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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to the forum but have been lurking for quite some time. I've been looking at building a 10 bale grapple. I have pretty much got the design developed except for one area. I am having trouble figuring out how the square tubing (which the grapples bolt to) connect to the center rail and the outside rails. I have never been able to get a good visual on that part of the grapple. Anyone have any ideas on how best to make that connection. Also, would it be better to use 11a 1.25" square tubing or 1.25" solid square tubing.

I've thought about getting 1.5" round tubing and weld to the rails then let the square tubing or solid tubing float in the round tubing. My concern is "square peg in a round hole"......just not sure that is the best thing to do.

v/r

Neil
 

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We've built two of these grapples in the Ag mechanics shop at my high school. The way they connect is there's a piece of sucker rod (solid rod) that is just a hair smaller than the square tubing that holds the hooks, that runs all the way through the frame from one side to the other, as well as through the square tubing. We cut our holes with our CNC plasma table so they would line up properly, but you should be able to accomplish the same thing with a measuring tape and a drill bit. There are POLY bushings you can order to go around the sucker rod (3 per rod) and you use a Allen key locking collar which is welded to the frame, to keep the rods from sliding out. I don't have any picture right now but I can try to get some, and I can try to answer any more questions you might have!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What you've describe does make sense. For some reason I did not envision a solid run of solid round stock slid inside the square tubing. Would guess there would be some type of flange bearing that mounts on the center rail which the solid round stock would run through.

I don't have a plasma cutter but I think the place I get my metal from has one.....so may be able to get them to cut the holes. I was planning on using 1.5" by 3" tubing for the rails. Would you recommend that or something different. Appreciate the info and if you can get a couple of pics that would be great. Thanks again!
 

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Yeah that's what the poly bushings are for. You drill the holes in the frame rails and insert the poly bushings into the holes. The rods then are inserted into the bushings which prevent metal on metal wear. A locking collar is welded onto the outside of the frame over each hole. You cut your solid rod about an inch longer than the overall width so the locking collar has something to grab. I'll try to get some pictures Tuesday or Wednesday, it's much easier to explain visually. I'll also try to get a copy of the plans we used for you.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Plans would be awesome as well. That way I could do a comparison on what I've put together. Was the grapples you built for bales that lay flat or on edge. I typically stack my hay in the barn on edge but my design is for stacking the hay flat on the 18" wide side of the bale. Not sure which way is better. If on edge is better then I need to redesign my accumulator and build a quarter turn chute for my baler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So I've attached a couple of bushings that I found online. The brass one is from wrlong.....not sure of the price but looks like it would be easy to mount. The red one is a poly bushing that might work but I am trying to figure out how to keep the bushing from working its way out of the hole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here is another flange bearing that I'm looking at. It seems to be the best for what I am trying to do. Also available on amazon so it can bought easily without hassle at $15-16 per bearing with my current design calling for 15 bearings. It looks like the bearings and the grapple hooks are going to run me right at $400......more than I wanted to spend for those parts but looks to be my best option right now. I think that will still put me under $1,500 by the time I get all the metal, hydraulic cylinder, QA mount, etc. Still not to bad......
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well it's been a while but thought I would post a couple of pictures of my current 10 bale grapple build that I started today. Definantly a work in progress but still have a couple of months to get it completed before the first small squares are baled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
do u have the grapplator finished and would u have some basic plans for building one
Sod man,

I started out with some plans (more like on a cocktail napkin) that I developed just based on the size of the bale that I wanted to produce as well as scouring the web just to get an idea on how grapples are built. Once I got into the project though I made some tweaks while in the build phase. I can get you some dimensions and pics if you like but it will be a few weeks before I can get to it. Also, when I build another one I will be making a few changes to my original design such as making the frame where the quick attach connects a little bigger.

How was the end of the project? Work this season?
I think it worked out well. I still need to get some paint on the accumulator and the grapple but I used it to put up 1,500 squares this summer. I don't think it is any faster than putting them up the old fashion way but I sure have a lot more energy at the end of the day. I'll see if I can get a few pics posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sodman,

So I made a separate accumulator which pushes the bales along the ground.....not optimum but it does work pretty well with wire-tied bermuda grass hay which is what I use it for. As far as the hooks, I ordered them from Agri Supply. Cost is only $8 a piece but shipping is pretty high. Not sure where you live but seems like Agri Supply is in the SE area of the US. I'll try to get some dimensions on the grapple as well as some pics of the accumulator in the next couple of days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I designed and used both schematics as a guide during the build. If you use them I would make sure they fit your planned operation. I developed these to work with 38"-40" small square bales. I'm sure you will have some tweaks to the designs just as I did but at least they are a starting point.
 
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What you think are brass on the W R Long are plastic. I have one and they keep breaking . Only the center row though. Everyone on the center row on my grapple is broken now. I am looking for a good repair path now. I will update on what I can find. I will look at the flanged bearings that were shown here available a Amazon.
 

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You might find a local machine shop to make some from brass or 12L14 (leaded steel). I'm sure either one would hold up much better then plastic. Make sure you have enough made that you have a few extra. That will also cut down on the per piece cost
 
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