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Discussion Starter #1
I actually enjoy blowing snow, but I don't enjoy being cold and miserable. So I've always had a cab and heat on any tractor I've had. Unfortunately, the cabs that came from the manufacturer left me cold. They were nicely built, but they were heavy, clumsy and EXPENSIVE. My neighbor has a cab on an x595 that he swears will never come off, even in the summer since it's so heavy.

For my past three tractors, a Bolens, g345 and a Kubota G1800, I've built my own cabs from common building materials and can honestly say they've been just as good, if not better than the factory jobs for a fraction of the cost. I'm about to build my next cab for an X728 and will document the build with pics and text for anyone interested. It won't be a step-by-step instructional manual, but it'll give you an idea what's involved and you can decide for yourself if you're interested in doing it for yourself. Even though I'm building it on a 728, the same basic principles should be applicable for most any series.

Stay tuned, I'll be getting into it tomorrow.
 

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OK kids, here's the first installment of our DIY cab build. A couple of points:
I'm flying by the seat of my pants, no drawings, no instruction manual.
What you see here may not (probably not) work for you. It's a general presentation of the good, bad and ugly of the process. Your results may vary.
Use common sense and good wood construction practices.

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First things first, just like building a house, the foundation is critical. As you can see, the base overhangs the rear fenders in order to accommodate the seat back in its full back position. Select your bolt holes carefully to avoid things like structural webs, wiring and gas tanks. Try to get your side rails as level as possible. And of course, square everything up.

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First piece of framing going up, 1x4's. Note that the 1x4's are cut into the base framing. You need to keep all your framing flush, otherwise the installation of the panels will be a nightmare. Leave plenty of stock to be cut off later as the project develops. Paint interior surfaces now, they're a PITA to paint after everything is closed in.

That's it for tonight, more tomorrow.
 

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OK, here's where it gets interesting. You've got your rear base installed, leveled and squared. Now it's time to locate and install an attachment for the3 front of the cab. This is a challenge because there's not much to square off. Make sure your pedals clear when depressed.

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Do the same thing on the other side.

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Use a straightedge from sis to side to ensure you have a flat surface up front, unless you're planning on a curved windshield.

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At this point you can install the top framing, cut off excess stock and drop your roof panel into place.

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Install framing for the bottom of the windshield. Check to make sure your hood clears when opening. Don't worry about the gap. You'll install a hinged cover to make up the space later on.

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OK, time for the door. What can I say, make it look like a door. Hardest thing about this is making it solid, so use plenty of corner reinforcements.

Starting to look like a cab. If you've done your best to square things up, believe it or not, the hardest part is over. If you haven't squared things up your job just keeps getting harder. The rest of the job is to finish the frame off with paneling and plexiglass.
 

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Great work thus far, really nice job. I like to use the Kreg pocket screw jig to joint wood and they will be very very sturdy. Add a little wood glue and they're never coming apart. Or, don't add glue and you can remove the screws and take it apart for storage. I'm going to use your design and incorporate it my X590 next year.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks CMS and your point about pocket screws is spot-on. Hopefully, others will chime in with their ideas to make the process faster, stronger and prettier. The nice thing about DIY is that you're always challenging yourself to do it better.

I had to take a couple days off for my other life, but will be back tomorrow night with (hopefully) some more progress.
 

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Thanks CMS and your point about pocket screws is spot-on. Hopefully, others will chime in with their ideas to make the process faster, stronger and prettier. The nice thing about DIY is that you're always challenging yourself to do it better.

I had to take a couple days off for my other life, but will be back tomorrow night with (hopefully) some more progress.
You got some great ideas there and you will save $$$$$ for sure.. The only thing I would add is a view slot on the two front upright supports to see where the tires and blower are.. I find on my Curtis if the snow builds up on the lower glass it's pretty hard to actually get as close as I want in some instances.. I'm sure you've already thought about that and I'm just out of line with my suggestion,, carry on and please keep the pictures coming, I'm very interested in others inventions on GTT.... Jeff
 

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Great job and thanks for sharing it with us. I like all the open area on the sides for a good view out. My only concern would be the wide pillars on the front, I feel like if I had a cab I would need as much open/plexiglass area as possible so as to not feel closed in. But that is just personal preference, please keep posting............:thumbup1gif:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Good thoughts all, and yes those front pillars are waaaay too wide. However, that was the rough framing and in future pics you'll see that they're cut back to accommodate a 36" wide windshield. I had hoped to show more progress tonight, but things keep getting in the way. Saturday is going to be magic - I promise.
 

