Gantry Crane I-Beam Clamp – Free Plans

Introducing a new product to the Mechanical Elements family of Do-It-Yourself Plans — the gantry crane I-Beam clamp.  A simple product we give as Free Plans in our launch celebration!  Well, is it really FREE Plans?  Yes.  Use the coupon code on the Beam Clamp Product Page to get the plans for FREE.

The I-Beam Clamp is a simple product to solve a couple things for owners of a Gantry Crane.  For a lot of Do-It-Yourself enthusiasts, the garage is not quite big enough for everything you have (or want), so equipment flexibility is a big blessing.  This new Beam Clamp magnifies versatility for our Line of Cranes.  So, if have a Mechanical Elements crane, (or other I-Beam style crane), then check out this product.  It may be the perfect enhancement as a solution for something you’re doing.

What is a “Gantry Crane I-Beam Connector Clamp”?

Typical connection of a gantry crane leg to the top I-Beam.The main beam of a gantry crane attaches at each end to the legs or supporting elements.  For many cranes, the main beam is an I-Beam which is known for its high strength to weight ratio.  This image shows a main I-Beam attached to the crane legs using bolts through holes drilled in the I-Beam.

The bolting method is, of course, a very sturdy attachment, but it’s not very flexible.  True, you can turn this leg around and bolt it with the top plate facing the opposite direction, but this only allows a leg adjustment of several inches.

The NEW beam clamp, does not require holes drilled in the main crane beam.  It is not as strong a bolt connection, but for the right circumstances, it offers a unique way of attaching.  This way, the main beam attaches in a flexible way, allowing the leg to position, then secure, anywhere along the I-Beam.

The I-Beam Connector Clamp is another fun Solution! from Mechanical Elements.

Made For The Do-It-Yourself Builder:

Beam Clamp Free PlansThe NEW clamp design is simple, and the implementation is easy as well.  The intent is to clamp a flat plate on the I-Beam without drilling holes.  This gives infinitely variable positioning to clamp the legs anywhere along the length of the beam.

It also allows you to connect other items directly to the beam, securely, without drilling holes.

A frequent hiccup in connecting things to an I-Beam comes because the inside horizontal faces of the beam flanges are not parallel to the bottom face.  While this is great for strength, bolting can create issues.  There are special washers to compensate for the angle, but they still require a hole for the bolt.

To conquer the problem, the Beam Clamp side parts are cut from C-Channel or from a section of I-Beam.  This makes the angles match perfectly.

Free Plans View Cutting From C-Channel

I-Beam Connector Clamps & Gantry Crane:

Beam Clamp on a Gantry CraneHere are a number of really cool applications for the new I-Beam Connector Clamps.  Here are a few ways we use it.  You may find other great ways as well.

Application 1:

Gantry Cranes made with plans from Mechanical Elements are big, and the legs are bolted on at the beam ends.  Sometimes it’s nice to change the distance between the legs just for storage or for working around other equipment.

With the I-Beam Connector Clamps, the gantry crane legs are no longer constrained at the beam ends.  The legs can easily move to any spot along the beam you want.  Pull them in a little to accommodate space, or a lot for greater lifting capacity.  It also makes crane storage much easier.

For gantry crane leg connections, like in the image, use at least two clamps for stability.  Make sure to use gussets or other stiffening as well for Gantry Crane Safety.

On a personal note, I love the extra long beam on my crane for many things.  However, with the normal setup, it’s too long for convenient storage in my garage.  At full length, it’s hard to fit around the car and workbenches.  With these beam clamps, I just move one leg to fit perfect over my workspace, then put the beam high so it’s out of the way.  It stores there, ready to lift.  Just back the trailer in, lift the goods, pull it out, and set the goods on a cart.  No crane moving needed.  Then, when I’m ready for other crane duties, it’s super easy to re-configure the main beam length.

Application 2:

Strength and length of the I-Beam determines a gantry crane capacity.  When a beam is long, say 15′, load capacity is lower than when the beam is shorter, like 8′.  Using the I-Beam Connector Clamp to re-position the legs, the effective length of the top beam can shorten as needed, thus increasing capacity.

To illustrate this, we’ll use numbers from our Upsized Crane plans.  With a 6″ steel I-Beam along the top, at 16′ length the crane capacity is 2200#.  Shortening the top beam to 12′ increases capacity to 3200#.  Shorten it again to 10′, and the capacity rises to 4000#.  The I-Beam Connector Clamp makes all these configurations possible on the same gantry crane.  Just mount the legs with proper spacing for the load you need.

Application 3:

A gantry crane is a wonderful piece of equipment for so many applications.  One drawback is the load must be between the 2 legs.  Sometimes that’s not convenient, so we have to use an engine hoist (or other style crane) to reach.  Hoists also have limitations, so in certain situations, these new I-Beam Clamps can change a gantry crane into a cantilever.  However, it is very important to understand the limitations and potential crane failure modes.  Yet, with proper care, it is possible.

Gantry Crane Beam Clamp Plans

A word of CAUTION:  The I-Beam Connector Clamp does NOT defy the laws of physics.  If you configure a crane for a cantilevered beam, it REQUIRES counter-balance.  If you try to lift something on the end of the beam, that is heavier than the other leg, the crane will tip.  And, if you don’t pay attention, it will come crashing down doing lots of damage.  Use the cantilever VERY carefully!  Use it only with small loads, and ONLY with proper counter weights on the other end of the beam!  Please don’t use this to earn the Darwin award.

