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Old 01-19-2014, 05:29 PM   #1
Terry60
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Default DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

Hello all, I'm new here and looking for knowledge. I have a metal pole barn with 2-1/2" square tube trusses space 4'OC that I want to hang a 14' I-beam below the trusses attached to a 14' x 2" x 4" steel tube sitting on top of the bottom chords of the trusses. Questions are:
1) can the 3/16" wall 2" x 4" steel rect. tube support the load laying 4" horizontal or should it be vertical?
2) what mounting hardware do I need and is there somewhere that sells hardware designed for this application or should I cobble things together like large bolts, nuts, steel plates, maybe thread stock cut to fit, etc.?
3) money is a problem so if this can be done cheaper by lowering the load capacity to half ton (not including hoist and beams and hardware) please let me know

I need to know what dimension I-beam to buy and if anyone can suggest a supplier near Danville Indiana (30 miles west of Indy) I am having a hard time finding supplier nearest to me.
I also need suggestions on where to buy other steel if 2" x 4" tube isn't strong enough and hardware if Lowes, Menards, etc., isn't good enough.
Any suggestions on what trolley to buy from where? I already have a one ton chain hoist with 15' lift but need everything else I mentioned.

Thanks for any help
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:02 PM   #2
Riverside
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

You should probably consider a gantry crane (or some other means to transfer the load directly to the ground, instead of the trusses). I don't think you'll be happy with the results if you add a significant load to the roof of a tube-frame building.

Last edited by Riverside; 01-19-2014 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:03 PM   #3
carcajou
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

Advice is free but pics are mandatory. It would really help.
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

First off, I am not an engineer. I have built several hoist rail systems in the past. I take steel blocks at least one inch thick, drill and tap to 1/2" or larger, then weld them to top of beam every two feet. I would tend to stand the tubing on edge and drill holes vertically through it for grade B7 threaded studs to pass through, using short pieces of 1/4" flatbar with holes drilled in them as washers, with lockwashers and double nuts at a minimum. Use another nut and lock washer underneath the steel tube as a second locking device. Another attachment could be to drill two holes in the upper flange of the I beam, and using tapered washers, use two pieces of threaded rod to hang from a thick flatbar with two holes, which would lay across the top of your tubing, no welding required. I normally use a 6 inch, 12.5 lbs per foot I beam, but a 4 inch is also available. Be aure trolley clears any attachment bolts. Without support posts on each end of the beam, I would limit myself to about what a V8 engine and transmission would weigh. I have seen many a V8 engine installed with an old driveshaft laid across wood trusses, but that was likely pushing it. I am working on another system for myself at the moment, but the beam will be running the same direction as the wood trusses. It has been challenging. What I have written are IDEAS, not recommendations. Proceed at your own risk, and you should really consult with an engineer.
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Last edited by OccupantRJ; 01-19-2014 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

Quote:
Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
Advice is free but pics are mandatory. It would really help.
X2
What do you plan on picking up with it?
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

Just a opinion from an engineer. Snow load, wind load, and other calculations are done to confirm that your trusses and roof are rated to hold the load they re designed for. You now want to add a this 2x4 tube, a 14' w section (I beam) or similar at several lbs per ft, plus a hoist system, plus 1000 to 2000 lb load. Not wise. Transfer the load to the floor with a HF gantry system, or get the rigging beam attached to the vertical posts, not the trusses.

Warnings aside- Recommendations. 2x4 should go with the long side parallel with the load (so 4" section pointing up and down).

Only use grade 8 fasteners or better . threaded stock (all thread) found at most hardware stores is usually grade 5.

If you want to pick up much more than an engine, you'll probably want an I beam with outside dims around 3"x6". Check out a gantry crane rated for the load your looking for and try to match those specs.

If I can say one thing for sure- though I don't know what you're going to do, I can say with absolute certainty, nothing is more dangerous than overhead lifting. Do what you can with an engine hoist or engineered gantry solutions. Loading your building without structural analysis, and at least some knowledge of the load the trusses were designed to carry plus snow loading specs in your area makes me very nervous.
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

I contacted the tech people at the building manufacturer who said 1 ton is ok if supported by at least 2 trusses
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

what do you think it would cost for consulting engineer and is civil engineer the type to contact?
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

I will initially be using it to move large timbers (up to 16 foot long 8" x 12" poplar, a little heavier than pine) for positioning and rotating while cutting joinery for construction of pavilion at my house (fancy way of saying porch roof) consisting of 4 large timber posts to support 18' x 22' roof structure. Largest beams will weigh under 600 lbs. after that project I will use it for lifting/moving things definitely less than a ton like my Kubota B2320 tractor that weighs 1500lbs with no attachments
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

