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Handy Forklift Made From Garden Tractor
Whether loading his outside wood furnace or moving some pallets around the farm, James Bachert's forklift is sized just right. His 1969 12 hp Sears garden tractor was sturdy enough to handle the modifications and easily adapted to its new job. Best of all, parts were all salvaged or fabricated by Bachert, so it cost little to build.
"Those early Sears models were stout little tractors," says Bachert. "They had a sturdy frame, so I could just attach the mast to the rear end. The hydrostatic transmission made it easy to reverse the tractor."
Bachert simply installed the seat on the hood of the tractor and replaced the hydrostatic hand control with a double action pedal. Step on one side, and go forward. Step on the other side, and move in reverse. Steering was left unchanged.
Not intending to use the forklift for extremely heavy items, Bachert built the mast from lightweight H-beam steel. The design was modeled after full-size forklifts with the mast designed to pivot approximately 10 degrees back from vertical when carrying loads. Even the forks, fabricated from channel irons with 3/4-in. sides, mount on a shaft so they slide left or right to suit the load.
To lift the forks, Bachert built a hydraulic cylinder with a 5-ft. reach. Two small cylinders mounted to the tractor and half way up the mast control mast tilt. Space previously used for a seat serves as a mounting area for the tilt cylinders and hydraulic control valves.
"I salvaged the rocker valves and a hydraulic pump from an old pickup-mounted snowplow," explains Bachert. "I mounted the pump on the front end of the tractor and used a belt tightener that used to control the belly-mount mower. I just release tension when I'm making a cold start."
Bachert says he can lift a pretty good-sized chunk of wood to load the furnace that heats his shop.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, James Bachert, 1940 S. 250 W., North Judson, Ind. 46366 (ph 574 896-5609).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #1