Register now to get rid of these ads!

Technical Overhead gantry - Thoughts on using wood

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ziggster, Nov 25, 2019.

  1. I just put a beam in when I removed a support wall, for a 23 foot span with light overhead storage the recommended wooden engineered beam would have had to been 12 inches tall. The cost of the wooden beam was around $1300 but I didn't have that much overhead for a beam that tall, well I did but it wouldn't leave me much under it.
    So I went to the local steel supplier, crunched some load capacity numbers and came up with an 8 inch steel I-beam for less than $300 bucks, much less than the wood plus I gained 4 inches of overhead space.
    On the ends I used basement jacks to support the beam, bolted those to the concrete floor and I welded and bolted the beam to the top of the jacks. I also ran some wooden legs down from the ceiling joists on both sides of the beam to prevent the beam from rolling.
    Now with all that said and done, I'm wondering why you just don't buy a cherry picker to put in your basement, it seems like it would be a lot
    20191126_161335.jpg 20181114_113137.jpg 20181117_160451.jpg

    Out in the main part of the garage it has giant steel I-beams running 15ft overhead, I have 2 different chain falls on trollies on 2 of the beams, one close to the door and another about 25 ft back. I can move a car out, back my truck in and unload an engine or whatever, put it on a cart, roll it to the back under the other trolley and use that one to put engines in the non drivers, or pull blowers.
    So yes, a trolley is very helpful to have.

    20190619_151511.jpg 20190619_154225.jpg
  2. Desmodromic
    Joined: Sep 25, 2010
    Posts: 571


    Agreed! I can't imagine a system more flexible and simpler than this. If your pressed for room, get a hoist that folds up, requiring about 1' x 3' floor space. These have wheels, allowing you to move load anyplace. Or use HF dollies; I have a Hemi setting on one, with auto trans.

    I'm confused with the use of the term "gantry crane"; maybe semantics. A gantry is support off the floor, is a horizontal upper beam on which is a hoist/trolley, supported by typically "A" frames, on wheels or casters. These can be rolled in any direction, but require some room, if designed to straddle a car. It appears everything described in this thread is a monorail, fixed in place, and only allowing movement of the load in one direction, for six or seven feet.

    My understanding is that you hope to attach the trolley beam under floor joists, or is the space above the joists open, up to the roof rafters? If the beam is transverse to th floor joists, it would be prudent to attach to each joist (every 18"), and even then, to ensure the load is distributed somewhat evenly, the trolley beam must be a lot stiffer (in bending) than the floor joists. If the trolley beam is parallel to the floor joists, I'd locate it midway between a pair joists, so that at most, the load will be maybe 300#, concentrated, on each joist. (This is not much worse than me standing on the above floor.)

    If you can tie into roof rafters, you'ld probably be safe to do your engine swapping in the summer, when there's no snow load on the roof!

    As suggested in a previous post, make sure you do an analysis of the resultant maximum hook height, with due consideration of trolley beam, trolley, shackles, chain-fall, chain on load, etc. (You can do way better with a piston operated engine lift!)
    Hnstray likes this.
  3. Retrorod
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 2,022


    I bought a hydraulic work platform at HF and I have used the heck out of it. It's got a pretty high capacity, it'll lift to workbench or tailgate height (since I made a removable extension on the platform 8" taller). It basically has a heavy steel frame on casters with a big hydraulic bottle jack operating a scissor lift. The jack is easily replaced if needed. I've used it for a 350 trans, a complete 9 inch Ford rear end and various heavy engine parts, boxes of ceramic floor tile for the remodel we are doing along with mortar and bags of Rapid-set concrete for poured counter tops. It was especially useful when bringing completed concrete counter tops (some up to 200 lbs.) into the house to place on the cabinetry. I have an old chain-fall that hangs from supported rafters in my shop that we have used for 4 decades, it isn't on a rail but still is very useful. I do have a heavy duty engine crane as well just to use when portability is required.

    When you get past the age of 70...the days of hand carrying an engine block around the shop have long since passed. Use whatever mechanical or hydraulic means possible to help prevent injury...but do it SAFELY.
    Rich B., Ziggster, alanp561 and 3 others like this.
  4. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,457

    from Brooks Ky

    Different people are happy with different solutions, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone with a crane in their shop who wanted to go back to the cherry picker method of
    lifting. Most people aren't willing to put the time and effort into constructing a crane so they settle for something else. Those that go the extra mile will seldom if ever wish they hadn't done it. Why am I so adamant about overhead cranes.......because I know if I can convince people to build one they will find how much easier everything becomes. I use mine constantly.....its not just for lifting engines.There are lots of things that you can do with a crane that you can't do with a cherry picker, and the crane takes up virtually no usable space.:)

    Sept 11 069.JPG Sept 11 073.JPG

    All done by myself without any help............Its nice to have a lot of friends, but they aren't always available when you need a hand. My crane is always available.

