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Gantry Cranes

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rwm

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There have been a few threads about gantry cranes over the years and they have a lot of useful information.
I need one that has a capacity of at least 1ton, no more than 2 tons.
I considered making one however after looking at the cost of the steel and wheels I am revisiting the commercially available products. HF sells one by "Pitsburgh" and Titan has models in 1 ton and 2 tons.

https://www.harborfreight.com/1-ton-telescoping-gantry-crane-41188.html

https://www.palletforks.com/2-ton-adjustable-steel-gantry-crane-shop-lift.html

Does anyone have a comment on which would be better quality? It looks like I can get the 2 ton for less than the 1 ton. I am open to other ideas as well. Do you own one of these?

Robert
 

astjp2

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I would build my own...I have seen the HF, the ratings are anemic. Craigslist a good gantry and chain hoist a 10" beam and some square tubing. Weld some brackets and gussets, drill some bolt holes and you are done with assembly. Coat of tractor supply paint and you are done.
 

rwm

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I would build my own...I have seen the HF, the ratings are anemic. Craigslist a good gantry and chain hoist a 10" beam and some square tubing. Weld some brackets and gussets, drill some bolt holes and you are done with assembly. Coat of tractor supply paint and you are done.
Ok. Question: Can I sleeve 3-1/2 OD tubing into 4" .250 wall square tubing? Or will I get interference. I am worried welding will warp the larger tubing? What size beam? 4 x 6"?
Still thinkin' bout that 2 ton Titan. I like the gussets and the lift handles.
Robert
 

Cheeseking

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Robert, I’ve had one for about 10 years now and IMO it’s been a great investment.
Paid $600 +|- with a 20% coupon but I suspect they go for more now. Even at $750 it’s a good purchase assuming you will get utility from it. Only thing I dislike is the space it takes up at the back of my garage when not in use. Its quite heavy and due to where it sits straddling the stairwell to the basement, I had to remove the casters. Putting them back on isn’t fun but fortunately 99% of its purpose was to lower heavy things down to my shop. Its sits right where it’s at blocked in place.
There’s absolutely no way you can buy the steel tubing, I-beam, plate casters, paint, hardware etc, let alone the time and labor to fabricate. Unless you’re looking for a project, buying the HF is the way to go. Is it rocket science to make one, no but do the math.
Buy it you’ll love it.

For grins here it is lowering my BP column into the basement. With no helper I’ve used it to get everything from a tormach 1100, a surface grinder, 11x 30 lathe, Bridgeport and more
 

rwm

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CK- I saw that pic in the other thread! Excellent. I like the HF model but I am considering the Titan due to the 2 ton capacity, gussets and the $700 price! Hopefully someone has one and will weigh in!
R
 

astjp2

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Ok. Question: Can I sleeve 3-1/2 OD tubing into 4" .250 wall square tubing? Or will I get interference. I am worried welding will warp the larger tubing? What size beam? 4 x 6"?
Still thinkin' bout that 2 ton Titan. I like the gussets and the lift handles.
Robert
4x8" beam as a minimum if you don't want any flex, stitch welding will minimize warping, and trying to push anything into square tubing may have an issue with interfernece with the internal seam weld if it is a tight fit.
 

Cheeseking

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Wait Is the HF a 1-ton or 2-ton???
Lol I own one and don’t even know that vital stat
 

rwm

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HF is 1 ton.
 

jocat54

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I have looked at the HF for a long time--but would need to modify it to get my trailer in between the legs--really only needs a few inches to clear the trailer. Probably would have already bought one if I didn't need to modify it--getting lazy in my old age I guess:grin:
 

682bear

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I built one a few years ago... I used a 5x6 H beam for the top and 2 1/2 x 1/4 wall box steel for the legs. I have lifted around 3000 lbs with it.

20161007_163656.jpg

20161204_030736.jpg

It is 10 feet wide and 9' 6" tall... barely short enough to roll through my shop doors...

-Bear
 

MikeInOr

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I have easily lifted a 1.5 ton mill with my gantry.

20180204_183841.jpg

The upright beams are laminated (glued) tripple 2x4's. The overhead beam is trippled 2x12's (not laminated). The best thing about it is I can easily break it down and store it. All the pieces are lite enough moving them myself isn't an issue. I think I have about $100 in lumber. (I did have to replace the 8 foot laminated uprights shown here with 10' ones when I bought my mill). Of course 3 laminated (glued) 2x4's are much stronger than a single 4x6.
 
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rwm

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Wood is an amazing material.
R
 

682bear

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With or without the casters?
Without...

Actually, I used it to lift my South Bend 14 1/2 lathe off the trailer. Just about the time we pulled the trailer out from under it, leaving the 1800 lb lathe hanging 4 feet off the concrete, I realized that I had the lathe and the weight of the gantry sitting on 4 casters that were only rated at about 1400 lbs... definately a 'pucker moment', but they held it.

Since then, I have replaced the casters with a set that are rated at 2400 lbs... but when I'm going to lift something over 1500 lbs, I take the casters off...

-Bear
 

rwm

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I reading about gantry cranes, it sounds like a caster failure can change the geometry enough for the entire rig to buckle and fail.
Does no one have the Titan? Titan and Strongway may be the same model?
Robert
 
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bill70j

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I have easily lifted a 1.5 ton mill with my gantry.
MikeInOr:
Do you have drawings or even a simple sketch of your wood gantry? I have often thought of this as the cheapest alternative. Also, is it engineered and rated?
Thanks
 

MikeInOr

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MikeInOr:
Do you have drawings or even a simple sketch of your wood gantry? I have often thought of this as the cheapest alternative. Also, is it engineered and rated?
Thanks
I will be happy to add additional pictures when I get a chance.