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Pic doesn't show it well, but I did cut those front pillars down to accommodate a 36" windshield. Better shots to come. Now is the time to consider the height of the windshield and that's governed by the hood opening clearance and thus requires a hinged panel. Looks simple, but cutting to fit a three dimensional curve takes some time. Fortunately, you don't have to be too precise because we'll be adding soft filler later on.

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OK, now it's starting to look like a cab. I applied 1/4" paneling on the right and back sides to frame the plexiglass. The white corner trim you see on the top and back corners is simply PVC outside corner moulding, just for cosmetic purposes to clean up the corners

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Hold the paneling back from the 1x4 framing. This provides a frame for the plexiglass. Clear silicone sealant will hold the plexiglass in place. On previous cabs I drilled and screwed the plexiglass. It's a very tedious process and if you rush it you'll crack the plexiglass in a most unpleasant way. So I'm trying this and hoping it works.
BTW, I'm leaving all the plexiglass off until after I have all the interior components (heater, wiring, plumbing) completed, way better access and less risk of damage.

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Crappy photo, but it shows the addition of a light bar, strobe light and windshield wiper. I'll detail the windshield wiper later. Note that I made the windshield frame out of moulding rather than 1/4" paneling. I cut a recess in the moulding to accept the thickness of the glass.
This provides a much more secure mounting for the glass which weighs considerably more than the plexiglass. I was surprised that the laminated glass cost only about 50% more than the equivalent plexiglass, $39.

Tomorrow, if if I can sneak into the shop I'll be wiring the lights and heater and plumbing the heater.
 

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OK, time to wrap this thing up. The hard part is done and what's left is the wiring and plumbing of the heater, wiring the lights and installing the windows.

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Here's the arrangement of the heater and switches. I located the heater to be clear of controls and below the radiator water level to avoid an air pocket. The switch panel is powered by 12v off the starter run through a fuse block with circuits for the heater, light bar and strobe light. I got the heater off ebay for about $50 dollars, free shipping.

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Here's the plumbing side of the heater. There's a really good tutorial on plumbing the heater on Cozycab's website, http://www.cozycab.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/05-11243.pdf

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It's pretty straightforward, the hardest part being the congested quarters where the connections have to be made. The tee is intended as a means of "burping" the system.

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The Armstrong windshield wiper consists of a piece of scrap tubing welded to a 5/8" all-thread shaft. I ran it through the bulkhead through a piece of 1/2" conduit sleeve.

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For the working side, I went to my local salvage yard and picked up a windshield wiper arm for $3. I drilled the socket out 5/8" to accept the all-thread shaft, ran a shaftlock screw through it and bolted the whole thing up. Sweet.

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When all the interior work was done and cleaned up it's time to install the windows. I wasn't quite sure how securing the plexiglass in place with silicone sealant was going to work, but it worked great and really beats drilling, screwing and cracking the plexiglass.
I only installed plexiglas on the sides and back. I went with 1/4" laminated glass for the windshield for safety and practical reasons. The flexibility of plexiglass does not lend itself to windshield wiping and is scratched easily by the wiper. I mounted the windshield glass in moulding.

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Almost done. The only thing left is to seal up any gaps. I used 3/4" pipe insulation, but just about any foam will do.

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And here's the finished product. Nobody is going to mistake it for a Curtiss or JD factory job, but it'll do the job just as well at a fraction of the price. Speaking of price, here's the final tally:
Construction materials, wood, plexiglass, paint, hardware, etc. - ~$220
Heater, hoses, clamps, fittings, etc. - $90
Light bar - $53 (Harbor Freight w/20% coupon)
Strobe light - $16 (Amazon, free shipping)

That's less than $400 out of pocket. This, of course doesn't include the "cost" of your labor. I didn't keep track, but my best guess is 35-40 hours, working in bits and pieces. It would probably be less if I had been able to put in full days.

So, is a DIY cab for you? Do you have basic woodworking skills? Able to work around challenging problems? Have a lot of patience? Want to save a sh*tload of money? If so, maybe it's for you.
 

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Excellent job for sure:thumbup1gif:, paint the white trim on outside of cab yellow and its perfect!
 

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Looks great. Thanks for taking the time to post the pics and write up!:good2::good2:
 

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OK, time to wrap this thing up. The hard part is done and what's left is the wiring and plumbing of the heater, wiring the lights and installing the windows.


Here's the arrangement of the heater and switches. I located the heater to be clear of controls and below the radiator water level to avoid an air pocket. The switch panel is powered by 12v off the starter run through a fuse block with circuits for the heater, light bar and strobe light. I got the heater off ebay for about $50 dollars, free shipping.