    Great Job ! If you still have access to the ceiling above the beam, I would put a 12' 4x4 on top of several joists and fasten some brackets (welded or bolted) to the top of the Ibeam and connected to the 4x4. This provides better stability from rolling and gives the center area of the beam a little additional support. ;)
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
    Stogy likes this.
  5. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,031


    When I rented the 40' x 60' steel structure metal building, it had a beam mounted swivel 20' long hoist beam with a trolley. I loved it.
    Then I had to move to a smaller 28' x 40' rented building. There I had a fixed height gantry hoist on casters, with the cross beam at 14' high, and a clear span of 10'. It was almost as good as the swivel beam, it didn't take too long to adjust.
    Then I moved to my current location. The gantry wouldn't fit inside, and at the time, the driveway wasn't level enough to make it work outside, if I could have gotten away with it sitting outside (which I couldn't have.) I sold the gantry to someone that had the indoor space to use it.
    During all this time I've always had my cherry picker. Its not nearly as good as either of the previous two hoist setups, but it is what I can use here. I can store it inside, but most of the time I use it outside on the replaced driveway. There are times you have to do what you have to do. The steel beam on the wood support posts will get the job done if he builds it right and has enough height under the beam to do the job. Gene
    Ziggster and ekimneirbo like this.
  6. I just seen this pop up in my news feed, adjustable height and width is kinda of a neat feature. Screenshot_20191129-122613_Amazon Shopping.jpg Screenshot_20191129-122705_Amazon Shopping.jpg
    Ziggster likes this.
  7. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,540


    Damn!! as frigging usual a guy asks a simple question and guys start throwing out setups that cost a few thousand bucks to fix a hundred dollar problem.

    If you were close I'd load you up with a piece of the mobile home frame rail I have stacked out back. I even have a couple of pieces the right length. A piece the length you want setting on a post on each end would lift anything you plan to lift. Those 2x planks sandwiched on the sides of it would create a beam that you could lift about anything on.
    If I used the 2x6 boards and the piece of steel flat bar I'd sandwich the flat bar between the boards so the pull on it makes use of it's strength.
    This is my outside gantry made out of a piece of surplus structural aluminum I beam and surplus steel tubing. the legs bolt to the I beam and I can take it apart in about ten minutes if I ever need to. Height could be adjusted to fit anywhere. Gantry with A (2).jpg
  8. I'll bet those speed holes make it go faster too!!

    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
    verno30, Stogy and 1953naegle like this.
  9. 1953naegle
    Joined: Nov 18, 2013
    Posts: 245


    I'm working on this same project in my space-starved garage too. I currently have a folding engine hoist (seen in my avatar), and it's problem is that the ONLY thing it lifts well is an engine out of a bay. When it comes to putting that engine on a stand or moving a host of other things around the garage, the boom and the legs seem to ALWAYS be in the way. So an overhead hoist is in the works.

    I built a steel gantry crane at work that turned out very well. I'd estimate the max I beam load to be 1 ton and the legs are a little over built. The whole thing is about 7' high and 8' wide and currently has an 1/8 ton electric hoist on it. We use it for assembling machinery and putting heavy pieces on work benchs.

    I just got my grandpa's differental hoist re'chained. It's rated at 1 ton, so I want to build a gantry to go with it. If I can find a good 6" tall piece of I beam to use, I have the steel to build the legs. Wood is my other option though. I think it would match the old differential hoist's age well enough. I read somewhere that three 2x12 beams bolted together with an 8 foot span will support 1 ton.
    Stogy and Boneyard51 like this.
  10. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 2,190


    Ive been thinking about building an overhead crane. Theyre so versatile. Usually I just lug and lift and slide all the heavy stuff. Did I mention I've had 4 hernia meshes surgically implanted? Well I have haha.
    Cosmo49, Stogy and Boneyard51 like this.
  11. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,457

    from Brooks Ky

    I wouldn't laugh too hard if I were you .:D. You will love having a crane,.......
    adam401 and Stogy like this.
  12. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 6,619

    from Michigan

    I've pulled engines using a big long wooden beam laid across almost all the ceiling joists of the garage.
    Only sagged about 4 in.
    Just kidding.