I'm beginning to think the techie at the metal pole barn company may have suffered a brain fart when he told me my 30' by 40' building with 12' tall side walls built in central Indiana could support one ton capacity trolley hoist. I think I'll call again and get second opinion.
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Old 01-20-2014, 12:10 PM   #11
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

Check out Harbor Freight gantry crane. There is a HF on the southside of Indy. You can buy one for something like $6-700. It will allow you to pick up and actually roll the beams around if you want to. It would be a safe and easy way to solve your problem. Plus you could use it to lift tractor attachments etc. any where in the barn rather then be limited to the one spot. When your done with it, it could be resold as they are scarce on the used market.
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:45 PM   #12
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

Here are photos of what I'm dealing with. Anyone think those trusses can handle 1 ton with the load carried on 4 trusses of 2-1/2" square tube 4'OC?
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6f18grslawklfif/5t2rnfswqg
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:51 PM   #13
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

In case you didn't see the link, I posted some photos of the metal building I want to install I-beam trolley in:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6f18grslawklfif/5t2rnfswqg
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:58 PM   #14
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

It will hold till it falls down. The tubing is machine bent at the ridge which tells me that it is probably light gauge tube. Is the idea to unload with this and then roll it into the shop? I think a rolling gantry crane might be a better way to go and still do what you need.
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:00 PM   #15
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry60 View Post
Here are photos of what I'm dealing with. Anyone think those trusses can handle 1 ton with the load carried on 4 trusses of 2-1/2" square tube 4'OC?
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6f18grslawklfif/5t2rnfswqg
I can say with a fair amount of confidence that they were not "designed" to carry that load...Personally, I wouldn't do it unless it was designed for with that in mind or the manufacturer signed off on it.
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:08 PM   #16
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry60 View Post
what do you think it would cost for consulting engineer and is civil engineer the type to contact?
I think it is a structural engineer that you would want. I have dealt with engineers on a few small projects and the costs have been in the $300-$600 range. (About the cost of a gantry crane.) In your case, where presumably, you would not need a signed (insured) drawing, it might be cheaper.

I was surprised that someone from the building company said it would be OK. I'll bet it wasn't an engineer or a legal consultant. The building is probably designed to handle some snow load, so perhaps they figure that each truss (supporting ~5'x20' of roof) can handle an extra 1,000# of snow (my rough guess @ ~10#/sq ft), so your load would be OK, if you don't do it in the snow.

This project sounds like the type that I would advise anyone else against, but I would probably try it (very cautiously) myself. When I move heavy things, I ask myself over and over, "Which way are the forces going? If something fails, which way will it move? What is the most likely failure? Am I in the path of something that might fall or move suddenly?" Etc. The potential consequences are high. All of those issues apply to a gantry crane too, but at least you know the crane was designed for it.
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:25 PM   #17
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

Youre best bet is something like this:



Pretty pricey to buy, but it looks fairly simple to home brew...
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:29 PM   #18
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

Read head, the first project I need this for is to manipulate large timbers in the shop to cut mortise and tenon joints and rout edges on timbers for the construction of 18' x 22' pavilion/porch roof. Some of the timbers will weigh almost 600 lbs and I will have to work on all sides of every timber of which there will be about 30 pieces which will make up the frame of the pavilion. After that, I will use it for whenever I need extra muscle out in the middle of nowhere
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:44 PM   #19
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

If I support a I-beam at both ends with steel posts anchored to the concrete and of course bolted to the beam, what size I-beam would be necessary to lift a ton and clear span 30 feet?
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Old 01-21-2014, 06:58 AM   #20
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Default Re: DIY one ton I-beam trolley mounted to steel trusses

1000 lb load spanning 30' would probably require at least a 4" x 6" beam. We have several jib and gantry cranes at work, I'll check one out for you today. I'll get the actual section size and the lb per foot for you. A 30' beam is going to weigh several hundred lbs by itself. How are you going to get it up there?

Sorry for not giving you technical details, I just don't feel like doing the calcs, and my texts are at work.

May be worth looking for a beam size calculator on your Google. You know your loads, and the span is simply supported at two ends.


With respect to your barn, if I had to guess just by pictures alone, I would say you're braver than I if you want to hang anything other than lighting, electrical, and plumbing from that ceiling. Would a unistrut and trolley solution get you by somehow without lifting the entire beam?
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