Gantry Crane

    I started building this gantry crane when I had a lead on a Bridgeport type milling machine. That deal fell through but my dad was planning to pull a car body for a hot rod project so I pushed on and finished it. The bulk of the material for this project came from salvaged pallet racking. I had a deal with the shipping manager at work that I could have any of the bent pallet racking that I changed out. The racking is all sixteen feet high and twelve feet long so it was easy to cut around the damaged spots. However, I did buy undamaged pieces for the main cross beams. It is a modular design that can be set up, broke down, and loaded into the back of a pickup by one man. By swapping out different beams, the length and height can be configured for a specific task. The uprights can be slid up and down in the legs using a farm jack so you can assemble it at the lowest height then raise it up. When the uprights are extended, the crane is only used for lifting straight up and down. The load is never pushed sideways and the crane is never moved with a suspended load.

Shots of it being made and the first test lift.

 

    I learned two important things with the first heavy lift. The first thing is to KNOW how much the item weighs before lifting it. The weight of a 1927 Kempsmith horizontal mill isnít exactly common knowledge so I had to Google it. The best number I could come up with was 4200 lbs. I removed the 300 lb over arm so I figured it was under two tons. I found out later that this thing actually weighs closer to 5500 lbs. Had I know that I never would have lifted it. The second thing I learned is to not wrap a lifting strap around the beam. Everything I used was sufficiently overrated so it could potentially lift three tons BUT the strap pinched the beam flat which weakened it. Now I put wood blocks above and below the beam to keep the strap from pinching it.

 

    Here the crane is being used to remove a car body. It is lifted straight up, the chassis is rolled out from under it, then a trailer is pulled in and the body is set down. Next, a truck body is lifted up, the chassis is rolled under it then the truck body is put down. Hot rodding made easy.

   
 

It works with Lincolns too.

     

Here I used it to lift a lathe off the trailer, then reconfigured it to roll the lathe into the garage.

   


Disclaimer: Lifting a large heavy object is dangerous! Doing it with homemade equipment is borderline suicidal. Iím just a high school dropout who hasnít managed to kill myself yet, not a structural engineer. Iím only showing you what I did, not what you should do. Donít try this at home.

 

If you have any questions or comments e-mail me at mrriggs@gofastforless.com .

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