Hoisting a Keg using Garage Ceiling

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I have to unload four 50L kegs in two weeks in a single session which is rough on the back. It has nothing to do with being too weak, it is a matter of being cautious about the situation. I herniated a disc in my back last year after the same party which I assume was directly related to the lifting and lowering of four kegs from the pickup bed and then the lifting up and over the hieght of chest freezer and then lowering down. One false move with your back or legs and you can open yourself up to serious injury with even less than 160lbs no matter how strong you are.
Normally I have one or two kegs to unload at a time with a month or two inbetween, but once a year I have four and for that day I would rather make it as pain free as possible. I already have the chain hoist for something I rigged up in the basement to raise them up above the height of the kegerator (chest freezer conversion) and then roll the freezer underneath and lower. I figured I might as well leaverage what I have to make the operation as painless as possible. I could do something with a ramp but if the trussess are strong enough to handle the downward load, then I would like to take an approach that seems to guarantee no injury to me or the precious nectar inside the keg. Plus I like fooling with stuff and thought it is just a cool thing to have if it is safe on the home.
Harry K wrote:

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satellite_chris wrote:

Okay, I can buy that but I still think the chain hoist is way overboard. I would get a lot more fun out of rigging a few pulleys than using one of those as heavy and slow as they are. I can see needing a hoist to raise the kegs -up- but a ramp would be plenty for bringing them -down-.
No, I wouldn't make a practice of regularly lifting 160 pounds (don't know if I still could anyhow). I was loading/unloading full 55 gal fuel drums from farm trucks back when I was young and stupid using nothing but a ramp. No lifting involved except for uprighting the drum when it was in place.
Harry K
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I think you are right, I should just build a ramp, which will still let me save my back and for sure not put any stress on my trusses. Thanks for bringing me back to reality.
Harry K wrote:

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On Thu, 07 Sep 2006 13:10:46 -0700, Harry K wrote:


How old are you guys? 80? 90? And here I thought I was getting out of shape because I was getting pooped after lifting 8 or 10 200-300 lb. chunks of oak onto my truck after spending the morning cutting it, unloading it and going back to do it again after lunch...and I'm a 6'2" 140 lb. bean-pole. I must be in better shape than I thought for a nearly 50 fart with an involuntary medical retirement from the army.
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Zaphod Beeblebrock wrote:

Me, I';m in the 'old fart' category (71). Still cutting my own wood and busting it down only small enough to load on the PU. Never weighed any of the blocks but they are some odd heavy. May have to start making them smaller. My last trip was last Saturday and my back is telling me about it still. It never done that before.
Harry K
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Well yeah, but if you recall, I think I was the first to mention a chain hoist, simply because because I _already_ had one (a christmas present from 10 years earlier!) when I set up my lift system, so I built what I built with what I had, and described _that_.
A pulley system could just as easily be substituted for the _specific_ purpose of lowering barrels, but from the safety/ease/lifting standpoint, it isn't as nice as a hoist.
[And mine was for _both_ lifting and lowering things.]

There's something to be said for engineering your solutions to be a bit more generalized than the original problem. They often get used for more things than you originally intended.
I do that a lot. Overbuild/overcomplicate things. But over the years, it's usually turned out to have been a very good idea.
Yeah, I could have lifted the lawn tractor motor with a 2:1 pulley setup. But (a) I already had the chain hoist and (b) now I can do a lot of other things that a simple pulley arrangement can't do or can't do very well.
I could have used an engine hoist instead - a little more flexible. But I don't have one, I had a chain hoist.
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That was kind of what I was thinking. The initial purpose of this hoist in the garage would be for removing kegs out of the pickup safely, by myself, with no danger to my back. I had all kinds of other ideas in mind for things that it might be useful for down the road. I have a zero turn mower that I could maintain easier using the same garage hoist.
I think I am set on a 4x4 in the attic going across 4 trusses and screwed in to the trusses with a simple screw. No gigantic lag bolts. I like the idea of the super strut but I am just nervous about not screwing it to the trussess, I can just picture the superstrut spinning 90 degrees for some reason and come crashing down through the sheetrock. Same for the 4x4, I can imagine the same thing happening if not screwed in to some degree.... I wish I could just trust the superstrut idea and do the no screw method....
Chris Lewis wrote:

