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Pulley design to lift 1000m x 1000m to ceiling

Posted: Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:20 pm
by Ric
I have a 1000mm x 1000mm shapeoko 2 that is mounted to a torsion box, and is pretty heavy. I have very little room in my garage, and want to lift it to the ceiling when it is not in use. My original plan was to use several pulleys, connected in 'series' around the Shapeoko, but that didn't work. Basically I had four pulleys at the torsion box, two on each side, and I had 5 pulleys on the garage ceiling (3 on one side, 2 on the other). Basically, a side of the system looks like MI, where the rope ran up from my hand to the ceiling, then down to the Shapeoko, up to the ceiling, down to the Shapeoko, and then up to the ceiling. This was basically repeated on the other side, so that I had the rope going through 9 pulleys, before being tied to the ceiling at the end. I thought this was a great idea, until I tried it. When I pulled on the rope, only the corner closest to me would lift, and it was difficult to get the rest of it to raise, even though I was pulling very hard.

A big problem is that I bought a set of 10 pulleys on Amazon for $35, and under load they don't spin easily. So only a couple of the pulleys spin, and on the rest, the rope simply slides over the frozen pulley. I now know that if I use any pulleys, they need to be of a higher quality.

But I am now unsure what sort of design to use. I have thought about removing the pulleys on the torsion box, and having the rope simply tie to each corner (like an upside down Y), and having the two sides be independent of each other. Then I could run this rope up to a ceiling pulley, and simply pull the two ends of the rope down, which would only need a couple of pulleys. But without all the pulleys, this will be difficult to lift, since the Shapeoko and torsion box are fairly heavy. I think, but am not sure, that the upside down Y will be stable while lifting (I haven't tried it yet).

I also thought about getting an electric winch, which are under $100, and using that to raise everything up. I couldn't find an affordable dual line winch, so I'd have to have the one wire from the winch lift both sides at the same time. This would all be a disaster if the upside down Y connection to the corners of the Shapeoko is a bad idea.

But I keep thinking that I'm pursuing one bad idea after another, and was hoping someone else had a better way to design a lift system. Any advice at all is welcome. Thanks.