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Hi folks,

To make the grapple attachment as useful as possible, I'm asking for your input to help fine tune it as an all purpose design. There are lots of variables that can make them better at one task than another. Geographical location alone will have a big effect on what you would use a grapple to do.

Even just mentioning what specific uses you would have for a grapple will be helpful. Stone work? Brush clearing? Log processing? Etc, etc, etc.....?

For a frame of reference, this design is slated to take the place of the fork tines on the Artillian fork frame to capitalize on its strength and to save weight and cost. And of course, it will be optimized for subcompact/compact tractors.

Thanks
 

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I know I use my grapple exclusively for brush, logs, and roots. It would be a benefit for if I need to move a large rock or something, but it's duty is for moving downed trees.
 

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Stumps, logs, brush, mean children :laugh:
 

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WOW! I really thought this would be a hot topic!

Here is my 2 cents:

I have the grapple that was sold by Markham Welding (out of business now). It was originally made for the SSL market, but adapted to CUT when they became super popular years ago on TBN, I helped Melissa and Alan with the JDQA part by telling them what it would fit, and providing pictures that are still floating around the web.



Here are pictures of my grapple on my 4110 machine, pretty much the same size as a 2320/2520: https://picasaweb.google.com/113966569709555812037/MyGrapple
Here is what I dislike about it:
-To heavy at 350+ pounds.
-To long, the lower tines are just shy of 36", that just adds weight and reduces lift capacity as you know.
-TERRIBLE looking welds, splatter everywhere, very poor paint.
-The lower tines are flat, I would like them curved up a bit.

Here is what I like about it:
-Strong! To strong in fact...its really built for a SSL (skid steer loader)
-The guard on the cylinder protects the fittings and hoses.
-The pivots/joints are all greaseable with recessed zerks, they look like they are mass produced and welding in. Very heavy duty but absolutely completely overkill for us.

The grapple I want(ed): Was made by a company called Millonzi, he died supposedly and had some $$ problems so they are no longer made (either is the one I have for that matter).

My crude drawing and some pictures:



 

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I have a Markham grapple as well. Actually, it's "Gator" grapple, which is the Co that bought out Melissa and Alan.

The fit and finish on it is crap, but at the same time I only paid 1000$ for it relative to 3-4000$ I could've paid for a frontier. It is very robust, as Kenny says.

It does a nice job. I've moved downed trees, tidied up tree prunings, busted up a concrete slab and carried it away, and used it to cleanup old hay.

It's been worth every cent I paid for it.

If I could design one, I wound make it with different removable 'floor' pieces so that you could use it to move manure one day, brush the next, and stones the next.

-J.
 

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I like that drawing Ken... FWIW, my grapple is junk compared to what is available. Not sure what the previous owner was using it for, but it looks like it was dropped from 30,000' onto a parking lot then very poorly repaired with bad welds and little attention to detail.

Like Ken, mine don't 'round up' at the end, this makes it hard to hang on to stuff. Be sure to incorporate a way that when you open the grapple all the way, you can back drag with the front (top) of the grapple into a pile and then clamp it together. Mine can do that, but the top needs to be longer in my opinion.
 

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I saw this design a while ago, and thought it was interesting. Sounds like you plan to do more of a full grapple, which I think is a good idea, but this would be the lightest possible way (I think).

Skid Steer FORK GRAPPLE
 

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This is just a conspiracy theory, but the company that the link above goes to is in Denton NC, which I'm pretty sure is where Markham, and then Gator, came from. They look awfully similar to the Markham/Gator models....

Interesting.

-J.
 

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I would want it to move brush, logs, rocks and any other items which I could grab and move. I have a 990 with a 300CX FEL.

I like the forks that it came with and have moved all the above thus far with them. However it would be real nice if I could grab stuff. I have lost the brush pile a couple of times even when I have tried to chain it. Most likely due to the fact I want to move as much as I can at one time. It would be nice to grab onto a log and pick it up or the same with a rock.

I agree on the rounded bottom but I also see the advantage at times of the flat bottom as in using the forks.

I agree that they should open wide for those brush piles and other things you really have to reach around.

Protect the hydraulic cylinder(s) and also make all the grease points available but protected.

Make it so it will last and that it can handle material well.

I have seen many different models out there and have not bought yet.

Ken pointed out the weight and that is a big one.

So maybe make it out of titanium and carbon fiber!:laugh:
 

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I have picked up several rocks with the Artillian forks set up that were a match for my 2520 and never thought I needed a grapple just more hydraulic power. I have picked up ridiculous piles ( picture a brush pile with a green and yellow tractor hiding behind it) of brush and wanted the grapple so I didn't have to tie/chain them on my forks and still lose a little on the way to the burn pile. Where I would really enjoy it is picking up logs and not having them shift around. I don't think a lot of strength is needed to hold things on so much as it is to protect us from over stressing it. Looking forward to this, more later. Thanks Chris
 

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I use my Artillian forks for all of the different components of moving firewood. The primary task where I would use a grapple instead would be in lifting the logs off of my trailer and/or off of the stacked drying piles to cut them down. Having something that could allow me to reach over the wheel wells of my trailer easily or hold the log in place as I cut the ends off would be immensely helpful.

Now... With that said, I would be interested in the following (if it could be made to perform):

- A *MECHANICALLY OPERATED* grapple device. If I could have raise, lower, dump, and curl be my only hydraulic functions (meaning that I don't need to add extra hydraulics to the machine) and the grabbing component of the grapple could be operated in a different way, that would be perfect.
- Something to use as an add-on to the tines instead of a replacement for them. Keeping the weight down to an absolute minimum and allowing me to utilize as much lifting power as possible for the "cargo" is the ideal. The tines are plenty strong enough to hold the weight, I just need something to coax the logs onto the tines when they're pointed straight down and then hold them there while I lift off of the pile.

What about something that could attach to the fork frame and have curved teeth on the end that would bite into a log and hold by itself (no engagement needed, gravity would allow the teeth to bite in). Release could be accomplished by curling the loader and then pulling a release lever to get it to "pop up". I think there would need to be a weight system involved to engage / release a spring mechanism based on positioning of the device.

I'll give it some thought and see what my crazy ideas my brain can come up with if there is interest from others in a device like this.
 

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I as well have a markham/gator grapple that by far has been my most used implement and well worth the money. I have even had it smoldering from consolidating brush burn piles. It has carried things that I would never have been able to move and once you get the hang of laying it over a brush pile and closing it while you raise it, you can pick up an amazingly big pile in one scoop!

At times I wish the top "claw" lined up better with the bottom tines - sometimes I try to pick up (vs scoop up) larger but not really large rocks or branches etc that i dont want to carry by hand by grasping the rock/branch between the top claw and bottom times and this can be difficult because they don't line up. THe end of the claw could line up with a tine and make that easier(sort of like closing a finger and thumb to pick up something.)

I also wish there was a slight curve in the bottom tines (or in the top claw) as often when I close the top to secure something like a rock it pushes the item forward away from the tractor which is opposite of what I want to do when it is heavy. My top claw has sort of bent it's way into a curve over time and probably works better than it did when I first got it!

This reminds me sort of off topic but you could probably fashion this (or it already exist) but this seems to be my worst behaving implement to hook up as it seems to build pressure in the lines and I can't get one or another connected and have to find a way to bleed the line. I wish there was a little valve on the cylinder that I could push to do this.
 
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