Introduction: Cattle Vet Crush Make Your Own
Here is a project you can launch that will teach you how to weld for very little cost . You will end up with a crush that costs $7500 here in Australia and all the tools to make more yards or whatever .
I spent about $1200 on steel and consumables and about $300 on welder and power tools combined . If you get stuck you can get that helpful mate in to give you a hand.
These are easy to make . Buy all the steel 50mm x 50mm x 2mm (or 2.5 mm even better for welding ) zinc coated and cut into lengths as per the cutting list attached . You can use galvanised (hot dipped) but it is easier to weld if you pre-grind that where you weld.
This crush is 3 meters long and .7 meters wide inside. It has an entry door and two exit/squeeze doors and a head-bail up front with oil locker and a second operating lever at the other end of the crush . Also a 1 meter vet section with three gates . It is meant to sit on a concrete slab 1meter by 3.2 meters and can be bolted down with loxin bolts into the slab if you wish but that is not always necessary as the crush is quite heavy when completed.
It has side doors that squeeze in and are easy to make . It is designed to be easily reduced to just the carcase and the separate doors and parts for easy repair or movement between properties. Slam lock gates can all be made yourself and only the rollers and specialised bits like, oil ball valve and chromed plunger end and seals of the oil locker, need be purchased .
Tangs to tie into an entrance chute are placed as needed and made from 6mm x 50 mm gal flat bar at 100 mm long and welded to the carcass.
You can add a large roof over by welding two frames directly to the carcass or bolt them on if you wish. An old trailer axle and wheels assembly can be quickly attached to one end for transport with a tractor slasher lifting the front. All details and lots of pictures are here.
Prime all damaged gal including inside the box sections if you can . I used Dulux Cold Gal grey primer because it weighed a ton but it was not very impressive on the job and old rust came through when it got wet . Just a grey etch metal primer ,Rust guard from Bunnings , will do for me next time.
I noticed that Duragal lasts in the weather for about 7 years (2 meters of rain a year here and 20-30C and 80% humidity most of the time) then parts start to rust and it goes quickly from there .So this one I will paint completely after 12 months weathering with good quality polyurethane paint . I don't ever use epoxy based paints if they go outside anywhere the sun can get at them because they chalk up and powder off in small dust particles. My rust treatment is chip and sandpaper it , paint with phosphoric acid (rust converter) and wash with rain or water ,when dry, etch prime with etching metal primer , then coat with chosen polyurethane . Lasts 10 years plus.
Step 1: This Is What I Started With
Pretty rotten but it worked well and was wide enough for my Droughtmaster Bulls which weigh 1000 Kilos plus some. Ill put these photos in as they may explain something I missed.
The problems with the old one were that rain fills each pipe it can get
into and it sits there . Ants get in and bring dirt so you have a wet mud sitting there rusting the inside away which never dries out. Frogs squeeze in and piddle and shit everywhere so the thing never dries out.
Step 2: Cutting Lists and Drawings
Plans and Lists and Drawings
See the "DFX" files attached for cutting profiles of parts you can make.
I notice they come down as a text file in some cases which must be saved as a .dxf file to use it I suppose .I'll check for an easier download file way.
I used LibreCad which you can download free from their site for windows and linux and it works well. Follow a few tutorials and manuals to get started . I taught myself to draw doing this project so its all amateurish work . If you are a good drawer and modify my drawings I would appreciate a copy and your notes in the comments so I can improve this and myself. Note Cut pieces has been altered to sensible layers and polylines so they all join up.
Here are a few links
Download Librecad program
I have also hand drawn some plans you can cut yourself with a plasma cutter or get someone else to cut them out accurately.
I used a little Cut 40 plasma cutter from ebay which cost about $280 to do the job on 10 mm gal steel and used a 110mm grinder with a cut off wheel for the 6 mm bar stuff and general cutting and grinding .
I drilled the holes with a $70 bench drill from Supercheap and the welder was a $100 electrode stick job from Bunnings or KMart . One of these combined Plasma MMA MIG jobs would be worth a try.
I was pushing the plasma cutter at 10 mm steel and had to hit the dross off with a sharp hammer blow but they cleaned up OK . I used two tips and had to go slow and careful to get the angle right . Nice thing about the Cut 40 is that a new torch and 100 tips and inserts cost about 100 from ebay. You can afford to mess about at that price and it will cut anything that conducts electricity.
I have attached scans of my initial paperwork lists and drawings in case they help but there are mistakes on them (especially cutting list).
