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  • Need help/advice on shop A-frame

    Greetings, I was given a 22 ft piece of 8 in x 1/4 I-beam and have been planning for a while on building a rolling A-frame with it. My shop door opening is 13'6" and I wanted to make the a-frame as wide as possible, although, if I cut the beam ih half, I could make 2 a-frames and maybe sell one, but I don't know about that. I'd still like a wide a-frame. The beam will be for the cross bar only and the uprights will be out of something else. I want to put turnable wheels on it, that is so I can change the direction of the wheels for mobility and big enough wheels so I can roll it out into the yard and maybe up into a trailer. I bet some of you have really neat a-frames or ideas for one. I also plan on bolting the uprights to the cross bar in case I have to dismantle it or modify it. The top hgt will be about 10 ft. Thanks,
    KenCO " Uccahay "

  • #2
    If you plan on rolling it thru the door the wide way I wouldn't make it more than 13'wide max if you move it with 2 people. I think about staying closer to 12' in width if you try and move it yourself. Keeping it square in the opening will be a PITA. The extra bit of space will help alot. Lets be honest at 12'w you only have 9" per side to play with. That would still leave you with 10' to build a second one.

    The other thought is to not worry about the door width and roll it out long ways. Then it can be as long as you want. The longer the beam the lower the weight it will carry and the harder to store and move.

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    • #3
      I have been thinking about building a lift in my shop too. I found this overpriced unit on Northern tools. Mine is going to be similar except I am going to use some sq tubing to attach the casters on each side.
      http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...0557_200330557
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      • #4
        A-frame

        Ken,

        The Company I Work For Has An A-frame That Is Adjustable From Approximately 9 Foot To 18 And A Half Feet. The Spanner Beam Is Of Equal Dimensional Properties As The One You Plan To Use So You Are Good There. Pipe Posts Hold Up The Beam And Channel Frame Makes The Base. Swivel Casters Made Of Steel Are A Good Idea But Pricey. Also Depending On How Much Weight Is Hanging When You Try And Re-locate It Will Determine How Difficult It Is To Push. We Never Use Ours Because We Have An Overhead Crane. Been Trying To Sell It For A Year But No Takers. If You Plan On Selling One You Build I Recommend Locating A Purchasing Party First Who Can Specify Desired Dimensions.
        5 welding Rigs
        14 various shop weld machines
        150x80 shop full of metal working tools

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        • #5
          The real question is how much weight do you want to lift?
          This will determine your span. The longer the span the heavier the beam needs to be. If I knew a bit more about the I beam I could give you a recommendation. But I would say no more then 1000 lb. max at a 13 foot span.
          Last edited by kcstott; 04-14-2008, 05:37 PM.
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          • #6
            Wow, these are the responses I've been looking for ! The wheels on the NT crane would be alright for staying on concrete but I plan on rolling this thing out into the yard, dirt,grass,small rock, etc. I'm thinking maybe 13 or 14 inch car or trailer tires. Say, for instance, someone brings out something large and heavy and I can't get to it right then, ok, so he pulls up in the yard, out of the way, I lift it out of the trailer, he pulls out, I sit the object down. That kind of thing. 8 feet is max legal width on trailers here, so 10 or 11 feet wide would be plenty, except I have a thing about odd numbers ! 12 feet would be squeexing it a bit if the wheels are on the outside of the base. Maybe I'll compromise and make it 10 1/3 or 3/4 Anyway, I'd like to see some more pics of homemade cranes. Here's a question, should the bases be at least half the height of the crane ? I believe so. I'm thinking at least 5 feet long. The overall hgt of the crane will be about 9 feet so I can roll it to the back of my shop. I hope y'all will keep the suggestions coming. I think this is half the fun of building this thing !
            KenCO " Uccahay "

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            • #7
              base requirements

              Your rule of cutting the height in half to get the base length is at least super close to correct; the A-Frame I use has an overall height of 18.5 feet as mentioned in previous thread and I verified the base length to be 7.5 feet. If you stick with half of the height you are safe for whatever you need to pluck off a flatbed or trailer. Sounds like you got a good idea going for the tasks you would like the A-Frame to do. I can try and get some pictures posted to aid with the fabrication.
              5 welding Rigs
              14 various shop weld machines
              150x80 shop full of metal working tools

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              • #8
                Thanks, Mikedogg. I'd love to see pics of other a-frames and thanks for the advice
                KenCO " Uccahay "

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                • #9
                  Harbor Freight has this really cheap, But it is always more fun to build. But thats if you have one near you.


                  James
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by StillBoostin View Post
                    Harbor Freight has this really cheap, But it is always more fun to build. But thats if you have one near you.


                    James
                    Everything from harbor freight comes with a grain of salt.
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                    • #11
                      overhead lift

                      for what it's worth, i made a lift for my meager shop. it's held up well lifting buckets as large as the 48" for the 325 cat. i made it about a foot wider than my trailer but the height limitations in the shop i'm in now make it a tight lift for bigger stuff. when i build a bigger shop i'll have a higher cieling and i'll just cut the beam off and add a couple of feet to the posts.

                      if i knew then what i know now i would have joined the beam pieces at a 45 deg angle or a step in either one, but like i said, it's held up fine. besides i NEVER get under anything lifted for any reason.

                      if you're interested, i can get you some measurements and a beam size.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by grnxrymnky View Post
                        if i knew then what i know now i would have joined the beam pieces at a 45 deg angle or a step in either one, but like i said, it's held up fine. besides i NEVER get under anything lifted for any reason.
                        I beam is welded like that everyday in bridge crane manufacture.
                        Splice plate like you added to the bottom is also used on top and the weld is only ground away on the flange. so a regular butt joint is fine.

                        the only critique I have on your lift is the size of the gussets. A little small, but I also don't know the capacity of the hoist system.
                        Miller Syncrowave 200 W/Radiator 1A & water cooled torch
                        Millermatic 252 on the wish list
                        Bridgeport Mill W/ 2 axis CNC control
                        South bend lathe 10LX40
                        K.O. Lee surface grinder 6X18
                        Over 20 years as a Machinist Toolmaker
                        A TWO CAR garage full of tools and a fridge full of beer
                        Auto shades are for rookies
                        www.KLStottlemyer.com

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