Here's the plumbing side of the heater. There's a really good tutorial on plumbing the heater on Cozycab's website, http://www.cozycab.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/05-11243.pdf


It's pretty straightforward, the hardest part being the congested quarters where the connections have to be made. The tee is intended as a means of "burping" the system.


The Armstrong windshield wiper consists of a piece of scrap tubing welded to a 5/8" all-thread shaft. I ran it through the bulkhead through a piece of 1/2" conduit sleeve.


For the working side, I went to my local salvage yard and picked up a windshield wiper arm for $3. I drilled the socket out 5/8" to accept the all-thread shaft, ran a shaftlock screw through it and bolted the whole thing up. Sweet.


When all the interior work was done and cleaned up it's time to install the windows. I wasn't quite sure how securing the plexiglass in place with silicone sealant was going to work, but it worked great and really beats drilling, screwing and cracking the plexiglass.
I only installed plexiglas on the sides and back. I went with 1/4" laminated glass for the windshield for safety and practical reasons. The flexibility of plexiglass does not lend itself to windshield wiping and is scratched easily by the wiper. I mounted the windshield glass in moulding.


Almost done. The only thing left is to seal up any gaps. I used 3/4" pipe insulation, but just about any foam will do.




And here's the finished product. Nobody is going to mistake it for a Curtiss or JD factory job, but it'll do the job just as well at a fraction of the price. Speaking of price, here's the final tally:
Construction materials, wood, plexiglass, paint, hardware, etc. - ~$220
Heater, hoses, clamps, fittings, etc. - $90
Light bar - $53 (Harbor Freight w/20% coupon)
Strobe light - $16 (Amazon, free shipping)

That's less than $400 out of pocket. This, of course doesn't include the "cost" of your labor. I didn't keep track, but my best guess is 35-40 hours, working in bits and pieces. It would probably be less if I had been able to put in full days.

So, is a DIY cab for you? Do you have basic woodworking skills? Able to work around challenging problems? Have a lot of patience? Want to save a sh*tload of money? If so, maybe it's for you.
Good job and you did save a lot of money. I have one question;; With the doors opening to the front do they tend to want to slam shut? Or was that the plan so you didnt need to use gas closers such as the other manufactures use and what keeps the doors closed? I must have missed something along the way. Well ok I have two questions; when are you going into production! :thumbup1gif:
 

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That does look GREAT!!! Nice Job!!

If I had to use mine in the winter more than once or twice, I'd look into doing something like that.

Question - Is it loud inside the cab? That's one complaint that I've heard others say after putting a cab on their tractor.
 

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Good job and you did save a lot of money. I have one question;; With the doors opening to the front do they tend to want to slam shut? Or was that the plan so you didnt need to use gas closers such as the other manufactures use and what keeps the doors closed? I must have missed something along the way. Well ok I have two questions; when are you going into production! :thumbup1gif:
Actually, when the door is opened fully it tends to stay open. Wish I could say I planned it that way, but no. As for keeping the door closed, I was going to fab up a friction latch, but as it turns out, the weight of the door pretty much keeps it closed all by itself. I may end up putting in a latch, but for now I'm OK with it as is. Gas closure? Hmmmm.

Sorry, this is a one-off. If someone wants to build their own I'm happy to help.
 

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That does look GREAT!!! Nice Job!!

If I had to use mine in the winter more than once or twice, I'd look into doing something like that.

Question - Is it loud inside the cab? That's one complaint that I've heard others say after putting a cab on their tractor.
It's a little louder inside the cab than it would be without the cab, but not overly objectionable. I suppose you could use something like Fatmat, a sound suppression insulation to bring the sound level down, but I'm not to that point.
 

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Actually, when the door is opened fully it tends to stay open. Wish I could say I planned it that way, but no. As for keeping the door closed, I was going to fab up a friction latch, but as it turns out, the weight of the door pretty much keeps it closed all by itself. I may end up putting in a latch, but for now I'm OK with it as is. Gas closure? Hmmmm.

Sorry, this is a one-off. If someone wants to build their own I'm happy to help.
I must have been drinking on the job,, gas strut rods open the doors and the windshield and keep them open not close them Sorry about that! What was I thinking! I do find cabs on these machines are louder for sure but I wear shooting ear muffs and have an older walkman with ear buds inside the muffs,, Only thing I really hear is music! In the summer I take the doors, windshield and rear window off,, nice and quiet in the summer. I'll say it again,, great job and do we have to pay traveling for you to come to ,, say Massachusetts to help out!! :lol:
 

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I'll say it again,, great job and do we have to pay traveling for you to come to ,, say Massachusetts to help out!! :lol:
I'd be happy to travel to travel to MA, but my beer budget would probably price me out of the market.
 
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