New Size – Homemade Crane Plans
A New Size? OK, MechanicalElements.com has Gantry Crane plans – for years. Now, we just released the Perfect Size Crane for your Garage. These homemade crane plans are similar, though sized for max reach and beef, yet still roll through a standard garage door.
This system was designed years ago, and many have been built (in various sizes) over the years. In fact, some good examples are shown on our Customer Stories page. (Including the author, who has had one for 25 years, and built several with modifications.)
In comparison to our Mobile Overhead Crane Plans, and our Upsized Gantry Crane Blueprints, these new, “just the right size” crane plans fit right between for both size and capacity. Though there is some overlap with both, the new crane is a perfect size — to fit easily in a garage, yet have all the capacity a typical shop mechanic needs. And, it’s designed specifically to work with the I-Beam Connector Clamp we offer as free plans.
The new “Just Right” size crane plans include your feedback, plus all we’ve learned and loved about the many cranes we’ve built.
It’s easy to use, and easy to breakdown for storage or for transport. It’s small enough to fit and to store, yet it maximizes height for lifting. Legs telescope down to pass through a standard garage door, then up giving 10+ feet under the beam! That’s enough to lift engines from cars or from big machines, to lift boats from supports, and heavy equipment onto trailers.
The Ideal Homemade Crane
We talk about this one as “Homemade Crane Plans”, but it is certainly not limited there. We call it that because the design size is perfect for the garage mechanic. However, it can just as well be perfect for the your business.
In its prime revision, the crane has an 8″ aluminum I-beam is 8″ (aluminum, 6061-T6), at 12 ft length, and wheels to roll around on. The base legs are steel, 3″ square tube with 3/4″ hitch pins. Everything professionally powder coated.
Plans show both Steel and Aluminum options for the top beam. Aluminum for the top beam is light for assembling, disassembling, or when raising and lowering the legs. It also helps make the crane more portable for storage and transporting. Aluminum is great benefit, even if it costs more.
The Steel beam option, on the other hand, can allow a little more head space because the steel is stiffer for its size.
The wheels mount on spring loaded carriages for safety. The crane rolls around easily even with a small load, but when lifting something heavy, the springs allow the base to set firmly on the ground and avoid accidental movement.
In addition, you can install caster wheels with brakes. It’s one more east option that improves safety and convenience.
This unique Gantry Crane maximizes height as noted above, and it also maximizes versatility by incorporating the I-Beam Connector Clamp. The Clamp is not just for this crane, but it helps the crane fit perfectly. The top beam mounts with a connection to move anywhere along the beam. This allows owners to reduce the distance between the legs which helps in 3 great ways:
- First, Shortening the effective distance between the legs gives greater lifting capacity — for an 8″ aluminum I-Beam, up to 6000 lb when the legs are less than 8′ apart, 4000 lb capacity with legs at 12′ beam width. Not bad for homemade crane plans.
- Second, moving the legs allows the crane to roll around other equipment and store much easier. The Mechanic usually stores it straddling over the car with one end of the beam sticking out over the workbench. That way it does not require disassembly to put it away.
- Third, if you need an overhanging gantry, you can counterbalance the other end, and use the free end to lift. (Please note, lift capacity is drastically less for an overhanging end load. Also, you must block the end so your trolley won’t roll off, and counterbalance the other end.) As far as we know, this is a feature NO OTHER CRANE HAS! (Probably because it requires you as the user to have good judgment).
That brings up an interesting side note. We believe those who build a homemade crane are higher on the common sense ladder. So we’ll give the cool options and know you’ll understand the warnings. Please be aware of the safety needs for a crane, especially with overhanging loads. Seriously, don’t be stupid with it.
The crane disassembles easily by removing the bolts connecting the top beam to the legs. The upper legs can also pull out — all of which makes it very manageable and the crane is quite portable.
Homemade Crane Plans
Crane plans come complete, including a full materials list with options. Engineering data is there for consideration if you wish to customize your crane. And, the plans give suggestions for accessories like an I-Beam trolley or the lifting apparatus (hoist). — Easy to buy separately. For the most complete package, we recommend the Winch Pole to go with the crane. It may sound kind of silly, but we much prefer the Winch Pole over a chain fall, come-along or other lift.
All loading information is accurate engineering data, but how you choose to load the beams can drastically affect the outcome. For instance, capacity for a swinging or bouncing load is significantly less. Be careful, always, when lifting. Please don’t buy the plans if you lack common sense for safety 🙂 If you’re interested in the technical aspects, read more about Gantry Crane Failure Modes.
For those who build it, this is an awesome tool that will last for years and years — probably generations. It’s also beefier and far more flexible, easier to disassemble, more portable, and easier to work around than any Harbor Freight or Northern Equipment crane. If you want an overhead gantry crane, this is it. The best homemade crane plans (or shop-made crane) around. Get the plans here and start building today!