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Unistrut Trolley for Lathe/Mill Tooling Handling?

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Alan H

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#1
I want a small hoist over my lathe and mill. I am looking for examples of a trolley made of Unistrut. The trolley can be equipped with an electric wench or small chain fall.

I have a 1340 lathe and a knee mill with some heavy tooling like an 8" 4 jaw scroll chuck, BS-1 indexer, and 8" rotary table. There is likely more to come if I can find a solution for handling this heavy stuff without a hernia or back surgery included.

Fortunately the layout of the machines is such that one ceiling mounted trolley 10 ft. long could serve both lathe and mill. I am imagining a lightweight electric hoist or small chain fall on the trolley above these machines. The design capacity could be limited to 250 pounds. I have a ceiling height of 10 feet.

So any photos and insights you can offer would be very much appreciated.
 

woodchucker

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#2
Wouldn't unistrut bend too easily.
I would think either a square tube or an I beam would be better than something that is U shaped. It's too easy for the unclosed section to either bow in, or bow out.

On the idea side, are you looking for something that can swing around. I saw a nice setup in a basement shop a few years ago. The guy had a 12" rotary , he had a center point, and toward the outside he had a rail to support the arm. Then the trolley was on the rail.. Super clean , super rigid no risk of it coming down.
I will see if I can search it up. I don't think it will be easy. But what a nice setup.
 

cathead

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#3
My hoist system was made with angle iron track 2.5 x 1/4 inch material and held to the ceiling into the rafters with lag screws. I used a chain fall
hoist, 1/2 ton I think it is by Ingersoll-Rand. It lifts my 12 inch rotary table or 8 inch Kurt vise with ease and the unneeded piece is set on
a rollable table with three levels on it so it is easy P1020100.JPG P1020103.JPG to get stuff out of the way. I would seriously recommend a chain fall hoist since they have
to run up and down and will not drop something with serious consequences. The ceiling hook is hooked to the green piece of
channel which can't slip off the track. The home made trolley rollers on the green piece are inserted into the end of the track and
held in place securely so it is locked on to the track.
P1020101.JPG P1020102.JPG


The track is about 7 feet long so one can pick up something from the mill table and roll it away and place something else on the
rolling table. Hopefully my photography is good enough so you can see how the trolley was put together. If you need more
details or photos, feel free to ask and I will do my best to comply. Good luck. It is a very worthwhile improvement to the shop.
 
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PHPaul

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#5
I used "barn door" channel and a pair of modified barn door trolleys to mount a Harbor Freight winch to the trusses in my garage. I use it to lift heavy items up onto my work bench, lifting the front of my lawn tractor to put jack stands under it when working on the deck, etc. Winch is rated for 440 pounds straight line.

Mounting is via 3/8 threaded rod into 2x4's across 4 trusses to spread the weight out.

Youtube Video of Winch
 
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kd4gij

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#6
Check out this site Alan. I'm planning on building two of them for my new space that will cover all of the Machine area. should be pretty easy to put together, and not eat up any floor space. Mike
:dunno:
 

benmychree

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#7
I used "barn door" channel and a pair of modified barn door trolleys to mount a Harbor Freight winch to the trusses in my garage. I used it to lift heavy items up onto my work bench, lifting the front of my lawn tractor to put jack stands under it when working on the deck, etc. Winch is rated for 440 pounds straight line.

Mounting is via 3/8 threaded rod into 2x4's across 4 trusses to spread the weight out.

Youtube Video of Winch
I did exactly the same thing, one over my 19" lathe and one over my #2 B&S mill; much easier on the back!
 

kd4gij

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#10
I have some unistrut that I bought at Home Depot about 10 years ago. But the stuff they have at HD and lowes around here now, I would not trust.
 

4gsr

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#11
They have a Unistrut display in the electrical section of our HD. It stays empty, the electricians keep it cleaned out here. Just oddball stuff left over.
 

