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GANG GREEN GIZMOW KILLER!
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Man, I seem to have started a Firestorm amongst the backyard builders here. Some have questioned the Validity of my claims, my intentions and even my Lineage over what to me seems like a very mundane topic as I do this sort of thing as a profession and hobby daily. Some arent as fortunate as I am in having the skills and resources to accomplish these projects on the cheap, this thread is for those guys.



First off, spend a few weeks (months for some projects) Researching what it is you want to build. Try to learn all you can about it BEFORE spending and money. Trust me when I tell you, this step will save you money in the long run and will yield better results in the end. Then once you have a good idea of how what you want to build Needs to be built you can begin shopping for your parts.


Im going to use the sourcing and obtaining of the parts for a loader as an example as it was the issue being......Er......Discussed, and I also plan on building one in the near future myself.


So lets start with the Hydraulics. Hydraulics can be way expensive OR can be had rather cheaply. This is why you figure your design parameters before you buy anything. You'll need a pump that will deliver the needed pressure and flow rate to start with. You could easily spend 3 times as much on a pump that will last forever, or you can buy a pump that will simply last you for the rest of your life.


Heres one I just picked out of the book based on its price. It looks like a decent pump, still probably more than what is needed but is most likely what "brand X" uses in their product.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200329706_200329706

Its rated for 1600psi and 6gpm at 3600rpm. Probably flows twice as much as the hydraulics on my 318 and since there are loaders that hook directly up to its ports this should be sufficient.


This leaves me roughly $860 to finish the build at the cost I stated.



Now for the cylinders.


Bucket cylinder X 2

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200393990_200393990



Im down to $750, I may even surprise myself with the costs on this one.:fing32:



Lift arm Cylinders.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_22097_22097



Im down to $390


Spool.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200338989_200338989


Had to break out the calculator, Im now down to $230


For hoses I would go to tractor supply as their hoses are dirt cheap. Im not specing out the hoses as the length would have to be determined once everything is mocked up. IIRC a 30" hose from them was $6, aint going to spend much there.





Now were down to steel!


Ah Steel, lovely steel. Where would I be today without Steel? I know where Id be if I paid full price + Cuts (you do know about cut charges, Correct?), Id be in the POORHOUSE!!


Soucing steel is part ingenuity, part shoe leather on the pavement and some would say a lil Black magic thrown in for good measure. If your paying full boat for steel on your projects you need to stop right now as your being robbed. Say you want 3' of tube. You call and order 3' of 1/4" wall tube only to find out that it cost nearly as much as to buy an 8' length.

What gives???


Cuts, they charge you for cuts they have to make. They also charge you a precentage of the value of the 8' section (or 12', 20', whatever) as they prefer to sell whole lengths of steel, they just make more money this way.


So what you need to know is this, (come in close Im going to whisper as I dont want everyone to know) You need to make the other guy pay for the cuts and can also get him to pay for also part of your steel!

Member the charges I was speaking of? Well, with these cuts and charges theirs whats called.......You guesses it.....a thing called "Cuts" that are left over form other peoples orders. These can range from 12" to 6'. Last time I bought cuts I got enough steel to be tired when I loaded it and paid about $60 for all of it through knowing what I was doing/talking about (the key in a happy life) and haggling (the other key.)


All you need to do is be patient and shop around to find what you need cheap. It may take you 6mo to acquire all the tubing and plate you need, but so what, if you were in a hurry you wouldn't be building the loader for yourself!:lalala:



There you are, a Loader for about $1000. Disappointed I didnt buy the steel and give an actual cost?

Dont be.


Much of what I have listed are quick offa da shelf prices I found on the net. If you go around to your local hydraulic shops you can definatly get better deals than what I have listed. You want to look for the shops with the big piles of junk out back and lots of dusty stuff in the store room. Go there with your "Realistic" price list and youll probably do better than you think possible, even if you have to resort to catalogs for some things.



Hopefully this will clear things up for the vocal minority, but as Rod stated.........