Steel for Carcass , Doors and Head-bales
All in 50 x 50mm Duragal or galvanised 2.0mm or 2.5mm or other. I used both and clearly 2.5mm was easier to weld and stronger but heavier in the end result.Your choice
4 off 2900 (top & bottom rails)
8 off 1850 (Uprights ,drawings say 10 and are wrong)
2 off 1830 (Sliding Door Upright)
14 off 1650 (side/squeeze doors widths )
1 off 1600 ( sliding door runner)
1 off 1550 (Hinge end of large vet door)
6 off 780 ( Hinge ends of side doors and small vet doors)
10 off 700 (width pieces and sliding door width,can be changed easily)
5 off 620 (Fill ins side door and vet doors)
6 off 670 (Tops and bottoms of vet doors and small side door)
Cost me $750 in 2.5mm
Box 50 mm x 50 mm--Head-bail runners
2 off 800
Box 40mm x 40mm
1 off 2200mm ( for head-bail operating lever at back)
Flat Bar 50 x 6mm-Leaves 100 mm protruding ends which can be drilled for Dynabolts to concrete
4 off 900 (change if you change width). If you can afford to go to 10 mm do so for more floor clearance to assist washout.
1 off 800 (bottom of head-bails ,change if you change width)
Get some extra to go across sliding door opening at top and head bails runners etc
Flat Bar 40 mm x 6 mm
2 off 1000mm ( for backstop hangers length-ways)
1 off 1000 mm (for cutting into 100 mm pieces on an angle)
Box 75 x50mm x2.5mm-For the head-bail frame
1 off 1900
1 off 2060
Box 65 x 35 x2.5mm-For the head-bail mechanism support
1 off 200
Cut pieces in 10 mm or 8 mm -see drawings for ready to cut layouts. Plus some bar stuff to cut and weld on the bottoms as mentioned . I cut them myself because I am still waiting on a quote from my local water cutter guy 27 days after asking for a quote !
50 x 50 x 5 mm gal Angle for pipe tops and bottom of sliding door about 1 meter
4 off 50 (for pipe tops )
1 off 800 (for sliding door bottom guide rail)
75 x 75 x 6mm Gal Angle for Bail Mechanism hanger
1 off 250mm
25mm x 25mm x 2mm Gal Steel for Baulk gates
2 off 1770
2 off 1300
4 off 575
4 off 1250
The end pieces are in with other cut pieces (4 off in 8 off) and are welded top and bottom then bolted to the Head-bail hangers so they swing right outside everything else. A bit of chain with a piece of pipe for weight lock into a slotted square of steel on the other door. I added one down the bottom too as my baulk gates form part of the chute up to my ramp.
Gal sheet 1.5 mmfor insides of all bottom doors
1 off 750 x 1060
1 off 670 x 930
1 off 660 x 650
2 off 500 x 1700
Cost me $250 in 1.5 mm
Gal Pipe 75mm O/D ( 65 NB)
2 off 1700
Gal Pipe 45mm O/D
4 off 1830
Gal pipe 32mm O/D
4 off 100 ( for hinge pipes to sit on)
2 off 100 (Go round head bales pins)
14 off 140 (Slam Locks)
Solid rod 25mm(You can use a piece of pipe with a solid fill rod too)
2 off 130 ( for Bail top pins)
7 off 340 (for slam locks)
Springsto fit inside 32mm O/D pipe
I used 10 Kilos of 2.5 mm welding rods and 36 of 115 mm cutting disks cutting all the steel for 2 crushes so about half should do for 1 . I also cut up the old with those.
I used 66 or so stainless 8 mm bolts and lock nuts of two sizes (35mm (50 off) and 75mm (10 off)) because they don't cost much more these days and you will probably only need to open them in 10 to 20 years time and you want them to be re-usable don't you . This whole crush is easily and separately replaceable fairly quickly on farm where you don't have access to a mobile welder . Just rip it off ,throw it in the trailer and take it to where you can repair it.
I actually went up to 10 mm holes and bolts throughout but I don't see much advantage in this and it just adds to the drilling difficulty and reduces strength in some of the head bail parts.
I used 12mm Bolts x 70mm for the pivot points of the bail handles and head-bail just to be sure
Please double check with the drawings in case I have made mistakes . I joined a bit on here and there but should have it right now after 2 of them. All of this is freely given . Errors and omissions are likely until I get some feedback -950 views and none yet.