Alan H

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#12
And there you go. I was totally wrong.
Jeff, No it is not wrong by asking a very good question! For me that is one of the huge values of this Board. We discuss things, ask questions, and share experiences.
They have a Unistrut display in the electrical section of our HD. It stays empty, the electricians keep it cleaned out here. Just oddball stuff left over.
Ken, Lowes has it too but it is a different brand (Super Strut). Do not know if they are compatible dimensionally with Unistrut or not? Appearance is the same but the tiny bit of research I did raised questions as to compatibility. Here's photo snippet from Lowes' website. What you notice right away is that the big box stores sell the slotted ones and for a trolley, I would likely use a sold profile.

1518580046657.png
 

4gsr

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#13
Dad used to buy it as "Barn Door Track" from McCoy's lumber 30 something years ago. Still have the trolley laying around here somewhere. He used to use it in his shop as a trolley to load stuff in the lathe or swap out chucks, etc. Really handy. In my shop, I built and installed several small jib cranes for handling lathe, mill tooling, etc.
 

agfrvf

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#14
Why not use a 2 ton shop crane with an extension if you need it. If your worried add some weight aft of the neck. Bribing a neighbor with beer works too.
 

TomS

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#15
I just took down my Unistrut overhead rail and HF electric hoist. I'm packing up the shop and moving. I've had this in service for about five years and it works great without costing a fortune. Never lifted more than 150 lbs. though. Mostly used it to install and remove the hard toneau cover for my truck and my fifth wheel hitch.

I have not verified this but have been told that trusses are designed to support weight from above, not weight pulling down from the bottom members. Might be worth searching this if you plan to attached your rail to trusses.
 

BROCKWOOD

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#16
Woodchucker is NOT totally wrong. The secret unistrut depends on to work successfully lies in the fact that it has major support by the brackets holding it up spread out along the way. But, yeah, I have witnessed the 'barn door' style trolleys handle weight nicely for their weight / construction class. As with anything you trust your life to: get the facts & do your math. These days if it's a 100 pounds & falling - I will no longer play the hero................
 

bfd

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#17
I bought one of the gantry cranes from harbor freight 2 ton cap. I just roll it around the shop( after much floor cleaning and moving stuff) an use it to lift whatever. for changing chucks ( I have a larger lathe) I use a crane that attaches to my tool post holder ( yes they sell such an item ) I cant remember the name but if anyone wants it I can go and look bill
 

Eddyde

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#18
I have successfully used Strut channel AKA, Unistrut, Superstrut, Kindorf, etc. for the track in a trolley/hoist rig I built. The application was to replace a floor in a 200 year old building, the old joists were replaced one at a time with LVL beams, the singles weighed around 120 lbs each but we had some doubles and triples, around a 360 pound lift. Later in the job we used it to lift sheetrock to the upper floors 8 at a time, pushing 600 pounds. The back to back style strut channel, hardware and the trolley were from McMaster Carr, the hoist from Harbor Fright.
IMG_7594_2.jpg IMG_7608.jpg IMG_7622.jpg IMG_7579_2.jpg IMG_7580_2.jpg IMG_7593_2.jpg

250 pounds over a lathe, no problem.
 
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Alan H

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#19
I bought one of the gantry cranes from harbor freight 2 ton cap. I just roll it around the shop( after much floor cleaning and moving stuff) an use it to lift whatever. for changing chucks ( I have a larger lathe) I use a crane that attaches to my tool post holder ( yes they sell such an item ) I cant remember the name but if anyone wants it I can go and look bill
Here's a jib that attaches to your lathe QCTP that is sold by Sky Hook. I evaluated these and decided that the moment induced on the cross slide was more than I wanted on my PM1340GT which I have dialed into to the gnat's posterior. It also didn't serve my needs for my mill.

1518618848198.png

I also looked into one on a counter weighted cart. It eats too much footprint in my shop for storage. I am saving what little floor space I have for another machine I am considering.

1518618905489.png

@Eddyde - thanks for the great photos of the system you used in the building renovation. Looks like you used two trolleys to hang the winch from the track??
 