You cant please everyone.:D
 

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This is a good idea i do agree .. I have been known to spend more then i should have and by going over budget has taken away from the profit ..I now plain every thing out also ..Thank the man upstairs for the inter net great tool when tying to find what you need ...a dollar saved here is a dollar made there or that same dollar can be used some where else ..As for the people who get upset with your advice ..I think its because you are smart enough to research your project first and know what you are getting yourself into before you start it ..Most people dont ....:trink39:
 

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Most of my projects are built from drop steel or, other guys scrap tubs. And I'm not afraid to clean a little rust if need be. I have projects that I've been collecting material for,for several years. Patience is the key. Last summer I was working a job where we decommisioned a couple dozen narrow aisle fork trucks. Part of my job was to cut them up so they could be handled somewhat easily. These fork lifts, pick trucks actually, were 70' tall and weighed around 10 tons each. On each one there was a protective cage over the operator made out of 2 inch square, 1/4 wall tubing. There were 2 pieces that were "clean" 8' long. I hauled a lot of that out. Also, each one had , on the mast, 2 pieces of 1/4 x 2 flat about 2 foot long,,,, I cut them out of each one. Not to mention the electrical componants that were there, limit switches,toggle switches, relays,etc.
Each machine had almost 300' of 1/2" cable. I hauled home around a ton of steel and other treasures from that job.

I also look at things to see how they could be adapted to what I want. I picked up a rotary broom mount for a zero turn mower that was "converted" into the mount and pivot for my 60" center blade . I gave $100 dollars for the mount with the gearbox, PTO shaft, universals,2 small hydraulic cylinders, and about a dozen hoses with the correct quick connects. This was a new mount,the gearbox still has the protective sleeves on the shafts but it was stored outside,, it was dirty and had a little surface rust,,, so what.

Take your time and you will find what you are looking for. If not, find something close and adapt it !!!!
 

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Surplus Center has hoses for much less than TSC so you can save there and get some old Hydraulically driven Golf Course equipment great pieces to salvage hydraulic pumps and motors
 

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A lot of good advice and I try to make use of it, but shipping charges and travel across the border ($15 for gas , bridge toll and pick up fees for each trip and/or item) eat up a lot of the $230 that you have left. Not to mention the minimum of 11 hoses at $6 each, 8 of which will be considerably longer than 30", so that comes to another $66+ for hoses and we can add a few dollars for fittings and pins (8- 4"x5/8" min. plus keepers, the cylinders aren't any good without them).

That brings you down to something in the neighbourhood of $100 to buy about 400 lb. of steel tubing, plate, welding rod, nuts and bolts, etc. When I worked at the local steel mill, employees could buy steel for $0.17 per pound. You can't get it at a scrap yard that cheap. If you want a good looking bucket, you are going to have to have a friend working at a steel fabrication shop to bend the shape into the plate, otherwise,you pay to have it done or take the time to cut and weld it yourself.

By shopping the sales on ebay and Northern Tool and places similar, it is possible to build a GT sized FEL for a grand, but you better have a real cheap source of steel and friends in the right places. As you said, take your time for research and plan for what you need.

BTW the short hoses (13") for my Massey cost me $17 each for good ones. The cheap ones are not up to the task. (Canadian price)

Bottom line, if you buy new, $1000 may get you the hydraulic system, but the average guy is not going to get his FEL built for that low a price.

Bob :rauch10:
 

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Hey RaisedByWolves I don't want to pee on your parade but to replace all the hoses on my loader would be well over $200. My loader arms are almost 48" and then you've got a tee to run to the other side about 36". From those points you need an 18" - 24" hose to run to each side of each cylinder so there is some cost involved in the hoses. You also didn't mention a reservoir. I think you've got over the $1000 just in the hydraulics. I did a real quick figure on the metal in mine and it was close to $400. Check with http://www.metalsdepot.com/. The devil is in the details and it's definitely not hard to go over budget but an extra 50% is allot. To get it under $1000 I think your going to have to go with allot of used pieces. Which there's no harm in, mine are over 30 years old.
 

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If there is a tractor and equipment salvage yard around check out the equipment for excellent steel tubing and angles to make the loader frame usuallycan be bought for a little over scrap metal prices
 

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For me, this is one great thread. I have been looking for information like this, and did not even know where to start. I know little or nothing about all of the above; but it makes sense in reading, viewing, thinking. One of the resources I need is a welder - the equipment and the operator - and by keeping an ear to the ground I am discovering possibilities. This thread however, for me, is close to being a recipe; certainly excellent guidance. Thanx to all contributors.

There's also a lot of 'personal' in this. We all need to use all available resources; and imagination is a great base for creative visualization, and even discovering, noticing, the large signs pointing to the exact source required - whether you are sourcing parts or materials or an FEL recipe, there's a way. Black magic if you like; there's no darkness, just light variations; some things are secrets for a good reason; what is hidden, can be found.
:thanku:
(I missed the initial thread(?) link to that(?).
 