    Sent from my VS835 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Stogy likes this.
  13. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 6,619

    from Michigan

    Stogy likes this.
  14. I know you are looking for a wood solution.
    I built this and it breaks down and stores easily, and works great. 32 Hemi Instalation 025.jpg
  15. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,999


    ^^^^^ that’s awesome.
    Ziggster and Stogy like this.
  16. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,361


    My Dad built us kids a swing set out of 2 1/2 in pipe, back in 1954, had a blast as a kid on that set, as did my two sisters and our friends! Fast forward to I was 15 and building my 430 MEL to go in my 55 Ford. In our little ranch shop , eight foot ceilings roughly 25 x 35 we needed a hoist to change engines...... my Dad and I spied the swing set that was no longer used... it was cut down to fit in the shop! My Dad build it to slip together and we added trusses to make the cross bar stronger. We used it many times in that shop. We then built a new bigger shop 40x70 x 14 ft ceilings , complete with a roll around crane, so we didn’t need the swing set A frame any more. Well my brother in law needed it and he is an expert welder.... and it was too short for his liking..... so back on came the two/ three feet my Dad and I cut off twenty years before! Since it comes apart by sliding the A frames onto the cross piece, it has become very popular with a lot of folks.... including us. We have even swung sick cows on it. Sometimes I have to go looking for it..... but it’s still working for a living on the ranch, to this day! Waiting for it’s next engine swap!

    Ps, we hauled that set from Ventura, Ca to Oktaha, Ok. In Oct of 1957.

    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
  17. Hey Swade,,,,I like the ceiling in your post.
    The X braces on the wooden ceiling,,, and the high concrete block count make for a nice tall ceiling,,,now that is old school. It also works great as well !
    It looks like it was an old professional shop at some time,,,,they were built that way back then.
    Cool to have,,,,and use.

    swade41 likes this.
  18. Ziggster
    Joined: Aug 27, 2018
    Posts: 585


    Some great ideas. Yes, maybe gantry isn't the right term. I'm looking for a fixed overhead system. I'm thinking I can always use it for other stuff, and I just don't have the room to fold up and store a portable one. I'm likely getting the Redi-Rack beams which are $20 each (3.5" X 1.5") with a 2,500 lb rating (each) for an 8' span. The 3.5" height keeps things low profile, even if I add beams for the tranks erase trolley. I just need to figure the best layout since my shop has an L shape and has a few jogs/steps along the walls. I could go crazy and install two systems to cover the entire shop which would require 14 beams including 4 for two transverse trolley beams. The cost of all those beams still would be less than $300. Even with another trolley, the entire cost is less than $600 which for me is an amazing price.
  19. Jimbo17
    Joined: Aug 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,738


    I had an old Camaro and the small grille in the front of the car was not something I could find anywhere and it was not being reproduced at that time
    Since I had made cabinets and built furniture for years I decided to make the grille out of wood and painted it black.
    For years guys at car shows looked at it and touched it and asked me where in the world I found the grille and when I told them I made it our of wood they laughed and said your kidding!

    Beanscoot likes this.
  20. Swade, did you get that beam down there and put up?
  21. ramblin dan
    Joined: Apr 16, 2018
    Posts: 2,149

    ramblin dan

    Bought this unit from Ebay but I think they sell them at Harbour Freight as well. built a wood frame work up in my garage attic and bolted it through the ceiling and through the wood frame work in the rafters and roof wood and it works great. The only complaint I had was it goes up and down a little fast so if I want to slow it up I hook a chain fall to it. Use it all the time and its great for taking or loading heavy stuff out of my trailer.

    Attached Files:

  22. nochop
    Joined: Nov 13, 2005
    Posts: 1,731

    from norcal

    By the way I was trying to be funny.....
  23. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 1,194


    I believe the correct term is " Southern Engineering ".;)
  24. Well it took plenty of thought and measuring...ha ha
    I have an open 18 ft car trailer, when you add in the tongue length it was really close to being long enough, so I strapped the beam right down the middle overhanging across the tongue. My driveway backs right into the deck but I have to jackknife pretty hard off the street, so I pulled the beam back before I started. Now the beam overhung the rear of trailer pretty good so I took off a couple deck railing slats, backed the trailer in with the beam going into the hole in the railing I just made. Next I chained the end of the beam to the far side of the deck, pulled the trailer forward effectively dragging the beam off the trailer, before the end came off the trailer front crossbar I slipped one of those furniture dollies under the end.
    I kept repeating that sequence until the beam was on the deck with 3-4 dollies under it, since I pre-measured I knew I needed to lift one end of the beam to make the swing straight into that man door which I had taken off the hinges. A floor jack took care of that, plywood on the lawn kept the dollies rolling to get it into the garage. Once in I built the second false wall on the other side of the beam, tore out the support wall, used the floor jack again to lift one end of the beam at a time. I took 2x4's and screwed them crossways to both false walls under the beam to support the end I had just jacked up, I kept adding blocks of wood on the Jack to gain height. I used two of those cross braces per end as a safety precaution, when I ran out of jack I had friends come by and finish the lift.
    So with a little thought I pretty much did it all by myself without really lifting anything physically other than pen, paper and measuring tape.
  25. Yes it's an old building but can't find out how old, all searches lead nowhere, house was built in 1940 but not sure if it's the same age or not. It was definitely a home insulation business in the 60's but other than that I have no idea on it's history.
    The previous owners built a one bedroom apartment inside which I have since converted to workspace so I don't have to heat the whole building.
    Stogy, Cosmo49, kidcampbell71 and 5 others like this.
  26. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 1,194


