Way Off, Off Topic: Bulb Roll Flats in Hot Roll Steel

Thread Starter

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,933
Bulb roll flats

Today, we had the first significant snowfall of the season. As I was plowing my gravel driveway (1600 feet) , I became frustrated with the problem of pushing gravel to the edges with my modified Meyers snow plow adapted to a skid steer. That is easily cured by dragging the drive in reverse, but is not practical for that distance.

I came across "bulb roll flats" (https://www.rushmorepipes.com/bulb-flat.htm ) that are used mostly in shipbuilding. I am thinking of incorporating such a flat as the cutting edge of my plow so it would ride over the gravel rather than dig into it

Anyone know where to get less that truck loads in the USA?
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
8,172
You could,with a cutting torch or better yet a plasma cutter and some time make one. You only need ~8' feet right? get a piece of standard channel and trim the flange clear of of one side and partly off of the other to get the shape you want. Doesn't you plow have shoes? To keep the cutting edge from riding on the ground level? I can't seem to understand how the bulb roll would help with disturbing the gravel. A 1" or less thickness of snow on top of a gravel drive would still be drive able in most cars, wouldn't it?

snow plow shoe examples - https://www.northerntool.com/shop/t...wplow-replacement-parts+shoes-shoe-assemblies
 

Thread Starter

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,933
I was thinking of something off the shelf that a distributor might have. I also looked for angle that was 135° open rather than 90°. No luck. The bulb flat seems to be pretty much just a ship building thing. I am sure in Cleveland I can find a shop that can brake 1/4 or 3/16 flat to do what I want.

Here's a very rough, not to scale sketch:
1606934177383.png
The new show would be full width, not just an edge shoe as is used on hard surfaces.
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
8,172
I was thinking of something off the shelf that a distributor might have. I also looked for angle that was 135° open rather than 90°. No luck. The bulb flat seems to be pretty much just a ship building thing. I am sure in Cleveland I can find a shop that can brake 1/4 or 3/16 flat to do what I want.

Here's a very rough, not to scale sketch:
View attachment 223941
The new show would be full width, not just an edge shoe as is used on hard surfaces.
But it is still on the ground/surface and will pick up gravel. Back in time when I had a jeep, and plowed drives the first thing people did was to remove the shoes/skids from the blades so most of them sold secondhand don't have them. That works fine for paved surfaces, and people paying to get a parking lot plowed want to see the asphalt when your done. But you need a way to keep the blade edge above the gravel on your drive, and that's the idea behind the shoes.
 

Thread Starter

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,933
For most of my drive, the DIY blade attached to my skid steer works fine. I got the whole plow "free." (I paid the seller. Later on Craigs, some guy need to by a new pump quick. Someone had stolen it off his truck and insurance was covering it to a point. He paid me for that pump what I had paid for the whole plow. :) I am not usually that lucky.)

The problem part is a relatively steep hill from the Black River basin up to where the home is. #57 limestone will not stay on that slope, so I use #3 ( I think), and the drive is a far cry from what a well groomed gravel drive looks like. For my first year here. I just used the bucket on my tractor, and that worked fine, but without angling it was messy to push to the side. As I mentioned, if I back plow, no problem, but I cannot do that with 6" of snow the whole way. #3 (like railroad tie bedding) is coarse enough so I don't need to get down to the gravel, but controlling that cut is really hard until the ground is frozen. That's why I am thinking of making a full width shoe so the plow will not dig into the surface. I do not have quite as much float as a standard pickup truck installation. I have only about 4".

I have been using the design (my first) for about 6 or 7 years and figure it is time to try a "new and improved" version. I should mention, that it is short coupled to the skid steer quick attach plate. I did not want something 30" or so out in front.

EDIT: Here's a picture of my toy (on relatively level ground):

1606949454063.png
 
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Thread Starter

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,933
Isn't that rounded edge going to compress the snow rather than scrape it off?
Compress.

However, on a gravel drive versus, say concrete, an inch of compressed snow is usually not an issue where I live. We do not have long spells of subfreezing temps like they have in Minnesota. Let's say the stones are 2" in diameter on the hilly portion and irregular in shape. In Minnesota, you can get a few inches of ice. In Ohio, we get enough melt between storms that gravel still gives traction. I don't even bother plowing the driveway unless we have at least 2" to 3" of snow. If I can cleanly remove all but the lower inch or so without moving a lot of the gravel, I will be happy.

