Unistrut with an overhead electric shop crane

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Lt.Mike
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Unistrut with an overhead electric shop crane

Postby Lt.Mike » Tue Oct 19, 2021 4:59 pm

Picked up an electric hoist today from Harbor Freight. Went with the 1,350lb model which would be about twice the lifting capacity that I’ll need. I’ve got two 2x6 beams spanning the width of my barn as truces which were set 2’ apart for this purpose. The hoist comes with two saddles to mount over a 1-3/4” wide rail. I intend to mount a rail between the beams and be able to slide the unladen hoist side to side with an adjustment reach of about 8’.
Problem is the 1-3/4” saddle. The steel box tubing I’ve found at my local ironworks is only 14 gauge. I don’t have confidence in it holding 600lbs..
I did find 1-5/8” x 1-5/8” slotted unistrut in 10’ lengths and is a heavier 12 gauge. It looks like it’ll all go together exceptionally easy with its unique clamping hardware and after I use cross braces it’ll have a working area of 8’. I figure if I’m looking to lift something to the capacity of the hoist I can narrow the cross braces and add a lolly column to the center of the joists.
Anyone else worked with unistrut?
If so am I off base with my plans?
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Re: Unistrut with an overhead electric shop crane

Postby Bill V in Md » Tue Oct 19, 2021 5:38 pm

I have used and worked with uninstrut a lot. I am having trouble visualizing how you intend to use the uninstrut with your hoist. Uninstrut is typically used to support conduit. It is made of aluminum and pretty strong, but I think it would be a mis-application to use it To support any loads associated with a hoist. Maybe I am misunderstanding how you intend to use it. There is a heavier version called “power strut”, but the intended purpose is still to support dead loads (not live loads) imposed by conduit and/or pipe.
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Re: Unistrut with an overhead electric shop crane

Postby Lt.Mike » Tue Oct 19, 2021 6:04 pm

Unistrut is made from a variety of materials. It includes aluminum, stainless steel and various coating over steel which is what I’m looking at , galvanized steel. It’s very stout.
If you can picture it, a single rail the hoist gangs on with the ends of the rails hanging on braces the hang over and are clamped to the joists.
Then double braces spanning either side of the hoist hanging over the joists. Those can be adjusted when the hoist is repositioned on the rail. With the braces directly to either side of the hoist that would eliminate the rails bending under the weight.
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Re: Unistrut with an overhead electric shop crane

Postby ricky racer » Tue Oct 19, 2021 9:30 pm

I too am having a hard time understanding exactly how you are planning on using, hanging or supporting the Unistrut. I've used a lot of Unistrut over the years and would never use it to support a load like a hoist! The Unistrut I've used is the heavy duty steel stuff too. That's not what it's intended use is. Can you post some pictures of what you are talking about, both the 1-3/4" bracket and where you're going to hang it? What is the span between supports? Using trusses to support a hoist concerns me too. Can you post a picture of the trusses where you intend to hang the hoist? I'd hate to see anyone get hurt... :shock: Usually the only time Unistrut is used on any type of hoist is for the festoon...

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Re: Unistrut with an overhead electric shop crane

Postby outdoors4evr » Wed Oct 20, 2021 4:51 am

Ricky shows a very typical application for hanging loads from Unistrut. A load calculator is available from the vendor.
https://www.unistrutohio.com/unistrut-beam-load-tables
https://www.unistrut.us/resources/techn ... tion-guide
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Re: Unistrut with an overhead electric shop crane

Postby Lt.Mike » Wed Oct 20, 2021 7:36 pm

outdoors4evr wrote:Ricky shows a very typical application for hanging loads from Unistrut. A load calculator is available from the vendor.
https://www.unistrutohio.com/unistrut-beam-load-tables
https://www.unistrut.us/resources/techn ... tion-guide

The span between struts would be about 24” and the load support calculator puts it at about 1,600 lbs. . The rail I’m putting up will be 10’ enabling the hoist to be repositioned anywhere along its length and the supports will follow it and be positioned directly on either side of the hoist to support it. I’ve used these two beams using a come along on a rail that that the prior owner mounted that runs at a 90degree angle to what I’m putting in. Using that I’ve lifted a Cub Front half including engine. When lifting a V8 A lolly column can be added to support the beams and shorten the span.
I seriously doubt it’ll be used to lift more than 500lbs .
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Re: Unistrut with an overhead electric shop crane

Postby SamsFarm » Sun Oct 24, 2021 8:07 am

I would not use unistrut for any hoist application.

