DIY Mini Front-End Loader for John Deere Garden Tractors

Rural ingenuity at its finest, as one reader fabricates a DIY mini front-end loader suited to three models of John Deere garden tractors.

| September/October 2016

  • The home-fabricated mini loader lifts to 54 inches high.
    Photo courtesy of FARM SHOW

“About a year ago I built a mini loader for my Deere 318 garden tractor that was featured in FARM SHOW (Vol. 39, No. 3). It’s designed mainly to move snow and lift heavy objects up into my pickup. The response I got – and am still getting – from readers has been incredible,” says Steve Nichols, Galesburg, Illinois.

“I’ve enjoyed helping FARM SHOW readers who want to build their own loaders. I have now made an even better loader for my Deere 445. It’s designed to fit Deere’s 425, 445, and 455 garden tractors and is based on an entirely different design. I call it my ACME Iron Werx Loader. Anyone with good fabricating skills can easily build it. I don’t have any plans or blueprints for it, but I’ll be happy to answer questions for anyone who’s interested.

“My new loader has what I call ‘girder’ style arms, which are less expensive to build than the boomerang-style arms on my previous loader. It lifts 54 inches high, which should allow dumping over the side of a pickup or into a utility trailer. The bucket is 48 inches wide. The loader operates off the tractor’s standard onboard hydraulic system and doesn’t interfere with the tractor’s belly-mounted mower deck or the ability to open the tractor’s hood.  

“I would be happy to help anyone who wants to try his hand at making a loader like mine. Also, I’m willing to sell this loader, as I’m already working on yet another design. I intend to make plans available for my next design.” To contact Steve Nichols, send an email to

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