    I posted this picture before but I think the most expensive things on it are the casters at $79 from Northern Tool. I paid $70 for the 14' long 8" x 12# beam. The beam weighs 168#. After I drilled bolt holes in the bottom flange, I welded 1/4" plates with matching holes to the top of the 4"x4" 7 gauge vertical tubes and bolted it together. I found 8' of 8"x15# beam to make the feet for the crane at the local scrap yard for 20 cents a pound which works out to $24. I already had a 1 ton chain hoist and the trolley so $173 for steel plus $10.50 for 3 pounds of E7018 and I have $183.50 invested in the whole thing. When I put it up, I laid the beam on the floor at 90 degrees to the ceiling joists and threw a rope over the joists directly over each end of the beam. I tied off to the beam ends and lifted first one end of the beam and then the other, tying off the loose ends of the ropes as I went up. Doing it by myself and having to move the ladder from one end of the beam to the other, it took me about 15 minutes to get the beam suspended
    12' feet in the air. I tied a rope close to the top of each of the legs, threw the loose ends over the joists and stood the legs up. From there, it was maybe another 20 minutes to get both ends bolted up. I deliberately built it higher than my garage doors having learned from the last one I built that as soon as one of my acquaintances saw that one they "needed to borrow it" and it came back with welding arc strikes on the hoist's load chain. This one can't leave without being disassembled. Gantry, up, plumb and level.jpg
  27. Ziggster
    Joined: Aug 27, 2018
    Posts: 585


    Ended up picking up 6 pieces of 3.5" x 3.5" x 1/4" angle iron in 14' lengths and 4 pieces of 3.5" x 1.5" box beam x 8'. I should be able to cover most of my shop with two parallel lengths of 28' separated by about 13' (distance between longest length of parallel walls). Using the same angle iron pieces for the transverse trolley will keep everything rather shallow taking up no more than 4" of vertical space.
    Stogy, swade41 and ekimneirbo like this.
  28. alanp561
    Joined: Oct 1, 2017
    Posts: 1,194


    It has the look of a fire department substation. Check your local FD and see what they know.
    32SEDAN likes this.
  29. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,540


    I spotted this on the local (Yakima WA ) craigslist this morning 200 bucks and said to lift about 6 ft. Complete with the trolley on top that really isn't a necessity on one that small. Gantey with rollers2.jpg
    Gantey with rollers.jpg
    kidcampbell71 and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  30. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,457

    from Brooks Ky

    I mentioned before that going to industrial auctions is a good place to score tools,cabinets, and even I beams cheaply.
    Yesterday they had an auction for a local printing company that had moved to a new location and their warehouse was full of old printing stuff. They had a lot of stuff that was adaptable and even some disassembled cranes. I got a great price on the first crane. I bid $50 and no one else bid. It had 2 nice 16' I Beams and some other shorter brackets, and the small crane itself. Now the crane was really of no use to me but I took it anyway because I'm going to cut it up to get the steel box tubing and the round shafts might be useful for my lathe. There is a nice 3 phase reduction gear that I can put on Craigslist, but it will probably end up being scrap.
    I bought another lot of beams that had uprights made from I beams and some assorted junk with it.. Another buyer wanted it and bid me up to $250.....still a decent price. Later I bought two cabinets that have drawers that are perfect for storing stuff in a shop. I already have several of these cabinets in my shop. They were sold as a group of 4 cabinets. The other two cabinets are file cabinets. I gave $90 for the 4 of them. The idea is that I can easily resell the two good cabinets for $100 each and maybe get a few bucks out of the file cabinets. Altogether with taxes and auctioneers 10% markup, I spent around $500. If I sell the cabinets for $200, I'm only out $300. If I sell or scrap the rest, Its gravy.......
    The thing is to buy a few things you can resell along with the stuff you want to keep and you cut your expenses. I wanted to buy some other stuff and resell it, but didn't have room to haul it on the trailer. Jus sayin, if you look for these auctions you can outfit your shop pretty reasonably. It just takes a little effort.

    Cosmo49, alanp561 and kidcampbell71 like this.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.