DIY House Crane

A reader submission showing creativity in his lifting Solutions!  A big  Thank You to “A Treehouse Dweller” for this story about building a house crane to access his tall home.  Of course, this is pretty cool in my opinion. It’s also quite creative in the way he built it, and in the way he uses it.  Enjoy.

Customer Story:

House Crane – from “A Treehouse Dweller”

I have a tall house, to get a picture in your head, think of a treehouse.  Everybody who visits it says “It’s like a treehouse!”

Part of the house is a flat roof deck which is on the 5th floor, access by a tight and twisting stairwell.  Just how does one get something large, say, a mattress up onto the roof?  Answer:  Of course, with a House Crane.

Upper Pivot MountBuilt of square aluminum tube and flat bar, this Jib crane uses an off the shelf overhead electric hoist to do the heavy lifting.  The crane construction requires a minimum of tools – a drill press, hacksaw or reciprocating saw, and a few other odd tools.  No welding. Other than the three pieces of aluminum, all hardware is from a good hardware store.

Lower Pivot ProtectionThe boom is approximately 6′ long, and swings 180 degrees from the lower level where it is loaded, to the roof deck where it is unloaded.  The fixed pivot supports for the crane are 1/4″ thick aluminum angle.  To ensure a smooth jib pivot, the jib rotates on 3/4″ tractor hitch pins riding inside bronze bushings.  The bushings have grease lubrication via a grease fitting.  The crane screws to the house using GRK RSS structural screws – 20 screws in total.  Instead of welding the strap to the box tube at the hoist end, I used grade 8 bolts with steel sleeves inside the box to keep it from deforming.

Then the winch at the end.  A nifty electric winch for all the lifting duties.  The direct spool to hook helps with efficiency as a choice for the winch.

House Crane In Action:

This crane has been a workhorse.  I spent a summer replacing the flat roof with the crane to both lower the old material, which amounted to about 3 tons, and to lift all the new material onto the roof.  The heaviest lift I’ve ever attempted is the single piece of rubber roofing (20’x 25′), which weighs 220 lbs.  The limitations on the capacity are likely the attachment to the building, or more likely, the building itself.  Houses are usually not designed to take a horizontal pull such as the upper support which holds the jib.

At the time of this writing the crane is about four years old and has been 100% reliable.  It is a fantastic solution for moving all sorts of things to the upper levels of the house.  Besides being so functional, it is a great conversation starter with visitors!

House Crane Pivoting MountCrane In Action


With the concept of “in the moment problem solving” this is the Mechanic’s Post category for “Solutions!”  These are customer stories about how they have creatively found DIY ways to solve life’s little inconveniences.  While this is just one, we have a whole category dedicated to the wonderful stories.

This is your area, so please share your creations that make life a little easier.  Readers just like you would love to see what you’ve done, while being inspired in their own problem solving.  It doesn’t have to be long, just a short story and some photos.  Just like this solution for a DIY House Crane.  Thanks again to “A Treehouse Dweller” for sending the photos and story.

Now it’s your turn.  If you have done something that others can benefit from seeing, please take some photos, then tell us your story.  Just submit it on this Customer Stories Submission Page.  We’ll format things and post it just like you see here.

Mechanical Elements is the DIY Web Portal for all sorts of projects, so we would love to see your creative solutions too.  Jump in and be a part.  Thank you!

More Crane Info

While not specifically about a house crane, we have some other good articles about cranes.  Try Practical Safety With Cranes as a reminder about making the crane work for you.  Or, see Crane Failure Modes to learn some things to avoid as you keep yourself from disaster.

You can also read about Gantry Cranes we offer in plans.  Thank you for visiting.


Inline Feedbacks
View All Comments

We Found These For You . . .

Car Hauler Design Research
Prior to starting new plans, we do research to understand the landscape, then look for opportunity to improve and make a better product.  That is certainly the case with our upcoming Car Hauler & Equipment Transport Trailer design.  New plans…

Read The Article

As a simplistic introduction to beam loading, this article discusses the complications in calculating stresses and deflection.  While it’s pretty easy to calculate beam loading for simple theoretical cases, very few beams

Read The Article

Is there escape from covid-19?
What more can we say about Coronavirus?  The daily press updates are full of horrible news!  There’s so much concern and sadness everywhere.  Then there’s the “Stay at Home” mandates.  I need an emotional escape from COVID !!

Read The Article

20ft Deck Tiny House Foundation Trailer Plans
There’s an old song comparing the wise man and the foolish man.  It might just be talking about a tiny house foundation!  Goes something like this:

Read The Article

Clamps and Drills Access and Storage Solution
Storage space is a high priority in my shop.  Maybe in yours too?  It’s not that there is not enough space, it’s the prime space where tools are super accessible for any moment

Read The Article

May Is Build Month - DIY Plans Sale
May, the time of new flowers after April showers, is also the time for building that project you’ve been stewing on over the winter.  Spring has sprung, so it’s time to make it happen.

Read The Article

Build it with Torsion Axle Trailer Plans
New Product Announcement:  The Mechanical Elements line of DIY Trailer Blueprints has just expanded with some new sizes for Torsion Axle Trailer Plans.  You ask, then we work to deliver.

Read The Article

Review of the Folding Trailer Tongue
On a recent trailer, I experimented with a new folding tongue design.  Now it’s time to review — What do I like?  What would I do different if building another?

Read The Article

Tilt Top Trailer Conversion

Build a Tilt Trailer by 'Converting' our standard, single axle Utility Trailer Plans.  Works with our 6' and 6'10" width, 3500# Trailer Plans, and is compatible with both leaf springs and torsion axles.

6x10 Heavy Duty Trailer Plans

For all the jobs a utility trailer must do, these plans include so many options for both function and utility.  At 6+’ wide 10’ length, this design also includes an axle option for 6000 lbs or 7000 lbs.