Do not forget a safety factor added for overhead lifting.

Sounds like you need a I beam

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Lt.Mike
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Re: Unistrut with an overhead electric shop crane

Postby Lt.Mike » Sun Oct 24, 2021 5:04 pm

Got it all done and lifted the truck bed with it today. It worked flawless and nothing budged, flexed or did anything to make me doubt its weight bearing ability.
I’ll post pics either later this evening or tomorrow. As I said I’m using lifting points that was already fortified by the prior owner to pull engines with. The hoist is supported in a box fashion with about 18” of strut length so there is zero flex. There’s a main rail that stays put and the support struts can be removed to reposition the hoist along its length then the support struts reinstalled. Once in place it’s like a rock, it ain’t movin.
Quote by Gary Pickeral I like
"If it can cast a shadow, it can be restored"

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Lt.Mike
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Posts: 2499
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:38 am
Zip Code: 07727
Tractors Owned: 1 -'58 International Cub Lo-Boy
2 - '46 International A's
2 - '52 Farmall Cubs
1 - '53 Farmall Super A
1 - ‘41 Ford 9N with a ‘49 8N Engine
1 - ‘48 (5641) Allis Chalmers G
Location: Farmingdale NJ

Re: Unistrut with an overhead electric shop crane

Postby Lt.Mike » Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:55 am

Ok here is what I have and what I did ...


The prior owner installed a second rafter 18" apart from an existing one adding additional bracing to both.
The Unistrut pictured is attached to the rafters on both ends of a 10' rail that I can position the hoist anywhere across its length.
One end or the other of the strut nor the majority of the length of the rail is load bearing unless the hoist is positioned in that immediate area.
The Unistrut is much heavier gauge (12) than the same size box tubing available in this size.
Image

This is the position of the hoist now. You can see the the cross supports (4) that box it in. I used the Unistrut clamps on the end struts but heavy U-bolts on the load bearing struts to give it a stronger "basket strap". All bolts are backed with 1/4" thick square washers. There is zero flex in any part of the rail, cross struts or rafters under a load. The cross struts can be removed so that the hoist can be slid down the rail to be used on the other side of my shop then reinstalled.
You can also see the large beam the prior owner installed in the middle of the pic supported by the 2 rafters.
The hoist itself came with 2 saddles that loop over the rail and support it.
Image

This is the beam that he installed to pull engines. He used the slider form the barns old door to support a ring he'd put a come-along on. He said he pulled more than a few that way. I've used it to support the front or back half of tractors I've split.
Image

Another angle of it all...
Image

Lifted the truck bed which is a little more than half the weight of a V8 engine and it did it without breaking a sweat.
Image

...and yes those are wires for the lighting dangling in the background. I am in the process or replacing all the questionable wiring in the barn with new. I want to get the LED lights hung where they'll do the most good and determine where I need outlets for them and the Hoist.
Please excuse the clutter. If I have projects in progress there will be clutter though I make a regular habit to stop work to return tools not used to where the belong and to sweep and remove trash.
At best its controlled chaos. :wink:
Image

In those shots it's hanging but obviously I don't work on it like that. I use saw horses I (over)built and the cable stays connected.
Image

...and when its stored its on a cradle which I mounted casters on yesterday to make life easier. :D All about that these days.
Image
Last edited by Lt.Mike on Mon Oct 25, 2021 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote by Gary Pickeral I like
"If it can cast a shadow, it can be restored"

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ricky racer
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Re: Unistrut with an overhead electric shop crane

Postby ricky racer » Mon Oct 25, 2021 2:35 pm

I'm glad it worked for you Mike!! You've got a nice looking shop there!
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Lt.Mike
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Posts: 2499
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:38 am
Zip Code: 07727
Tractors Owned: 1 -'58 International Cub Lo-Boy
2 - '46 International A's
2 - '52 Farmall Cubs
1 - '53 Farmall Super A
1 - ‘41 Ford 9N with a ‘49 8N Engine
1 - ‘48 (5641) Allis Chalmers G
Location: Farmingdale NJ

Re: Unistrut with an overhead electric shop crane

Postby Lt.Mike » Mon Oct 25, 2021 2:38 pm

ricky racer wrote:I'm glad it worked for you Mike!! You've got a nice looking shop there!

Thank you !
It looks it’s best between projects though ;)
Quote by Gary Pickeral I like
"If it can cast a shadow, it can be restored"


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