Gantry Crane Conversion — Top Beam Lifter

Do you want an easier, faster, more controlled way to raise the top beam of your Gantry Crane?  We have it, with these winch driven leg extender plans that go with all the Gantry Cranes here at Mechanical Elements.

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At Mechanical Elements, we have some great Gantry Cranes which are a fantastic way to lift things in the shop, garage, or outdoors.  One great feature is the telescoping legs because they allow easy crane height adjustment.  Just set the height, and insert the hitch pin.

Winch Driven Crane Height AdjustmentSome customers don’t adjust the height very often.  Other customers pull the crane in and out of the shop frequently, which requires the crane to go up and down each time.  Making those crane height adjustments easier and faster is the focus of these plans.

You (our customers) asked for an easier, faster, more controlled way to lift the top beam — to elevate the Crane.  If you adjust height often, then get these plans.  They contain all the information to make the conversion so the legs telescope using a winch.

Crane Height Adjustment

While seeking a solution, we examined a bunch of different ideas.  Read the Self-Lifting Gantry Crane Conversion article for the full story, and for more ideas.  The winch concept in these plans is a good balance of the many considerations.  While a mechanical hand winch is shown for easy full control, it can exchange for an electric or pneumatic winch if you prefer.

The design is straightforward and pretty simple.  While it is not difficult, there are a few tricks that make it all work.  All of these are in the plans along with lists of materials and parts to buy.  Then, to make it easy, we include the part numbers for components at  Others, can substitute, of course.

This conversion works to adjust the crane height of all our Gantry Cranes with telescoping legs.  While it’s best to make the conversion when building a new crane, it will retrofit.  A retrofit requires building a new lower leg assembly, plus modifying the upper leg and adding some parts.

Choose your Crane Plans, then use these Conversion Plans to build the Winch Driven Leg Lifters.

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Conversion Plans to Raise a Gantry Crane using a Winch

  • Convert one of our standard Gantry Cranes for easy beam lifting.
  • Raise and lower the main Gantry Crane beam with one person.
  • These plans will convert any of our regular Cranes with lower leg beam size of 3″ or more.  (Basically all of them.)
  • Position the winch at any height you like.
  • Extend the telescoping legs from full down to full up.  This does not restrict the total height.
  • The conversation does not change the crane load capacity.
  • Winches do not support the crane lifting capacity.  Once the beam is at the right height, insert the hitch pins again for full crane load capacity.
  • Minimal added space required.
  • Choose a hand winch or electric or other as needed.
  • The mechanical hand winch requires no electricity or air to operate.
  • Plans include a parts list to purchase, and even part numbers from McMaster to make it easy.  Other parts can substitute.
  • Plans include drawings, instructions, and a list of materials.
  • The plans also include directions for changes that will make it work best for your situation.

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More About The Design Features

More About The Design Features

This winch driven crane height adjustment is an enhancement to our standard Gantry Crane plans.  Use these plans WITH the Mechanical Elements Crane plans of your choice.  This conversion is an addendum — showing how to convert the legs so a winch can lift the top beam.  These plans DO NOT show most of the crane construction, so you will need to buy the crane plans of your choice also.

Full Crane w/ Height AdjustmentThese conversion plans work with most of the sizes described in our other Gantry Crane Plans.  Please see the Crane plans for information about Crane materials and load limits.  Make your choices for size and capacity, then follow instructions in these plans for the conversion.

The New Winch driven legs do not change the load limits, height, or width limits of the Gantry Crane.

The easiest implementation is to build these conversion legs as you build your Gantry Crane.  Build the lower leg from these instead of from the crane plans.  It uses most of the same dimensions, but adds a few things.

If you already have the Crane, the conversion is not as simple.  The upper telescoping leg can be modified to work with the winch lift system, but the lower leg must be made again.  Material for the main tube of the lower leg changes with this conversion, so a re-build of the lower leg is required.  Other components like the wheel assemblies can transfer over.

Use the winch to extend or lower the leg until the hitch pin holes again line up at the height desired.  Insert the hitch pin.  The leg extension winches will lift the crane top beam when there is no load on the crane.  The winch and cable ratings are not sufficient to carry full lifting loads of the crane.  Always use the hitch pins and make sure they are secure before lifting things with the crane.

– Construction requires steel cutting and drilling (& optionally, welding).  Same as for building the crane.
– Load Capacity is entirely dependent on the options and purchase components.*

Plans include easy to follow, fully illustrated instructions.  . . .  More on What is in the Plans . . .  These are the perfect accessories to go with our  Mobile Overhead Crane and our Perfect Garage Size Crane.

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