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  • Beam and Trolley in home shop

    Will be moving to the new house soon. The garage is your typical 30x30 with 8' ceilings and block walls.

    Curious how many of you have a beam / trolley setup. I've always wanted one to help unload stuff off a trailer or truck just unsure how to go about it. Im thinking spanning the entire 30' with a 1 piece beam is probably not practical. I'm also guessing that using 2 sections welded together isn't all that smart either. Anyone built a floor mounted jib crane or have other ideas as to what I could do ?

    thanks

  • #2
    I have a beam/trolley in my garage. Certainly very useful.. but if you can get a jib crane in I think it'd be worth your
    time. More often than not I find myself wanting to move stuff to places that aren't under the beam.

    That said, its great for getting stuff off a truck, into the shop, and on the bench.. other than that and the occasional
    joy ride, I still need an engine hoist for the rest.

    A bridge style crane would be spectacular but I would lose a lot of floor space and probably most of my wall hanging
    storage.

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    • #3
      If you can stand the expense/hassle consider a bridge crane. It will serve the whole shop floor. 8 ft ceiling? A top runner bridge almost skimming the ceiling will leave the hook hanging so low you will barely had 6 ft of drift. Add rigging (lifting straps etc? and your effective vertical lift will be very limited.

      My shop has a 12 ft ceiling. I have lusted for a 3 ton bridge crane for many years. I've considered many designs, all pretty expensive in materials. You can work up a very clever design that gives you absolute maximum drift (lifting height under the raised hook) but not with conventional use of standard components. The bridge will have to be a double beam with the hoist trolley running between them and the hoist itself tucked up just below the ceiling.

      Anyway good luck. A simple beam will have the same limitation of a bridge crane in a shop with and 8 ft ceiling. a beam with a torllu and a dangling hoist will take up 2 ft of vertical lift. Figure a way to raise the hoist as hign as possible

      A roll-around gantry seems to be the most practical solution.

      Engineer carefully. 30 ft is a long span and unless your shop has engineered trusses you can't depend on the rafters share the load of the beam.

      Maybe raise the whole garage structure 4 ft and add a pony wall or concrete block up the foundation. Residential structures are seldom designed to suit the needs of home shp crane service.
      Last edited by Forrest Addy; 11-16-2015, 12:57 PM.

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      • #4
        It is a great way to go, if you can do it. My shop is 24X36 and I spanned the entire 24' with a beam that rides on wall-mounted rails for the 36' length. I can get within 18" of any spot in the shop, and the beam rides well above the highest shelf on the walls. I used a salvaged beam and garage-sale chain hoist plus two 2-ton trolleys from the same sale. The rails are 1/2 X 4" steel bars on edge, supported every 24". Even with scrounging materials as best I could, it cost about $1,000 in the end. Yes, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I can move my machines as needed, lift chucks on/off the lathe, and easily put a 500lb wood planer into use from its home in the back corner as needed. My walls are cinder-block, grouted solid and heavily reinforced. If you have stick construction you would need supports running all the way to the ground to do it the way I did. Plus, in order to get the beam right up to the wall with the big door, I had to design my own vertical sliding door. (didn't have room above for an insulated rollup, and the brackets for a standard overhead door get in the way).

        edit:
        I see that Mr. Addy was posting as I was composing. His post reminded me about the low-ceiling problem. My ceiling is 10' 2", and that's as low as I'd go. I can still get most things into my pickup, but that's because I have a small truck! I'm on the lookout for a low-profile electric hoist that will give me about 10" more lift.
        Last edited by chipmaker4130; 11-16-2015, 01:01 PM.
        Southwest Utah

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        • #5
          hummmm yeah I had not thought about the ceiling height being an issue. I guess I may just have to live with my stupid engine hoist

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          • #6
            Look at pic 4 in OT The Beck's Machine Shop interpretation of a high bay LED shop light SWEET! I bought a 40x60 double bridge crane 14'H for $500 from a guy that sold his building to the city of South Bend. Showed up with a crew & the city had locked us out. I'm wainting on a bigger one that will be free for taking it down. With scrap $30 a ton today should be easier to find

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            • #7
              I'm considering a two post automotive lift for my machine shed. 9 1/2 ft headroom with a nice concrete floor. It occurred to me that I could use it to lift things in and out of my pickup truck bed. Anyone have experience with this idea? One obvious limitation is the lift is in a fixed location... Any other issues with this idea? I am thinking a custom adapter beam between the forks to hang straps or chains.