The engineering is pretty simple: The tripped 2x12's header transfers the weight being lifted to the upright columns. The columns transfer the weight to the floor. If you could keep everything perfectly balanced this is all you would need. The additional bracing is there to counteract any lateral forces that would knock the upright columns over, they do not directly support the weight.

The rating: you are on your own. I have worked with wood and built enough structures to have a pretty good understanding of what wood can support. I understand that a weakness in a 4x6 post due to a knot or other abbreviation in the grain will likely run through the entire width of the board. By laminating three 2x4's any grain abbreviation will be supported by the adjacent 2x4's. By gluing the tripled 2x4's they will support each other their entire length instead of just at specific points if I had just used nails or screws.

As for any guarantees... you need to use your own judgement... as with anything you find on the internet. I do NOT hoist my mill up in the air then crawl underneath it to work on the underside of the mill. As with moving ANY heavy equipment I move slow, take extreme care and keep myself out of harms way in case an accident does happen. My assistant is my 14 yo daughter who is really just there to call the medics or the coroner. When my father was alive we worked together really well as he taught me when I was quite small to do what he asked and not grab a hold and try to help without being asked... this is a difficult concept to convey to friends trying to help. I VERY RARELY try to move anything with any sizable mass with brute force. When presented with a large load I like to "think it off" instead of "muscle it off".
 

rwm

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Watch those links! Some of them want to install malware!
R
 

NCjeeper

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A friend of mine has the HF one. Its ok but seems flimsy to me. I will probably fabricate my own.
 

horty

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I had one also, your right, it was way to flimsy for my comfort, it was a 1 ton, how many people weight what is going to be lifted, might look like a ton but could be a ton and a half.

So built one my way and alot cheaper than $600-$900 and can lift around 4 ton...

Tim:beer mugs:
 

Bi11Hudson

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Not having or using a "gantry crane", my opinion is not the most useful. However, having worked in the steel mills and foundries in this area, I do have a good concept of what a structure will take.

With any Harbor Freight device, I have a rule of thumb that has held up well for me over the years. I assume any device of their's is usable at one half its' rated capacity. A device rated at one ton will lift one ton, one time. Then be useless beyond a place for hanging stuff. Used at half capacity, it will hold up pretty good for an amateur. An example being the sheet rock panel jack. It'll do 3/4" plywood, but is pushing the limits.

The same thoughts apply to any hoist made overseas. The one from "palletforks" is rated at two tons. Used as a one ton hoist, you would be well enough off. With a slight margin for error if it ever came up. That is the key to any lifting equipment, a good safety margin. A 100% margin is minimal. From an industrial perspective, three or four times is comfortable, five or more would be even better. HF stuff is rated in absolutes, no safety margin.

I have used wooden ramps a number of times for unloading things over the years, usually with little or no margin of error. But the wood is then used as "scab" lumber, nothing structural. The thoughts of trebling the timbers given above is right on point. The key is the grade of lumber used. Spruce or fir is trim lumber, not structural. Pine or oak would give better service.

A truss configuration would give better service than a solid. That a given in wood or steel. A roof truss of great span, 30 ft or more, when used for a small 10 ft beam would hold a pretty good weight. I'm rambling now, designing by remote. A bad move at the best of times.

Bill Hudson​
 

Barncat

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I have the 2 ton titan one from pallet forks. I think it was about $670 delivered this past summer. When I factored in my time plus mostly new steel and wheels, it was a no-brainer to buy a kit and have it Delivered. It seems like a nice unit. I haven’t tried to lift anything too heavy yet, but currently my truck topper is suspended from it. It went together pretty easily, all the bolt holes lined up, the instructions weren’t great, but good enough. The castors actually seem like a pretty good quality. The handles to raise and lower are a nice feature, although if you do buy it, there are four bolts that should be replaced with carriage bolts, the heads with sharp corners get stuck and make the handles hard to operate. If you buy one, you will see what I mean. Definitely research the inside width and compare to a trailer you may want to have it straddle. I also like that it is bolted together and can be taken apart and moved if needed, as opposed to welding one together.
 

rwm

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Thanks for all the comments. I am thinking the 2 ton Titan will be the winner since I will rarely lift more than a Bridgeport. I believe they are about 2200 lbs. I will check my trailer width!
Robert
 

rwm

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I ordered the 2 ton Strongway gantry. It will clear my trailer. Now I need a 2 ton trolley and hoist. Any thoughts on those? What do you have that you like.
Robert
 
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westerner

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I VERY RARELY try to move anything with any sizable mass with brute force. When presented with a large load I like to "think it off" instead of "muscle it off".
My line of work occasionally involves moving big, heavy, awkward stuff. Sometimes, no previous experience or data to support the rigging effort. The quote above is the essence of the job. Involve more than one qualified "thinker", if available. I still have all my appendages, and so do the men I work with.
 

Winegrower

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I have the Harbor Freight 2 Ton engine hoist. It had no problem lifting the 2500 pound or so Takisawa lathe. I recall it was on the 1.5T setting, and it was surprisingly easy to move the equipment around on a not perfectly smooth concrete floor. The legs fold up and minimize the storage footprint.
 

rwm

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