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[I'm familiar with superstrut. I've handled some offcuts, so I know what it is. But I don't think our HDs carry it. Unfortunate... There are neat things you can do with it that you can't with lumber. Eg: cheap/solid rails for home built table saw fences ;-)]
When it comes down to it, the strut and the 4x4 are equivalent in terms of being paranoid about it turning sideways (the strut perhaps being a little more likely in terms of less friction). Both are more than adequate in terms of strength.
In my case, it'd be pretty difficult for the 4x4 to spin because it's partially wedged in place with parts of the roof truss.
But still, I'm fussy, and "finishing" the job will entail a couple of #8 or #10 screws tied into the trusses. If nothing else so it won't move and disturb the rest of the ceiling.
You could do that with the super strut too - drill a couple of small holes and poke a few #8s or #10s. [predrill the trusses if you're paranoid about splitting. As long as you don't split 'em, a few screws won't hurt the trusses.]
There are situations where super-strut would be preferable to 4x4s for this application, but 4x4s are cheap, plentiful and perfectly adequate for most situations.
_Whatever_ you use for support, I do strongly recommend that you don't have the eyebolt (or whatever you hang the hoist on) extend below the 4x4/super-strut any more than just the eye of the bolt itself.
If you use let a long eyebolt protrude, say, 4" below the support beam, and have your load swing perpendicular to the support beam, the support beam may rock (increasing the possibility of slip) if the beam isn't fastened to the trusses, and potentially fatigue-break the screws/damage the trusses if it is fastened to the trusses.
In other words, keep the swing arm supporting the hoist as _short_ as possible. You can use a quicklink like I did, or a few links worth of proper chain. Or maybe the top hook on the hoist makes it unnecessary.
This does mean that you can't have a bolt shank sized hole in the ceiling drywall. Just make the hole big enough to handle the max swing - probably 4-5 inches in diameter. Mine's probably going to end up being a rectangular recess. Insulation piled over top to make up for the loss of insulation between the bottom truss chords.
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Chris Lewis writes:

They hide it on the electrical aisle, next to the standing racks of conduit.
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The local home depots just started carrying it one year, maybe two years ago. And only 2 of the 3 I visit regularly have it now. The third did a closeout only a few months after getting it in. Unfortunately the strut was gone when I saw the yellow tags, but I got a good selection of misc hardware (bolts, washers, etc) for WAY less than the hardware aisle.
sdb
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Chris Lewis wrote:

Quite true on all the points and I also tend to really overbuild things, sometimes with malice aforethought but more often just because I overbuild things.
Harry K
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Much thanks to Chris Lewis and Harry K and everyone else who provided the great suggestions and guidance!
Chris
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Agreed. This is all you need (I'd still like to see the load spread across two or more ceiling trusses): http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?ItemnumberE076
Don't pay more than $5. Oh, and the biggest disadvantage to it, is lack of a brake -- maintain tension, else the load will come down. With a double pulley on the load and a triple on the ceiling, you'll be pulling only circa 40 lbs. Of course, with a 6ft lift you'll have a 24ft pile of rope on the floor. :)
sdb
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Simpler still (and portable) -
A suitably strong ramp for the back of the pick up and a two-wheeler with good tires (the air-filled ones are better than the solid kind, in my experience) and just roll the kegs up and down.
You can probably find a suitable handtruck at Home Depot or similar or if you want fancy, you can get one made for keg moving
<http://www.handtrucks.com/hand-trucks/specialty-hand-trucks/products.cfm?action=view&key=MIL035
And for a ramp - http://www.fivestarmfginc.com/archedramps.htm
I am sure all this is available locally where you are, the links are just for the examples.
Randy
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Simpler still (and portable) -
A suitably strong ramp for the back of the pick up and a two-wheeler with good tires (the air-filled ones are better than the solid kind, in my experience) and just roll the kegs up and down.
You can probably find a suitable handtruck at Home Depot or similar or if you want fancy, you can get one made for keg moving
<http://www.handtrucks.com/hand-trucks/specialty-hand-trucks/products.cfm?action=view&key=MIL035
And for a ramp - http://www.fivestarmfginc.com/archedramps.htm
I am sure all this is available locally where you are, the links are just for the examples.
Randy
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Harry K wrote:

In case people can't imagine how that's rigged... Rope is fixed to the ceiling (4x4 or whatever), runs down to the keg, through a pulley (how do you connect a pulley to a keg?), back up to the ceiling, through another pulley, and down again.
And you'll get quite a bit less than the theoretical 2-to-1 advantage -- probably more like a 90 pound pull instead of 80. And if I were doing it, I'd use climbing carabiners instead of pulleys, way cheaper and good to around 5000 pounds (if used properly).
As for connecting the pulley to the keg, I'm picturing a "keg harness" made of webbing, cleverly tied somehow...
Scott
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Interesting discussion. I like the idea of not stabbing things into the rafters.
Superstrute makes a lot of stuff though... Is it their channel that you used? http://electrical.hardwarestore.com/14-47-conduit-straps/gold-channel-651404.aspx
http://www.tnb.com/contractor/docs/superstrut.pdf
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Todd H. writes:

c
That looks like it: 1-5/8 x 1-5/8 C-channel with rolled edges and 1/2" oblong perforations. Zinc chromate surface treatment, or if you can find it, the hot-dipped zinc.

I used the "A series" metal framing channels from this catalog that are sold at Home Depot. But any of the series seem like they should handle loads of this type.
This stuff is the thing to remember when you have a hardware requirement of this type. Forget the hardware aisle, and go to the electrical aisle for Superstrut. The long threaded rods there are multiples cheaper than the hardware aisle, too.
I actually had the 10' lengths Superstrut left over from scaffolding I improvised for a stoneworking project. I had used it to hang an accurate and straight ledge off a cantilever slab that was the coping of my swimming pool. The ledge supported heavy slabs of marble while they were set into mortar on a vertical face:
http://www.truetex.com/dsc00454.jpg
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How about this. You'll never be caught in a back braking situation again.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber47
-zero
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Now that looks like a really good, compact, low cost solution....
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