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How can I make a cart that lowers to slide heavy bags on and also slide them into the bed of a tall pickup truck?

Background: My yard has an incredible ability to create a forest's worth of leaves and branches despite having only a small number of trees. This has led to me developing an irrational dislike of Autumn. To make matters worse, I have no place to put the leaves and my town doesn't provide curbside pickup - I have to bring them to a recycling center. I fight this battle with a lawn suck device (leaf vacuum for those uncomfortable with technical terms) and these huge bags made of tarp material. My back is performing sub-optimally lately so I need to get creative. Issue: I'd like to build a cart that will allow me to slide these giant and often heavy bags on without lifting and roll them over to where the truck is. I'd also like to be able to slide them into the bed of a tall pickup truck. I've thought about a cart that see-saws on large wheels but the angles would be too steep. Now for the degree of difficulty...I don't have a budget for a fancy solution. Can anyone help?

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gateon6 years ago
Do what the medics do, use something like a stretcher. Roll it to your truck, flip up the legs and youre set. I wouldnt advise buying one, I dont think they come cheap, making one might not be too hard but I wouldnt know for sure, theres many ways that it may be done.
DiamondBack7 years ago
Rather than do everything twice, why not put the bags on the cart, then just attach the cart to the truck? - http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=2915 Doesn't exactly solve the bags-into-the-cart dilemma, but at least you'd only move the bags once.

I have another idea for cart to do this type of work, but it involves a fair amount of fabrication and building. Not sure if you're interested in going that far ... that is, if you haven't figured anything out by now. Idea involves a large cart, a hand winch, a hitch receiver and an anchor point
Just had an easier idea - same style of cart I linked too, but with a fold-up ramp, and a scissor jack, still using the hitch receiver also
l8nite7 years ago
How about a cart with an attachment for a chain hoist, comealong or pulley system. an upside down L shaped bar on the back of the truck that swings from the back and into the bed could use the same lifting device
hleon7 years ago
Use hydraulics!
miles180317 years ago
use smaller...therefore ligher...bags
I went to school at Western Washington University (WWU) and they have a lot of trees... I mean a lot of trees. So they are in a battle to pick up the leaves all the time. During the fall it's really bad... they are out all day every day blowing the leaves into a large pile... then they drive up a 1 ton flatbed and suck them up.

Here is the idea for you:
You need a big fan (to work as the giant vacuum motor)
Some 6" non-collapsible tubing for the vacuum hose
Some tuff mesh net type thing to make a vacuum bag

Get all the leaves and stuff into a large pile... get your truck close and use the vacusucker to suck up all the leaves into the truck... Turn your truck bed into a really big vacuum. Look on ebay or some industrial sites for the blower motor... needs to be the heavy duty squirrel kind.

Or... something like this...
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=37555
Put some hooks on the corners of your current cart and lift what you need into the back of your truck.
wangerton7 years ago
alright here goes, sorry about the crappy microsoft paint pic but hey, im drunk and still trying to help you out. I believe you were dead on with the large wheel / cantilever idea, just needed some tweeking. to combat the steep angles you speak of just add a hinge and a liftplate, when loading leaves on the ground or as I call in the down position, the liftplate will just lay flat on the ground allowing for easy loading of bags, before raising to tailgate level hook a knot in the rope in a hook you cut up near the handle, this locks the liftplate in place and lifts the bag, but the stop plate does not allow the bag to roll back down the steep angle created by lifting, when you get to the truck just release the rope and if the stop plate is close enough to the hinge then the bag will automatically roll off this crazy contraption onto the truck. also I imagine the whole thing could be made from scraps around the house, that is if you are the type of person who looks at instructables and has scraps around the house. hope this is what you are looking for. Let me know what you think jw oh bye the way the longer the lift board the easier the lift. but you already knew that. (mmmmm delicious thought juice i.e. beer)
leafloader.jpg
kelseymh7 years ago
I have thought about the inverse problem myself (a lifting bicycle rack to mount on a car). A fully motorized solution is possible, but will run you probably $500+ just for parts, if you buy everything new.

I think what you "really" want is a "lift truck". Those will run you a couple grand, but I think you could build something primitive for less.

Start with a hand truck and mount a manually operated trailer tongue jack on it. Attach a cantilevered platform to the jack, such that it's down on the ground when the jack is fully lowered. Put the back of leaves on the platform, and hand-crank the jack into it's fully raised position (about an 18" throw). That might be enough to get to the bed of a pickup.

That's not an engineering design, obviously, but I hope its enough to give you some ideas.
orksecurity7 years ago
Back-of-truck ramp and a wheelbarrow? Maybe with a boat-trailer-style winch to help you get the barrow up the ramp?
seandogue7 years ago
Okay. I'll give it a shot. 1. Have you thought about blowing the leaves directly up into the bed of your pickup? Or conversely, sucking the leaves up to the pickup bed? (yeah, I realize that it might not be possible, but eh...who knows?) 2. a tail lift for the pickup can be done, as I'm sure you're aware...trucks use them all the time...But it usually requires a lifting motor and screw drive or hydraulics....not cheap unless you have a hydraulic pickoff or winch already installed and the capability to design and construct the table and lifting mechanism. I'm sticking with the blower....so you don't or can't put the usction/blower thingy in the bed...fine... Instead...blow/suck the leaves into your bags...then move the bag to the pickup...attach the blower/sucker to the filled bag, place another bag on the bed, and reblow.suck the leaves into the new container...voila!