lumberwaiter

So a friend in NorCal has firewood, a place to keep it, & woodstoves.
But the route from B to C is circuitous. If he could lift it say 14' to the balcony....
My initial idea is a vertical steel pole, set in concrete. Say 1.5" dia. pipe. Around it slides a larger diameter cylinder; it slides up and down. A scuttle, a open U shape, is welded to the slider.
{shown tipped 90 so I can use more ASCII chars...} ___ /(fw) |(fw) |================= |(fw) \___
My first thought for lifting it was a winch at the base, with a pulley at the top; the cable goes up the center and over the pulley; al-la a sailboat mainsail sheet.
But then I thought of garage door openers. One scheme has a long lead screw and a traveler that is threaded to match. If you took one and put the motor end at the top; it could pull the scuttle up.
Plus openers have overload clutches and reversing built in...
To slow it down, however, we'd need a long screw of finer thread, and hopefully Acme not NF. Not sure how to do that....we'd have to butt 2+ shorter rods together, weld, yet get the threads contiguous...
Comments from the RCM brane trust?
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Copy a tile elevator - let it dump direct into a tub on the balcony???
http://www.hytile.com.au/belt-elevators.php
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On Wed, 14 Dec 2011 06:29:59 +0000 (UTC), David Lesher

Some garage door openers use roller chain with a sprocket at either end, and a carrier attached to the chain and riding the rail. That'd be cheaper and easier than a screw. But you'll need some serious power (like Gunner said) and/or gear reduction plus braking to carry the load.
I'd look carefully at the 1-1/2" pipe. Is it secured at the top to the balcony? If not, it'll probably buckle. Bigger is better, and square tube might also allow use of rollers on both sides to help support the waiter part. The waiter platform would also need a rigid extension with backside roller up the pole to support the cantilevered weight of the load.
I'd want to be confident in my load calculations and welding ability on this one. Wouldn't want to drop a load of firewood on the family dog or worse, the friend.
Pete Keillor
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I use a dumbwaiter for my firewood from basement to first floor...
I use a small 110 volt hoist and pulley to double the force and halve the speed. Think I got it from horrible fright IIRC. I've used it 20 years now.
Karl
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David Lesher wrote:

Sounds like a davit crane would be much simpler and more reliable:
http://tinyurl.com/7q226x5 or:
http://images.grainger.com/B348_29/images/products/250x250/Davit-Crane-2ZU59_AS01.JPG
Marry that to Karl's winch and you are home free: http://www.harborfreight.com/880-lb-electric-hoist-44006.html
--Winston
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The crane idea would need two folks to run, one on top, one below.
The attraction of the lead screw is that if/when something fails; it will not plummet as a broken cable lift would.
I agree re: the umph of most door openers, but how much CAN they lift?
With the pipe, I think I could anchor it with a arm from the house; that would provide some stability.
We have a good supply of thickwall ~1.5" sq tube, as seen on stuff here http://2.ly/p9sp I seem to recall a long length of it; but how would the scuttle be built to slide along it?
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Use a canvas firewood sling to minimize damage to the balcony railing. Person on ground loads it, person on balcony is idle. Person on balcony winches wood up, unloads sling and stacks wood. Person at bottom is idle. A single operator would be at the top out of danger if the load fell.
jsw
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David Lesher wrote:

A wireless - control winch would allow single - person operation.

Pretty much all of us have used aircraft cable to move & lift stuff. We know how to inspect for wear and replace parts long before failure is likely.

Approximately 'Not Enough'. :)

Square tube is stronger and easier to work with.
--Winston
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The springs counterbalance the weight of the door. When you pull the cord to disconnect the door it should move easily up or down at any position.

My platform stacker uses cam followers rolling on rectangular tubing. http://baileynet.com/index.php?page=Search&id &srchsrc=SearchBox&sbmfrmas=Submit&baileynumm+follower
The upright rails on my sawmill are channel cutoffs that weren't long enough to use for horizontal track. https://picasaweb.google.com/KB1DAL/HomeMadeMachines#5107453006429714322 The wheel frame rests on the two horizontal square tubes whose open ends are visible below it, one behind the idler pulley. When the wheel frame is off they protrude like forklift forks, ready to support a basket of firewood.
The back ends are welded to four vertical plates, one on each side of each channel, like an L lying dead on its back. The rollers that resist the cantilevered weight on the arms are bolted between the plates and ride on the outside of the channel flanges. It required fairly simple welding and machining to build.
Two 3/8-16 threaded rods raise and lower the head. Bicycle chain barely visible above the top bar keeps them synchronized. The screws are slow and inefficient to raise the head between logs, with a battery drill, though not bad to lower it by 24 or 32 16th of an inch for each new plank.
My third vertical track, the only one left out in the rain, is part of my TV antenna. https://picasaweb.google.com/KB1DAL/Temporary#5312751829689947138
The rails are aluminum U extrusions such as might frame a sliding shower door. The slide that holds the rotator base is simply a rectangular steel plate that fits loosely between the U's, [===].
Everything exposed to the weather is PT wood, aluminum, galvy, stainless, brass or plastic. None of these were available cheaply in the shapes I needed for load-bearing structural members like on the sawmill, and only stainless bolts for axles for the bearings and pulleys. The cam followers have removed the paint they roll over on the platform stacker so I spray it with LPS3 when I put it away and wipe off the wind-blown grit before the next use. It's protected from rain but not humidity or dust.
That's why I suggested a removeable jib crane made from fairly cheap ready-made commercial components.
jsw
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[Not sure what your stacker does/looks like...]
So how many followers do you have? One per side [4] or 2 per side [8]? How do you have them mounted so as to adjust the spacing against the tubing? I was thinking a wearable plastic surface on the traveler part.

