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Thread: Tractor grapple

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Tractor grapple

    I'm building a grapple for the front end loader on my old Ford tractor; I seem to have spent half my days off over the past 20 years throwing tree branches onto a trailer and wrestling them off again and it has got real old. I have a row of cypress trees to remove and the thought of manhandling all the limbs and debris brought this project to the top of the list. I was going to buy a commercially made grapple but there are limited options here and they came in at almost $6000 which was out of the question.
    I posted a question in the general section about laser profile cutting and was pointed in the right direction, thanks to all who offered advice and a huge thanks to Steve who converted my pencil drawings to CAD files with a lot of design development along the way. I emailed the files to Pro Tech Laser and picked this pile of 10 and 6mm grade 350 profiles up about four days later, along with a few lengths of 75 x 5 SHS and some sched 160 25nb tube ordered from a steel seller around the corner.
    grapple steel components.jpg

    The finish on the laser cut profiles is very pleasing and the 0.3mm tolerance results in a very good fit to the SHS frame members
    grapple tines fit on SHS.jpg

    I've never used profile cutting before, seems like it's taking my fabricating to a whole different level. Going to make a start on the fabricating today and I'll update progress.

  2. #2
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    Nov 2017
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    Geelong, Australia
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    55
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    Default

    Looking good Pete.
    You've still got a heap of work ahead, but its going to be awesome once its finished

    Steve

  3. #3
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    day one progress, had to spend much of the day on the phone so only got an hour or so on the grapple. Bottom frame tacked up. The sched 160 tube has a horrible varnishy coating on it that the mig doesn't want to know about, will have to be removed which is a right pain.
    bottom frame tacked.jpg

  4. #4
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    Apr 2019
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    Adelaide
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    Default

    Nice one....a potential side business?

  5. #5
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    Pete - I donít think that middle SHS should go all the way through to the outside tine.
    If you cut it at the outboard side of the next tine in you will have a nice tube to feed your hydraulic hoses through into that ram area.
    Will also mean you can position the ram lower mount further fwd if need be without running into negative clearance on that SHS.

    Steve

  6. #6
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    Mallacoota,VIC,Australia
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    Looks great. Out of interest what did the Laser cutting cost ?.
    All The Best steran50 Stewart

    The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at once.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by steran50 View Post
    Looks great. Out of interest what did the Laser cutting cost ?.
    Not sure if it's legit for me to answer that publicly. Pm'd.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mk1_Oz View Post
    Nice one....a potential side business?
    With the difference between what the big ag companies are charging for something similar and what the materials cost, I'm looking at my hours in this with some interest. One or two projects like this a year would be a fun sideline. There'd be a stream of royalties to the draftsman.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by OxxAndBert View Post
    Pete - I donít think that middle SHS should go all the way through to the outside tine.
    If you cut it at the outboard side of the next tine in you will have a nice tube to feed your hydraulic hoses through into that ram area.
    Will also mean you can position the ram lower mount further fwd if need be without running into negative clearance on that SHS.

    Steve

    That's a great suggestion Steve. It would make a perfect conduit to protect the hoses. I will look hard at how that might work. Once I have the lid tacked up (I might be able to get a run at it tomorrow) I can start playing with the ram position.

  10. #10
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    I only got a couple of hours on this today; I temporarily hung the lid tines and experimented with the ram position and figured out how I'm going to do the pivots and ram mounts- have to pick up some material on Friday to make bushes from. Steve's suggestion was of course spot on- I un-tacked the middle frame member, cut it and then drilled a pair of 16mm holes in the back so I can feed the hydraulic hoses right through between the two rams and bring them out through the SHS with T-pieces and bulkhead fittings. Took a pic of the new frame arrangement but I wasn't going to flip it over just to photograph some holes
    centre SHS cut out.jpg

    The end section will be closed in with sheet to protect the rams and fittings.

  11. #11
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    Looks great

    I'd like to know $$$ on the laser cutting also please.

  12. #12
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    Looks good. That coating on the pipe is a pain, at work we sometimes get the pipe sandblasted to get rid of the coating.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapatap View Post
    That coating on the pipe is a pain, at work we sometimes get the pipe sandblasted to get rid of the coating.
    I thought that was a bit over the top, then I clogged a brand new flap disc on it in about 15 seconds. Had to go over the whole pipe with a wire cup wheel to take off the top surface then again with a flap wheel to get the undercoat off. Horrible stuff.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete O View Post
    I thought that was a bit over the top, then I clogged a brand new flap disc on it in about 15 seconds. Had to go over the whole pipe with a wire cup wheel to take off the top surface then again with a flap wheel to get the undercoat off. Horrible stuff.
    A strip disc would likely work better, something like this:

    https://www.smithandarrow.com.au/pro...paint-removal/

    They're expensive little buggers, but they last a fair while if you're careful with them. I'm not, I often use them for rounding edges on things and smoothing - they work kind of like a finer flap disc, but a bit nicer. But for removing paint and rust they're brilliant and last very well if you don't snag them on edges (tears them up a bit). Mill scale is a lucky dip, sometimes they take it straight off, other times they struggle a little bit.

    I've never actually used one of the ceramic ones you can get now, so dunno how they go. But given they seem to be close to the same price as 'normal' ones, I'll have to give them a try, I've liked every ceramic product I've tried so far. Smith and Arrow have them too, but Gameco currently have the Norton ceramics on sale a little cheaper than the Smith and Arrow.

    You can buy Flexovit ones (non-ceramic) at Bunnings, but of course they're more expensive than buying elsewhere...

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the tip, I'm at work tomorrow and might get a chance to get over to Blackwoods in dandy south and have a look for one of these to try. I've only cleaned up one 1.6 meter length of the tube so far and will be using almost all the 6m length so keen to beat that crud the chinese put on it.

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