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Raised,
As I read thru your original post I was getting ready to point out to you that there are better priced places than Northern to get the hydraulics, but then you redeemed yourself toward the end of the post by saying that. :fing32:

I buy my steel off of the "short rack" at the local steel warehouses all the time. As a matter of fact, I was there today to get some more for my latest project. I usually buy whatever length is on the short rack & cut it at my shop on my cutoff band saw. There's usaully steel left over for later projects. Sometimes there isn't anything close enough to what I want. Instead of paying for a lot more steel than you need the steel supplier will cut to length for you, but that costs $5 per cut & that adds up quick! Get to know the guys in the shop & you can sometimes get them to cut you a piece without having to pay for the cut. The supplier charges by the pound, no matter what kind of steel it is. I just select what I want, weigh it on their scale & go into the office. I tell them how many pounds I'm getting & they calculate the price. They claim they are charging scrap price per pound. The price of steel went up a while ago, though. The last two or three times I went there, the price was $.65 per pound. That's still cheaper than paying full price for whatever type of steel you're getting. (channel, tube, plate, etc.)
Once in a while it's even better. The other day I went in looking for some pieces & only found one small piece that I could use. When I showed the guy what I had, he said, "that's all you're getting? Just take it & go." You can't get steel cheaper than that! :trink40:
 

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..Thank the man upstairs for the inter net great tool when tying to find what you need ...
I believe it can be proved that the Internet was developed by earthlings.

That said, it is the best thing that ever happened to us old iron collectors and restorers.
 

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Has anyone seen ChimChim?
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I believe it can be proved that the Internet was developed by earthlings.

That said, it is the best thing that ever happened to us old iron collectors and restorers.
He was referring to Al Gore! :trink39:
 

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lots of earthlings live upstairs - it's all just based on prior knowledge anyway - kinda like the stuff you forgot you knew all along. the other 90% of the brain. steel is just not entirely natural, that's all. it's a facilitator, means to an end, and quite handy too. welding is powerful stuff. fusion. add hydraulics. amazing. aligned power. simple. impressive. creative. art. zoom.

I moved into my house - the garage was full of all this stuff - previous owner was a machinist or something. chunks of steel, mostly small stuff. every now and then, it's just what I need.
There was a length of 6' tubing - I needed about 3'. Also in the garage, the means to cut the steel - a disc attached to my drill - zip, job done. Wore out the disc; but there's more discs. I wish I had a simple cheap welder.
Also in my garage; copper pipe, and all these hi tek brass fittings - I don't even know what they are. They look like pressure fittings, precision stuff, about 30+ pieces, solid brass. Anything I need is somewhere in my garage. Paint, lube, screws, bolts, nails, tools, pesticides, 2stroke oil, spraygun, compressor, heater, woodstove, electric motors, etc etc. And a piece of plate steel 1/8" about 3x4 feet. The guy just up and left.
Also a really heavy wooden box of scrap metal - I wonder what that is worth. It weighs about a hundred pounds. tiny waste scraps. My favourite expression; "came with the house".

Meanwhile back at the steel suppliers warehouse.... sourcing steel for a loader.

Is it risky to buy used hydraulic stuff? I think a guy would need some experience to go there.
 

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GANG GREEN GIZMOW KILLER!
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok, prices that others paid aside as it wasnt the topic at hand, I simply spent a Half hour with an easy to reference site to find and firm up peoples notions of what the Necessary items cost in a round about way, nothing more.


Things like hoses, fittings, flanges, brackets come cheap when you use the left overs for bracketry and make up your own hoses. If any shop owner out there is buying their extraneous parts off the shelf and wants to know how to cut costs Id be happy to lend them what I know.


Where I work we buy Hyd hose in the size you would use for this project for .18c per foot. Hose ends are .40-.50c a piece. Keep in mind this discussion began with the discussion of what it should cost a shop to build this type of unit. Buying hose like this and swaging it yourself gets you hoses for pennies per foot. Pumps and cylinders bought in bulk probably saves 20-30% over book costs even from northern. Forget MSC or Grainger, their in business to get you your stuff TODAY and rob you blind in the process although I do buy from them for some things.


