Hoist/Lift advice

I've got a 12' ceiling in the garage, so there is plenty of room for storage overhead. There's already some crap stored above the rafters, but it's a major hassle to get longer items up there. Plus plywood is a no go of course.
So does anyone have a simple lift idea (single winch), that would allow me to raise a lower a storage rack (5x8). I plan to reinforce the rafters as required BTW.
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No plans for you but... If the rack + contents will weigh more than you, you'll need either a powered hoist or a block/tackle arrangement. After you pick, it mostly pulleys, no?
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You could probably just use a regular boat winch for 500-1000 lbs. At that point you are seriously loading your trusses. Hang pulleys on the 4 corners with rope/cables, join them to a ring that attaches to the winch line.
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vaguely proposed a theory ......and in reply I say!:
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How far from the ceiling is the rack going to sit? How much weight are you going to put up there?
If you have a few feet (3 maybe) then use steel cable to form a sling and a single winch as you suggested. You can buy boat winches for quite cheap, depending on the load you need. The sling wires' strength will need to allow for your load and the angle they lie at. The shallower they lie the greater the strain on them. Shallow angles will also tend to bend the rack, so allow for that.
Do not use rope, and do not rely on the sling, winch etc to hold the load up there once it's up. It needs to be locked in place by bolts or chains.

***************************************************** Have you noticed that people always run from what they _need_ toward what they want?????
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The stuff would probably sit 2 or 3 feet from the rafters. Max weight would be 500 pounds, likely much less. The weight would also be close to a wall, as opposed to the center of the span. I would also suspend the rack from 2x4s above the rafters, so as to distribute the weight across several rafters.

I've got a couple of boat winches (2000 lbs) that I used for a project in the basement.
I'm having a little trouble picturing the sling though. Assuming my pulleys (2 pairs) are 8' apart this would limit my lift to 4' (cable joins)? The second problem would be the distance between the center pulley and the cable joints for the other pulleys. Not to mention the full weight would hang from the center pulley until locked.
My ascii art below:
0 (Main pulley) | | | / \ (Cable join (1 of 2)) / \ / \ / \ ===0=============0=== (Rafters with pulleys - one side) | | | | | | | | ------------------------------- (rack - one side)
This is what I imagine one half of the pulleys to look like. Perhaps I could replace the cable join above with a hanging pulley? So I would only need two pieces of cable to attach the rack, rather than four. I'd be concerned that this might tip though?

Good point.

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vaguely proposed a theory ......and in reply I say!:
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Ya got me, here. I imagined the rack to have sling(s) that were fixed. One wire from each corner, pyramidding to a central eye, so the rack hangs from the eye. Attach a hook to the eye and use whatever to lift the hook on a rope/wire through a roof-hung pulley etc. The limit of the height you can go to is the attachemnt point height minus the height of the sling(s). No joins etc. Single "rope" lift. Machinery to suit.
To paraphrase your ASCII art <G>
Roof or ceiling ______________________________ | __________________ rope 0 (Main pulley) | | | rope |rope | | | / \ Machinery (winch etc)at floor / \ level / \ / \ ------------------------------- (rack - one side)
If you used pulleys and a multi-sheave purchase, then you need to replace my single "rope" with the parts of the purchase.
BTW, for any lifting, make sure you lead the power out from under the load. If you use pulleys, make sure you have an automatic rope cleat etc, and plenty of purchase. I was warning about rope more for the slings than the main line BTW. They could be under a lot of strain.
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Do boat winches allow you to unload the winch in a controlled manner? I thought they just free wheeled when you reversed them.
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On Mon, 11 Oct 2004 13:54:36 GMT, "Mike Marlow"

I don't know about boat winches, but chain hoists do: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber6
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That's what I thought. That would certainly make for one hell of a ride lowering down 500lbs of lumber from the rafters.
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On Mon, 11 Oct 2004 23:55:29 GMT, "Mike Marlow"
......and in reply I say!:
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But no more than getting it up there. I would select the winch so I was not breaking my arm to raise the load.
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On Mon, 11 Oct 2004 23:55:29 GMT, "Mike Marlow"
......and in reply I say!:
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Having said what I have said, raising 500lb up to the roof is not going to be easy on a budget IMO anyway.
I do take the point about the chain hoist. They are much safer. The only trouble I have with them is that you are standing right under the load, unless you set up some sort of chain loop system off to one side.