Application 4:

I-Beam Connector ClampTo hang something from an I-Beam in a non-permanent way, just fasten it to a plate, then clamp it to the beam.  The I-Beam Connector Clamps will hold it in place, yet it is easy to move or remove the clamps and plate later.

You can mount it under the beam, or for more security, clamp it on top of the beam.  These beam clamps don’t care about top or bottom.

Or, (side note), if your needs are for a light duty attachment or hanging items quickly from a beam, then try this fun little I-Beam skyhook.  While it’s not a strong, it’s even simpler and easier to work with than the clamp.  Check out that Solution! too.

Please Note:  We recommend using the I-Beam Clamps in pairs, so make the plate long enough for one on each side of the load.  Load capacity is a function of the material, so live within the limitations of your particular clamp system.

Application 5:

An I-Beam Connector Clamp makes a great trolley stop on your gantry crane.  You may need a separate plate for the space, but when the clamps are not busy holding the crane leg, they can certainly limit motion of the trolley.  Or, make several so they are ready when you need them!

Restricting motion of the trolley is a great way to add a little safety in some situations.  Use the clamp when it helps, then take it off when you want full trolley movement.

How To Get Free Plans:

As mentioned above, Free Plans are available for the Gantry Crane I-Beam Connector Clamps.  The product page shows a price, but use the Coupon Code on that page to get plans for free.

Free Plans are available for a limited introductory time, so get them now, while the getting is good!

Enjoy the Beam Clamp Plans! — On ME — the Do-it-Yourself Mechanic.


Inline Feedbacks
View All Comments

We Found These For You . . .

16K by 20' Flat Deck Trailer

When heft is on the agenda, consider this beefy version of our 20’ length deck-over trailer plans.  With many options like all our trailers, this tandem axle is super heavy duty for rigorous jobs.

Plans In Metric
Virtually everything on the internet is by definition “World Wide”.   Even though Mechanical Elements (Synthesis Engineering Services) is physically located in the USA, we have a world audience, so it’s a fair question

Read The Article

Drill Matching Bolt Holes
So many times we need to make matching holes to bolt something on.  You purchased something to mount on your trailer or your workbench or some other project, but now you need the exact

Read The Article

Saved by Trailer Chain
If you ever doubt the sanity of safety chains, then see this example of where a single trailer chain literally saved lives.  The story is amazing from all angles –

Read The Article

10x32 Wide Tiny House Trailer Plans

To meet the needs of a wider Tiny House, these 10’ width trailer blueprints include extra engineering and design.  Low, wide 10’ x 30’ or 32’ top deck.  Up to 18,000 lbs total capacity.

Trailer Axle Suspension - Leaf Spring Length
Why choose a long or short leaf spring for your trailer?  They come in different sizes, not only for strength, but also in trailer leaf spring length.  So, why do I want long ones or short ones?  Does it even…

Read The Article

Converting a Trailer
The concept of re-purposing or converting a trailer is absolutely awesome.  My hat’s off to anyone who can find a way to reuse and convert something from end-of-life to new-again.  We need more of that in our world!

Read The Article


6’ width trailers pretty much define the utility trailer market.  Wide enough to carry toys and for all the various chores, yet small enough for practicality.  These plans include a ton of functional options.

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.

Trailer Sway Video Review
Understanding Trailer Dynamics like Sway is a really important.  If you look for it, there are many articles and some great YouTube videos discussing and demonstrating the many factors and issues.

Read The Article

6'10" x 16' Flatbed Trailer Plans

A large utility trailer, at full (legal) width and 16’ length -- with options for 12,000 lbs or 16,000 lbs capacity.  Trailer plans include many options for you to configure it to your specific needs.

Aluminum Trailer Frame Underside
Aluminum is such a great material.  It’s light, strong, and looks sweet to boot.  So, why is there a debate about Aluminum Trailer Frames comparing to others like steel?  Or comparing for beams like with gantry cranes?

Read The Article

DIY Legacy Tools
Who influenced your creativity and Do-it-Yourself enthusiasm?  Was it your dad?  A shop teacher?  Or a neighbor that was into cool projects?

Read The Article

6x11, 2 Place, ATV Trailer Plans

When you need full space for 2 large ATV’s, or other off-road vehicles, this is your trailer.  Plans give options for ramps, tie-downs, and other functions.  Build this for robust action to last through the years.

Good Trailer Design Article Updates
The most popular pages on Synthesis are the Trailer Design Article that now has a fresh revision.  May, 2017.  They include more content, more pictures, and a mobile friendly web design.

Read The Article

Welding Trailer Spring Brackets
There is some disagreement in trailer building about how to weld-on trailer spring brackets (also known as spring hangers).   Some of you have sent questions about which techniques are best, especially

Read The 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

24' Tiny Home Trailer Plans

Build on a solid foundation starting with plans specifically designed for the unique needs of a Tiny House Trailer. Low 8.5’ x 24’ top deck. Up to 14,000 lbs total capacity. Fully Engineered.

While the Tap & Die go hand in hand as threading tools, they’re very different in the way they work.  There are also different tricks for success.  So, let’s talk success tips for making external threads with a die.

Read The Article

Small Trailer with Big Benefits
Caught on the streets, this small trailer provides big benefits.  It’s an excellent example of using a trailer instead of a truck, and this business owner understands efficiency.

Read The Article