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Fabbing your own "specialty" tools

Discussion in '<a href=http://www.lawnsite.com/buttons/jump.php?i' started by 75, Jun 26, 2001.

  1. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Besides the obvious application of being to do your own repairs and build things like bumpers, hitches, toolboxes/racks etc, welding & fabricating is also a handy way to get the right "special" tool for the job.

    2 examples: Yesterday at work, I was sent over to a customer's shop to see what they needed built & make sketches. What they wanted were some custom clamps for fiberglass work - transoms on boat hulls. They had a b-i-g one that had been built from 2x2x.188 HSS, they needed a few smaller ones. Clamps are readily available that are extra long (woodworker's pipe clamps) but not extra deep - these ones have to be 18" deep but only need 6" of travel on the screw.

    And for my own use, the last time I painted my motorcycle tank I decided there had to be a better way to hold onto the ^%$# thing than just sitting it on the bench. From flat bar and a chunk of pipe, I built a holder that the tank sits onto just as if it was on board the bike. One bolt tightens down where the tank clamps onto the frame, and I can clamp the holder in the vise any way I desire, once the tank is in the holder I don't need to handle the tank itself until it is time to re-install. Lot better than trying to balance/steady/hold the tank while at the same time sanding it!
  2. Highpoint

    Highpoint LawnSite Member
    Messages: 153

    I had to make a tool to remove and install special nuts that came with my bobcat tracks that are made of belting and the same hinges that are used on conveyers. Just took a socket, cut off what was not needed. Tool needed to have two tangs that fit down into special nut. took all of about 10 minuts with my dremel.
  3. Gordon

    Gordon LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    I guess this could be considered a tool. It sure was a backsaver. You'll understand that in just a minute.

    Job was to dump and spread stone inbetween two fences. We were only allowed to use what was on site. No rentals were priced into this. Yes dumb but true. So we had a crane and a one yard concrete bucket to dump the stone in between the fences now all we had to do was spread it. Not bad right? Well you've got to consider the length of the fenceline. Almost TWO MILES of fence to do.

    First day there was three of us spreading out the stone. Not very happy. Slow going. All of our tractors on the job were too big to fit in between the fences. So at lunch we are sitting there looking at one of the grasshoppers. 1145 J.D. 4 wheel drive front mower with hydraulics. We run snowblowers on them in the winter, mowers in summer.

    Idea make a blade to mount to the front of the mower. We have the steel in stock. We have an old plow to cut up. So, we stayed late that day and made a blade. Tested it worked ok in the yard but only one problem. If we pushed the stone to far not enough room to turn around.

    Then came the boxblade concept. Added another piece of the old plowblade and small sides. Worked much better but still not heavy enough. Added some more steel in the tube frame for wieght. --------Now it was actually working very well.

    So the next day is the test. We will either be heros or zeros. Instead of the dump trucks waiting to unload. The crane was the hold up. The blade worked great. The boss comes over to the job and sees too of them just standing there and me making that grasshopper dance. The look on his face was to say the least-------priceless!!!!!!!

    At first he was pissed that we bought a boxblade for the grasshopper. After all we painted it green and yellow. Then when he found out we made it out of scrap--well mostly-- he was tickled to death. He still is looking for that old plow.:rolleyes:

    Since that time it has been used on a couple of other jobs as well. Works fine lasts a long time. Nothing like my Gannon but does the job. Saved my back and on that first job we did it in record time.

  4. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    "Neccesity is the mother of invention". That's why I'm glad to be have the access to welding/fabricating equipment, so I can put together things if I find I need them - WHEN I need them!

    I want to keep the axles for my under-construction K-35 frame indoors (prime thief targets!) but as anyone who's ever had an axle off the vehicle knows, the things are &%^%$# awkward when they're flopping around on the floor!

    To get them under control and as out of my way as possible, I placed one axle on blocks against one wall and made a pair of stands up that let me put the other axle right over top, but as low as possible. Nothing was readily available "off the shelf", so I just made my own.
  5. Check out my truck

    Rob I fab. all the time. I just wish I had a decent MIG welder.

    But realy, I've redone equipment to make them better. I've made equipment. So on and so fourth. But I just wanted to say Hello on this forum so I picked this thread. BTW check out my truck. I made sides for it, with a Lincon ARC. Took a while to get used to the sticks , but got it done.

    Anyone have any tool or fabbin' ideas bring 'em on.

  6. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    Nice trucks & equipment, LGF!

    I use stick about 80% - 90% of the time, since I'm typically working out in the field. I've done repairs & fabbing on light stuff, as you said takes a little getting used to with the stick but it's possible.

    Light material I'll drop the heat down and use 3/32, since we're procedure qualified for 7018 that's what I mostly use.

    BUT, I'm happier when I can work on some big stuff, especially where there's some arc-air gouging & heavy welding involved. Turn up the heat & start burnin'!

    Another tool a friend of mine & I made: spreader bar for lifting cabs. (It can be used for other things, of course, but it was made to lift a Chevy pickup cab) Unless you have real l-o-n-g slings, picking a cab without a spreader bar can dent the cab just above the doors - and yes, that was a lesson learned the hard way. :mad:

    The bar is a piece of 2"x2"x.250 HSS (square tube) about 6' long, with an attachment point in the top centre for a shackle, and similar points on either end for a shackle to attach a nylon sling to the spreader bar. These were made from 2"x1/2" flat bar, drilled to take a 1/2" shackle pin.

    Another advantage of the bar over using l-o-n-g slings: allows you to keep your rigging shorter, an important consideration depending on what you're hoisting with.
  7. AltaLawnCare

    AltaLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 961

    I don't have many pics loaded yet, it's a slow process for me - no digital camera. But I'm building a folder in webshots of things like this:

    Billy's Fabrications

    My favorite is the detachable trailer mirror. It's only a post from a cheap halogen lamp stand, with a convex mirror bolted to it, and C-clamped to the trailer. Took 15 minutes to make and mount...

    Took a lot longer to get used to using.:p
  8. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    HEY! You cheatin'! I never used to use of those when I pulled a trailer...................

    J/K - the trailers I'm referring to were 48' flatbeds, as long as you were within about a foot either side of the pin and hit hard enough, the fifth wheel would guide 'em into place! :D

    That's a neat idea with the mirror, never would have thought of that. Lining up centred with the trailer is easy enough to do, but knowing when to stop helps avoid the "park by feel" licence plate scars you see so often...................
  9. racerdave

    racerdave LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    I also built a mirror that attachs to my trailer. I used a big magnet to hold it in place. It looks real nice, fabbed out of ss and all. My trailer is an enclosed Pace with a real nice shiny nose.
    The second time I used my mirror, I forgot it was there and promptly ran over it after hooking the trailer :mad:

    I now have a reconditioned trailer mirror that is painted hot-pink!:D


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