Weekend Freedom Machines banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
863 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
It has been a few years that I have had this project in my head. I have wanted to try a center blade for the 317 or 214 but can't justify the cost of a Deere 54C or 43C. I have seen some threads of people that built their own, but those are either lacking in pictures or got lost in the site crash. With the decision to build my own, I just had to find a blade to use for this project. This is where the couple year delay has been. I didn't want to spend much on a good blade that would get cut-up. This weekend while visiting a buddy I was able to pick up a snowplow for the L100 series mowers for $10. I have no before pictures but started after I cut the blade in half. Here we go with what I have so far:

1.jpg
I cut the blade exactly in half with the intentions of making the blade wider if needed. It is 46" wide so it will be close. This leaves the blade 6" tall.

2.jpg
Here is what I am working with for the frame/swivel. I had to cut about 1" of the plate that bolts to the plow off which means I will have to drill new holes to mount the top.

3.jpg
I removed the mount to make drilling the holes easier.

4.jpg
Since I wanted to stay with the carriage bolts I drilled the plate the diameter of the threads and then the plow a size between the square shaft of the bolt and the diagonal of that square. Then I just used the impact to sink the carriage bolts in.

5.jpg
The impact broke one of the carriage bolts so I had to replace it, but it is bolted on and done with that part.

6.jpg
The spring trip was taken off since it wasn't needed and I don't have room for it. I welded the mount to the plate and that took away a lot of the slop that was existent from the original setup.

7.jpg
I didn't have enough angle iron for this so I got to working on the rear mounts. Using the same mounting points as the original blades, I made a very simplified version out of some 3/8" flat stock. These turned out very well and bolted up to the tractor nicely.

8.jpg
I got a 4' stick of angle iron from the local farm supply store. Usually I go to the steel supplier but it was a sunday and for such a small piece it wasn't worth waiting around to save a couple bucks. This is 1 1/2" x 1/8" angle and I got 4' of it for this project.

9.jpg
I cut about 3" off of the black frame because with it sticking farther back it would have contacted the hydro tube when raised on the 317. Then I welded the piece of angle to this. That gave me a 12" wide frame that I can easily run more angle back to the mounts.

10.jpg
Here is a test fitting of the frame. The pieces that go back are 17" long. I used a scrap piece of 1/2" square tubing to brace the back side.

11.jpg
I welded in some thick "bushings" that the mounting bolts will ride in. This isn't what I wanted to do, but I didn't have a 1" drill bit to make a proper bushing a pillow block of sorts to use. I am hoping that if anything will wear out on this it will be the bolts which is an easy and cheap replacement.

12.jpg
Here it is bolted in. Getting things lined up just right so the bolts slide in isn't bad at all. Having the tighter hole sizes makes it a more rigid mount with almost no play.

13.jpg
When I first decided on this project years ago I had been saving a pair of mower deck lift straps to use. Of course now that I have finally got the project in motion I can't find them. I may have sold them to someone who needed them more than I at the time. For now a ratchet strap is used for testing the lifting. Once I can find some reasonably priced lift straps I can get this finished up and I will update this thread.

14.jpg
Here is the blade lifted off the ground. I would like to get another inch or two of clearance but that will get solved when I have proper lift straps.

15.jpg
Here is the blade angled. It has clearance between tires and surprisingly it is just wide enough to cover the tracks when angled. I may still add extensions some day. Also I will add a piece of angle to the top of the blade for more rigidity and to cap off the sharp corner but until I decide whether or not to add the extensions I will leave it off.

Hopefully this can help someone out with their project and maybe inspire another to make their own center blade. I will get this thread updated whenever I can get the lift straps. I do worry about how well this will dig since the blade is very lightweight. I may have to look into a down pressure system. I know chuckv made some down pressure springs for his home made blade, but those posts got lost in the site crash.

For those wondering, the welder I have is the Vulcan OmniPro 220 from Harbor Freight. I have been nothing but impressed with this machine. I am not a great welder but this machine will let me run some solid beads. I have a die-hard Miller friend that talked nothing but crap about this machine until I had him come try it out. He said he may just get one of the Vulcans instead of a Millermatic since he is in the market.

