Build a Homemade Tractor Blade (part 4)

Build an inexpensive homemade tractor blade that includes a materials list, instructions, and diagrams.

| November/December 1983

Our mini-tractor's first implement will work with any Category 0 tractor hitch!

In 1982, we completed a three-part feature article about a sturdy home built mini tractor that our research crew put together for about half the price of the factory-made offerings (see How to Build a Low-Cost Homemade Mini-Tractor). The photos included in that piece depicted a handy little Category 0 scrape blade that, if you remember, we promised to detail in a future issue . . . and, with the winter season upon us, we thought that now would be a perfect time to describe the construction of that particularly versatile implement.

The heart of our budget tractor blade is nothing more than a 12" X 48" section cut from the wall of a discarded water-heater tank. With its fairly heavy-gauge material and ideal contour, it provides an excellent starting point, but be aware that — unless you can locate a 66 or 82 gallon "highboy" style tank (these models have a diameter of at least 20", and a length of 48" or more) — you'll have to cut two sections from a short, squat tank (30, 40, or 52 gallon capacity), and then weld them together to achieve the desired dimensions. Keep in mind, too, that galvanized vessels give off harmful fumes when welded, so you may want to limit your search to standard black steel tanks.

To prevent the blade from flexing under stress, you'll need to weld stiffeners to its back to form a perimetric framework. The horizontal ones are 45 1/2" long, and can be made from 1/4" X 1" angle iron. The vertical braces — which have to assume the curve of the tank — can be either cut from 1/4" plate or formed (with heat) from 1/4" X 1 1/4" X 12" flat stock.

Once all that's done, you can tackle the blade's main frame. It consists of an 11 gauge rectangular tubular steel base (measuring 1 5/8" X 4" X 21 1/2") that's fastened at right angles to a 1 5/8" X 4" X 18 1/4" arm made of the same material. Of course, if you have stock of another size lying around, use it . . . because a substantial piece of square, round, or even channel steel will work just as well.

On the upper surface of the main frame we've installed a top link wishbone formed from a 27" length of 1 3/4" diameter tubing. The crown of this hoop-shaped hanger should be about 10 inches above the base beam, and a pair of 1/4" X 1 1/2" X 2 1/2" top link pin brackets must be welded above this. (To position them correctly, use the rod end joint on the top link as a drilling and spacing guide). Although we employed a section of preformed roll bar when building this wishbone, muffler tubing or 1/2" flat bar stock — bent to shape — could serve the same purpose.

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