Happy New Year all!
Here's a link to photos of a boom I built for myself after using a Kelly loader for several years.
It has several "features" built in based on my own and other beeks horror stories.
-It telescopes down for transport. I also use this feature to dismount from the truck. I just back into the barn, raise the boom, chain it to the rafters, pull two pins, retract the boom - which raises it off the truck bed- unplug the cord (I almost always remember to do this ) and pull away. Including unbolting the cradle from the cab guard it takes about 4 minutes.
-The boom slides in the mount. My solution to a leveling system. Sliding the boom back counterbalances which helps a bit on uneven ground. Since I must climb up on the truck bed and manually slide the boom I rarely do this opting instead to just push harder or find flatter ground. I have used this feature several times for tight spots where I had to set bees amongst trees or other obsticles.
-It has a 16 ft reach (two 8' lengths of barn door track) which is often a foot or two short, something that doesn't happen with a swinger or bobcat.
-It is built with off the shelf parts. Grainger, Napa, Northern Tool & the local hardware store were my parts sources. If I had to special order a part I found another alternative (because that would inevitably be the part that breaks). Everything else I fabricated in such a way that it could be easily repaired by any welding shop.
-The current winch I built (OK, the motor wasn't off the shelf but my Napa store got it for me in two days). I went through several iterations of this but ended up building my own because I could customize line speed. ATV winches are too slow (when the flood waters are 15' ABOVE you and just about to top the dike ). If I were to build one today I'd probably use a bigger warn winch with wireless remote. It would simplify things a lot and be cheaper than building my own albeit at the expense of customizing line speed.
-Capacity? Well...not real sure. It can load a stack of six honey packed westerns, or 4 deeps, so something over 300#. To load hives I first stack two double deep colonies, then load both on the truck. With 16' of reach you get a lot of torque/tipping on the truck, but as the truck gets loaded things even out. I suppose a creative person could rig some stabilizers but it's just something I didn't want to deal with . If I know me, and I do, if it's not simple I won't use it.
I built this loader in 2002 and just got done with some wear and tear modifications so it has worked pretty well. I hadn't given much thought to cost until another beek asked about my building one for him but I sat down and figured this boom, in this configuration, would run around $8000 including mounting on his truck. (I never had to tell him that because in the mean time he came across an old Kelley boom for a VERY good price...free )
I don't have any written plans, just a few sketches, and the pictures in the fog between my ears, but if anyone were wanting to put together a loader like this I'd be happy to email with you.