and they worked very well. I used grade 30 chain and even twisted all the links for the ladders I had very strong hands when I was done. I just let them go with a Suzuki SJ I had them on; after 15 years they did not show any wear but I did not run them on pavement or gravel, just snow and mud.

    I don't think it would be worth it to make them again - especially at the prices you can buy them for (here in Canada it seems to be a lot more expensive).

    I would guess you could build your own for about 60 - 70% of the price of the set you are looking at but a lot of work. You will have to decide how you are going to make your connections, clevices or cut and weld links like I did... Most likely you would end up using cheaper chain (Gr 30) so they wouldn't wear as well as the real thing - depending on how you treat them.

    I have made them and I would buy.
    Montana 3940HST
    Home made SS quick attach http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/s...d.php?t=141029

  4. #4
    Gold Member SensibleNick's Avatar
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    Ystad, Sweden
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    Foton FT254

    Default Re: Tire Chains, Home Made Anyone done it?

    More for the "because I can" factor, and the fact that chains for my (unusual) tyre sizes are going to be terrifyingly expensive to buy here in Sweden, I've also decided to make my own.

    Today I made the effort to plough our driveway, to get a car to the road, and nip out to buy 50 meters of very normal, very boring galvanised chain. So far the cost for all the parts is less than I'd have paid for a set of old worn chains that would need adapting anyway.... and I've bought enough to do all four wheels.

    I know it's going to wear out faster than normal stuff, but There's a maximum of 20 meters of tarmacked road that I'll be on, the rest is dirt-road. I'm only using the tractor to plough my own drive and a neighbour's yard, so they should last for years.

    I'll be copying the "nortractor" pattern that you can see here.

    I Can document it if you fancy?
    4 Acres, an 1890 Farmhouse and a Foton 254 + bits

  5. #5
    Veteran Member rScotty's Avatar
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    Many in the past. Today, a Kubota M59, JD530, JD310SG, Ex-Yanmars - 16 & 33 hp - now gone but never forgotten

    Default Re: Tire Chains, Home Made Anyone done it?

    Quote Originally Posted by CowwFace View Post
    Hey List,

    I've looked at the threads on tire chains and I've seen one case where a guy made his own (right here in Colorado) back in 2006. Looks like there was some questions about how hard the cross link chains were?

    Has anyone built their own tire chains? and what did it cost compared to buying them?SNIP. Do you guys think I could build them for less from scratch? Any thoughts on where to get the bulk chain?

    I'm probably that guy in Colorado. Making your own chains isn't hard, it just depends on how much you enjoy tinkering. I'd say a set is a two evening job. You absolutely have to have a big vise - the bigger the better, a selection of two foot pry bars with pin ends and flat ends both, a big hammer, and a good hacksaw with sharp blades or a big chain nipper. Your first set of chains will pay for all of those tools several times over. That's about it. The idea is to force the malleable iron connecting links apart and reconfigure the set, not to cut anything you don't have to.

    BTW, farm stores, tractor stores, and lots of others have chain parts, but you don't save much by buying new bulk chain and making your own. That, the connecting links, and the latches are most of the expense in chain making. It's easier and better and cheaper to re-size old chains.

    So if you want to go ahead, the first thing you need is several sets of old chains. They don't have to be serviceable chains. You don't care about the condition because even in worn-out chains the part that doesn't wear are the expensive pieces - those being the four long lengths that go around the tire circumference and have the latches on the end. Best would be to get some big enough that you can shorten; you don't want to bother with the work of lengthening if you don't have to. Although an exception to that might be good old automotive chains that are so dirt cheap that it might be worthwhile. For chains for big tires, Public Service maintenance garages and tractor repair shops often have used sets of truck or tractor chains they would like to get rid of. Often for scrap price or nothing.

    You can clean them up by dragging them down a dirt road for a few miles.

    Chains sets aren't welded together, they are a bunch of small sections of chain clipped together with malleable iron links that you can easily force apart and reuse dozens of times. You'll see how when you look at a set. Even in badly worn chains all that is required is to replace the cross sections, cut the long side sections to length and remount the latches. I like to make a cross or X patten for the cross pieces. That keeps them from falling into the tractor tire lugs, but frankly they work OK even if they are straight across.

    You will find that the overall length for the chain set is not a simple given measurement. One set of chains will fit a variety of tire sizes because different width tires allow the crossing pieces to wrap around more or less of the tire and that ends up affecting how long the side pieces of the chain will be.

    NOTE: if you make the cross pieces real long they will wrap so far around the tire that the side pieces can be very short....Those make beautifully 3-D basket shaped chains, but are nearly impossible to get on and off. Keep it simple. Make them simple and too long, fit them up, then shorten them to fit. The cross pieces near the latches often end up not matching the rest of the cross pieces when you do this but it doesn't matter.

    Hint: Make the chains out of lighter chain than you think you need. They aren't going to break unless you have a 100 hp loader tractor. Road-going dump truck chains are way heavier than you need. Think automotive size for 40 hp and smaller tractors. You don't need aggressive cross pieces with welded lugs and weird teeth. The chains are more than enough. You don't want so much traction that you end up breaking expensive tractor drive shafts or worse.

