Shop Sweet Shop #10: Equipment and Material Hoist

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Blog entry by magaoitin posted 06-13-2017 04:27 PM 1183 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Stairway to Storage Heaven - Part 3 - Installing Electric for my stairs Part 10 of Shop Sweet Shop series Part 11: Wi-Fi through a Metal Building »

I decided I needed an equipment lift in my shop, not only for off loading goodies bought at auctions, but to help me in removing and storing the canopy on my truck, so said goodies could be hauled home easily. Trying to remove a truck canopy alone is a major pain. Ideally I would prefer a Jib Crane for equipment lifts in and out of my truck, but that wouldn’t leave me any opportunity to store the canopy out of the way, plus I can’t justify $800-$1000 for the occasional use.

Since I have scrap Unistrut and connections, and left over electrical wire and parts from wiring my shop, the only real cost was an electric winch ($100), 20’ SJOOW 18/4 wire ($0.50 foot/ $10.00). I used three pieces of scrap Unistrut that was already cut and in the dumpster at work.

However if buying all new strut I figure it would be:

(2) 3’ pieces, and (1) 6’ of 1 5/8” Unistrut (or Superstrut) – $25
(2) 1/2” spring nuts – A bag of 5 is $5.00
(4) 90° 2 hole angles – $3.50
(2) 1 1/2” x 1/2” bolts
(6) 4-1/2” x 1/2” bolts
hand full of 1/2” washers (I used both Unistrut square washers, since I had them, and regular cut washers)
(2) 12” x 1/2” all thread $9.00 for a 10’ stick

Total new, would be around $50 in parts for the structure.

I have purchased a couple pieces of big equipment since moving into this shop and have passed up some good deals at auctions since I would have no way of off loading 600+ lbs by myself.

My first disclaimer is that I am NOT a structural engineer. I have done enough commercial work to be comfortable with the basics, and there are a number of websites that will help calculate shear strength on bolts in wood members, enough that I feel fairly comfortable that I will not pull the roof down on myself, maybe. Plus, I bet it would only happen once

I also have access to the 2005 NDS for Wood Construction through work (the NDS is really the bible for wood connection calcs and types). Or in this age of the internet, you can submit engineering questions to any number of structural engineering forums and get a good consensus or opinions and calculations.

You can go all kinds of crazy in calculating actual shear or pull-out strengths, but I usually refer to a couple different websites for the basics:
The second website even allows you to pick the species of wood.

A single ½” bolt in a 2x soft wood has shear strength of around 820 lbs. (4) bolts spreading the load across 2 beams and 2’ apart from each other doesn’t just quadruple the load, but it does spread it around. I feel comfortable that (4) ½” bolts will give me well over 1000 lbs of capacity. Plus I am going to install some tapered hard wood (oak) side members that might help increase the capacity some small amount (might being the key word)

My roof structure is 2×12 on a 4:12 slope, so nothing can easily bolt perpendicular to the floor. I ripped some oak down to 18.5° and put on each side of the 2x to get a plumb connection, then bolted up some scrap unistrut to spread the load and to allow me to center the lift where the middle of my truck bed would be.


The long cross bar (5’) is what the hoist will be attached to. It extends to the exterior wall and will be bolted to the structure for sway bracing.

For the most part Unistrut is design to be installed perpendicular to the floor and typically off a flat roof structure. Usually you hang a piece of all thread off a beam and attach the unistrut to that when in a sloped roof situation, or you attach directly to a beam that is level.

The hoist is mounted about 14’ above the floor.

All-Thread extensions for level

I have a one ton chain hoist I bought at an auction for $25 that works well enough. I used the chain hoist to get the bandsaw out initially, but didn’t like the chain dragging across my truck canopy. So I decided to go all out and buy an electric Hoist.

I picked up a HF’s 880 lb hoist ($100 or $130 without a 20% off coupon). I doubt I will have to worry about loading any equipment that is in excess of 800 lbs.

I installed a couple of pulleys, one on the unistrut and one perpendicular, and one the adjacent wall with a 3/16” aircraft cable, then down to a drop-in anchor in the concrete floor so I can easily attach and disconnect the weight.

“Storage” Pulley on the right side headed towards the wall.

Drop in Anchor and an eye bolt set in the floor, with a 5000 lbs snap hook for long term storage

The main reason I did this was for semi-long term storage of my truck canopy. I don’t trust the plastic gears on a HF hoist for more than a few minutes of lifting power, and needed a long term solution to suspend weight.

This is setup so that after I lift the canopy to maximum height, I can clip off to the floor anchor, then release the load from the HF Hoist. The canopy swings away about 10”-12” horizontally and about 6-8” vertically, and relieves the load on the hoist. If a pulley fails, the canopy will still be connected to the lift and will fall only about 8” before the lift is loaded.

You can kind of see that the canopy is not centered on the hoist, but over the pulley.

The HF Hoist only has 8’ of cord to the controller. Since this is going to be mounted to the ceiling, 14’ up, I needed to extend the controller cable to at least 15’-18’, so that I could walk around the truck with the controller in hand, or stand back a ways when lifting something big. This turned out to be an easy wiring job.

I picked up a 20’ long 18/4 SJOOW cable. Opening up the motor and controller had 4 wires that were all numbered. If I ever find a retractable electrical cord reel at an auction I would love to move the cable out off the wall and hang it from the ceiling to just above head height. I just can’t justify buying a new one and tearing apart to see if I can make it work.

Motor case opened

Controller Case

I used up the rest of my extra unistrut to build a platform for the canopy as well, since I am pretty much done with needed Unistrut for anything in the shop (famous last words). I used (4) 90° Unistrut angles at the end of each stick to keep the straps from sliding.

Now whatever I buy at an auction, that can fit in my truck, I should be able to off load it without help.

Currently the heaviest pieces of equipment I have are a 20” bandsaw and my table saws. My “new” bandsaw is less than 700 lbs from everything I have read, and it offloaded fine from the bed of my truck. This the limit of height and weight I can imagine needing.

-- Jeff ~ Tacoma Wa.

1 comment so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7534 posts in 1480 days

#1 posted 06-13-2017 05:25 PM

very nice all shops could use one of these …..GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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