Making a Fork lift positioner
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  1. #1
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    Default Making a Fork lift positioner

    I have a 5k Yale lift truck and I notice that my side shift lever (the third lever) has two axis to it. Meaning that it throws forward and back but it also goes side to side. I guess it would be for a rotator or fork positioner.

    So with this underutilized valve, i would like to make a fork positioner for it.

    If i unlock one fork and tie it to the frame with a double acting hydraulic cylinder and plumb it to my side shift lever (Side ways part), will it work?

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    It will work Ok if the forks are mounted on a bar,if on a notched beam,wont work,fork will go cockeyed.......I think cascade ? make all this kind of stuff......you might get a proper sideshift for scrap price if you look around.

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    Sounds like you have the valve, but making the forks and cylinder part of it is going to be more involved than you mention. Take a look at a forklift with fork positioners sometime and see what all is involved, it's quite a bit.

    I guess it would probably work if you just crudely attached a cylinder to 1 fork, but the dead end is going to have to be attached to the carriage, and you'll have to attach the cylinder to the middle of the fork. If you just hook the cylinder to the top of the fork, as has been said above, it will just bind the fork on the slides and it won't move the fork.

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    The other problem area is two hoses will need to go over the top of the inner extension,over a pulley and down to the carriage.....these have to be carefully placed,particularly the top pulleys,or the hoses will be ripped apart at full mast lift extension...And these hoses dont last long,unless the operator is very careful.....ie not a dumb kid on minimum hourly rate....these two hoses were the number 1 maintenance problem on the forks I had,after flat tyres.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    The other problem area is two hoses will need to go over the top of the inner extension,over a pulley and down to the carriage.....these have to be carefully placed,particularly the top pulleys,or the hoses will be ripped apart at full mast lift extension...And these hoses dont last long,unless the operator is very careful.....ie not a dumb kid on minimum hourly rate....these two hoses were the number 1 maintenance problem on the forks I had,after flat tyres.
    Damn, I forgot about that. Any who, I just stepped out in the shop and looked how the hoses go over top of the mas and i realized that there are 4 hoses going over the top of the mast . Two of the hoses goes to the side shift cylinders and the other two are capped with plugs.

    So Bonus. Plumbing is already there. Just need to find a double acting cylinder and fab up some mounts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Singtoe View Post
    Damn, I forgot about that. Any who, I just stepped out in the shop and looked how the hoses go over top of the mas and i realized that there are 4 hoses going over the top of the mast . Two of the hoses goes to the side shift cylinders and the other two are capped with plugs.

    So Bonus. Plumbing is already there. Just need to find a double acting cylinder and fab up some mounts.
    Before you go much further, ring up some forklift repair places, and see what they have available used.

    If your forks are the standard type mounting, the attachments are available aftermarket, meaning the price is much lower (than would be for a custom made unit)

    You might just find a good used unit to simply bolt on and plumb up cheaper than your time is worth in building something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    You might just find a good used unit to simply bolt on and plumb up cheaper than your time is worth in building something.
    ^^^^ This. Last forklift I bought only had side shift. The dealer bought a used combination side shift/positioning attachment from another dealer and put it on for me for a few hundred dollars, all I had to do was rig the plumbing.

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    Definitely scour the forklift dealer/repair shops for a used setup. A new Cascade positioner cylinder is about 2K new, and you may need a false carriage to mount it to your machine carriage. Best to find a complete setup used. PB

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    Like others said you might get lucky and find a cheap setup used to bolt on, or you will get a bunch of service shops telling you they can install one for 2500 hard to say.

    I would say if you are going through the trouble to make this, make sure that you build a setup that moves both forks equally so that the load is always centered on the carriage. There are lots of heavy things I move with my forks pushed together, and I would not want them hanging to one side.

    Here is how my setup was done (how I got it). The forks fit a little loose on the slides, and lots of grease always keeps them movin.
    20190918_083019.jpg
    20190918_083031.jpg

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    the one on my forklift is a little different than that style just uses on cylinder, more fabrication, and it doesn't have the power to use as a squeeze grip either, a double cylinders setup needs a gear, flow splitter
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img_0553-2.jpg   img_0551-2.jpg   img_0550-2.jpg  

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    Definitely go the used route. DIY stuff on a lift truck can run afoul of OSHA and if a home built setup is involved and there is an accident insurance may not cover it.

    Among other things all welding on the business end of a lift truck must be done by a certified welder. Service techs can weld seat tracks, control brackets, access covers and low stress items like that but can't weld anything that carries part of the load.

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    If you have an un-used "handle" and it contains 2 axis (2 spool valves with linkages to one handle)
    You might be able to hook up (3) hoses, and have both "pinch" for width, as
    well as "side shift".

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    If you have an un-used "handle" and it contains 2 axis (2 spool valves with linkages to one handle)
    You might be able to hook up (3) hoses, and have both "pinch" for width, as
    well as "side shift".
    So i played with the handle today. It is a spring loaded lever the stays to the left. when the lever is in the position, moving it forward cause the forks to move right and viceversa when the lever is pulled back.

    So when i move the lever to the right. It then can move forward and backwards (does not control anything as nothing is hooked up to it) . When i let go of the lever, it springs back to its home position ready to control the side shift.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Definitely go the used route. DIY stuff on a lift truck can run afoul of OSHA and if a home built setup is involved and there is an accident insurance may not cover it.

    Among other things all welding on the business end of a lift truck must be done by a certified welder. Service techs can weld seat tracks, control brackets, access covers and low stress items like that but can't weld anything that carries part of the load.
    I'm a shop of one, No osha visits here.

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    If you got blanked off lines,you got the valve,or you got a diverter.......Im thinkin your fork had a bale clamp ,or a rotator,stripped off due to value,when surplussed......with all the hydraulics already done,a fork widener is a no brainer.....incidentally,fit the cylinder between forks,that way ,you pin one fork ,cylinder moves tuther,either fork can be moved by pinning the opposite......had this system on my forklifts,pinned by a simple pullout spring loaded pin......but easy to shear too,if dummies forget to pull one.

  18. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singtoe View Post
    I'm a shop of one, No osha visits here.
    Here you GO:
    DIY Projects | FabricationForum.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Definitely go the used route. DIY stuff on a lift truck can run afoul of OSHA and if a home built setup is involved and there is an accident insurance may not cover it.

    Among other things all welding on the business end of a lift truck must be done by a certified welder. Service techs can weld seat tracks, control brackets, access covers and low stress items like that but can't weld anything that carries part of the load.
    I agree it would probably be much easier to just find a used setup, I wouldn’t be overly concerned with fabricating something. Fork positioners wouldn’t be considered a load carrying member, and only time there would be force on it would be when positioning empty forks.


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