Bushings, pins bolts are cheap, again buying in bulk. a box of 100 3/8"X1" bolts bought in bulk will cost you somewhere between $9 and $20 depending on the grade and youll build a lot of loaders with one box. The tank is a non issue as most loaders have it as an integral part of the frame with the two uprights and the lower tube holding them together acting as the tank. This also doubles as a rudimentary cooler.:fing32:


Gray, as far as used Hyd parts go, I have no problem using them when I can get them free or cheap, but YMMV on this. Try to find a Hydraulics shop that will deal with the public and ask them for help. They should understand your position and will probably have good used or rebuilt stuff on the shelf for cheap. I have a few good ones near by and for small stuff the one shop dosent even want my Pennies. All they ask is that if I need bigger stuff that I use them rather than the other shop and I do when I can.


But the other shop.......MUUUUHAHAHAHAAaaaaa!!


Thats the dirty, dingy place with the piles of junk out back. There I can score deals like nobody's business. Sure their rude, make you wait and generally look at you like your trash, but if I can score a $500 electric over oil power unit that runs on 12V for $50......Ill take a lil abuse.:imnotlist


Im also on board with IOWA and Pro Trucker in the dumpster diving and "salvage what you can when you can find it" mindset. Ive got tons of stuff that I got free/cheap that I may never use. The wife rolls her eyes when I bring this "Crap" home, but that story changes when I build something cheap.

:trink39:

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:ROF:lalala::sorry1:
 

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Good topic to raise. Thanks!

A few thoughts:
1) It ain't just the price of steel but the SHIPPING that can be a killer when buying online!
2) Retail steel yards are nearly non-existent when you live in the suburbs of a large city like Philly. I finally found a nice mom-and-pop operation which accomodates small orders but it is about 45 minutes away. Not too convenient but worth the drive to me so that I can support a small business!
3) I pays to dumpster-dive! I am probably the only licensed financial planning professional who tucks in his tie and grabs metal from the trash areas of businesses. I grabbed about 500 pounds of steel right outside of my office when the rebuilt all 3 elevators in my building -- angle, small heavy plates, formed channels, etc. Don't just look at the trash areas of manufacturers but warehouse operations, too! The often dispose of damaged shelving, etc. which can contain good lengths of tube and angle.
4) Scan the freebies on CL daily. About 4 times a year I see truck ladder racks being given away free. A great source of box tube!
5) I have even picked up a few nice nits of metal on the side of highways and roads. (No, not with a sign still attached!!!!)
6) Remember eBay as a good source of hydraulics. I have seen a few nice pumps, cylinders and power units go pretty darn cheap and many were new.
7) Be imaginative! Need a moldboard for a snow plow? You can get used oil tanks for free all the time (if you are capable of moving them). A little safety precaution and a torch can leave you with a nice piece of metal already formed!

I totally agree that you should plan in advance 6 months -- I have been gathering stuff for over a year for some of my projects. Time-savings comes at a stiff premium!
 

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Red Tractor Fan
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I agree 100%... around here, we call that being a "Cheap Yankee". How cheap can we get?? When I built my snowplow frame... I drove around in my company car with a 2" fence post stuffed in the trunk and sticking out from the folded back seat. Oh, don't get me wrong... I did put the end with the cement ball in the trunk! But, Hey! It was FREE, and became the main push arm of my plow! :fing32:

Here is what it became.... The rest was a 48" Craftsman plow I picked up for free. Most of the brackets like the up-right to align the arm in the front was left over when the plow frame was chopped up. The upright used the be the back half of the main push arm.

 

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I saw a front loader for a garden tractor a guy made,not from scratch,but by modifying a wheelchair lift from an old hadicapped van,that he bought at a salvage yard for 150 bucks....if you look at one,you'll see the arms that raise and lower the platform look remarkably similar to a front loader's,and it has the hydraulic cylinders and 12V pump and hoses,switches,etc,all there waiting to be reconfigured ..I thought it was not only ingenious,it looked like a factory built unit,not some home ghetto fabbed cobbed uppeice of junk that didn't live up to the builders expectations..
 

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A lot of great money saving tips, and I've been buying my fasteners in bulk for over 40 years, but when you live in a city with a population of 75,000 and the nearest city that's over 50,000 is 180 miles away, some of these ideas are severely limited as possibilities. Shipping charges suck and the opportunity to get stuff free or cheap at shops is limited to who you know.

This town has a lot of guys like me, so everything of use gets snapped up pretty quick.

Bob :rauch10:
 

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Citizen of Earth
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Another source for free steel is old exercize machines. I often see them out at the curb, and they typically have a fair amount of square and rectangular steel tubing, stuff like weight benches, treadmills, and stationary bikes.
 
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