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Thread: Garage I-Beam

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    NW Missouri
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    79

    Garage I-Beam

    Hi All,

    My three-car garage has an I-Beam between the 2nd and 3rd bays (see pictures). It is boxed in via dry wall and I cut a hole in to have a look and to verify what it was. Here's my question. Are there any issues taking off the dry wall so I can add some sort of "block-and-tackle" mechanism to lift some of my machinery to put on bases, etc? Seems I'll need the some type that clamps around an I beam.

    I know you guys are full of good ideas.

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Wouldn't think there would be a problem removing the drywall.

    You can add a trolley and make it movable along it...

    http://www.harborfreight.com/1-ton-p...ley-97392.html
    Dave W. -
    Restoring an 1890 Victorian
    Cuba, NY

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ft. Wayne, IN
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    Exclamation Danger Will Robinson

    First of all let me say that I was a General Contractor for 15 years. The beam you are referring to was designed to span the length of your garage and suppport both the static and snow load (if applicable for your location). Before you start lifting a piece of heavy machinery you need to have someone check the load capacity of that beam or it may bring down your whole garage.
    "I've cut the dang thing three times and it's STILL too darn short"
    Name withheld to protect the guilty

    Stew Hagerty

  4. #4
    If you are talking about 300 lbs or so, I would go ahead without worry. This does not mean that it is ok to cut or drill holes in the flange in order to attach something. If you are talking about 1000 lbs or so, might be OK but check to be sure. If your are talking about more than that, worry!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
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    Actually, I wouldn't be too worried about adding some temporary weight to it since most hobbyist machines are well under 1000 pounds. Of course without running the calculations, I can't be 100% sure.

    I'm more worried about removing the drywall. I would think that the drywall is probably fire-rated, and by removing it, you are removing the protection from that beam and the structure above.
    Itís only work if somebody makes you do it.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Effinger View Post
    Actually, I wouldn't be too worried about adding some temporary weight to it since most hobbyist machines are well under 1000 pounds. Of course without running the calculations, I can't be 100% sure.

    I'm more worried about removing the drywall. I would think that the drywall is probably fire-rated, and by removing it, you are removing the protection from that beam and the structure above.

    I echo Brian's comments; if you add up the snow and live loads that the beam was designed for, I would not be too concerned with picking up several hundred pounds of weight with the beam (unless you have a foot of snow on the roof and a lot of weight in the attic!

    If you want to add an extra degree of safety, simply make some temporary beams to place between the steel beam and the floor of the shop. A simple 2 x 4 or 4 x 4 will provide significant additional support.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    NW Missouri
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    Thanks all for the comments so far. The particular machine I'm thinking about right now is my Rikon 18" bandsaw, and it weighs in a bit less than 400 pounds. My purpose of raising it up is to put a mobile base under it.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom W Armstrong View Post
    Thanks all for the comments so far. The particular machine I'm thinking about right now is my Rikon 18" bandsaw, and it weighs in a bit less than 400 pounds. My purpose of raising it up is to put a mobile base under it.
    Go ahead. It weighs less than a few adults standing in a room above.
    .
    "I love the smell of sawdust in the morning".
    Robert Duval in "Apileachips Now". - almost.


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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Lafayette, Indiana
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    Couple of other options

    When I needed to lift my planer to put on a mobile base, I borrowed a couple of hydrolic jacks, and built a temporary set of stands for the jacks. I put a couple of 2x6's together to bear the weight of the machine. I then jacked the plane up and slid the stand under and lowered the machine. For a band saw, this might be more difficulty.

    I have read where others have used hydrolic lifts from Harbor Freight (less than $200) to lift their heavy machines.

    http://www.harborfreight.com/2-ton-c...rane-7620.html

    These lifts can be taken apart and stored when not in use. For $200, I'd consider this before tearing out sheet rock to use framing member of my attached garage. If you really want a permanent hoist on the I-beam, then you probably should get the opinion of a structural engineer, or at the very least add temporary supporting posts for the beam.

    Lifting a band saw could be a little ackward no matter what approach you use to hoist it. Any chance of rounding up four helpers for 15 minutes? Local high school football team?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Hueytown, Alabama
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    21
    The drywall does not add anything to the strength. If you are going to lift something move it to one of the ends that way you will be putting most of the weight on a column rather than the midspan of the beam. I would try to find out what is supporting the beam before I lifted very much. What is the thickness of the flange and the overall height of the beam?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Leesville, SC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe A Faulkner View Post
    I have read where others have used hydrolic lifts from Harbor Freight (less than $200) to lift their heavy machines.

    http://www.harborfreight.com/2-ton-c...rane-7620.html

    These lifts can be taken apart and stored when not in use. For $200, I'd consider this before tearing out sheet rock to use framing member of my attached garage. If you really want a permanent hoist on the I-beam, then you probably should get the opinion of a structural engineer, or at the very least add temporary supporting posts for the beam.

    I agree with Joe.....
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    South Central Pennsylvania, USA
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    760
    First thing to do is to see how the beam is supported.

    Neighbor down the street had a garage built. Contractor spanned a three car garage with a steel beam to support the bonus room above - the beam was more than adequate to support any and all loads (actually oversized substantially) but supported it only with 2x4 walls on either end!

    The neighbor was showing the garage off to me and I voiced concern to the neighbor. He said it was no problem, that the builder had done "hundreds like that..."

    Less than a year later the walls were starting to buckle...

    Anyway, next thing is the fire rating of the drywall. Removing that will compromise the rating. That could be a problem with codes - particularly if living space is supported by the beam above the garage.

    If the beam is properly supported and the fire rating is not an issue, the beam should certainly support a few hundred extra pounds occasionally as long as it isn't overloaded in other ways - such as in the middle of the 8' snowstorm mentioned above or the metric ton of pallets of Ramen noodles you've just decided to stockpile in the room above... Higher loads and a structural engineer could do a couple quick measurements and calculations to give you a load rating.

  13. #13
    When I remodeled my shop I added an I Beam and trolly. It was the best thing I ever did. I can unload my pickup or lift my machines without any help.

    I found out that as I get older, I can't lift what I use to.
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  14. #14
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    Apr 2010
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    Yes, theoretically, the beam in your garage should have no problem supporting a point load of several hundred pounds, and more than likely it can. However, home builders have been known to cut corners and/or build to absolute minimum specs from time to time. Personally I would inspect the beam for size and composition (Vertically Laminated 2X's, Horizontally Laminated 2X's, LVL, Steel, Wood/Steel Lamination). As Tom said, also inspect the supporting structure for the beam. After the roof caves in is not the time to find out that the builder did some skimping. Oh, and never cut into or drill through the beam without first checking with a structural engineer.
    "I've cut the dang thing three times and it's STILL too darn short"
    Name withheld to protect the guilty

    Stew Hagerty

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Spring City, TN
    Posts
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    I asked for advice from the SMC folks and bought one of these at Northern Tool a couple of weeks ago. It folds up to about 8 to 10 inches thick and has a "kick" kind of stand so when the wheels are raised up it will still stand. It works great! I'll never do with out it. The boom almost raised to my 10 foot ceiling height. I used it last weekend to move a very heavy machine, by myself, out of my shop, then folded and shoved the lift in the truck with the machine and used it at my friends house to unload and place the machine for him.

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