View Poll Results: Will this project be worth the effort?

Voters
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  • Green light- great idea! You will use it.

    24 75.00%
  • Yellow light - I think you will have problems like...(see below)

    3 9.38%
  • Yellow light - Too expensive and time consuming to be of value.

    3 9.38%
  • Red light - Just buy a lift. I will sell you mine cheap.

    2 6.25%
  • Red light - I will not even respond to this poll.

    0 0%
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Thread: New Project: Building a Forklift

  1. #1
    Senior Member Robert's Avatar
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    New Project: Building a Forklift

    I have this crazy idea that I would like to own a forklift! Not very practical since I have no way to transport it and no where to park it. And why exactly do I need a forklift? Need is maybe too strong of a word.

    I was thinking it would be useful for moving items in the garage, loading a pickup truck, moving furniture and lifting heavy casting flasks (in place of a hoist.) Maybe taking out the trash like a real man. With that in mind, my target objectives are:

    lift capacity- at least 500 lbs to be usefull i.e 1/4 ton pickup. forks would be 24" apart and 36" long. Able to lift a light pallet.

    small size- wheelbase able to fit through a standard doorframe. My shop door is 30". The mast should be able to fit under a 7' door frame. This will obviously limit my lift height.

    light weight- will need a heavy counter weight but I would like to be able to transport this on a utility trailer. I will try to keep the vehicle weight at <1000 lbs. with the counter weight removable.

    electric propulsion - not as sophisticated as Anons. Maybe 24v wheelchair motors geared down. Speed is not too important.

    cost - this is really kind of frivolous so I cant break the bank. I could buy a decent used forklift for a couple grand. Probably can't use hydraulics.

    I should note, I am not sure this is really a casting project but I can see alot of parts that will need to be cast. Also it will be a useful foundry tool.

    So what do yall think? Would you find uses for this? Will this be another unfinished (or unstarted) project? I should make this a poll and see who would go forward. Hmmm, maybe I will.

    R
    "Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
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  2. #2
    Senior Member ragingslab's Avatar
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    I think it's a great idea. I'm sure something like this is already available, but probably pretty expensive. I love the building process more than the finished product. I've built lots of things that were complete failures but still enjoyed the idea/problem solving process. I have a lot of half-finished projects laying around just waiting for a new idea or a problem to be solved in order to finish them. I do have the luxury of having an enourmous junk collection, so I almost never spend much money on my contraptions. It's also a great feeling when someone asks about something and you can say "Yeah, I made that".! I used to think I was the only person whose brain worked like mine until I found this forum.

    What are your ideas about the lifting mechanism?
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  3. #3
    Senior Member machinemaker's Avatar
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    I don't know how many times I wished I had not a forklift but a backhoe that I could put forks on the loader bucket. Its on my wish list, but the funding isn't there yet!
    kent

  4. #4
    Yes there would be a lot of problem solving in a project like this but I dont think it would be an impossible task. Something like on of those stand up models you see running around the big box stores.

    I would think an easy way of making the lift would be to use and electric and cable, maybe a block and tackle to increase the capacity of a small winch. The one thing to consider is keeping the danger zone clear at all times, this is always important even with factory engineered and built lifting machines but even more so with a home made job.

    w3

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jammer's Avatar
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    I had a Big Joe I picked up at an auction. It was rated for 1000# but groaned at 500#. I was able to lift an 800# printing press with a little help from a hydraulic jack. It was old and had some internal leaks in the system. I sold it a few years ago and wish I had kept it. It didn't have a counter weight, it used extensions on the front, which made it hard to get under some things.
    Something like that wouldn't be hard to build and I could load it on the trailer by myself.

  6. #6
    Senior Member machinemaker's Avatar
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    I could not live with out a pallet jack and a chain fall. I have a section of gravity feed rollers that I use as a ramp to roll things out of my truck, and a $50 harbor freight winch that I can mount on the steel rack for the truck. With these I can either lower things out of the truck down the ramp or up the ramp using the winch. That and years of moving equipment as a millwright, you see solutions that work.
    kent

  7. #7
    Senior Member machinemaker's Avatar
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    This is kind of related but inspirational for us DIY ers.
    http://j-walkblog.com/index.php?/web...ving_big_rocks
    kent

  8. #8
    Administrator Site Admin Anon's Avatar
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    It sounds like a neat project, though if you just need to move stuff and don't really care about rigging time, a cheap ($150-ish from HF) engine hoist might be a better choice. I have a 2-ton one, and it's incredibly handy.

    Maybe it's just my penchant to over-engineer things, but 500 lbs seems awfully small. If I were building one for myself, I'd make it at least a 1-ton capacity, which could then move my lathe (the heaviest thing I foresee ever having to move, at least unless I buy some enormous horizontal mill from eBay one day) with ease.
    The process of turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones can at times require the use of a large sledgehammer.

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  9. #9
    Moderator greencheapsk8's Avatar
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    Depends what you think youre going to be using it for.
    For youre aplication, a gantry crane might be easier.
    .....And projects and ideas burst forth, obliviating anything else in their path.
    God did not design skulls with parting lines in mind.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ragingslab's Avatar
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    Maybe I have a different vision of what Robert is interested in building. By his description, I pictured something like the photos below. He wants something smaller that would fit through standard doorways and probably only needs to go as high as a truck tailgate (maybe a little higher). Pallet jacks, engine hoists, and gantry cranes are all nice to have but I think this mini forklift idea has merit. I hurt myself (usually my back) mostly moving moderate, not super heavy things around (50-200 pounds). Mostly because I'm too stubborn to ask for any help but sometimes I'm just in a hurry and don't think about it (lift with your legs, not with your back, blah, blah, blah).
    I like the wheelchair drive idea, if you can design it to carry the machine itself as well as the load/counterweight. Keep the motor controller and joystick and you have a very steerable machine. I bought a Pride Mobility Jet 7 ($150, craigslist. Needs $100 worth of batteries) with something like this in mind. The area around my garage is "paved" with 1" limestone gravel. Hard to roll anything. If I had something capable of moving 300-500 pounds I'd be happy.

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