View Full Version : A Forklift for the Real World

09-05-2006, 12:38 PM
I have a dream...

I dream of a forklift that is able to operate on crushed rock, packed dirt,...even a lawn when it has to. The real world is not one with smooth concrete floors extending into the sunset.

This forklift will be able to manuver in tight spaces while fitting under a normal garage door. Life is such that we take what we can get...and most garages are not built with forklifts in mind.

It will take up little space to store and either be electric or LP fueled. Space costs money and so do forklift repairs due to infrequent use.

Is there such a forklift?

If there is not, how would you build or modify one to fulfill this dream?

I and my back thank you for it. ;<)


09-05-2006, 01:29 PM
Interesting question/dream

Here is an interestng site.


I'll bet one of these could be adapted to a golf cart or an ATV

09-05-2006, 01:35 PM
Man, oh man. I've tossed around the same idea. I was thinking of something based on those fat-tire fork trucks that hang off of the back of lumber delivery trucks.

On reflection, the first thing you need to consider is what kind of compromises you're willing to take. The more this thing can lift and move, the less likely it will be that it's easy to store. Being able to travel rough terrain or not tear up the lawn means either big ol' fat tires or possibly many, many small ones. The list goes on...

One idea I had was to have an electric "power unit". This would be like a tractor is to a tractor-trailer. I'd imagined something the size of a large push mower with "dually" style wheels to carry it along. Perhaps it could be electric powered. Running off of batteries and a golf cart type motor would give weight and enhanced traction, but in my case, I wouldn't have a problem running it from a long extension cord like an electric lawnmower might.

Ok, got that? Now, couple that to say, one of those little utility trailers. The little trailer would be beefed up for weight capacity, of course. Position the load so that it helps the "power unit" keep traction. All the power unit needs to be able to do is move the trailer with a load on it.

I've seen utility trailer-looking things that were actually electric fork trucks. You attach it to the back of your vehicle to give counter weight. Perhaps if the geometry is adjusted, it could work with the "power unit" concept.

What do you folks think? Ever seen anything like this? Think it would work?


09-05-2006, 04:09 PM
As Mark said, the closest thing commercially available is probably those pallet loaders that you see on trucks hauling bricks and grass skids.

A buddy of mine cut the mast from an old dead 2000 lb Yale left in a scrap yard and rigged a way to connect it to his small tractor where the 3 point hitch normally goes. The lift cylinder was driven from a remote spool on the main hydraulics. You drove the tractor in reverse until the forks were under the load and then actuated the piston. I have an even simpler version, which just is a set of forks on a frame hooked directly to the 3 point. Unfortunately, it will only go up a couple of feet through the range of the lift arms but will pick up about a thousand pounds. This using a 1959 Ford 600 diesel.

Your idea is basically a "Big Joe" lift, which is a hydraulic lift that is manually pushed around on concrete. You could probably connect one to an old golf cart and be close to what you are trying to achieve - at least for loads of half-ton or less.

09-05-2006, 04:58 PM
don't know about fitting in the garage, but rough terrain forklifts are common in construction, Loadlifter in Toronto is one manufacturer i know - they'll make you what ever you want. Given the potential angles the mast is used at, they need a big footprint - they're not small machines!

09-05-2006, 05:13 PM
I noticed they had jib cranes. Some still get confused about the pronunciation. JIB...Joe. GIB...Goat! That is the industry standard. Hard J, Hard G. Simple as that.

09-05-2006, 05:17 PM
Here are a couple of photos of a Big Joe mast grafted on to a garden tractor frame;



Maybe CCWKen can do something similar with Kenbota when he gets done with the Model T.

09-05-2006, 06:11 PM

Boy, that is neat - persacktly what I had in mind. Would be the cat's meow for the small shop.

Milacron of PM
09-05-2006, 06:12 PM

Boy, that is neat - persacktly what I had in mind. Would be the cat's meow for the small shop.

Yeah, it will probably lift all of 500 pounds...woo hoo ! :rolleyes:

09-05-2006, 07:18 PM
how about caterpillar tracks and the ability to tilt the mast from side to side to compensate for slope ?

well thats what I need .

09-05-2006, 07:47 PM
Yeah, it will probably lift all of 500 pounds...woo hoo ! :rolleyes:
No shame there, 500# would probably handle most of what the average HSM will encounter. Myself, I try to avoid much more than that.

