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Jib Crane

Looking to build a jib crane for the workshop

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George Sword30/01/2022 13:59:56
17 forum posts

I am looking a build a jib crane for my workshop. Probably looking to lift a maximum weight of 125kgs and have a reach of 2 meters.

I have looked at you tube and seem some nice and also some seriously scary home built cranes.

I have a good idea of what I am looking for but have no idea how to ensure that it is a safe design. There was one case on you tube where a chap used software called Fusion 360 to validate his design. Is there anyone out there who could carry out this type of stress testing on my behalf?

Nick Welburn30/01/2022 14:53:38
128 forum posts

I’m all for making stuff. But in this case would a second hand engine crane not just be much easier and quicker?

Andrew Tinsley30/01/2022 15:06:39
1630 forum posts

+1 for an engine crane. Mine came for less than £100 brand new, doubt you could make one for that, unless you have a very large scrap bin.


George Sword30/01/2022 15:25:02
17 forum posts

Thanks for the suggestions, but unfortunately the big problem that I have is that my workshop is on the small side and simply does not have the clear floor space for a engine crane.

Clive Foster30/01/2022 15:47:15
3135 forum posts
109 photos

Having looked into, and abandoned, a similar idea I found that the long ram and column style typical of engine cranes needed lots of space to swivel and generally got in the way. The type with angled back columns, often also sold as truck bed cranes with a simple flange base rather than long wheeled legs, were worst. Capacity was too hig anyway.

Something like the compact truck be crane using a bottle jack rather than a ram for lifting seems to fit the bill much better. But there no longer seem to be UK sources. Here is a link to an American one.


If I really wanted one I'd be quite confident of producing something safe by "monkey see, monkey do" methods backed up by some simple stress calculations.

Maybe Sky Hook inc can offer some inspiration.


The work cart mount version has long been on my I'd like something like that list. But I don't want it bad enough as I have two I beams and 3 ton chain lifts.


Howard Lewis30/01/2022 15:53:58
6116 forum posts
14 photos

My 1 ton folding engine crane has a jjb made of box section about 70 mm square, so that should be quite suitable for lifting 125 Kg, although as the extension increases, the safe maximum load decreases from 1 ton to 250 KG at maximum extension.

For inspiration, visit your local Machine Mart depot nand note the dimensions of the jib and the supporting structure.

Not only does the crane need to support the load safely inn the vertical plane, but also to be stable laterally.

No point in lifting the machine, if the crane is going to damage it when it topples over sideways!

Howard .

Nicholas Farr30/01/2022 16:00:34
3361 forum posts
1543 photos

Hi George, unless you have a a post jib or a wall jib crane, anything that stands alone will take up a bit of floor space, even a counterbalance one. Counterbalance floor crane Post Jib Crane Wall Jib Crane Of course post and wall ones will need a substantial fixing and are not portable.

Regards Nick.

P.S. both the post and wall cranes linked too are rather industrial, but the principles are just the same.

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 30/01/2022 16:07:27

Speedy Builder530/01/2022 16:14:22
2615 forum posts
212 photos

How about a scaffold crane- £100 from screwfix.

Clive Foster30/01/2022 17:18:41
3135 forum posts
109 photos

The scaffold cranes are excellent value for money but they need serious headroom. Maybe 18" above the jib for the support bar and another foot or so underneath so you don't carelessly head the motor winch assembly. Hurts!

How do I know?

I have one mounted on a scaffold pole in the loft to swing over my hatch but could only get the jib just over head height and have forgotten to duck when swinging the motor winch over the hatch. Equal first, along with my over double sized hatch, as best idea ever when it comes to lofts.

I've often felt that fixing the motor winch assembly and using remote pulleys on a jib or rail is worth investigating as a substitute for a crane.


Colin Heseltine30/01/2022 18:33:34
661 forum posts
230 photos

I needed a crane to pick my indexer on its mounting plate which weighs around 90Kgs. The indexer along with rotary tables are on a trolley. The crane is used to pick them off the trolley and lower them onto the mill table (table being moved to extreme left hand position. I had an Aldi/Lidl hoist and bought a jib from Ebay. I needed longer jib than that supplied so swapped out the inner section for a longer one. I would have liked it longer but decided this was not a good idea. One of the guys on this site did some calculations to confirm it would handle the load.

The steel scaffold pole is located in a metal plate on the floor and the upper location is provided by a steel plate bolted to 41x21mm thick wall Unistrut. The each length Unistrut is bolted to at least three roofing joists and is also clamped to and supported by the overhead RSJ girder.

It had a little more flex that I liked so a large steel clamp was machined up and bolted to the wall with long rawlbolts.

It may not look over pretty but certainly works.

If you want a 2 metre reach I think you will have to significantly increase size of support pole and beam.



Clive Foster30/01/2022 19:00:46
3135 forum posts
109 photos


Seeing your extended beam scaffold hoist set up reminds me that I considered mounting my loft hoist upside down on top of the beam with a couple of pulleys to guide the cable out to the end. More headroom at the cost of extra complexity.

Pretty much immediately decided that it would be more trouble than it was worth to sort the cable guides so I abandoned the idea without proper consideration. Which may have been a mistake.


Roger Best30/01/2022 21:06:12
369 forum posts
56 photos

Jib implies it moves in an arc. 125kg at 2m or rather the test load, of either 1.3x or 1.5x for a hand hoist (if I remember) adds up to a lot of moment, so you may have to dig a foundation of a tonne or two to stop it tipping or ripping your house apart. Jibs are very expensive all in.

Far, far easier is a travelling beam, or fixed-each-end beam, it can be far lighter and easier to move, probably aluminium if you buy one with A-frame and castors.

Another option is a track screwed into the ceiling beams. As you know what its for you can probably think of a few routes that it could follow.

Good luck.

George Sword31/01/2022 18:06:59
17 forum posts

Many thanks to everyone for all the helpful comments and suggestions.

I have no doubt that a gantry crane would be the best solution but unfortunately my workshop has a false ceiling which rules this out.

I am going to go with a hoist crane from E-Bay and modify if required.

John Reese04/02/2022 20:32:37
1035 forum posts

I bought one of these for loading my pickup truck:

I made a pedestal that mounts to my shop floor. The crane portion drops into the pedestal. I also made a boom extension that telescopes inside the main boom. Of course it is necessary to de-rate the capacity when using the boom extension. I hung a small electric hoist from the end of the boom. I use it mainly for changing chucks on my 16" lathe.

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