With the strength of an electron

Amazing how strong the little buggers are!

After lifting a number of items up to the mezzanine over the weekend with the chain hoist (and it was every bit as slow as I expected), I was excited to get the delivery today of the electric winch that David had mentioned in the comments recently.

Price was a very reasonable $105, and it can lift 125kg (or 250kg if you double the line up with the pulley and hook supplied).

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The dimensions of the crane arm (red, then black portions) were too large for the supplied clamps, so I took a piece of steel I had to hand, and after removing some welded brackets from either end, it slipped perfectly into the inside of the crane arm.  It is long – about 1200mm, and only about 350mm sticks out the front.  I am well aware that this means any load is now further forward than the furthest load point that was originally designed for the crane, but it is a simple calculation to work out the new maximum loading.

Given I had already scaled back the maximum load I would expect the setup to carry, I am well within the safety margins of the crane.  And as the winch with a single wire is only rated for 125kg, that further prevents ‘a situation’.  Only? for a little over $100, I am very happy with the 125kg/250kg load capacity of the winch – more than enough for my requirements.  Of course, when calculating the new maximum loading on the crane, I have had to factor in the weight of the beam I added, and the weight of the winch.  See – my engineering degree is finally useful for something!!

This is a pretty sweet setup!  The other benefit of the beam I added, is it can still be removed and the whole setup used elsewhere if I need an electric lifting winch.  Either that, or at that price I might just get a second one if I need to.

When I was talking about the possibilities earlier and mentioned the 4×4 winch I have, and that it wasn’t suitable for lifting, this winch aptly demonstrates why.  There is a mechanism on the cable/drum that actively locks as soon as you release the power button.  A winch used to pull vehicles out of the mud, or whatever other use you have one for (I have it bolted to the trailer to help pull heavy loads in) does not have this feature, so when you stop winching if you were lifting something, the load would remain on the motor, gearbox and bearings.

I still want to work out a bit of a platform of some description, so it is a quick task to load and unload rather than having to rig each item up that is to be lifted.

So there you have it – now I’ll be able to easily store items away, or get access to them, without having to try to manhandle them up a steep ladder, or spend forever yanking on a chain hoist chain!

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