New Size – Homemade Crane Plans

A New Size?  OK, MechanicalElements.com has Gantry Crane plans – for years.  Interestingly, one of our very first plans.  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.

The core 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.)

So, What’s New?

Just The Right Size Garage CraneIn comparison the first Mobile Overhead Crane Plans, and the much larger Upsized Gantry Crane Blueprints, these fit right between for both size and capacity.  Though there is some overlap with both, the new crane is a size optimized to fit easily through a typical garage door, yet have all the capacity a typical shop mechanic needs.  It actually addresses some of the size and capacity aspects that makes it fit perfectly between the other slightly smaller and much bigger homemade crane plans products.

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 equipment onto trailers.

Ideal Size 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.

Homemade Crane Plans Spring Wheel FramePlans 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.

Maximizing For Utility

This unique Gantry Crane maximizes height as noted above, and it also maximizes versatility with the I-Beam Connector Clamp.  It’s not just for this crane, but it helps to fit perfectly.  The top beam mounts to move anywhere along the beam to reduce the distance between the legs which helps in 3 great ways:

  • Homemade Crane from Mechanical Elements PlansFirst, 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 easier.  The Mechanic usually stores it straddling the car with one end of the beam sticking out over the workbench.  Makes it easy to put 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 an interesting side note.  We believe those who build a homemade crane are higher on the common sense ladder.  We’ll give the cool options and you’ll understand the warnings.  Please focus on the Crane Safety, 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 easy to manage and the crane is quite portable.

Update:

Another adaptation, we now also offer conversion plans for lifting the top beam and setting its height.  The telescoping legs are nice, but adjusting them frequently — like to roll it in and out of the garage — can be tedious.  Check out the Gantry Beam Lift Conversion Plans.

The 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 silly, but we really 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 stuff, read here 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, more flexible, easier to disassemble, more portable, and easier to work around than any Harbor Freight or similar 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!

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