A tractor can be a versatile tool to have around the yard, but the bucket isn't always the best fit for every task. Snow plowing is better done with a curved blade, and picking up and dumping buckets full of snow everywhere is much less efficient. To convert your bucket to a blade, you simply have to devise a way to cover up the bucket space so you can push snow around, rather than pick it up.
Things You'll Need
- Angle iron pieces or steel mounting brackets
- Permanent marker
- High-powered drill with steel bit
- Hex nuts and wing nuts of various sizes
- Hex bolts of various sizes
- Socket set and wrenches
- Vise grips
- Washers, lock and flat
- Truck bedliner material or sheet metal
- Circular saw
- Heavy-duty adhesive
- Can of white spray paint
Decide first if you want to use the bucket again -- whether you want a permanent conversion or more of an attachment. If you don't want this to be a plow full time and need the bucket for other tasks, your mounting process will have to be simple and allow for easy dismantling. The key is to remember that practicality of removal should not trump the durability of the fitting.
Attach the angle iron pieces or steel brackets to the edges of the bucket around the perimeter. The angle iron lengths should have holes already running the full length of each piece. Mounting brackets should also have holes for mounting, and if you no longer need to use the bucket, you can use straight steel brackets right across the middle of the bucket to add stability. Position the pieces first, marking each hole you want to be a mounting point with a permanent marker. Drill the mounting holes into the side of the bucket where you've marked and thread some short (3 to 4 inches) 9/16-inch gauge bolts through with the head of the bolt on the inside of the bucket, pointing out. Place lock washers and nuts on all your bolts on the outside of the bucket, and a flat washer under the bolt head inside the bucket. Tighten the nuts and bolts with your socket set and wrenches.
Fashion the bedliner with the circular saw into two or three equal sheets, covering the bucket entirely and extending out past the edges about a foot on each side, if possible. Sheet metal, if you choose to use that, should be cut (with a metal blade) in about six or seven equal sheets and should not extend past the sides more than 6 or 7 inches for extra stability. Use the adhesive to fasten each piece of bedliner or sheet metal to each other. The end product should be one solid piece. To add stability, use small 1/4-inch hex bolts (2 to 3 inches) and nuts around the edges of your new plow blade. Use the lock and flat washers in the same manner you did with the mounting brackets. The idea is to keep the layers together tightly. The bolts should barely stick out the other side of the blade and should face inward toward the back of the plow blade.Tighten the blade-skirting nuts with the socket set and wrenches as tightly as possible.
Spray white paint around the bracket or angle-iron holes you need to mount the blade to. Press the back of the new blade against the brackets once it is in the position you want to mount it in. This should create a drilling pattern for your final holes if you do this while the paint is still wet.
Drill the holes for mounting the blade according to the pattern you made with the paint. Thread some 4- to 5-inch long, 9/16-inch gauge hex bolts through the back side of each bracket or angle-iron piece. Tighten these down to the bracket pieces with traditional hex nuts. Carefully position the blade onto the bucket so these bolts slide through the holes. Use a large, thick, heavy flat washer for each bolt head. Use lock washers with wing nuts tightened with your vise grips to ensure the mount is solid and will be durable. This also allows for easier removal if you need to go back to using the bucket at some point.
Tips & Warnings
- Wear and tear on the plow blade may loosen the bolts, so check their tightness after each use. The nuts should be on the outside for this purpose and also for complete removal of the blade when needed.
- For more functionality, try to make the blade attachment hold a permanent curve like a regular plow blade. You may also need to develop hydraulic or mechanical controls to lift and drop the plow if you place it on a vehicle other than the tractor the bucket came with. There are some involved builds and tutorial videos out there if you'd like to get creative.
- Factory attachments exist for most tractor buckets that can mount on the bottom of the bucket. These look and act more like traditional plows if you're in need of a more professional setup.
- Be careful of sharp edges on the sheet metal if you decide to go that route.
- Photo Credit Front End Loader Bucket image by Chuck Alexander from Fotolia.com
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