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Discussion Starter #1
I've wanted pallet forks for the 1025R ever since reading these forums (thank$ guy$!) but tractor budget is, well let's just say low priority. Now I've also wanted expand my hobbies from wood working to also dabble in metal fabrication. See where this is going?

So I bought a cheap little flux core welder a couple of years ago and have had fun welding small projects. Now time to take on a "real" project!

The plan:
  • Fork frame will be 3-point and JDQA compatable
  • Frame will be versatile enough to be used for future projects, possibly trenching bucket, grapple, etc...
  • Since I couldn't find cheap used forks, would make the forks as well
  • Due to welder limitations, nothing over 1/4" thick (unless welded together to increase thickness)
  • Strong enough to handle anything a sub-compact could throw at it
At this point I have the forks finished and the frame is nearly done. It is fully functional, but I want to put some finishing touches on it before priming and painting. Would also like some feedback and ideas, but I'm getting ahead of myself!
Also, a note on welding: I make no claims of being an expert welder. Some of the welds in the photos look ugly, but everything, so far, has been rock solid. I'll stress this before daily use to check for any signs of failure. In person the welds look much better than the photos (the photos tend to make them look a lot worse) and I can also tell that when welding, I'm getting good penetration.

My plans, whether wood working or this, tend to be mostly in my head. Nevertheless, here are my "plans" for the fork frame:
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here's progress on the frame:

The frame is made of 2.5"x2.5"x3/16" angle.

Notched to sit flush and tacked together:


Added vertical members for 3-point lower pin connections (and additional frame strength) out of more of the same angle iron:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The 3-point geometry is done for now, time to work on the loader QA brackets. Bent some 2"x.25" and 1"x.25" bar on my compact bender. These will later be welded together to make 3" wide brackets (the compact bender can only handle up to 2" wide stock). Here it is clamped in place as I figure out fitment:



For the bottom JDQA pin I wanted to angle it out so the loader level indicator would be as accurate as possible. It's a little off, but glad I did this otherwise there would be very little curl:

Lower pin bracket work in progress:

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Continuing work on lower pin bracket. Added plate and dry fitting pin:


You may notice most of the photos are at night. Before all the current craziness hit, this was my "wait until the kids are in bed" project. BTW, started in late January but had been tossing the idea around for several months before.

The pins were made from large bolts cut, ground, and drilled to size. Perfect fit!

With the frame connection geometry finished, it was time to start on the forks. My plan for the forks was to use 1.5"x3"x3/16" angle welded together to form tubing (it was cheaper this way!). Two of these tubes would be joined to form an "L" and thus, a fork.

After tacking the bottom tubes together, I cut out wedges to create a taper:



Fork progress:


Working on the top brackets that ride on the frame. The holes are large enough to hook straps to for ??? use. It's nice to have options:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Forks are tacked together and testing fit on frame. Still have to create bottom retaining brackets:




This is about the time my little welder died on me. Looking back, I'm glad as it was opportunity to upgrade! Now this was a hard sell to the wife, but I found what has so far been an excellent welder (in my amateur experience). Yes, it's straight off the boat from China, but reviews on Amazon were very good.

It's a dual voltage (only have 120V in the garage at the moment but one of these days I'm going to install a sub panel and rewire) and also multiprocess Stick, MIG, Flux Core, and with additional spool gun, TIG. About $370 on Amazon and what a difference it makes. Even on 120V it gets the metal HOT!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
With the new welder, I re-welded the structural joints on the forks and added gussets from 1/4" thick steel. Here's one, not fully welded yet:


Added retaining brackets from bend 2"x1/4" bar welded to inside of bottom tube, then cleaned up and primed:


Here are a couple more detail shots of the forks painted in gloss black:

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Next step, not on my very detailed plan lol, was to add a 2" receiver hitch to the frame:





That last weld looks especially gross in photo and admittedly it's not the prettiest, but it penetrated.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So this brings us to the present state, as of this post, of the project. This is the part where feedback on ideas would be much appreciated!

