Part 4 We build a steel snow plow frame to attach to the receiver hitch lift. After painting, skinning, and assembling we actually got to plow some snow!
Base Edge and Plow Frame
The base edge is the part that the cutting edge will bolt to. I am building the main frame out of 2×3″ tubing with 3/16″ thick walls, which I mostly chose because it was laying around my garage from a previous project. I cut the piece to be as long as the two HDPE cutting edges I cut and drilled in Part 3.
You can see in the picture above, I was playing with making the plow have a forward rake to it. At this point I was still waffling on if I wanted to have the moldboard curved or not.
I ended up going with 10 degrees of forward rake and no curve to the blade. After thinking about it for way too long, I decided it just wasn’t worth the extra work. Also, if I get enough snow on the blade that it is curling over on the blade the Honda is probably close to ceasing forward motion anyways.
Next step is to cut a 2×3″ piece of angle iron the same length as my main pivot tube so I can use it as extra support.
I then welded the uprights to the base edge on the plow. You can see here I used my favorite pipe clamp to hold the pivot tube between the uprights at the 10* angle that we discussed earlier.
It was then time to weld in the extra angle iron frame support and start building the rest of the push blade out of light duty angle iron.
The angle iron I chose to build the outer frame from is just light duty 1.5″ x 1.5″ by 1/8″ steel. Since the main frame is built from the 2×3″ tubing really all this angle iron has to do is contain the snow. After building the rest of the frame, had to throw it back on the plow mount so I could play with it.
Skinning the Plow
YAY, it works! (in theory….) Now I need to skin the plow. I decided to use some sheets of aluminum I have laying around that I bought years ago used from a scrap yard. I have no idea what kind of alloy it is or what I paid for it, the only thing I care about is that it is aluminum sheet and it was cheap.
NOTE: As you can see in the pic above, the aluminum sheet goes over the base edge almost to the cutting edge bolt holes. If I were to do this again, I would not have done that. I would have recessed the angle iron frame ~1/8″ so the aluminum stopped before the base edge and didn’t interfere with bolting on the cutting edge. The bolt on cutting edge now has a slight angle on it because of the aluminum is acting like a spacer on one side.
Before screwing and bolting a bunch of stuff to the plow frame, I needed to paint it first. As I learned in my A/C cage project, I now ROLL paint on all of my projects. It is much easier, cheaper, and less mess (no spray paint dust everywhere).
After letting it dry overnight, I attached my aluminum skin to the plow frame with self tapping screws which are just fine for my small plow. Depending on how thick your plow frame is, you might have to pre-drill the holes, use bolts, or even just weld on a steel skin.
After reassembling everything, I am pretty much done! (for now)
You can see I added a couple of old ~2ft long CB antennas so I can see where the blade is at in the rearview mirrors.
Since it was already snowing and I hadn’t finished the angle mechanism yet, I stuck a small piece of flat bar in the pivot and tightened down the pivot bolt with the blade at a slight angle. I will add an adjustable angle mechanism at a later time.
Thoughts and Observations
So at this point you all probably think I am a little crazy. I just spent a ridiculous amount of man hours and materials building a small plow to shave 20 minutes off hand plowing my driveway. I say I am NOT crazy though for a couple of reasons.
- This project tested my design capabilities and challenged my ability to accurately build moving parts
- I have ALWAYS wanted my own snow plow. As a little kid I used to ride around with my dad at 5AM before school “helping” (drinking coacoa and blabbering about random stuff) him plow parking lots. When I got a little older I was upgraded to hand plowing and pushing the snow blower.
- I can now plow pretty much any driveway in about 5-10 minutes and can leave the plow on the car to do my parent’s driveways without it being huge or not fitting in the garage
- The HDPE cutting edge is really quiet, so I don’t have to worry about disturbing the neighborhood if plowing early in the morning.
- My total cost on this project not including tools I already own was about $300 vs. $1,200+ for the cheapest non-powered Snowsport plow. It doesn’t take many of these projects to pay off an investment in your own welder.
- It actually worked pretty well. I will have to post more pictures when we get some REAL snow.
- Gertrude and I had fun building it.
Read on to Part 5 where I add some final touches like an adjustable angle mechanism.
Index of the snow plow build process:
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow – Part 1 – lifting frame and winch
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow – Part 2 – Completion of lifting frame
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow – Part 3 – Building Plow pivot and cutting edge
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow – Part 4 – Complete plow frame and assembly (First time plowing snow!)
DIY Receiver Hitch Snow Plow – Part 5 – Build blade angle adjuster