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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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.
 

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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?
 

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Super cool and nice fab work. :thumbup1gif:
 

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You weld purtty. :laugh:

Do you always have spare 8"x8" square tube laying around?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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:



You weld purtty. :laugh:
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.
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. :laugh:
 

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Very unique approach to a ballast box. :good2:
 

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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?
 

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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:bigthumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
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:bigthumb:
I'm considering putting a metal top on my concrete with a drain for the same reasons. I want to avoid any corrosion jacking inside the structure.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Back at it today between other stuff.

I like to weld stuff together when drilling it to save me time. Don't judge me by my drill press chips.



What do you do once you've bought an extended IMatch hook from Kenny? You incorporate your old one into Ballastzilla.



Got it off the table and on to the ground for the next round of stuff. I almost screwed up and welded the fork pockets on, which would have made some of this stuff harder.



I backed this top hook with a plate inside the tube, and I'm 99% sure both of the middle tubes front and back will be filled with concrete to make weight.



Sorry my pictures are blurry, I was getting a little sick of digging the phone out and didn't take a lot. I wanted a place to mount shackles, so in they went.



And because there is no kill like overkill, I tied them all the way through the 3/8ths tubes.



I'm not bragging on my welding with this close up, I'm bragging on the new wire. I've generally just grabbed whatever weld wire was convenient when I needed it. I actually went to the weld shop and got wire from them, which was Weldcote. It's like buttah. I'm sold, no more big box store wire.



Now things are going to start to get interesting....

 

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If you're not gonna brag yourself, I'll do it for ya. Those are some purty welds! :bigthumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If you're not gonna brag yourself, I'll do it for ya. Those are some purty welds! :bigthumb:
Thanks, but before my head gets too big, let's look at the bottom of the box so far. :laugh:

I did some CAD work for the floor plan. For those of you that don't watch Project Binky, That stands for Cardboard Aided Design.



This plate is for the bottom, and concrete will be everywhere above this plate. Apparently, I acted like that when I was plasma cutting and templating. My fitment was terrible and I had to make some hideous gap-filling welds to avoid just starting from scratch. Look at this and let's never speak of it again.



What's next? I'm going to have to put this back up on the table to weld the fork pockets on, then flip it back over to fill the gaps left with expanded metal. The fork pockets should cover 3" inches in from the outside of the box, so I will have about an inch on the smaller tube and 5 inches on the larger tubes. The clevises make handling the box much easier. If I ever break this box I will weld those on sooner on the next one. :)

The drama continues for this project, I'm about out of shielding gas for the MIG. :laugh: I'm hoping tomorrow I can cut and drill most of the other stuff I have planned and at least tack it all in place until Monday when I can get new gas. My plasma cutter is also my TIG welder, I think I'm done plasma cutting and I could switch it over and finish a lot of this stuff with TIG if I had to since they use different gas. I really should have done more of that on this project, I need TIG practice but I am always pressed for time and MIG is so fast and convenient.
 

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I’m pretty sure I won’t remember what the bottom of that box looks like, once it’s finished!
 

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Looking really good, almost won't need the sea-ment by the time you get done hanging usefull do dads everywhere.:good2:
 

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I just realized I was going to put a drain tube in the center of the floor pan before I welded it solid. :gaah:
Tell you what, with the amount of work and planning you put into this, the forgotten drain tube is small potatoes.:good2:
 
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