The mast is probably capable of 1000#, and dual wheels and a counterweight would probably handle that easily.

09-06-2006, 07:25 AM
My solution to my problem was a old 4wd truck. First I tore off the front bumper with a cherry picker attached *not lifting but pulling. The bumper on the 74 was made from sheetmetal.

NOW I got a heavy cnc-tube bent front bumper but the cherry picker is on the rear bumper now. I have had 1500lbs hanging on it since. It is diagonal braced to the frame.

When I had the cherry picker on the front bumper of the ford work truck I picked up a sheet of steel and tried to back up. SUrprise the rear wheels were off the ground. A 4wd works much better.

Look to the farmers out west and thier gin poles. A simple aframe made on the rear of a old junk truck can pick up a tractor. Just like a crane thou, keep the load over the center, boom out too far and "wheelie time".

A hsm'er needs to be more stubborn. I moved a 2400lb Ibeam into place, drug it up the posts, welded it in by myself. I first grabbed ahold of it, lifted and sunk both my feet into the dirt. HUH, might need some mechanical help I thought.

I can't keep the tires aired up on the ole truck.. rusty rims. I need foam in em. Slime didn't work.

Norman Atkinson
09-06-2006, 07:34 AM
Where the helluv ya bean?

Welcome back to the - well, welcome back!


09-06-2006, 07:35 AM
Hey Dave, is that the same truck you posted before?

Your Old Dog
09-06-2006, 09:27 AM
how about caterpillar tracks and the ability to tilt the mast from side to side to compensate for slope ?

well thats what I need .

I live near Buffalo. I could use one that will handle 2,000 lbs on 2 feet of snow in blizzard wind speeds :D

Maybe levitation would be easier to accomplish?

09-06-2006, 10:35 AM
Do a search for rough terrain fork lifts. John Deere 482c (http://www.equipmentlocator.com/asp/dtlPhoto.aspx?id=287456&eID=130&loc=na-en) and here (http://www.wvbizmall.com/albanyrental/jd482c4x4.html). The biggest problem is using them inside, think "bull in china shop".

09-06-2006, 11:43 AM
Heeeeees baaaaaack! Welcome David - great to see you back here.

This is precisely the kind of problem that screams for the attention of Mr Cofer. I've always liked the idea of mounting a crane on a pickup truck - and so have tow truck makers everywhere. Another "hot lick" is the idea of putting a big bench vise on the bumper of a welding truck. If I had space, I'd probably have a truck just like that.

I think that if David were confined to living in something like a 3-level townhouse with a walk-out basement, the solution would have appeared here already, complete with pictures. I'm guessing it would have a built-in G-code interpreter, and could be programmed using a playstation joystick pad. :D It would be quite heavy and powerful, and in the off-hours, it would double as a frame for the heavy bag. :D :D


09-06-2006, 11:47 AM
On a more serious note, I've actually considered using a stout beam or two and a dozen or so "day laborers". In some cases, (and in some places), that could be the most expedient way to move something heavy, like my Bridgeport. They wouldn't tear the yard up so much, they can handle most terrain, and there would be no "storage problem".

In the end, I wound up using a lot of plywood, a pallet jack, a bit of thinking, and a bunch of sweating and cussing.


09-06-2006, 02:00 PM
Clark has one that just about fills the bill. The receiving department at the university got one just before I retired. It had a shortened mast with three sections (instead of two), dual all terrain tires on the front, and a side to side slide that would move the load 2 feet either side of center. It was a champ!!! The only down side is you would have to pour a slab that was thicker than 4" thick for a garage floor as this beast was heavy.

Personally speaking, my favorite is the military's articulated 10,000lb capacity, all terrain fork lift.

09-06-2006, 08:55 PM
Articulated crane on goverment auction. Truck mount.. Cheap.. I noticed I was near sexually excited.. It sold before I was able to register to bid.

My one ton will have a boom on the headache rack.. it has a powered dump cylinder, powered both ways. It barely fits in the door of my shop addition without anything else stickin up.

If I ever complete the damn thing. Posted pictures of the build here and on Adrians site.. Old pics here. I got the magic motor back together for it. AND the stainless simulators on the wheels. I did warp the cab all to heck thou.

A mobile light Aframe is what people need. Seems Darin was the other guy with one.
Not mine!! shucks..
This is mine...

09-06-2006, 09:11 PM
Ain't gonna haul much like this huh??