Note - Working on CAD drawings of
Squeeze gate ratchet and fittings -(see pics and scans)
Full Bail mechanism -(see pics and scans and one drawing)
Slam locks -(see scans )
Step 3: Make the Carcass
Both sides are just copies of each other with the large doors reversed for squeezing action and vet doors hinged on opposite sides .
Lay out the 4 off 2900mm pieces on a concrete slab bigger than 3 x 2 meters and mark the centers as per the CAD .dfx file or the scan.They are 2 1/2 mm longer so the weld has a decent fillet at the ends. Turn two of the lengths around and place one on either side . Take the first two and put aside . Spread the remaining two out and tack weld (in the middle so it can move a little ) 2 of the 1850 lengths to each 2900 end then get this rectangle diagonally square first then weld the tacks a bit more so you can turn it all over . Then turn it all over ,clamp in if needed and fully weld that side making sure the steel holds square and the diagonals stay equal. Fully weld the entire rectangle then lay it down again and place in the remaining uprights . You will see in the pics that I made two sets of these If you use this method on all the doors too it will stay true and make a better job all round
Make yourself a big square if you don't have one as guessing might mean trouble fitting the doors.
When uprights are all in weld on the small pipes that are the base of the door hinges . Drill and weld the angle pieces to the 4 hinge pipes ,fit in place (you might have to shorten them depending on how much weld is under them ) and drill the through holes in the carcass (may be better to wait until the doors are actually on so you can be sure it all lines up ). You can get the pipes longer if you wish and just fully weld them in place later when the doors are placed over the pipe but angle and bolting make for easy removal and repair/replacement later. Its just as strong as full welding I think if you put the up side of the angle on the inside of the carcass.
Do the same with the other two now making sure you notice the changed position of the squeeze door hinges and the vet door hinges both to the sliding door end.
700mm pieces of box (or your chosen width) are welded at all external corners top and bottom always ensuring the carcass is square with a builders square and diagonal measurement .
Another is placed midway between the hinge and upright of each side of the carcass and on this is welded a piece of galvanised round bar 12 mm bent with a right angle that serves as a lifting point . A second lifting point is welded on the head bail end .
On the ground two 50mm x 5mm x 900 lengths of galvanised flat bar are drilled with mounting holes as shown outside and welded under the bottom of the carcass at the one third points of the carcass.
Two more blocks of 100mm x 50 mm x 5 mm gal flat is welded under the head bail front bottom cross brace with suitable holes drilled to bolt the front to the concrete as that is where the work will be done .
With this cross bracing in place it is fairly easy to install weighing facilities if you want them.It is just a floating floor set on two weight sensors and fed to an electronic readout.
Sliding Door slots
I found if I welded up the slide door sections with full steel across being the four 2900 pieces then partially cut out the top piece for the sliding door to slide into from the outside and welded 50x185mm pieces across the outsides to hold the top solid ,then removed the rest of the box piece from the inside , this gave a better result with the tops of the uprights being then sealed from the rain coming straight down it .Study the sliding door photos to understand this point .
The problems with the old one were that rain fills each pipe it can get into and it sits there . Ants get in and bring dirt so you have a wet mud sitting there rusting the inside away which never dries out.
Weld on the entry tangs at the position that suits your rails. My measurements are on the scan .
Step 4: Make All the Doors
The doors are hinged by having a galvanised pipe of suitable dimensions ( 45 mm O/D ) run through the inside of the door steel ends making a hinge.The pipes have a 50 mm piece of angle and the pipe is welded on the underneath and a bolt hole is placed centrally on the side piece of the angle and bolted to the inside of the carcass.
On the carcass 4 short hinge pins of 32mm gal pipe x 100mm long are welded upright so the hinge pipes will sit over them
Make yourself a builders square as mentioned before or buy one and use it to set up on a good bench flat setup to save your back.
Larger side squeeze doors
These are two doors each side locked together with a steel removable rod locking both together with a ratchet bar down low that is placed on a lock slot and squeezed in . The ratchet bar is lifted to free the door out again.
The ratchet I fashioned from 1 meter of 50mm x 10 mm bar. It is attached to the door with a piece of pipe with a small tang welded to it and offset just a few degrees so the door opens past it..
. The tang is bolted to the ratchet. Two attachment blocks with holes are welded to the door and a bolt goes through these and the pipe to hold it there and operate as a two way hinge.
See scans and pics.
