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Mini Backhoe Mounts On Skid Steer
“I drew up my own plans for a small skid steer excavator and used a Lincoln 140 welder to build it for about $500,” says Algoma, Wis., handyman Lee Piechocki. “It took almost 10 lbs. of wire to get it all welded together, but I saved more than $2,000 by making it myself rather than buying one from a dealer.”
    Before tackling his own project, Piechocki had looked at two different excavator arms for the front of his Bobcat. He decided they were both too heavy for his machine and too expensive. At 400 lbs., his home made attachment weighs less than commercial models, but it’s still built strong enough to do exactly what he needs. Piechocki uses the handy hydraulic bucket for landscaping, digging tile trenches and cleaning up brush around his 50-acre farm.
    Using his background in mechanical drafting, Piechocki drew up plans for the mini-excavator on his computer with Autocad software. That allowed him to accurately lay out all the dimensions and make sure the distances between the cylinder arm, the bucket mounting brackets and the mounting brackets for the quicktach were correct. The excavator arm is made from a 6-ft. long piece of 3 by 6-in. rectangular tubing. He had a friend cut one end of the 3/16-in. thick piece on a diagonal with his plasma cutter, then he welded it into a taper. He welded pin brackets onto the arm to mount the hydraulic cylinder and 16-in. wide bucket.
    “Making the bucket was a challenge,” says Piechocki, “because the curved radius was tough to figure out and tough to form.” First, he made a plywood pattern using an 8-in. radius with a 12-in. extension on the cutting edge. Then he bent the 1/8-in. thick bucket metal around the frame using a chain and a high-lift jack. His friend cut the bucket sides with the plasma to match the radius and Piechocki welded them in place. The cutting edge of the bucket has a 3/8-in. plate for extra stability. The bucket mounts to the lift arm and the cylinder with 1 1/4-in. pins that he made on his South Bend junior lathe.
    “The most expensive part of the whole project was the new 3-in. dia. by 26-in. cylinder with a 1 1/4-in. shaft,” Piechocki says. It connects to the hydraulics on my skid steer and gives me a 2-ft. throw for the bucket.” He bought new steel from a local company for the bucket and lift arm, but other parts he made from scrap that was in the recycle bin by their shear.
    Piechocki mounts the excavator to his 742 Bobcat with a 46-in. wide frame made from 3/16-in. by 2-in. square tubing. Five braces welded to the quicktach bracket and the lift arm provide diagonal support in all directions. “The excavator reaches out 7 ft. and can dig a hole 6 ft. deep,” Piechocki says. “My Bobcat has 1,700-lb. lift capacity, so it easily handles the 15-in. wide bucket. The only drawback is that the arm doesn’t swing side to side, so I have to turn the whole machine to dump the bucket.”
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lee Piechocki, N6252 Highway 42, Algoma, Wis. 54201 (ph 920 487-2317).

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2013 - Volume #37, Issue #3