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Project Information

I made my own version of an attic lift I found on the internet that will lift about 500 pounds safely. I am just too old to be carrying boxes and tools up into the attic. I remodeled my attic area above the garage adding new flooring and pulling up the floor in the actual lift area and doubling up on all the joists to insure the strength of the area of the hoist.
I used a Harbor Freight electric hoist and a pulley system to raise and lower the elevator box. I am sure there a number of ways to do this, and all of them will work fine. It has been a great addition to the shop allowing me to take seldom used tools, jigs and fixtures, and material upstairs. It is easy to move things up and down and not I have plenty of extra space for storage.
See the details at www.dywoodworker.com
Work safe,
God bless
Paul

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Comments

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Nice, can you show a picture of the cabling that you did for lifting. I would like to see how you ran the pulleys up top.
 

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very cool idea, that will definitely come in handy, great work
 

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This is on my to-do list for the new shop. I am glad to see your lift, thanks for sharing.
 

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Great idea! It reminds me of an elevator I helped a guy build years ago. He was in a wheelchair and needed to get to the 2nd floor. So we made something similar to this only with no $ we used a pallet and sacks of concrete as a counter weight. We ran two cables through the floor of the elevator and he would pull himself up and down. When he was at the top the pallet was on the floor, but when he was on the first floor the pallet was suspended in the air. at the bottom he would put a screwdriver in a hole to keep it there while he wheeled his chair off of it. One time he had a few too many cocktails and went down to the first floor and forgot the screwdriver. When he backed off the platform the pallet came slamming down and the elevator went slamming up, with his wheelchair on it. he had to crawl all the way through his house, all the way upstairs to retrieve his wheelchair. A really funny story if you know the guy. He was notorious for doing things like this.
 

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ummm. that is SWEET! What a fantastic tool for getting heavy or bulky things hoisted into the attic. Great work!
 

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been thinking about this for years with the extra space over my carport for dealing with Christmas decorations, guess it will work and I have another project on my hands…. LOL
 

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Very cool, saves the back.
 

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No limitations. Love it.
 

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Working smarter not harder. Outstanding!! Good for you.
 

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While I love the whole idea, I do hope that anyone thinking of implementing something similar recognizes that there is a very real difference between a "hoist" and a "winch". See, http://www.diynetwork.com/home-improvement/winch-versus-hoist/pictures/index.html Many (actually most, if not all) of the units sold by Harbor Freight are actually winches, and they are not intended (or safe) for lifting loads, so please "read, understand, and follow" all of the instructions, and be careful.
 

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Thanks for the info Sandy; I will have to study the pull angle and see if the 'winch' that I bought will safely work for my lift as mine will be wall mounted, rising through the ceiling, and rising along the truss to the apex and down to the lift basket.
I will check out the braking system and decide.
I think that this lift is the best idea since peanut butter
 

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I've got the HF hoist in my shop attic too. Best $80 I've spent!

My lift is much more primative, however - just a piece of 7/16" OSB with holes drilled in the corners and a couple of pieces of rope with knots tied underneath. It took me about 10 minutes to make it, but it's nothing to look at. I haven't intentionally taken a photo of it.

We generally lift stuff in boxes. As long as the ropes are pressing against the upper edges of the boxes, the boxes won't slide and the board won't tip. I rarely lift more than 100lb with it. Common sense says don't stand under it.

Once we lifted a pizza, but the OSB tipped and dumped it face down on the floor in the sawdust. We ate it anyway. :)

-Ocelot
 

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I like this idea also and have a very similar setup in my workshop to lift plywood into the overhead. I looked at the link Sandy referred to and it seems that the differences between a winch and a hoist would be that a winch has a free spooling clutch and a hoist doesn't, hoists have a better brake and a travel limiter. HF sells these as electric hoists and from the description on the diy link, that's what they are. Mine, which looks like the one in the photo's pnig posted, has to be spooled in an out with the motor, it has a limiter to stop the spool from getting jammed and it seems to brake and hold whenever I release the motor control button. The one thing they don't mention and it's important whether it's a winch or a hoist, is to check the cable from time to time. If there are strands sticking out, it's time to replace it. Good information to know about. Thanks Sandy.
 

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The hoist I used is reversible and not free wheeling. It is braked when stopped and you can not pull cable off the spool when stopped. The Harbor Freight model I used is close to the current model #60385 and they list the following in their description:
This remote-controlled, half-ton electric hoist lets you stand at a safe distance while you lift up to 440 lb. by remote control. With an electric hoist that lifts at a rate up to 33 ft. per minute, the job gets done faster and more safely. Featuring a single cable length of 48 ft., this electric hoist is great for any shop or automotive garage loading heavy equipment or removing engines.
Tethered remote control with power up/power down
Weighted lift hook
Sheaved pulley lift hook for dual line operation
Durable braided steel cable

I secured the hoist to the Joists in the attic, but am not happy with the way it retrieves cable and it "stacks up" and then "falls over" and the box will drop a foot or so. I am going to remount it to the rafters nearer to the elevator itself.
Because of the pulley system used the hoist will most likely lift more that the 440# it is rated at, but I am careful about what I lift and do not overload. I never let people in the hoist, and because of the tethered remote control am never under it either.
I love it. I have over 30 boxes of Christmas decorations that come up and down every year, tools I seldom use, and a lot of supplies and hardware up there. It is easy to get to, and easy to bring up and down. I love it and recommend you do your homework, what I did will probably not work for you. Most of all I used 1000# as my bogey for picking pulleys and hardware to assemble the cable lifting system
Go to my website: www.dywoodworker.com for more photos of the lift and what I did to install it. If you have more specific questions my email is: [email protected] and I would be glad to help in any way I can.
God bless
Paul
 

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Paul,

Thank you for clarifying what you did, and what you used, as I had looked into making a system at one point, and I know that I was totally unaware of the difference between a winch and a hoist. My comments were only there so that others, who had not, yet, done their own homework, would be sure to do so before running out and doing something that could lead to problems. After all, to paraphrase a wise woodworker, "Safety is an option" and one which should always be at the forefront of any project.
 

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Great idea. I would also like to see how you routed the cable(s) from the hoist ultimately to the cart in the attic.
I assume you have a pulley system hanging from the rafters but it would be nice to see.
 

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Randy:
Go to my website and there are more photo's on the lift system and at least one on the cable/pulley configuration. Basically each side is independent and they are hooked to the rafters by two 2"x4"'s doubled up so one fits inside the rafters and the other is over the outside of the rafters. They are glued and screwed in place both through the rafters and from the sides. (OK so I am an overkill sort of guy) The two cables come from one eye-hook down to the pulley that attaches to the supports attached to the box and back up and over to the hoist hook. The hoist hook pulls both cables at once.
I am thinking of some improvements and I am going to try one cable looping through all the pulleys and then to the hoist. That was the way the one I copied was rigged. This will allow me to put the hoist right near the hoist assemble attachment points.
Again see my website: www.dywoodworker.com for more pictures or contact me at [email protected] and I can get you some better pictures or what ever help you need.
 

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awesome
 

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That is awesome!!! Very well done, thanks for taking the time to show us…
Mike
 
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