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vaguely proposed a theory

Don't forget the chain rattling all over the edges of the wood, and finding every random little projection to catch on, making you stop and release it.
In a previous life, many engine pull/install/swap/etc. in SIL's garage with an I-beam trolley chain hoist, wishing every time we had a nice electric chain hoist/winch.
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On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 06:40:35 -0400, "Norman D. Crow"
......and in reply I say!:
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Haha! Yes! And catching on the sides of its gallery unless it's leading absolutely fair into it etc etc....
The only one I have seen that overcame all this had a winding handle (ratcheting actually) instead of a chain.......but of course the handle was on the hoist which was 12' up in the air....

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On Mon, 11 Oct 2004 13:54:36 GMT, "Mike Marlow"
......and in reply I say!:
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mmm....Good point. But I have one manually operated one that will allow rolling and unrolling. It has a two-way ratchet system. I have seen a Jarrett (sp) one that had a free-wheel release. Just a clutch.
The electric ones usually have a clutch and yes they do let go. What I did (elcheapo down push on a tractor-mounted post hole borer) was remove the ratchet (or the snazzy little one-way bearing in one winch that I have), set up relays that reverse connect the motor, to allow full control in both directions. Shorting the motor terminal also is a very effective brake on the winch I have set up. In fact I am looking at setting up a variable load to provide controlled release, for another use.. ***************************************************** Have you noticed that people always run from what they _need_ toward what they want?????
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You will need to add sufficient support. Ask an engineer. I would suggest using an electric wench coupled with a swinging davit, boom or I beam and trolley. Imagine lifting a 200 lb something up and then attempting to slide it onto a platform? (Or getting it off.)
BTW Boat wenches do not provide descent stopping like an electric wench or chain-hoist.
Dave

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Bill, I'm not pulling your leg. You are not putting the stuff on top of the roof. As I understand what you said in previous replies, you plan a max of 500lbs setting on top of the rafters? I think you mean joists or the bottom chord of a truss(s), or do you plan to construct a platform (rack) that hangs from the actual rafter or top chord of a truss? Either way, if they are 2x4s, they do not hold much weight when spanned over 5'.
My main point was moving the load up and down and side to side.
I have a loft above my shop, accessible via a 6'x8' opening. I lift stuff up and down via a electric wench. Similar to this one. http://www.gowarn.com/H1000-ac-warn-works-hoist.asp
However, faced with the problem of how to swing heavy items, suspended 10' above the floor, onto the loft floor. I solved this by putting in a small I-beam and trolley system.
Sorry if my previous post was confusing. Dave

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I agree with Dave. If the ceiling of your garage is built with trusses, as most garages are, then you could easily run into major problems if you put much downward load on the bottom chords, which are typically 2x4's. These chords are designed to be tension members not vertically loaded beams, so they are not usually designed to take much downward load. This is especially true of the connections commonly used to connect the bottom chord to the members above it. The beauty of a truss is that each member can be relatively weak because of the way the loads are transferred, but this only works if the loads come from the intended direction, which in this case means from the top of the truss down. If you can tell who made the trusses you might be able to get some information about how much vertical load the bottom chords are designed to carry.
If I were trying to do what you are trying to do I would look into putting in an independent pair of beams that span from wall to wall (or some other vertical support going down to the floor) and then hang the lift off those beams and leave the trusses out of the picture completely. Engineering such beams to carry the necessary load is likely to be a lot simpler and safer than reworking the trusses.
As to the cable arrangement, what I would try to do is have a pulley above each corner of the lift and then put the pulley that turns the cable back down towards the floor as far from the lift as possible. That way you can bring the four corner cables together between the four corner pulleys and the single pulley that turns the cable back down to the winch.
On my hand boat winch you have to lift a cam to release the winch and to lift this cam you have to take all the load off the cam by cranking on the handle a little. At that point you should have the load under control and the key thing you would need to be careful of as you let it down is that you can keep the handle under control, which can be a little tricky as the load on your arm shifts from tension to compression as the handle goes around. I've done this with a suspended load, but its not something I would want to do regularly. So, a winch with a true controlled reverse would be very nice.
I would want to be VERY sure about the system used to lock the thing in place when it is up. If it came loose with someone underneath it the results would likely be fatal. If you look at the fine print that comes with most cable hardware I think you will see that it is not rated to either hoist people or hold loads above people. There are good reasons why this sort of situation is treated very carefully.
- Bruce

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