              I am getting older like we all are and don't want to crawl around on the floor with vehicle on jack stands anymore. If the lift can do double duty to load heavy stuff then that will help justify the expense to me.

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              • #8
                stroker, I use my 2 post lift as a crane quite often and have never encountered any problems!!!

                THANX RICH
                People say I'm getting crankier as I get older. That's not it. I just find I enjoy annoying people a lot more now. Especially younger people!!!

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                • #9
                  The height thing is a killer.

                  I have a short ceiling in the shop, due to pipes and so forth that are well below the actual 2'nd floor joists, and also in the garage, due to the door rails, that are just over 82" off the floor. And I have about 12' of double-high unistrut type material, plus a runner, half ton hoists, etc. All I need is to figure out how to make it useful. At least I haven't much $$ in the unistrut stuff.

                  Then for the garage, I have a one ton hoist and a runner, likewise not much in it, but the beam will cost a fair bit. So I need to figure that one out as well. Maybe if I put it up fairly high, and figure on setting down the load, moving the hoist to the other side of the rails, and picking it up again, then I can get it in use. But I really want it to reach the worktable, and I will need to move a lot of stuff to get that to happen, unless I can bend I-beams....
                  CNC machines only go through the motions

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by strokersix View Post
                    I'm considering a two post automotive lift for my machine shed. 9 1/2 ft headroom with a nice concrete floor. It occurred to me that I could use it to lift things in and out of my pickup truck bed. Anyone have experience with this idea? One obvious limitation is the lift is in a fixed location... Any other issues with this idea? I am thinking a custom adapter beam between the forks to hang straps or chains.

                    I am getting older like we all are and don't want to crawl around on the floor with vehicle on jack stands anymore. If the lift can do double duty to load heavy stuff then that will help justify the expense to me.
                    I plan on going this route. I will have two attachments for the lift. One will be about a 4' arch so I can get enough height to lift stuff from the back of the truck chaining from above. The second will be a flat platform for use as a work bench or loading/unloading wheeled items from the truck.

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                    • #11
                      I have 10' sidewalls. I welded two I(or H) beams to make it 24'?. I welded tabs on top of the beam and bolted it with matching plates to the bottom chord of the trusses of my shop(2' centers). I had a trolley and built another so I have one powered hoist and a hand hoist. I have lifted everything from lawnmower deck to my South Bend Fourteen with not one issue.
                      Whatever you do if you build a trolley rail be sure to put on stops........DAMHIK.

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                      • #12
                        I'm going to be moving soon as well, but not likely buying another house until spring. When I do though, SWMBO has agreed this will be our long-term 20+ year home so its going to be the full package with plenty of land and a true shop again, not another 2.5 car. I've had a 1/2 ton ARO USA air hoist stashed behind the Bridgeport for a few years now for similar reasons - bc I hate my engine hoist. I'm not likely to be building anything myself tho, used industrial cranes are too dam cheap (scrap price) to dink around DIY'ing and breaking all manner of state/local codes regarding lifting devices.
                        "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Axkiker View Post
                          hummmm yeah I had not thought about the ceiling height being an issue. I guess I may just have to live with my stupid engine hoist
                          Might sound extreme but you could raise the ceiling, I just finished(bar the bit of 6" insulation left to cut in) raising the ceiling on a house, so it is doable if you have a mind to, maybe a house is a bit extreme as it took jacks and a 50 ton mobile crane but it can be done, must admit the neighbours were a bit shocked when I showed up with a big yellow monster in my back yard, well ok 50 ton isn't a monster, but it was that or a 500 ton, and there's no way I could have got that in my back yard!
                          I don't like engine cranes either, if you haven't a good floor they're awful
                          Mark

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                          • #14
                            I built this for lifting shop stuff. The rotary table is a killer! Comes in handy and every year I get older it gets more appreciated.



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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by j king View Post
                              I built this for lifting shop stuff. The rotary table is a killer! Comes in handy and every year I get older it gets more appreciated.



                              How much weight do you reckon that will hold ?

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