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Thread: My garage ceiling hoist

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Canton, MI
    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Blough View Post
    I just caution everyone that trusses are not engineered to support weight other than the normal roof loads. My GC son-in-law makes a good living fixing garage celling that have collapsed because people either hung junk from the ceiling joist or piled too much up overhead.

    On one job the customer to did enough damage that the county came in and condemned the whole house. To his dismay the insurance just shook their head and walked away.

    My opinion if you need overhead storage or a ceiling hoist build the support for it external of the roof truss structure.

    Take that for what it is worth.
    Ed, I was a little concerned about the truss load too. Would adding braces from the sleepers I installed up to the top of the truss (just below the roof) help carry the load better? I would think the load would then be similar to a snow load on the roof. FWIW, I don't store anything in the attic (other than the insulation I blew in).

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Mid Missouri (Brazito/Henley)
    Ed was reading my mind!! Much new construction uses only 2x4 roof trusses. Unless you have over-engineered your shop's ceiling joists to support heavy loads, disappointment may soon overtake the utility of a new overhead hoist.

    I like the idea of a winch on a steel I-beam Mucho Betta than that of 2- 2x4s laid across the ceiling joists. Don't take this stuff for granted!
    Last edited by Chip Lindley; 11-19-2008 at 2:21 PM.
    [/SIGPIC]Necessisity is the Mother of Invention, But If it Ain't Broke don't Fix It !!

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Washington, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by NICK BARBOZA View Post
    do you have any further detail or pictures on that setup? i really like it! the engineer in me is drooling!

    Here are some more pics:

    The diagonal braces are mounted to the rear end of the beam by a bolt through the braces and tabs welded to the beam- I don't even put a nut on it. The braces are thu-bolted to the gluelam ridge beam with the same bolt as the top of the wall brackets, which are also bolted to the header.

    A close-up of the pivot support. It may not look it, but it is plenty beefy and welded very well. The I-beam and supports can hold much more weight than the 1300# capacity of the HF hoist.

    The trolley was another Ebay special. Two 'U' bolts attached to the trolley bolt and are centered above the hoist cable drum. I added the garage door bracket and wheel to keep the hoist horizontal since the weight of the motor caused the hoist to tilt when there was no load on the hoist. It was not the best kind of trolley for this application but the price was right.

    Inside with the beam stowed. I use a C-clamp to keep the hoist/troller from sliding down because I never got around to drilling the beam for a clevis pin :

    And outside with the beam stowed:

    Last edited by Alan Schaffter; 11-19-2008 at 11:32 PM.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Alan I'm so jealous that is AWESOME!

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Tampa Fl
    Quote Originally Posted by James Biddle View Post
    Ed, I was a little concerned about the truss load too. Would adding braces from the sleepers I installed up to the top of the truss (just below the roof) help carry the load better? I would think the load would then be similar to a snow load on the roof. FWIW, I don't store anything in the attic (other than the insulation I blew in).
    Actually your load is nothing like snow load. Trusses are engineered to tranfer snow load into compression or tension load on the wood. Anything hanging on the ceiling truss is shear load. Having broken enough 2x4 ceiling joist in roof rafters by bad foot placement I don't trust them to bear any real load. To duplicate snow load you would have to run the rail mounts up to and connected to the ridge beam. Then the weight would be spread over the whole truss system. However you would probably compromise the ridge beam drilling nailing into it.

    The biggest problem is if you break ceiing joist they are in tension holding the walls plumb. When one or more break the walls splay bowing out, the ridge then lowers and you end up with a mess. Your garage ends up looking like a bow legged sway backed horse.

    Also the wall studs aren't engineered to support extra weight but they usually are over engineered to start with and usually don't fail.

    If it were me I would built a sufficient support like two columns coming up from the floor and remove all load off the truss system. Short of that I would beef up the walls and using double or triple 2x12 with 1/2 or 3/4 ply in between build a support bean I wouldn't have to worry about.

  6. #21
    I am lucky that my shop has an 8 inch steel beam that goes across it. I hooked a half ton chain hoist up to a beam trolley I purchased on Ebay, so now I can move heavy stuff from one work bench to another.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Winterville, NC (eastern NC)
    Great system. I currently use a chain hoist and a 1" steel bar bridging 2 of the 2 X 8 ceiling joists in the open attic. Lifted a 800# J/P machine to place a mobile base and no complaints from the framing.
    Great set up Alan. I need to visit you in Washington some day.

  8. #23
    I would have to agree that using the roof truss system in your garage as an attachment point for a lift is asking for trouble - UNLESS those trusses have been engineered specifically for the job.

    Many people make do with a mobile engine hoist. Depending on the degree of extension of the lifting arm they can handle between 500 and 4000# - this is usually more than enough for most woodworking tools. However, an engine hoist has a major limitation when moving anything that cannot fit between its splayed legs. I've also found them to be unstable when you are lifting something close to their maximum ratings. On the other hand, they can be useful because they are mobile - allowing you to pick something up and moving it to another part of the shop (assuming that it's not placed on a mobile base once you get it up in the air).