    Some more hints: As you reassemble the chain set, make it so the ends of the connecting links face away from the tire. No sense in having those sharper ends eating away at the tire rubber. Same for the latches; keep the tongue and any cotter pins away from the rubber.
    Latches come in a bewildering variety of types. Some are over center types and others have a type of locking slider. I detest having to crank hard to latch chains. A good set of latches on a well fit up set of chains don't require any cranking down at all. But if they have to be cranked on the first time they will probably stretch enough to be easy next time. Plus you now know how to adjust them. Some of the best latches I found are on older chain sets where the latches were made of rounded metal instead of being stamped steel. I often put a twist of safety wire on the latches at the start of winter so they CANNOT unlatch while turning. You don't want to get slapped by a loose chain while running down the road. I am religious about safety wiring the latches when I had to crank hard to close the latches. Because I know the chains are going to loosen up in service and often darn quickly. BTW, the mounting direction doesn't seem to matter.

    I use very light chains on the front of my little 4WD tractor. They are quick to put on by lifting the front wheels with the loader. After making them I realized that they were excessively loose and sloppy and I worrkied about them hitting the drive axle pieces which are close on the inside of the front wheels. So after putting them on I stretch one of those rubber "spiders" on the outer face of the chain and that keeps them happy. Amazing how long those rubber spiders last. Years.

    Oh, you asked about how hard the metal of the cross pieces has to be. It doesn't. Soft iron is fine; might even be better. Tires aren't all that hard, and you want to protect the tire.

    Good luck and let me know if you have questions.
    enjoy! rScotty

  6. #6
    Platinum Member Craig Clayton's Avatar
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    Uxbridge Ontario Canada
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    L2250 Kubota

    Default Re: Tire Chains, Home Made Anyone done it?

    I repaired a set of chains that fit a 8N Ford. The links were half or more worn through and I welded the crosser links up with 6011. In the end I was not having fun.
    Craig Clayton

  7. #7
    Super Star Member
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    Upper Midwest USA
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    JD_4x2_Gator, JD_4300, JD_X485, JD_425, JD_455, JD_110

    Default Re: Tire Chains, Home Made Anyone done it?

    Quote Originally Posted by CowwFace View Post
    Hey List,
    ......................Do you guys think I could build them for less from scratch? Any thoughts on where to get the bulk chain?
    I built my own, mainly because I didn't want the side chains running down so far on the side of the tire.

    I also don't like the "one size fits most tires" selection from the tire chain suppliers. They deal with the slop with chain tighteners and call it good. Doesn't work for me.

    Was some figuring to be done, but bought the side chain, the cross links in bulk, and the connection parts. About $200 10 year ago. They work great for me.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -tire_chains-jpg  

  8. #8
    Bronze Member wldrbob's Avatar
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    swan river manitoba canada
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    white 2/60 case 830 w4 international cletrac cat

    Default Re: Tire Chains, Home Made Anyone done it?

    i made chains for 18.4/30 about 15 years ago juat bought bulk 1/4 in chain a bunch of split chain repair links cut the chain to length for cross chains welded a piece of 1/4 x 1 and a 1/2 to form an x of 2 cross chains that way they stay on top of the lug while backing up .. didnt take long and im still using them every winter .. i use a 3/8 in threaded quick link to hold the ends together i feed round bales and skid logs with them on

  9. #9
    Super Member crazyal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tire Chains, Home Made Anyone done it?

    Quote Originally Posted by rScotty View Post
    Chains sets aren't welded together, they are a bunch of small sections of chain clipped together with malleable iron links that you can easily force apart and reuse dozens of times. You'll see how when you look at a set.
    The standard ladder style chains aren't welded but the dougrips and other styles might be. I'm not sure about other brands but the set I own has the standard crimped link on the side chains but where the chains come together where they make contact with the road they are welded.

    If you were looking to make a project out of this and wanted an excuse to buy a shop press I would think about using some 5/8" or 3/4" round bar and short little sections of grouser bar and make some rings like a skidder would have. These are round but you could easily make them in a square shape.

    Kubota L4240,Case 580K backhoe, Case 450 Dozer

  10. #10
    Gold Member SensibleNick's Avatar
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    Ystad, Sweden
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    Foton FT254

    Default Re: Tire Chains, Home Made Anyone done it?

    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    I built my own, mainly because I didn't want the side chains running down so far on the side of the tire.

    I also don't like the "one size fits most tires" selection from the tire chain suppliers. They deal with the slop with chain tighteners and call it good. Doesn't work for me.

    Was some figuring to be done, but bought the side chain, the cross links in bulk, and the connection parts. About $200 10 year ago. They work great for me.
    Nice neat job you've done there - rather like the Effect I'm aiming to achieve. As Crazyal points out though, the only ones I've seen that aren't welded in some way are the simple ladder ones. Mine aren't going to be ladders, And I've got the MIG all ready to roll
    4 Acres, an 1890 Farmhouse and a Foton 254 + bits

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