Here are some of my thoughts to add versatility to the frame:
  • Add 2" receiver hitches to outside of the inside vertical members (where the 3-point lower pins are attached but at the top of the member). See photo below for one clamped in place. These receivers could be used to mount a manual grapple or who knows what else?
  • Add Ken's Bolt On Hooks - either the weld on hooks or clevis mounts - to the top of the frame at each corner. These would also act as "stops" to keep the forks from sliding off (forgot to mention that the forks have clamping bolts to keep them in place but I doubt they'll be needed). The hooks or clevis mounts could then be good attachment points for chains or straps.
  • Drill a couple of holes down each side for accessories, such as a bolt-on chainsaw holder.
Like I said, would appreciate any ideas, comments, or questions.
Thanks for looking!
 

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Looks good. Just a few suggestions on reinforcing a couple things.

Throw a pice of flat stock on this top rail to add strength
731520


Some more reinforcing

731522
731523


These are just my thoughts from observation. Maybe it adds too much weight maybe not. Maybe I don’t know crap and just spouting off as usual. Nice build and hope it gives you years of usefulness
 

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When you get a chance could you please some more pictures of the lower JDQA bolt fabrication assembly. My dealer wanted something like $35 for 1 of the lower tapered pins. At first I thought that was the price for 2, he said, no that's just one. Oh, you mean one whole JDQA assembly, ie top hook and lower pin?. No, just the pin. Ok, bye.

EDIT: Ok, had another look at your pictures, basically did you just weld the bolt head right to the frame, then the flat stock is the "spacer"?
 

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As long as you're still in the fab stage, Artillian has a cool idea of putting slots on the top corners or the back rest area. You can then slide chain into it for securing your load. I often wish mine had that feature. You may want to consider building up the top member that goes over the frame; theres a lot of force that pull down off that point. It looks like you only used 1/4" material there. Just my $0.02. Have fun with the project.
 

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Not to be negative , but , you need to bevel all those welds , and get a welder or someone who can . Kevin .
 

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Discussion Starter #15
When you get a chance could you please some more pictures of the lower JDQA bolt fabrication assembly.
EDIT: Ok, had another look at your pictures, basically did you just weld the bolt head right to the frame, then the flat stock is the "spacer"?
There's a 1/4" thick backer plate that I drilled a slightly over sized hole through to allow a little wiggle room. Then took some 7/8" bolts, cut to length, beveled edges, and marked and drilled location for retaining holes. Then, with the frame on the loader, positioned the bolts/pins and welded them in place from the back side.


As long as you're still in the fab stage, Artillian has a cool idea of putting slots on the top corners or the back rest area. You can then slide chain into it for securing your load. I often wish mine had that feature. You may want to consider building up the top member that goes over the frame; theres a lot of force that pull down off that point. It looks like you only used 1/4" material there. Just my $0.02. Have fun with the project.
That's a good idea! Also, the top mounting brackets on the forks are 1/2" thick.

Today I took them out to test them out. Moved some large logs with ease, dug, ripped up roots, etc... Was lots of fun.
Took a couple more photos before putting the tractor up...

 

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Discussion Starter #16
Forgot to mention some additional stats:
  • Current weight of frame ~85 lbs
  • Weight of each fork ~35 lbs
  • Length of forks ~36"
  • Cost of materials ~$200. I purchased from MetalsDepot and picked up in my truck, so lengths were limited to 10'. If I could transport 20' pieces I could've probably gotten it much cheaper from a larger steel supplier in a nearby larger city.
  • Everything was cut with an angle grinder. I'd really love a chop or band saw!
 

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Very neat, cool project thank you for sharing. Almost as much fun building as it is ypto use.
 

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When you get a chance could you please some more pictures of the lower JDQA bolt fabrication assembly. My dealer wanted something like $35 for 1 of the lower tapered pins. At first I thought that was the price for 2, he said, no that's just one. Oh, you mean one whole JDQA assembly, ie top hook and lower pin?. No, just the pin. Ok, bye.

EDIT: Ok, had another look at your pictures, basically did you just weld the bolt head right to the frame, then the flat stock is the "spacer"?
CAT3 pins from TSC make great pins, and you can use heavy angle iron for the hooks.

731584
 

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That’s exactly what I used when I built my first set of forks, cat 3 lift pins from TSC. (y)
 

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Nice job! I would say from your pic with the front of the tractor off the ground your welds are good! Thanks for sharing!
Good luck with your next project... you don't want to have to tell your wife why the new welder is just sitting there collecting dust! Lol
Take care and stay safe!
WB
 
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