    As an example, I once had to lift and move a very large granite surface plate - close to 1700# with the stand. I was able to have the legs of the stand straddle the legs of the hoist and, once lifted, I used a heavy duty engine balancer to get it stabilized - NOT. I moved the combination no more than 18", and though I moved it verrrrrrryyyyyy slowwwwlllly, the weight caused the hoist to tip and the the surface plate pinned me against the wall. I was lucky that my right arm was free as I was able to use my cell phone to call a friend to come and get me. Of course, he took the time to snap some photos of my predicament.

    I'll grant that most of the folks on this list have no need of moving such heavy weights (that plate was not the heaviest thing in my shop - I have a massive vertical milling machine that is nearly two tons), but anything that is more than one or two people can safely lift - such as a cabinet saw or a big jointer - can be problematic.

    I started to consider building a jib crane for my garage, but had yet to make any decisions when I recently ran across a rolling gantry crane that someone built based upon an article in an old issue of Home Shop Machinist magazine.

    The design is inspired. It consists of two end supports with a heavy S-12 x 6" I beam connecting them that also carries a trolley and chainfall. The beam is long enough to span the width of a utility trailer and narrow enough to fit through the garage door. The really clever innovation, however, is the use of high lift hydraulic jacks on each end support to allow the beam of the gantry to be raised by about 20"! You could use the chainfall to lift something that was relatively light - say 500-1000# (you don't even want to know what chainfalls that can lift 5 tons cost). Should you need to lift something that weighs, say 6,000#, loop chain or nylon slings over the top of the beam and lashed to the item and use the hydraulic jacks to lift it off the ground.

    In use this also would allow you to roll the crane out into the driveway - raise the crane to its full height - move it into position over your trailer and to lift whatever goody you have in it and roll it and the crane back towards the garage (you could also just pull the trailer out from under the crane). You then would lower the hydraulic jacks enough to allow passage back into the garage for final placement of your latest tool acquisition.

    To build the thing will take good metal working and welding skills, but it you have a lot of old and/or heavy "arn", it could be indespensible. For moving heavy things on a more than occasional basis, I would make one modification - suspending more than 2000# at the center of the beam would want to force the end support outward - either allowing the beam to bend or possibly snapping the weld between the vertical supports and the beam. To counter this, I would use either chain or steel strap to hold the bottoms of the two end supports a constant distance apart - this could be made removable so as not to intefere with whatever you're lifting (or with the wheels on your trailer, etc.) - get the thing up in the air, attach the chain/strap, and then move it into position.

    I've tried to attach a pdf of the construction article - unfortunately, it far exceeds the size limit for posting but you can download it from this chat list post:

    Last edited by Brian Backner; 11-20-2008 at 5:37 PM.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Champaign, IL
    Wow that's really cool!!

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Wichita, Kansas
    I agree with Ed that ceiling structures aren't typically designed to support hoisting loads. I'm not a civil engineer, nor am I an expert on building codes, but I do recall that, during my investigations prior to building my shop several years ago, I ran across a statement to the effect that engineered trusses are designed to accept a 200# live load at the center of their bottom chord. The reason for engineering in that load was for the safety of personnel walking the chords during erection of the trusses. If my recollection is faulty, someone please correct me.

    Note that I am not addressing joist and rafter construction nor am I suggesting that ceiling structure can safely support hoisting loads even at less than 200# per truss. In particular, it does NOT mean that it is safe to apply a 1000# vertical load if you spread it across 5 trusses. Load paths and distributions in redundant structures are not that simplistic.

    I am suggesting that although small loads may be perfectly safe, if you intend to attach hoisting apparatus to your ceiling structure, seek and take the advice of a qualified professional engineer.
    Tom Veatch
    Wichita, KS

  11. #26

    another solution, hoist.. crane.. you name it

    Hi guys, this is what I use to lift cast iron.

    After lifting the Delta X5 14" bandsaw onto it's stand with my treasured wife I realized that its not the way to go, we still want to have kiddos.
    I built this out of some studs and bolts and a winch from HF, cost about 30 bucks, can't beat that! I can take it apart to place it in a corner until the next tool arrives .

    I hope this helps someone.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #27
    I guess I shouldn't talk about my hoist. I bought a cheapo half-ton Northern Tool hoist to get my compressor into my garage, and when I was done, I had to do something with it, so I put a two-by-eight across three or four two-by-six trusses and suspended the hoist from it with a piece of heavy chain.

    Will it hold a big load? No idea. I'm afraid to go past three hundred pounds. But it's still great for smaller stuff. And it looks cool.
    Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of bench.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Jacksonville, Fl
    I have the same hoist and was wondering how to use it in the shop. I've left my ceiling open, since I have foam insulation. So I may borrow a tip or two from yours.

    Thanks for sharing.

  14. #29
    Engineered ceiling trusses can lift quite a bit of weight if you distribute it across them. Here is my garage trailer lift using the same harbor freight hoist.
    My trailer is approx. 500-600 pounds and the weight is distributed to 4 points and at each of those points the weight is spread across several trusses.
    My trailer has been hanging in my garage for about 6-7 years now.

    Last edited by Alan Lilly; 03-25-2009 at 2:59 PM.

  15. #30
    SWEET! I am going to get one of those for my carport when I finish it. Gonna use it for tools and other big loads as well as motor swaps. Sure do like yours!

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