Between the rails is a steel bar of about 1 meter drilled with holes at 100 mm centers (see pics) and small shaped dropper pieces are bolted on so a 40 mm x 40 mm bar of about 1200 mm can be pushed through to the other side and then pushed forward from each side to push the cattle to the front and hold them squeezed up from the back too. Put a shaped handle on it as per the diagrams and pics . I made up a few for handy use in other parts of the yards
Vet doors and small side door
These are made the same way as the side doors to the dimensions given with locks on each door but no striker plates are needed inside as they lock in behind the carcass uprights if you get the length of the lock pins right
Sliding entry door
The in door is made to slot into the right side of the carcass to lock it and when open it is slotted into the left side carcass so as not to protrude.A piece of 50mm x 50mm x 1600mm long is welded over the slot of the carcass as shown and the constructed door runs on this .
Down the bottom is an 800 mm piece of angle to ensure the door runs true. You can put a piece both sides but it fills with sh and is hard to clean out.
At the top third of this door I just used some smaller steel up as cross pieces above the sheet steel
A small flip bar is bolted to the carcass to enable locking it closed
For wheels to run on I used a couple of Supercheap bolt on roller wheels , took the axle out and just used the wheel with a bolt through the center. These were 50 mm diameter wheels and I left a 10 mm gap or so between the wheel and the runner so the door would drop a little away from the runner for good running and fitting. You can put some spacer pipes if you want to keep the wheels central . I didn't bother. Make sure the bottom of the door does not touch the bottom of the guide angle though.
Step 5: Make the Head Bails
This is constructed from various sized steel bits as per the plan . It has an oil filled damper that locks the bail in place when closed and is releases when the hand lever is raised .
There is a second operating lever at the vet door end of the crush which can be locked in or left free.
The opening /closing mechanism is an aprox 600mm x 50mm x 8mm bar (see drawings )with a pivot in the center one end pulls in while the other pushes out. It is slightly complicated with some slack so a plunger on the oil damper will operate to allow the bails to open when you want them to and not before.
There is a locker handle assembly near the head-bail with a drilled hole in the end which goes on a large bolt installed in the Angle piece support . It faces backwards and the 40mm x 40mm piece goes in and runs to the side of the vet gates . There is bolted on the top of the carcass another handle assembly with a piece of 50mm x 50 mm with hole and bolt again facing to the front which slips over the 40 mm x 40 mm extension bar. You can fully weld on the rear support but it means you must remove or drop forward the head-bail to release the 40 x 40 mm rail. See pictures and drawing only atm
The head bails are secured to the carcass by 8 tangs of 100 mm x 50 mm x 6mm bar with holes drilled for bolts outside see pics
Weld 4 on the carcass and 4 on the head-bail. Bolt together in twos and fit headbail up to carcass and clamp with tangs between then do the diagonally opposite side ,clamp then fit the other two and clamp and use a hammer to adjust the positions of the headbail then . when it all looks OK tack weld them , undo bolts and then fully weld the tangs.
Make up Baulk gates as per drawing and attach to outside tangs. These are running up and down to reduce the risk of you being hurt if a cow doesn't like what you are doing. You leave the head bales open and the baulk gates closed to get them to put their head up front .
I am experimenting with ways of restraining head movement up and down once the cow is in the head bail. A series of rings welded to either the 75 mm gal pipe or to the baulk gates so a bar can be slid through top and bottom would work and are quickly removable.
Step 6: Make the Locks
Making the Spring loaded Locks and Striker Plates
See the drawing on the scan atm There are two pictures of a different type above which don't work as well as my design and cost over $50 each and $10 for the striker plate so make your own .
You will need 7 of these .
These are made using pieces of 32 mm x 2mm gal pipe approximately 140 mm long . Put a solid piece of 25 mm round bar in the vice so the pipe slips over and the bar is about 4mm below the pipe top . with a ball peen hammer round the pipe top over the bar all round. Take off and insert a 1mm steel galvanised washer inside . Place a suitable spring inside (about 120 mm) then put your 210 mm solid bar in on top of that .
I tried just welding a solid washer straight over the end and it worked just as well .
That assembly is welded to a backing bar on the outside pipe of 300mm x 50 mm.
Place another piece of 32 mm x2 mm gal pipe about 140 mm long and has been cut at a 45 degree angle about 30mm from one end ,place that small piece over the solid bar and weld it to the solid around the straight end with the 45 degree cut pointing to the striker with about 35mm of travel available to the spring . Place the matching piece of 32 mm pipe with 45 degree cut on top now and weld the piece to the backing also . Weld on a suitable bit of pipe handle 150 mm on the main bar and pipe assembly which moves in the position you want .I have them down when the lock is closed .