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Eddyde

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#20
@Eddyde - thanks for the great photos of the system you used in the building renovation. Looks like you used two trolleys to hang the winch from the track??
Yes, I used 2 @ 600 lb. rated trolleys so a theoretical 1,200 lb. limit which was close to the hoist's (very theoretical) 1,300 lb. capacity. I made a point not to exceed half that. My only worry was the HF hoist might fail, not the trolley or strut channel. I made sure no personnel were anywhere below the lifts. I also added 20' of control cable to the pendant switch, the original one on the hoist was only like 5' long, much safer to be back a bit. All in I spent around $500 for the system, it enabled that phase of the project to be completed with only me and one helper.
 

middle.road

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#21
Was this the style of channel you used Eddy?
1518628018715.png
I had (3) 10' sticks of that. Someone lifted 'em at my last residence. (3) doubles and (6) singles... :frown:

Still have these. The one in the center still mounted is rated at 500-600lbs I believe.
The Aluminum ones on the right I would say would be suitable for welding curtains...
I need to come up with some also. Lifting the Vise or RoTab or the Lathe Chucks is approaching my limits. A jib would be safer and easier.
1518627994880.png
 

jmarkwolf

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#22
Before I found bargains on two Skyhooks I was going to buy one of the big HF pickup truck hoists and fashion a sort of jib crane. Fasten it to the floor and to the wall. I believe it would've worked well.
 

FOMOGO

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#23
1518620178316.png

Nice job on the floor structure Eddy. That should hold most anything you would want to put on it. Mike
 

Eddyde

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#24
Was this the style of channel you used Eddy?
View attachment 258099
I had (3) 10' sticks of that. Someone lifted 'em at my last residence. (3) doubles and (6) singles... :frown:

Still have these. The one in the center still mounted is rated at 500-600lbs I believe.
The Aluminum ones on the right I would say would be suitable for welding curtains...
I need to come up with some also. Lifting the Vise or RoTab or the Lathe Chucks is approaching my limits. A jib would be safer and easier.
View attachment 258098
Dan,
Yes that's the style of channel I used. And the trolley attached to the short piece of strut looks the same too. I have reused parts of the rig a couple of times since, notably to assemble my mill in my basement shop.
 

Eddyde

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#25
View attachment 258089

Nice job on the floor structure Eddy. That should hold most anything you would want to put on it. Mike
Thanks Mike,
Actually a lot of load was also attached to the bottom of it, the space below was built out as a veterinary clinic, double layer fire stop ceiling, lots of AC duct, pipes etc. then the drop ceiling. Above was built out to a 3 BR duplex apartment.
 

middle.road

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#26
How's this for all your trolley-ing / lifting needs?
1518714286824.png
Problem in my garage shop is that I 'parked' the Mill about 6' into the bay so that the garage door is above it when opened.
Also the 8.5' ceiling doesn't help. Going to have to rearrange and get creative. Have to come up with something.
I've got two chain falls sitting in buckets waiting, but dang by the time you hang them you working envelope is zilch.
Too big for my shop. One of them has a 14' chain on it...
 

woodchucker

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#27
Thanks Mike,
Actually a lot of load was also attached to the bottom of it, the space below was built out as a veterinary clinic, double layer fire stop ceiling, lots of AC duct, pipes etc. then the drop ceiling. Above was built out to a 3 BR duplex apartment.
Was the double layer rockwool , and doubled to stop the noise from the barking from disturbing the people above?
 

Eddyde

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#28
Was the double layer rockwool , and doubled to stop the noise from the barking from disturbing the people above?
Yes, sound infiltration was a huge concern. After the joist cavities and every possible crevice were sprayed with 2" of polyurethane foam they were indeed filled with two layers of 4" mineral wool batts. However, I was referring to a double layer of ⅝" sheetrock, it was attached to metal furring channel suspended on sound attenuation clips attached to the joists. I bark tested it with my 135 lb. Great Pyrenees "Diesel", could hear him but from the window not through the floor.
 
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