I suspect the spouse may object to same. Plus the idea it swings over makes it an "ooops" as you hit the house.
I still like the lead screw idea, even if not built from garage door openers. A belt/pulley drive to slow the rotation down would be one approach. One problem is I know I'd need to splice several threaded rods together, while maintaining the thread integrity. Plus, I'd like larger diameter, finer threads.
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writes:

https://picasaweb.google.com/KB1DAL/Wheels#5271844343827153698 This is a similar model standing up.
http://www.veshai.com/image/ms01.jpg

There are four cam rollers on mine, two per side. The lower ones roll on the platform side of the vertical rails, the upper ones on the handle side. They prevent the platform from tipping down but not up, which isn't necessary as its weight holds it in place. They mount in holes in the tapered 1/2" steel plates welded to the platform's back. One of the plates is visible above the pump pedal
The stacker's rollers aren't adjustable. Three bear on the rails anyway and the fourth makes contact if the load is heavy enough to twist the platform back to straight. $10 was a fair price for its condition.
The guide rollers on the sawmill adjust the same way as a motorcycle rear axle, with yokes and screws.
The rollers apply a considerable compressive pressure to the track unless they are widely separated, which costs track length. You might get away with 4x4 PT posts if the rollers were stacks of rubber caster wheels that bore on their full width.

So you remove it and leave only the less offensive post, with a bird feeder or wooden Ma Deuce on top. The bed crane has holes for a locking pin to keep it from ooopsing the pickup truck.

You can buy 10' threaded rod as conduit hanger at the Borg. Lifting the ~150 Lb head on my sawmill doesn't overstress a 12V Makita drill driving the leadscrew directly.
Personally I would build a simple and acceptably artsy or easily removed jib crane or hangman's gallows if I didn't already have the truck crane to borrow. It's far less initial work and maintenance than a vertical track and platform with rollers.
I'd replace the winch cable with hand-friendly polyester braided rope and attach plywood to the house at the bottom to absorb the damage if the canvas sling of firewood fell. If you have to move to the top to raise and unload it you won't be underneath.
The swiveling crane above my chimney that supports the ground-operated cleaning brush is built like a sailboat mast and boom, and painted to blend in with the tree branches behind it. Having a taller stayed mast lets the boom be much thinner and less visible since it needs to withstand only lengthwise compression, no bending. If you need an excuse for the mast, put a flag or antenna on it.
You guys want to overengineer a very simple project in a way that invites riders and accidents.
jsw
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On Thu, 15 Dec 2011 18:46:00 -0500, Jim Wilkins wrote: 16th of an inch for each new

Which part is the vertical track? Also, changing the topic slightly, what's that board thing above the roofline, and what are the lumber dimensions of your upright pole?
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The fixed mast attached to the house is a landscape timber at the bottom spliced to a 2x4, which ends just above the handrail. The removeable extension above it is a shorter 2x4 joined with a ship-lap joint and steel bands.
It evolved from a simpler, shorter design and I wouldn't build a new one quite the same way. The mast might be better as a T section of two 2x4s, with the rotator platform guided by the T crossbar. In the original design the antenna pivoted down to ground level for repairs but now I lower the rotator and remove mast pipe sections to bring the antenna within reach on the roof. An HDTV antenna is smaller and more manageable up there than the old analog VHF one.
The Radio Shack mast sections have become considerably more expensive than EMT conduit. You could turn a splice plug that jams into one section and slides into the other, greased to slow rusting. Linch pins to join them are easier to handle on a ladder or find if dropped than screws.
I'd keep the rotator at the bottom of a long mast, the block and tackle to raise it, and the guy line attachment at the top. The three guy lines pass over pulleys on a ring suspended by a foot of cord, which allows free rotation. They tie off at the base where I can look up to pull the mast straight, next to impossible from their outer ends. The guys are 80 Lb crab line.
jsw
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wrote:

