2015 - Volume #39, Issue #4, Page #25[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Trailer-Mounted Log Loader Built From Scratch
The trailer measures 8 ft. long by 5 ft. wide and has 4-ft. high steel sides. Logs are loaded onto the trailer by the grapple, which is supported by a boom that rotates on front of the trailer. The boom can reach out 13 ft. and swing about 185 degrees.
“It’s built somewhat similar to big commercial self-loading log trailers for professional loggers, but on a smaller scale. It can handle logs up to 10 ft. long,” says Hockenberry.
“I built it from a photo I saw in a logger’s magazine. I use my Ford 3000 tractor to pull it and use the tractor’s hydraulics to operate the grapple. The grapple opens up to 20 in. and closes to 6 in. so it can handle a lot of different size logs. I stand on the ground and use valves on a control box on front of the trailer to operate everything.
“It makes handling wood so much easier because I can haul whole logs home, instead of having to cut them up in the woods. The tandem axle design results in a smooth ride with very little bouncing.”
He started with an old Bobcat skid loader and used the tires and wheels and a gearbox, then put a bushing in the middle of the gearbox to make an axle. He cut each of the skid loader’s trunions in half and cut a hole through each one, then inserted a stub axle, installed a bushing, and welded the gearbox back together.
He used a 14-ft. length of 6-in. sq. tubing for the main frame and 3-in. angle iron for the cross members and front bumper stop. He bought new steel to build the grapple, boom and outriggers.
The grapple is built from 1/2-in. thick steel and is equipped with 2 points on each side, which are opened and closed by a pair of small hydraulic cylinders. To design the grapple, Hockenberry used cardboard to cut out 2 templates. Then he used nails to attach the templates to a piece of plywood, cut them out of the plywood, and closed them by hand to see how they meshed with each other.
Once he got the plywood points to bypass each other when closing, he laid the points on top of a steel plate, cut the plate out, and drilled holes accordingly. The grapple’s head has a hydraulic motor mounted on it, which allows the grapple to rotate 325 degrees to place the logs on the trailer.
The boom rotates on a 2-in. dia. shaft that goes up through vertical length of 4-in. sq.. 1/2-in. thick steel tubing. A chain runs on sprockets welded onto movable steel plates at the top and bottom of the mast. A pair of hydraulic cylinders push and pull on the steel plates to swing the boom from side to side. Two more cylinders are used to set the trailer’s outriggers in place when loading logs, and another pair of cylinders are used to retract or extend the boom. “I spent less than $3,000 to build it, which is a fraction of what it’d cost to buy a new commercial grapple-equipped log trailer,” says Hockenberry. “I bought new valves and hydraulic hoses and steel for the boom. Everything else I either had or found at a salvage yard.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jack Hockenberry, 14899 Cumberland Hwy., Orrstown, Penn. 17244 (ph 717 532-4464 or cell ph 717 552-3808).
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