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.

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


Solutions!

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.

Comments

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View All Comments

We Found These For You . . .

Article
Which Welder To Buy?
I’m looking to build one of your trailers, but I need to know which welder to buy?  What type, and do I need 110 or 220 volt?  What about other projects from your site that may pique my interest?

Read The Article

Product

Form follows function in this attractive, modern speaker cabinet.  Yes, it looks cool, but more importantly, all the non-parallel internal surfaces resist resonances for a beautiful and dynamic sound.

Article
Harbor Freight Improvement
You’ve seen them, the inexpensive bolt-together Harbor Freight trailer kits.  While they pack a lot of function, they unfortunately are often something like a rattle trap.  (Not always, of course.)  While they have a cheap rap, they sell a lot

Read The Article

Article
Trailer Tire Comparison
The topic of trailer tires has come up a hundred times.  Why can’t I use automotive tires on my trailer?  That’s a fair question, so let’s explore it.

Read The Article

Product
Trailer 5 x 8 - 3500 lbs Torsion Axle

Designed specifically for a Torsion Axle, these 5' x 8' utility trailer plans include a 3500# capacity and many options to choose for making the trailer meet your needs.  And, fully Engineered Blueprints, of course.

Product
4' x 8' - 3500# Torsion Axle Trailer

Fully Engineered Blueprints are just the start with these Torsion Axle Utility Trailer Plans.  With the deck a little larger than tradition, you can put true 4' x 8' cargo inside!  Up to 3500 lbs.

Product
Just The Right Size Garage Crane

Get maximum height with a garage crane that still rolls through the door! Use it outdoors, then roll it right in. These Gantry Crane Plans have telescoping legs with options for the beam size and length.

Product
20ft Tiny House Trailer

Since a great house starts with a solid foundation, these Tiny House Trailer plans focus on that goal.  Low 8.5’ x 20’ top deck height.  Up to 14,000 lbs total capacity.  Fully Engineered.

Product
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.

Product
5' x 10' - 3500# Torsion Axle Utility Trailer

A classic size!  This is the Torsion Axle version 5' x 10' - 3500# utility trailer.  It’s a nice size with good capacity for all sorts of hauling chores.  With lots of options, it’s ready to work.

Product
16K by 20' Flat Deck Trailer

A great mid-size Tandem Axle, 10,000 lbs Flat Deck Trailer is waiting for you in these plans.  At 8.5' wide x 20' deck length, the plans include many options to achieve the function needs.

Article
Trailer Axles - Springs - Wheels - and Tires
I’ll just drop by the parts store and grab an axle . . . . Well, trailer axles are not quite that simple, but knowing a few important details, we can certainly get the right one.  Here’s a quick guide…

Read The Article

Article
Example aluminum trailers
This question comes up often — because there are not many good plans for aluminum trailers out there.  We have great trailer plans, but none for aluminum.  Why?  As one of our Frequently Asked Questions, this one deserves a good…

Read The Article

Article
DIY Steel Cutting Options
So, you need to cut steel for a DIY project (like a crane or trailer).  Easy, Right?  What’s the best, easiest, cheapest, fastest way of cutting steel?  There must be dozens of ways, so, the better question might be

Read The Article

Article
Using A Workshop Hydraulic Press
A shop press is a fantastic tool, and when you need it, there’s not much that can really substitute.  On the other hand, we need to keep things in order because when things go bad, they can easily go really…

Read The Article

Article
Winner of the Visa Gift Card
We have a winner of the $100 Visa Gift Card!  We sent out the Photo request, and you responded.  Now the drawing, and the winner.

Read The Article

Article
Analysis with Trailer Frame Materials and Design With Safety Factors
This post is a question from an engineering student wondering about trailer frame materials selection and safety factor.  His analysis shows a material thickness that “does the job” is much less than his welder associates recommend.  Wondering about why, he…

Read The Article

Article
Folding Trailer Tongue Finished
Intrigued by the cool potential of saving storage space, increased security, and removal of a shin knocker to step over, this new folding trailer tongue adds greater utility to a trailer.

Read The Article

Article
DIY Creative Solutions
Do you believe the old saying  “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”?  Well, I have a need, but I don’t need an invention, just a quick solution.  So, maybe Necessity is really the Mother of Creative Solutions! 

Read The Article

Article
What Are Your Essential Tools
We’ve been asked many times about “What are the most essential tools for your shop?” Well, that’s a hard question, because frustration and wailing are the result when the right tools are not available.

Read The Article