Trying to scrape snow off gravel is like trying to scrape rice off peas. You can't get all the rice off without scraping up some peas. The gravel that gets scraped up gets deposited in the bordering grass, which not only looks bad but can be a nightmare to mow. So in the Spring, you need to spend a lot of time getting the gravel pushed back onto the driveway where it belongs.

I plan to call a buddy who works as a metal fabricator and see whether he knows of any shops in the area that can to piece work with heavier steel, e.g, 3/16". I'll just bolt the formed flat onto where the cutting edge (see picture) is bolted. I may leave a little of the cutting edge exposed to disturb the underlying gravel. It's an experiment. I could also get a horse and not plow. ;)
 

Alec_t

Joined Sep 17, 2013
11,797
Would a slim tree trunk bolted along the plow edge survive long enough as a prototype to test the principle?
 

Lo_volt

Joined Apr 3, 2014
133
Another forum that will have plenty of experienced contributors and may have faced similar issues:

https://www.mytractorforum.com/

As for where to buy small quantities, try fabricator/welders in your area. They generally work with wholesalers and may be able to pass on small quantities to you. Or call the manufacturer and inquire about distributors or retailers.
 
I started to think of maybe some 3 or 4 inch pipe behind the cutting edge to lift it up, but started to wonder just how much metal to stone contact you will get along the bottom. #3 is pretty good size rock you will probably be able to pack in enough snow around it to bring the top of the rock in contact with whatever you are dragging / pushing across it. I just remember the screeches from dragging metal across stone from time to time for whatever reason. The snow itself my help keep the noise down but don't know. The customary plow shoes make a minor annoyance from time to time, but full length could be interesting.

The pipe idea will probably need some form of support to keep from crushing it also, so maybe an idea to think on or laugh at.
 

Thread Starter

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,933
@Lo_volt
I used to visit mytractor when I first bought the place (about 2010). After 2016, I stopped being a regular.
@geekoftheweek
Pipe might work. Plasma cut a slot, put the cutting edge in it, add some long bolts through it. Gives me a good excuse to buy a plasma torch. Or, there's a laser cutter (up to 3/4", I think the owner said) really quite close to my place in Cleveland. If you are at all familiar with Cleveland, it is near the old Ford casting plant just off Brookpark Rd.. He cut some nice 5/16 doublers for me when I was making a 3-point mount for a used Lesco 250 gallon sprayer. $70 including the steel (which is his minimum). He could do a really slick job.

Do yo know whether such pipe springs open or closed on cutting a slot?
 
@jpanhalt
I can't say on how the pipe would react to being cut for sure If memory serves me right it will close up a little (only been in a similar situation once). I thought of mentioning the slot idea to begin with, but thought it may get too involved in ways. The pipe will want to naturally rock back and forth enough to bend and probably break bolts going through it and mangle the slot. Maybe some tabs welded on both sides of the slot bolted though the blade with a pair of rods welded up through the bottom side to cradle the bottom of the cutting edge and keep the pipe centered.

I remember passing a sign for the Cleveland Engine Plant at one time while finding my way back west years ago. Back in the days before GPS and internet at your fingertips (or even internet in general) we would get hand drawn maps for work and once in a while we would end up pretty far from home for the right customer. I've been in more small towns and clumps of houses in the middle of nowhere around the state than I ever thought possible in my construction years. One missed turn at the wrong time of the day and I decided just to head north until I found the turnpike. Other than that a couple trips over to Summit Racing Equipment in Tallmadge is the extent of my Cleveland area experiences.
 
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Thread Starter

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
10,933
Thanks. My guess was that the stress would cause it to close too. That Ford plant closed a few years ago. The GM plant is hobbling along. Sad for everyone here. There are a lot of very large boneyards in Cleveland and Lorain County (where I currently live).

Yes, Summit is quite an experience as are the drag racing tracks in Mansfield (MidAmerica) and outside Norwalk (Force stadium, not sure of the track's name), which is only about a 20-minute drive.
 
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