It's also very easy to use a safety device on a cable lift. Spring-loaded brake systems can stop the drop as soon as the cable tension is gone. Or something as simple as a cammed mechanism or flutter plate (like those on screen door closers) will work. Guide with the square tubing, and apply the brakes to the tube to hold the box/basket up if the cable lets loose.
-- Silence is more musical than any song. -- Christina Rossetti
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    Not much, based on the one which I have. It is a triple lead Acme thread, and comes in fixed length sections, with D shaped projections to couple between sections. The "nut" part of the follower is long enough so it bridges the gaps.
    When I discovered that the set would not fit where I needed it to (an enclosed I-beam sort of limited the positioning of the motor assembly), I called the makers, and they said that it was "impossible" to get non-standard length sections. Well -- a bit of lathe and mill work and I had a shortened section of leadscrew and guide rail extrusion so it would mount and work -- so much for "impossible". :-)
    But there is no practical way that it could handle much load from above -- too much pull on those couplings, which are just push-in and a spring to clip them there. There needs to be a bearing at the far end of the guide and leadscrew to handle the load.

    Rollers on each side, and rollers offset to the bottom on the load side and to the top on the opposite side. The rollers could be in-line skate bearings for cheap and easy to find.
    But I don't see a leadscrew as practical -- especially multi-section ones as implemented in garage door openers.
    And there are big springs taking up the weight of the garage door so when the nut is uncoupled (at the pull of a red string) it does not take much human force to start the door on its way up. Maybe about ten pounds ta a guess.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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Without having tried one, I think the Harbor Freight electric hoists look like a good deal for the money: http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?keyword=hoist The pendant lets you operate them from either above or below without being under the load.
Anything with a dangling chain that can tangle with and catch on the load will be a nuisance. A greased leadscrew outdoors will collect dirt. I would build a swiveling jib crane or boat davit that operates from the top, perhaps starting with a low-cost boat trailer winch and improving it later based on experience.
These drop onto the top of an adequately strong column or post and are light enough to lift off and store elsewhere between uses. http://www.harborfreight.com/1-2-half-ton-capacity-pickup-truck-crane-1647.html The one I have fits nicely on 2-1/2" pipe, which is 2-7/8" OD. With the boom angled up you could lift a sling of wood over the balcony rail without having the winch and mounting post too high.
I added a boat winch on a bracket that pins to the cross-wise holes in the boom. At first I put it underneath and ran the cable through a pulley hung from the tip, then slotted the tip for a built-in pulley and moved the winch to the top so the load could rise higher, like this one: http://www.harborfreight.com/1-2-half-ton-capacity-pickup-truck-crane-with-cable-winch-37555.html However I like the lower one's lighter weight and the choice to operate it from the ground instead of standing in the truck bed with an unstable pile of heavy logs.
The hand-cranked winch is a reasonable compromise of cost, effort and speed for loads of up to a few hundred pounds. I wore out a couple that had narrow stamped gears by using them continuously near their rating.
You can decrease the cranking effort (and lifting speed) by shortening the cable on the reel.
jsw
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On Wed, 14 Dec 2011 09:17:18 -0500, "Jim Wilkins"

I bought and used the shorter, bed-mounted model and it worked well the few times I actually used it. It cost $80 on sale. What I can't understand is the price from some of the US mfgrs. Look at these: http://www.hoistsdirect.com/thern_cranes.htm#series%205122 How can they condone $700-$4000 prices on half tone cranes when HF sells theirs for $159 or less? I don't understand it! The $700 model is apparently their version of the inexpensive HF crane.

I doubt that'd happen unless it was in a high-theft area, as most people would either let them sit as-is or cover them with a tarp. (n=1 orbit and all that)
-- However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. -- Sir Winston Churchill
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The HF type pickup truck crane (mine is from Homier) is a crude, unreliable POS until you rework it. The worn-out American hydraulics I bought for diddly at auctions and had rebuilt are still better than new HF stuff. But I can't suggest an industrial auction treasure hunt as a practical solution.

Waste of a good tarp. Also I wouldn't want to make excuses for the ugly thing for my non-engineer friends, especially the urban and LEO types who see every unfamiliar mechanical device as an instrument of mayhem.
For a sight gag you could top the column with a hefty wooden crossbar marked with vulture claw scratches, with a rusty chain attached and a BIG food bowl.
http://www.bargaintraveleurope.com/08/Germany_Castle_Guttenberg.htm Eagles, vultures and hawks lined the guardrail on the road up and perched wherever they wanted all over the grounds. I can't imagine that happening in America.
jsw
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On Wed, 14 Dec 2011 14:39:02 -0500, "Jim Wilkins"

I didn't have an ounce of trouble with my crude crane, but I smeared wheel bearing grease on the inner tube before putting it together. Ditto the hinge points and bolts.

Ayup. Just paint it to match the house and everyone forgets it's there. ;)

Aren't they just the pits?

Cool.
My fave downspout, found in a book on gargoyles, was a pooping figure. Darned if I can find it online anywhere.
More fun: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tjflex/30939666/#/photos/tjflex/30939666/lightbox / http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/5033986 http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-photo/jsbeurope/1/1295187875/64_1.jpg/tpod.html
-- However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. -- Sir Winston Churchill
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