Today my dad and I are going to be making a Garage Gantry. It’s an I beam placed on top of two columns that are bolted to the floor. Then a trolly and hoist can run along the I beam and be used to lift things up.
If you plan to tackle this project, a lot of people go ahead and make their unit mobile so it can be moved around, however Dad didn’t like the idea of it being mobile and wanted his to be bolted to the floor. So that’s how we’re going about this one.
Things I used in this project:
- ISOtunes Bluetooth Hearing Protection
- Triton SuperJaws
- Bessey Clamps
- Woodpeckers 851 Square
- Metal Marking Pencil
- Cutoff Saw
- Lincoln Power Mig 260
- Welding Hood
- Welding & Grinding Hood
- Welding Jacket
- Welding Gloves
- Chain Hoist
- Cordless Grinder
The first thing we did was pull some measurements across the stud bay where we would be placing the gantry. This is so we could cut down some boards to go across the bay. We’ll use these later on to help secure the top beam.
While I set up the SuperJaws, my Dad grabbed the material and saw then we cut a few pieces to length.
I spaced them equally across the length that the I beam would be placed and attached them with four screws into the bottom cord of the truss.
Alright, next step was to lift the beam into place. The I-Beam used for this garage gantry is a standard A36 5″ x 10lb beam which got cut at 14′ long. This beam was purchased off the shelf at one of the local yards and sold for $153. Unless you have an acetylene torch, it’s best to order this size of beam pre-cut at the steel yard (which is what I did). This beam isn’t super heavy duty but it’s more than enough for what my dad will be doing. We wanted to get the beam into place first before cutting each of the side columns to height and to do that we first ran some straps through the trusses to create two cradles.
Then we took our time to stab one end of the beam into one of the cradles then the other. With the beam loosely in place we roughed in the position left and right on where my dad wanted it. And then as one of us lifted up on the beam, the other pulled the slack out of the strap.
If you do this project, it would have probably been better to use ratchet straps because this kind without the ratchets wasn’t enough to pull 100% of the slack out. However, next we grabbed some Bessey clamps and again, as one of us lifted, the other secured the beam flush up against the cross members we stuck into place earlier.
Even though it felt secure in the clamps we still left the straps up just as back up while we worked on the next step which was cutting the columns.
Next up was the columns. These will be made from some left over 2 x 6 material from a carport I built my folks two years ago. To mount them to the garage floor, I sketched up some mounting brackets quick in a 3D modeling software then cut them out on my Torchmate plasma table. If you don’t have a table, then of course you can use a handheld plasma cutter. But if you do have a table, I have a free .dxf on my website.
I started by laying the plate on the ground, then taking an exact measurement that the column needed to be cut to. Once I had that, I used the chop saw to cut it to size.
Then to make situating the plate on the column qo quickly, I found center on the mounting plate and made cross hairs. Then did the same on the 2×6 material. This way I could set the plate on the ground and line up the markings on both to center it.
Now to stick it together! You can see I’m using magnets to help hold it in place where I want it. I’m using my Lincoln Electric Power Mig 210 and I started off by first tacking it in two places then having my dad read level in both directions while I added more tacks when it was set correctly. Now I could remove the magnets and weld all four sides shut.
With the bottom done, it was now time to move to the top. We previously figured out the left and right position of the beam. But now was the time to figure out the front and back location.
In my Dad’s garage he has a chest of drawers we needed to work avoid….not only making sure the column wouldn’t hit it but also the larger mounting plate at the bottom. We also moved the plate and column over enough so that a drill can get in between these two. Once we had that spot set, we placed the column and moved the I-beam on top of it. Then, as my Dad read level I could get up to the top, tack it and then weld it shut just like the bottom.
One down! I repeated the steps on the other side for the second beam. First welding on the bottom plate then sticking the column into place and welding it to the I-beam. Dad has his garage set up so that his workbench splits the middle of his space, and by this second column being on this side of it, it will give him an entire bay of the garage to be able to use the gantry after it’s complete.
Alright, columns are done. To stick it in place permanently, we are going to drill some holes in the garage floor and put in some anchor bolts. We first grabbed the bolts and marked off a drill depth on the bit using some tape.
We used a hammer drill, aiming for center on each of the slots in the base plate. We used tape on the bit as a depth reference and drilled down to this tape line. The tape just gives a visual for the rough depth each hole needs to be.
Next we stuck a washer and nut on each bolt and hammered them into place. You want to place the nut on while you are hammering them in, to protect the threads from getting damaged. You’ll see that I left the nut sitting at the very top. Once the bolt reaches it’s depth, then we threaded the bolt on completely and tightened it up.
This thing felt really secure as is but we still wanted to go ahead and stabilize the top to the rafters somehow. For this, we placed the shoe pieces only on the left and right side of the gantry. They also act as hard stops so you can’t accidentally knock the trolly off of the I beam.
Next we assembled the trolly then attached the hoist. The trolly is only $60 at Harbor Freight and that’s before using their 20% off coupon, so in my opinion it’s worth adding on to make moving the hoist quick and easy.
The last thing we did was get rid of some of this awful looking rust. To make this job go quick, we threw a bristled cup attachment in the grinders then got after it. Oh, and my dad also placed a hook in the wall over on the right hand side to give him a place to loop the chains around when storing.
And that’s it! Now, whenever my dad wants to use the gantry, he just pulls the trolley to the center, and lifts whatever he needs to lift. And then when he is finished, he moves it over and secures it out of the way.
For as much function as this will give my dad, it really didn’t take that long (3 hours, to be exact). If you are needing a gantry, I hope this video has helped you out.
Hope that you’ve enjoyed this project. I’ll see you on the next one.