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Winch-Powered Grapple Fork
There’s no need for auxiliary hydraulics to power Larry Newland’s home-built grapple fork. He powers it with a 12-volt winch mounted to the backplate on his skid loader’s forklift attachment. A wireless remote opens and closes the grapple forks.
    “I burn firewood to heat my shop,” explains Newland. “I wanted an easier way to haul wood, but didn’t want to pay for a hydraulic grapple.”
    The forklift attachment made rigging up the grapple forks easy. It had a solid steel backplate. Newland mounted 2 uprights and a baseplate for the winch to it.
    “You could bolt grapples like mine to the lighter style pallet fork backplates, but mine was heavy-duty,” he says. “I just welded them to it. I had a 2 1/2-ton winch, which was plenty strong.”
    The 26-in. tall uprights are made from 3 by 1 3/4-in. channel iron mounted 13 in. apart and centered on the backplate. The grapple frame consists of an upper and lower section.
    The grapple forks work like rocker arms to open and close.
    The pivot point is a 1 1/8-in. dia. pipe welded between the uprights and inside a free-moving 1 3/8-in. pipe. A hole for a grease zerk tapped in the outside pipe provides lubrication.    
    Newland attached connector links for 1/2-in. chain to the 2 rocker arm cross pipes on the upper section. A short length of cable runs from one link through and around the cable drum and back to the link in the second cross pipe.
    “The cable is wrapped in 2 directions, so when it’s activated, it’s releasing one cable and wrapping the other,” he says. “A bolt through the frame of the winch keeps the 2 cables separate, even though they both go between the same guide rollers.”
    With less than $100 invested in the grapple forks and 3 years of use from them, Newland is well satisfied. Like the steps he welded to the side and rear of the forklift plate, they simply make life easier.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Larry Newland, 9400 Baldwin Ave., Northfield, Minn. 55057 (ph 507 645-7883).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #5