Harbor Freight 1,320 Electric Hoist in the Rafters?

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Question for you construction/framers out there, or if you have hands on experience.
Is it reasonable to spread out the 1,320# load over say, 4 rafters to support the hoist and the load?
I am thinking of a roller strut design with u-bolts wrapped around the rafters to support this hoist https://www.ebay.com/itm/1320Lbs-Mini-Electric-Wire-Hoist-Remote-Control-Garage-Auto-Shop-Overhead-Lift/172364496786?epid=2155023693&hash=item2821b97f92:g:YaoAAOSwWWxY~zG0:sc:FedExHomeDelivery!95926!US!-1:rk:7:pf:0
Have you done it?
Did you lift a 1,000lb load safely?
Is this a stupid idea?
What about 500lbs?
Thank you.
It sure looks like a great way to lift heavy objects on to the lathe (12" chuck) or welding table or.......


When you say "rafters" are you referring to the angled members supporting the roof deck or the horizontal ceiling joists? The rafters are designed to carry a uniform snow load at least up here, the ceiling joists are only designed to carry the weight of the ceiling and insulation.
The beam would have to be quite stiff to distribute the load, something like a barn door track would flex so that the load was only on one or two of the closest rafters. Not a great idea for a 1320 pound load.

Forgive my ignorance. The horizontal ceiling joists.
After thinking about this, one could reinforce with ties running from the roof supports down to the horizontal ceiling joists.
I realize there is a common sense load amount but I don't know the range.
My thinking is to keep it under 500lbs. But, spread over the joists (at 24" apart here in the Northern California Valley-No Snow) I could up that to 200 lbs per joist.
800lbs. maybe?
Thanks, you won't hurt my feelings.
200 lbs, good to go, that covers any machine accessory we are liable to use; accidently pushing the button too long could put a dangerous overload on your roof system, I'd not get a high capacity winch for light loads.
Can I suggest purchasing one of the HF gantry frames to go with the hoist? At least then there is little chance of pulling down the roof over your head.
Probably better to run a supported beam or rail along the ceiling, separate from from the ceiling joists. It wouldn't take up much additional room and would be much stronger and safer (beam fails it doesn't bring down the ceiling / roof). You could have movable posts that could be moved into place for added support for heavy loads.
I get the picture,
Thanks guys.
I'll keep it to heavy chucks and rotary tables.
It was a stupid idea anyway.
The light weight one is ok though.
Might be pushing the limit hanging a lot of weight across the bottoms of trusses regardless how many you bridge. I've got a block and tackle bolted to a 2 x 10 bridging 4 ceiling joists and it's pretty secure. But I only hang deer from it, largest buck was probably around 175 lbs. The bottom of trusses are in general designed for being in tension, not shear. They're there to support a ceiling with insulation and in tension to hold the walls from tipping out.

I didn’t know you brought home the venison too.
You are a man of many talents.
Isn’t that a skinny deer?
Never shot one myself.
My 20 x 20 garage (part of the house) has 2 x 12 joists. I added a retractable stairwell & decked the joists. Only lightweight car parts go up there. Exhaust manifolds are as heavy as I go. 20 years in, it sags just a little. I want to add a gantry - because I won't risk the house for a real load.......

Better to build a shop IMHO.
I am certainly not an engineer, and my thoughts are not to be trusted even if I was. But I will put in my two cents from experience.

The ceiling joists are a lot stronger than you'd expect. This is in part due to the fact that they generally hold no real load except in tension (to prevent the walls from splaying and the roof peak falling.) They will also let you know when you've gone too far, generally long before they break. And it will like take breaking more than a couple to bring the whole roof down on your head.

Manual hoist also would have an edge over electric here primarily because they are smoother. One joist can support many hundreds into thousands of pounds static before failure - but get a bounce like you get when a winch spools up and your dynamic loading becomes a real problem.

So my advice is to distribute the load wide as you can, with a beam as tall as you can, and use common sense from there. You can increase the strength of the system greatly by restraining the joists top and bottom with plywood. The big wildcards would be your distance from the supporting wall and the dimension of the lumber. You can get away with a lot more 2 foot from the walls than 12 foot.

And yes, I've lifted hundreds of pounds over just a few rafters, no problem. But the devil is in the details!
I have a similar hoist in the shop for lifting heavy items. Mine is the Northern Tool version:

I have it attached to an I beam with a home made roller dolly similar to this.

I used it to assemble my Bridgeport Mill and Sheldon lathe. It now gets used to lift chucks, vises, and heavy work pieces to the machines. The heaviest piece it's had to lift so far is in the 500 lb. range.

When I was looking I checked out HF and a few other places as well as Northern Tool. All the hoists looked similar so I'm wondering if they're all made by the same company under different name brands. I settled on the Northern Tool one simply because it had the most information available and the best warranty. I bought mine when it was on sale for about $150.00. One thing I have noticed about Northern Tool is that if you have shopped with them before and look at an item online they will send you an e mail a couple days later with anywhere from a 10% to 20% discount coupon on that item . So far this has applied to even sale items.
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I had a center block house the garage was 14x24 and had 2x6 joist every 24" I got 16' 2x6 and doubled each joist that supported the track for the trolley
I basically did the same thing that kd4gij did. I "sistered" the ceiling joist with an additional 2x6 that runs over the center of my workbench. It is the full length of my shop. I then hung the trolley track from that and added an 880# electric winch to it. I have lifted my 700# mill up onto it base with no issues... I will say it did make me pucker a little bit. I think if I ever have to lift the mill again, I will put a 4x4 post or two between the joist and the floor for added security. I is extremely handy when getting anything heavy (lawn mower, washing machine, trash compacter, to name a few) up on the bench to wok on...
When i first started swapping motors in my garage i used my garage ceiling joist to mount the chain fall and dolly to but i made a few simple cheap modifications before doing so which I will happily share after I State that any action you take you do so at your OWN RISK as there are multiple ways things can go wrong if things are overlooked or questionable materials are used....

  1. starting with the existing 2"x6" joist, I laminated on each side a Layer of 1" structural Plywood then added an additional 2"x6" joist so that the entire beam consisted of 2 layers of plywood sandwiched between 3 layers of 2"x6" lumber. I used the Glue and Screw method to secure it all together.
  2. I then made 3 movable side support columns that I Simply install as close to the material being lifted as possible. These support columns are easily moved along the length of the modified joist and i made 3 so that I would Always have at least 2 contact areas of support. The columns are a simple design. I glued and screwed them together so that they form a "T" looking at it from the end. This keeps them from flexing and are very strong. To stow the colums i simply hung them on either side of the modified beam and ran a screw through to hold them in place since i didn't use them everyday but i Always knew where they were when i did.
Anyway this setup proved to be very strong and had no problem pulling whatever I had lined up, the last of which was a Dodge Ram 5.9L motor with attached transmissions. I used it to pull multiple front wheel drive motors and transmission from Ford Escorts to a few Older Detroit V8 muscle cars needing heart transplants.
I didn’t know you brought home the venison too.
You are a man of many talents.
Isn’t that a skinny deer?
Never shot one myself.
Well, don't know about the talents, but for a whitetail in our area a 2 1/2 year old buck is about as big as you'll see. I usually shoot 1 or 2 a year depending on the freezer meat situation. I'm 59 and have hunted most years since turning 14. My count is at 40 bucks. First two pictures were from last fall, 5-point 1 1/2 year old (butchered to 61 lbs. of meat), and a 2 1/2 year old 8-point (85 lbs.). We're spoiled, have a really nice place with 64-acres. Nice shop, good kids, great wife, life is very good!

Yeah, bragging . . . I'm not a great shot or an avid hunter. But have enough brain cells to better my odds. Our property has 5/8 of a mile of river frontage. The river trail would be best for hunting as the deer don't cross it unless they have to, really good funneling point. But I don't hunt it since I don't know whose on the other side shooting at me. Not everybody pays attention to where their shot ends up, just not worth the risk to me. The river floods the banks every spring and swamps out a portion of our woods. The deer are lazy and don't walk through the muck, they have a game trail about 10 ft. wide on the high ground. I keep the trail groomed and drop dead fall trees over other trails to keep them funneled on the main trail. Have a feed plot just outside of the woods and a pond for water just beyond. Pretty much just target shoot from the blind, so really not hunting as much as gleaning what we need off the land. My average for times in the blind vs. hanging a deer is about 1/3 over the last 20 years. More working smarter than harder instead of skill.


2018 season, 11/18


2018 season, 11/16


What happens when you're too close to the scope, but I didn't flinch!

Same year as the scoped eye, didn't flinch part 2

Our slice of heaven in Charlotte, MI. 64 acres with a 40 x 96 pole barn. 10 miles as the
crow flies from work. Yup, pretty blessed.


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