Plug Ugly ballast box build
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    Plug Ugly's Avatar
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    Plug Ugly ballast box build

    I'm building a ballast box to go with the 4052R and 440R MSL loader I have. I had some general ideas in mind, a target weight of ~1,000lbs and wanted to be able to use it on the front with my forks if I chose to. I started with a trip to my local steel supplier/ fab shop, where I know the foreman and he gives me a good deal on drop pieces left over from their paying jobs. I bought a variety of drops he had shown in the first photo (not all of which will be used in this project) for $100.



    I gathered some other stuff I thought I might need from my pile of leftovers from other projects.



    Then I fired up the plasma cutter and started cutting the tubes. I'm sure my old saw horses were hating their life when I was cutting the (2) 60" 3/8th's tubes. I know putting them on the saw horses made me feel old. I used the angle iron as a hand guide.



    Cut in fourths, they were much easier to manhandle. The height I chose for the box I chose was based on having two pieces of the heavy tube 60" long.



    The main components are (4) pieces of 8" X 8" by /8ths thick square tube for the corners cut at 30" long, (2) 4X8 X 1/4" rectangle tube for the "front" and "back" at 28" long and (4) 4 X 7 x 3/16ths for the "side" pieces and the fork pockets on the bottom. I used various other materials I had around to make the mounting points. I wanted it to be iMatch compatible, but also usable without. I have the extended top hook on my iMatch, so I used the old one to help mock this part up. The box works with both hooks.

    The square tube in this picture is just for spacing:



    Here I'm laying out the width I want to make it fit the iMatch. The size of tubing I bought worked out well. The whole thing could be made with 8" tubing, the 7" I got was just what I got in my mixed bag.



    I layed out the tubing clamped together so it would all line up in the end.



    This was too heavy for my drill press (and the switch decided today was a good day to die), so I had to go hand to hand on it. Rigid 18v FTW.





    With the pins drilled and top hook mocked up, I recessed the tractor side of the center tubing for line up of the pins.



    Measuring is good. Test fitting is better:



    Front and back, not 100% welded but stitched pretty solid. I'll get a feel for how much I want to weld solid as I go. I know it doesn't need full length welding, but some of it will look better (at least to me) that way.



    If you weld and you don't have at least one of these squares from Fireball tools, you don't know what you're missing.



    My little Miller 211 was welding the 3/8ths to the best of my ability. I have the older style of the 211, but had no issues with duty cycle.




    At this point I had to wheel my welding table out of my welding room and into the general area of my pole building. I could still lift and rotate the "halves", but I knew once I started making it a real box it would be forks time. Some times you need to persuade things and use a lot of clamps. I plan on mounting the jack in this picture on the box somewhere before I'm done.



    Satan's wind chime or ballast box, you be the judge:



    We are into "too heavy for this old man" zone at this point, the tractor comes in.



    At this point, my drill press on/off switch has been broken for two days. Luckily, the replacement showed up and I promptly ran out of welding wire. I did receive the scale that Kenny recommended in the "what we did in our shop today" thread. So I threw the fork tubes on top and weighed the assembly so far, I'll save you the blurry and reflective photo of the scale screen: 566 lbs. I still have some other features to add, so I'm guessing I'll be right around or over 600 before I add Portland cement to the center portion.

    I went and got wire, fixed the drill press, and once I was cleaned up for the wire trip I decided now was a good time to post the progress so far and make the switch to just posting updates as I work on it. Things that will still be coming and engineered as I go: receiver hitch mounts for stuff, trailer mover mount, jack mount, shackle mounts, skidding tong attachment points, SMV triangle mount, tool box holder, chainsaw holders... I should just put an electromagnet on it and turn in on in my shop at this point.

    Cost so far: ~$100 in material, one drill press switch:$11.99, One Silver Streak mechanical pencil (RIP, could not support the box weight flipped onto it) and a 12lb spool of wire: $50. It won't take the whole spool, but that's what I spent at the weld shop. The scale was $129.99, but that will always be handy.
    Last edited by Plug Ugly; 09-27-2018 at 04:39 PM.

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    Very interesting design, thank you for bringing us with you on this project.
    Your welds look very nice.
    What are you going to be slinging around on the three point when you have the new box on your forks?
    1025R FILB, vintage: 2015
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    "18" cart
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    Stihl equipment: Saws; MS261C, MS462C, MS661RCM and Blower; BR600 and Trimmer; FS70R and Hedge Cutter; HL 56K and Pressure Washer; RB400
    Husky log splitter

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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Super cool and nice fab work.
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    You weld purtty.

    Do you always have spare 8"x8" square tube laying around?
    D160 Mower/Bagger.
    2014 2032R tractor/H130 FEL w/Bolt-On Hooks/54" Snow Plow/iMatch Quick-Hitch/County Line 5' Scraper blade/County Line Carry-All/Artillian 42" Forks & QH Adapter/JD Ballast Box/Frontier SB1164 3PH Blower/Leinbach PHD/Wallenstien BX42 Chipper

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    Plug Ugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff B View Post
    Very interesting design, thank you for bringing us with you on this project.
    Your welds look very nice.
    What are you going to be slinging around on the three point when you have the new box on your forks?
    Probably only used in rare log skidding scenarios, but I wanted it to be easy to move and place with forks. I might want to trailer my tractor somewhere with the forks, ballast box, and a different 3pt implement. Here's how I left it tonight, I still have to weld the fork pockets on the bottom, but this is the basic structure:



    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    You weld purtty.
    Thanks, I'm self taught in welding and I have good equipment now. I seem to only notice my welds I'm not happy with, and there are still plenty of those. I work hard to get myself a relatively clean platform and get good positioning when I can.
    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    Do you always have spare 8"x8" square tube laying around?
    If I did, there would be a lot of very heavy things being built.

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    Old Pa-pa Old Cajun's Avatar
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    Very unique approach to a ballast box.
    Neil

    2019 4066R with cab (aka Cooterpiller), 2014 997 Z Trak
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    Herminator's Avatar
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    Nice job. Anymore anything I make has fork pockets under it and sometimes a quick tach for the skid loader. I love the metal walled shop. That is what I have and it makes it easy to clean and to relax after welding.

    How far from the ground will the bottom be when it is fully raised?
    Last edited by Herminator; 09-27-2018 at 10:47 PM.
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    mjncad's Avatar
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    That's looking good, and I see you got yourself a Fireball Tools MegaSquare. I could have used a few of them in the past.

    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    Big
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    Like you said, full length weld was not needed in most locations but you'll be glad in long run I think. Stich weld would have allowed water btwn the tubes an possibly rust. Good looking work, looking forward to seeing the finished product
    -2017 2032R, Loader, I-Match, Ken's Extended Top Hook, MMM, JD Ballast Box, Landscape Rake, Tarter Tiller, Boom Pole, Middle Buster/Potato Plow, Drag Harrow, Single Row Hipper, 5' Enorossi sickle bar, 3 point spike drag, Titan 42" Forks, 60" Box Blade, Landpride 3 point spreader.

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    Plug Ugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herminator View Post

    How far from the ground will the bottom be when it is fully raised?
    I have test fit it in the tractor, but I didn't measure that. The pins are 15" from the bottom of the box, I do know that. So Max lift height minus 15".

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