Welding both pieces to the backer then fitting and welding the solid
and movable 45 degree piece later and then the handle works too.
I tried using up some material I had like galvanised reo bar just under an inch and there are some photos of different bits I tried . I shortened some of the lengths when I did this so you can mess with it a bit quite successfully. A tip for welding the bar to the handle 45 degree piece is to cut a small V slot into it and into the bar and weld it together through that slot
Make sure it operates as it should , now weld the assembly to the doors as shown. Its necessary to make the vet doors catch when closed inside so do these first I suggest. I also suggest perhaps getting the solid bar and pipe needed in large sizes and making one complete first to ensure your dimensions will work.
The striker plates are made by taking a piece of 100mm x 100mm x 8 mm gal flat bar and cutting a suitable hole for the 25 mm solid bar to enter easily then using a vice or press bend the steel on the center of the slot just enough to give an entrance pathway for the solid rod ( 20 to 30 degrees) . Weld them to the carcass after the doors are mounted and aligned . They are included in the cutting diagrams
There is a locking bar needed to hold the squeeze doors together when used as a squeeze . This is a piece of 250 mm x 15 mm steel rod with a cross piece on top to hold it in. See Pic. Put two pieces of pipe that fits over this and weld the pipes to top and bottom doors about 2/3rds the way from the hinge end. On mine I strengthened this with a square backing piece but I don't think this is really needed. Square tube welded to the doors works too.
Step 7: Make the Oil Locker
Mine had an old one which leaked because it was rusted through but on inspection it was simply a pipe which acted as an oil reservoir and a machined piece welded in that holds a ball bearing and spring that act as a valve and supply a means of guiding the push down rod .
The machined piece was in a separate piece of pipe with a pipe joiner used to attach the two together. A plunger rod held at the top with a spring is pushed down onto the ball bearing which allows the oil to flow around the ball allowing the bail to open. The bail mechanism is made with a bit of movement in the parts so closing the bail does not hit the plunger but opening it does and because there is a bolt directly behind it a piece of cut pipe works well.
Down below the machined piece was another shorter length of the same diameter pipe which screwed onto the machined pipe and was sealed with Klag or gasket sealer /glue. At the end of this bottom piece was another joiner with a 25mm ID ,35mm OD x 6mm width oil seal held in with a washer and below that a similar sized dust seal/wiper seal 35mm x 5 mm .
A 400mm piece of 25 mm polished chrome shaft with an 8mm hole bored through the end for the attachment bolt slid into the sealed end . When filled with oil the shaft could not move until the plunger was pushed down onto the top of the ball bearing to let oil flow out from the bottom pipe.
Step 8: Make the Roof
Make up a 50 x 50 mm box structure as shown with the fall you want . It must fit across the top on the outside and be welded firmly on . There are various options here but I found this pretty good as it used minimum steel and is strong enough with the weight of the crush holding it down . we get regular cyclones here. Had to use fairly heavy rafters to span the crush and give me a bit of gain round the sides . Screwed on old gal iron to complete .Might even rust kill and paint it one day (done).
Step 9: Attach the Temporary Back Wheels
A 1 meter piece of steel box 100mm x 50 mm can be drilled so it fits under the rail attachments as shown and a rail pin can be dropped through to hold it. Under it is welded on a small bit of angle each side to sit over and hold the axle which is just an old trailer axle with everything removed .
Fit the box section under the rails and you can lift the crush with a jack , lower onto bricks , slip the wheels and axle under and lower crush back on to the axle.
Turned out chaining the axle in there was needed to stop it being able to tip over and lift off the apparatus. The piece of angle each side can be turned into a piece of U channel by adding one side and this would lock the axle in anyway.
Step 10: Attach the Temporary Front Hitch
I used a tractor to pick up the front by chaining the crush to the hydraulic arms and using the tractor hydraulics to "lift and separate".
Step 11: Move Into Position
With the roof on its a bit top heavy so bolt downs are a good idea . My front chain slipped and the front lift went to one side tipping it . Fortunately a dirt bank was on that side.
At this point I installed plastic square plugs in the ends of the long carcass box rails to stop rodents etc. You can do this earlier but jostling into position will probably dislodge and damage them on the bottom rails.
Step 12: Other Pictures of Ideas for Crushes
These are just some pics I picked up as I looked around and there are some good ideas here and there.