Metal Forklift Model




Introduction: Metal Forklift Model

About: Magpies always got their hands on the best digs!

As the metal business is growing in the garage I need some equipment to do the lifting around the desk. So I went browsing through and couldn't find anything so I decided to make some templates and let my minions build a forklift!

This maybe a Forklift but most of the techniques are the same for lorries and cars so hop on the bandwagon for this adventure!

Remember your safety equipment when youre welding especially, don't look at the weld you could get arc eye or even blind yourself and nothing is worth that!

Step 1: Side Template and Scaling

I knew I wanted it to be scaled to my minions so in the future I can have a collection of machines. So to find the scale I used the seat, I know that the lower part of the seat is about the length of a average thigh and the bottom part of the seat on this forklift is about the same height as the front wheel so using a minion as reference I found some nuts around that size and now I can use the wheels to scale the body. Still following?

After I had a rough Idea on how big I wanted it I drew out the side profile with the roll bars which is important because i'll need a guide when im putting them on later, but for now all I needed was the chassis so I cut that part out and offered it to my two wheels and put one of my characters next to it. I was happy with the result!

You'll need for templates:

  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Paper
  • Set of eyeballs
  • Imagination
  • Scissors

Step 2: More Templates and Width

As important to the scale is the width, I think that unproportional models is the downfall of any sculpture so be extra careful!

So heres a trick with masking tape, I would use a ruler but you don't get the same visual picture until it's drawn up.

  1. I have all my wheels where I think they look right so I use the side profile to get the length correct.
  2. I mark up where the wheels are just in case I knock them by accident .
  3. I put some masking tape down and mark on it with a sharpie the width of my machine.
  4. I lay my side template on a new piece of paper and stick the masking tape down on the upper part of the chassis.
  5. I draw around my side template and then flip it for the other side creating a net which I will then transfer to metal.

Now I have something to go off I can fill in the gaps using measurements (math, ugh I know) I've attached a picture with the body plates on.

Step 3: Transferring, Cutting and Filing

Transferring the templates is fairly simple, Im using some 2mm sheet metal off cuts from a owl I'm building. When I'm drawing out templates on metal I tend to draw on some bend lines as a reference when I'm clamping my work into a vice if I need to shape my work. I also clean my metal off with soapy water or degreaser so my sharpie doesn't dry out, they're expensive when you have to keep buying them! DO NOT USE CHLORINATED DEGREASER when it comes to welding time you dont want to be burning chlorine.

Ive use bench mounted shears to cut this piece out but tin snips, aviation shears, nibblers and hacksaws can be utilized in cutting sheet metal, so it's whatever you have in your garage! Make sure youre wearing gloves though, sheet metal is sharp and can easily cut you, I tend to wear safety glasses at all times but if youre using air nibblers its a must, nobody wants metal filings in the eye balls!

Once its all cut out I'll use a file to neaten the edges and alter the angles so my panels fit flush, this is self explanatory but don't go too hard too fast, you may mishape your panel!

Requires, or what I used

  • Metal cutting tools
  • Files
  • Sharpies
  • Soapy water - not required but think about the above ^
  • Thick gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Vice
  • Ruler

Step 4: Bending and Shaping

Now here's a fly trick Jack, don't shwack the metal with a hammer, space it with a block of wood, when you beat metal with a hammer it will form hammer indents, but when using a block of wood it will be smooth, saving you from imperfects to the face. you can usually save metal with wood if you have a pin hole hole dent or a ripple.

I've added a horrible blurry action shot of the wood but i'm sure you'll get the picture, it is known that the majority of instructables arent moronic..!

Also use safety glasses when hammering, swinging metal around is never a good idea without some form of barrier between your eyes, and if you're sensitive on the hearing ear protection maybe?

What I used

  • Cut pallet wood
  • Hammer, doesn't really matter what you're using, you're striking wood
  • Pliers

Step 5: Time to Weld the Chassis and Components Together

Now all my parts are cut and bent into shape, I can tack-weld them into place and then do any adjustments from there. on something this small I'll go back and check the next panel to go on still fits because smaller lumps of metal warp faster than large ones. I even got my minion to do some welding with the Miller #Represent

In the second picture I'm throwing together the front track which the forks will sit on, I will go into more detail in this next slide.

MAKE SURE YOU'RE USING A WELDING MASK AND GLOVES + If youre Migging in mums garage make sure you got ventilation if you're trying to tackle stainless, galvanised or zinc coated metals. It's poisonous if you breathe too much in.

Step 6: Roll Bar, Front Track and Wheels

Picture heavy on this one, in transit I lost the process of making the forks but I wont tell you to suck eggs.


Now my body is completed I can now fit the wheels which is as simple as making a axle out of some rebar, or weld the nuts onto the body from the inside so nobody can see it, luckily nuts don't roll so I dont have to make the wheels turn although that would be quite cool!


We will be needingthe template from the beginning now to lay out the roll bars, i'm going to use rivet ends I accumulate from work and other project, I was going to use split rims but if you're at home and don't fiddle with either of these thin strips of sheet metal do as good of job as anything. When welding smaller metals with MIG it only needs a small blip of the trigger because we're trying to avoid melting the tubing. I used sheet metal bent to 90 degrees for the top rail as it gives it a bit more chunky look and not all bottom heavy!

Front track and fork

Again this does depend on what you have accessable, when I was first brainstorming this I was going to use a 10mm bolt and have the forks go up and down when the bolt is turning but it was too fine of a thread and far too complex to do so I used a hook design which does look pretty sweet and it's easier to set at different heights for photos, to do this I use two pieces of rebar and welded bars between them, and the forks just have a hook which hangs off them. To mount the component to the body I used a 10mm bolt and when I tilt it forwards it just unwinds or winds up on a thread, because its such a fine thread it doesn't really move from side to side when tilting the forks.

Step 7: Interior and Character

This project was so I can use it along side my other characters like my MIG man and Hammer man so Im going to add a interior to it and make its own character, this is all up to your own imagination, I just used rivet shafts and washers to piece my interior and steering wheel together, again its whatever you have on hand.

Step 8: Bit of Paint and Walah

Dont let me catch you painting without a respirator !

I didn't prime this just slapped on some yellow paint, I didnt go super heavy on the coat and didn't shake the can either so it's kind of watery in person so I can still see the metal, I think the yellow is exaggerated on the photos, once it had set I scrated the sides up because when do you see a undinged piece of equipment? And then slapped some lacquer over all of it and the character so it doesn't rust up for the photos.

This was very vague but its not a step by step on a forklift, you can follow it if you want and make your own forklift but its more inspiration to make your own equipment and vehicles. Imagination creates the best models so post yours in the comments, would love to see some diggers and dumpers! Would really appreciate a vote, could do with a upgrade, so far my mig character has a better welder than me, what a joke!!

Stay safe when you're working with metal and make sure you all got your welding shades on when youre melting metal!

Metal Contest 2017

Participated in the
Metal Contest 2017

Be the First to Share


    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge

      Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge
    • Chocolate Challenge

      Chocolate Challenge



    4 years ago

    Neat! You did good work. It looks real cool!


    Reply 4 years ago

    thank you very much! :)


    4 years ago

    That little forklift is awesome!


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks, I was pretty happy with the turn out!


    Reply 4 years ago

    No problem :) I wouldn't mind to play around with metal more, just need the time lol.