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Rolling Crane Attaches To Front Of Garden Tractor
“I built a small-scale crane that attaches to the front of my Deere garden tractor. It comes in handy for a lot of different jobs, and I can take it anywhere,” says Cal Miner, Willmar, Minn.
    The mini crane rides on a pair of old car tires and attaches to a ball hitch on the tractor. A horizontal length of 4-in. well casing supports the mast, which is 8 ft. tall and has a 3-ft. reach. The lifting is done by a pair of manually-operated, side-by-side 3,500-lb. winches, one with rope and the other with cable. The rope and cable run through a pair of pulley on top of the mast, which is also fitted with a snatch block. A dolly jack is used to lift the crane off the garden tractor.
    To keep the crane from tipping backward, Miner mounted a weight box on front of the well casing, and to keep it from becoming top heavy and tipping sideways he filled the tires with concrete.
    “It works like a mini wrecker and lets me pick up small loads that are too heavy to carry or lift by hand,” says Miner. “It’s very maneuverable, and I always have a good view in front of me. I use it for everything from picking up logs and tree stumps to lifting garden tractors and pulling posts out of the ground. It also works great with a 3-ft. long double pull evener. It’ll lift 250 lbs. without adding any weight to the well casing, and more than 400 lbs. by adding weight.
    “The well casing itself weighs about 250 lbs. and provides enough counterbalance that I can lift 250 lbs. without tipping the mast over. By throwing another 200 lbs. in the weight box and hooking it up to the garden tractor I can pick up something as heavy as a car engine,” says Miner.
    According to Miner, the double winches are really handy because they make it possible to flip objects.
    “For example, to flip a steel plate over so I can work on the other side I can raise one winch and lower the other one and then flip the plate around in mid air. Or, to tip up one end of a long object setting on the ground I can hook a second line up to it and then lift it until it’s balanced. I’ve used this method to flip an engine block over so I could drain the oil out of it.”
    To fill the tires with concrete, Miner laid the tires on the ground and then used a hole saw to cut a pair of 2-in. dia. holes into the sidewall. He then filled the tires full of a sand and rock mixture. He let the tires sit for a week, and then bolted them onto 6-in. long stub axles that are welded to a pipe axle.
    He used an aluminum street light pole to build the mast. “The light pole is strong, but not heavy enough to lose any lift capacity,” notes Miner.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Cal Miner, 3971 8th St. N.E., Willmar, Minn. 56201 (ph 320 235-3351 or 320 295-8481).

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2015 - Volume #39, Issue #4