Ryan

[SUB][SUP]
[/SUP][/SUB]
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,103 Posts
Great project Ryan, well documented for the masses. Will be looking forward to updates and some action shots aswell. :good:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,727 Posts
Nice work! Looking forward to seeing it work.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,027 Posts
Ryan,

Very nice picture-centric and informative thread!! I like the way you were able to swage in the carriage bolts to keep low-profile rounded heads on the 'working' side of the blade. When I made my center blade, I found some aircraft style bolts that had rivet style heads and tightened from the other end (a hex fitting in the bolt shank end and a normal wrench on the mating nut...) The WFM threads for my build were indeed lost in one of the several crashes on the old version of this site, but I saved a PDF of them, the first is attached here:
View attachment WFM center blade thread.pdf

Have you used your blade yet? Just wondering on your thoughts on a compliant down-force since getting a first bite is the key to having the blade stay in contact with the ground properly. Here is a saved thread on how I added downforce and another on making my blade wider:
View attachment WFM thread on center blade down force.pdf
View attachment WFM thread on center blade widening.pdf


Thanks for sharing your build and enjoy the use of this grader blade -- they are fun to use and give a very nice result. I have always observed that the front plow blade is like a woodworking gouge or chisel, the rear blade is like a bark scraper and the center blade is like a block plane...we can relate to how smooth the plane cuts. Each blade style has its specific uses and can move more or less material and I had all three types for my 322 tractors at the last property.

Chuck
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,027 Posts
Ryan,

By the way, are those 26 inch rears and 18 fronts on your 317?? That extra inch of ground clearance with those tire sizes worked out well for my center blade on the 322...:good:

Chuck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,219 Posts
I'm also interested in seeing some pictures of ground work it is capable of performing.

I've always wanted one just to play around with just to see how smooth I can get a grade on my yard. Never thought to build one but you give me inspiration to try. Considering I have a couple of cylinders and a couple of 54" 4 way blades it might be possible and worth taking a shot at fabricating a center 4 way angling blade.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
863 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks everyone for the replies!

Thanks Chuck for the threads, those are exactly what I needed to see if I feel the need to add those extras. And yes, 26" Tru-Power rears and 18" Vredestein fronts.

I haven't tried it yet since I am waiting on finding some reasonably priced lift straps. I also won't get to try this blade in dirt or gravel until late spring as winter is setting in here and the ground is freezing. I can play with it in the snow this winter.

Also, because of the delay in the raising and lowering of the center rockshaft and when pressure reaches the hydraulic chute rotation on my snowblower, I can actually work them almost completely independently as if I have H4 on my tractor.

Ryan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
yeah this is super cool! i was thinking this summer a belly blade would be the way to go. now that we have 2" of ice on the ground its looking like it would be nice to have in the winter too.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,027 Posts
Ryan,

Glad you found the saved threads useful -- my apologies for the pagenation that typically separates the discussion from the picture being referenced in most cases. As you can see, I used hardware store turnbuckles and links to implement my lift straps...since upward tension is the only active direction and I wanted a means to add an arbitrary amount of side-to-side tilt in either direction.

How did your angle pivot height turn out? if the pivot plane is nearly the same height as the rear mount pins, then the angled blade is going to be as level as the straight ahead blade. That way, any side tilt you add intentionally with the lift straps will also be constant with blade angle...

Enjoy learning how useful these little grader blades can be, and keep posting progress pictures.

Chuck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
863 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I eventually got some lift straps after a hassle of a deal trying to buy from a well known parts guy on FB. Long story short he never shipped because it wasn't worth his time dealing such small parts but he had no intentions of telling me or refunding my money. I went to my secret tractor junkyard and was able to get two adjustable straps for $10. This way I can theoretically get twice as much adjustability if I want to tilt the blade.

Adding these was very simple. I basically made an L bracket with a hole to slip the lift links in. The lower part sticks away from the plow frame 3". This number worked perfectly since it brought it out far enough to make the lift links vertical and it was enough that it wouldn't interfere with the blade pivot. I apologize for not having more pictures but after the buying fiasco I just wanted to get this part done. I tried to find a compromise of the angle of the vertical piece so that it wouldn't be at any extreme angles between the blade raising and lowering.

Center Blade Lift.jpg

I couldn't test this out since the ground here is frozen. Even the gravel driveway at the shed is too hard to move anything. So far I think the width is suitable and I will probably be adding the angle iron reinforcement at the top in the near future. Then come spring time I will be able to give everything a coat of paint.

Ryan
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,103 Posts
Don't hold me to this, but I believe my 43C has 2 adjustable straps. Not saying that the previous owner didn't take it upon himself to do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
863 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Grant I do believe they came with two adjustable straps originally. Since this is home built and needed to purchase these on my own it is a rare occasion to see them sold as anything but an adjustable and a fixed strap.

Ryan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
863 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Finally got the chance to try this blade out and it works really well. After this use I did take it off and weld some angle iron to the top of the blade for strength. I do need to come up with a more solid pivot because the plate with the notch detents in it is bending and the blade is flopping around quite a bit. Overall though I am pleased with the job it can do and for now I don't feel the need for a down-pressure system.
Center Blade Use.jpg

Ryan
 
  • Like
Reactions: MiniHomesteader
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top