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gantry rig

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  • gantry rig

    I have been looking for gantry rigs on the internet and there isn't much out there. SO i have decided to build one myself. Has anyone else done this? I am picturing an XY rig with a 2.5 ton chain hoist. Using I-beams as track and attaching them to the rafters in my shop. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Try Bushman Equipment, makers of all kinds of cranes. I have one of their small catalogs that shows the models, dimensions, capacities, etc. if you want to build one. My plan is to do that sometime. The local steel recycler here has a couple of used jib cranes for about $250, you might want to check out your area too. Try


    • #3
      I'd probably put the rails on the walls, myself. Most walls are massively overengineered for compressive loads, and I'm not nearly as sure how much margin there is for loading the rafters.


      • #4
        I built a free standing rolling gantry a couple of years ago. I would post pics here if I knew how. I think you need to have the pics on the web already? I could email pics as an attachment if you'd like.
        I also built a crude free standing crane sort of like an 11' tall engine crane, (got the idea from a "Roustabout" I bought for a previous boss at an auction)that uses a worm gear hand winch for lifting.
        Most of my stuff is made of scrap (or made into scrap, depends on your perspective )
        but serves me well.


        • #5

          Uncle Dunc has the right idea - most of the gantry cranes have the rails mounted on top of concrete or structural steel walls. A free standing unit will cost considerably more. Another alternative is a Gib crane - see lots of those up here for loading machines. Some of the Haas VMC's have Gib crane attachments.

          For the x-y arrangement you seek you would most likely require an a/c drive to move the overhead beam due to weights of the beams, but the chain hoist could be moved by hand. I have a friend with an such an arrangement in his garage (4 bay) with the beam spanning the shortest span (24') and it required 4 guys to move a motor hoisted. The end result was that a/c drive had to be installed for ease of movement. It was justified in his case as he restores vehicles.


          • #6
            I've been thinking about building one too.

            Find plans for a gantry crane at

            Sounds like you are wanting to build what I call a rolling bridge crane. I've been watching for these to show up on ebay (link shows new today only)


            then looking at the pictures for ideas.

            See also



            • #7
              The gantry I built looks just like this
              except I built an ajustable clamp that holds the "I" beam to be able to change span quickly and also to substitute beams for different jobs.
              I also made outriggers with built in jackscrews with swivel feet that slip into the base to level and stabilize it. They remove easily and the whole thing can be knocked down and transported.

              Also mine is not as pretty

              [This message has been edited by yf (edited 12-06-2002).]


              • #8

                Thrud is right you will need to support the main parallel beams on something very substantial. To move the bridge you will need some type of gear reduction. We had a 10 Ton bridge crane that was moved through a gearbox that was operated manually by a chain pulled by hand. The gearbox was connected to one set of wheels. Electric drives are expensive and you have to have some type of festoon system or hot rails to supply the power to the motor.



                • #9
                  To move the load along the rails you may be able to use an old chain type garage door opener. It could be mounted stationary at one end of the rails and then you wouldn't need a moveable power source.


                  • #10
                    Hi Guys:

                    While most of us are pretty well versed in "what looks strone enough", it would be wise in each of these cases to do a structural check.

                    These checks are not that hard to do, if you take a little time to run through the figures. There is pretty good information in the machinist handbook.

                    However, if in doubt, most structural engineers that I know could do this in a short time for what you are planning.

                    Another way to check out your [project of course is to carefully overload it and have some supplemental supports there in case of failure.

                    Most failures probalby will be in the form of some kind of buckling, not straght downward plunging.

                    Look for the arrangement to fall sideways, not straght down.

                    Hope a little of this advice from me might not be taken wrong, because ther is not point in getting hurt in the process of having fun.



                    • #11
                      Thanks for all your input. My experience was in an auomotive machine shop where there was an electric chain hoist suspended from an x-y track. I was able to lift just about anything and move it with ease just by pushing on the object or pulling on the chain. 90% of the time I would use it for and engine or the front clip of a car. But it would be nice when I want to move the milling machine that I could kook it up and move it.


                      • #12
                        I am not sure of the weight capacity, but I have used one of those engine hoists that's on wheels. They are not that expensive and do need bigger wheels if you have uneven floors, but I have move some major equipment with one.



                        • #13
                          Pallet jacks are really great for just moving stuff around. You can get used ones pretty cheap.
                          I had my twin head Leland-Gifford monster twin head drillpress setup at my former employers shop.
                          I bolted short pieces of wide flange beam under it to allow the pallet jack to slide under and allow one man to safely move it.
                          It weighs app. 1300 #, and it seemed like we had to move it all the time.
                          With solid timber blocking on the forks it becomes easy to move a lathe also, so long as you have enough room to pass.

                          When jerks would block the exit in the parking lot we used the same pallet jacks and blocking to move the cars.
                          (Then we would put cars that were in storage in front of them! )
                          That was a pretty good job, too bad its gone forever.

                          [This message has been edited by yf (edited 12-09-2002).]


                          • #14
                            I built a gantry crane in my shop last year. So far I have tested to 1-ton,with 1/2"of deflection. First of all I would use an S-beam. These are similar to I-beams, but instead of being flat on top/bottom it's wedge shaped, which gives tolly wheels more surface to roll on. My shop is 24x30 OD with 2x6 walls. I used 8" beam, not sure what weight per foot is, but a 23' long piece was about 450#. You mentioned hanging from rafters, bad idea. I suggest schedule 80 pipe,I use 4" with a peice of 1/2 plate, on bottom cut to fit inside studs, on top of sill plate, bolted down with lag bolts. On top cut more plate to make a landing pad for the beam, with a triangle piece to support it. This way you don't have to lay thick pads in the floor,or waste floor space. I had a buddy with a bobcat spot it on the upper pads,then leveled and paralleled and welded in place. I got 2-ton tollys from HarborFreight for like $80 each. It works like a dream,if I run and grab the chainfall hoist,I can coast to any spot in the shop.If you would like more information or photos,please e-mail


                            • #15
                              Mr. Honda

                              Could you please e-mail me photos and more information on your overhead crane, seems to be just what I'm looking for.
                              Give a man a fish
                              feed him for a day
                              Teach a man to fish
                              feed him for LIFE