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Homemade Gantry crane

Hi, dne’ here, for a long time, I’ve had the hankering to have a Gantry crane.(See the definition below). I must admit that a Gantry Crane does take up quite a bit of room, but if made correctly, or bought, they should roll fairly easily despite their weight and size and provide a lot of assistance with heavy things!

The store-bought GC’s were just too narrow, measuring in at about 7 or 8 ft. I needed a minimum of 10′, but settled for 12′;)

Gantry crane” means a crane similar to an overhead crane except that the bridge for carrying the trolley or trolleys is rigidly supported on two or more legs running on fixed rails or other runway.

I Googled and looked at many GC’s, but some~ the cost was just out of my reach price wise for the ones that were as wide as I wanted them to be:(

Gantry craneA



So, off to my local steel supplier, and a trailer, and my husband;) Just about all steel comes in 20-40′ lengths, so there’s no way that I’d ever be able to carry that much less handle it when I’d get it all home! Luckily, the steel place worked with me and cut it to the lengths that allowed me to get it on my trailer and haul it home.

Below, the 3 x 5 I-beam was just right, heavy, but between Gary and I, we could get it where I needed it, and I also would use My Little Mules to move them around if Gary wasn’t present. The I-beam below is 12′. I contemplated cutting it shorter, but 12′ sounded really good!

Gantry craneJ

I don’t know what to call these end pieces, so I’ll just call them the “end pieces”!;) The only difficulty was making darned sure they were square before welding them together with my 175amp Systematic mig welder. My old welding machine really kicks butt!!

Gantry craneH

Here the supports I’ve welded in;

Gantry craneI


I made a little jig here to weld things, and again making sure everything is perfectly level and square, don’t want to have a Leaning Tower of Gantry crane! 😉

gantry crane9d


I lost more sleep trying to figure out how I was going to get the I-beam on top of the structure, but as usual, Brains over Brawn rules! That’s where Gary, my Little Mule and my engine crane came into play, plus being extremely careful!

GAntry cranex


Backing up a bit, I decided to go with an Electric hoist from Harbor Freight tools, this is a 2 ton model, about 200 bucks after applying the coupon. The only problem is it doesn’t bolt up to the Trolley! So I had to fabricate a “bracket” to attach the trolley to the hoist. It took me 3+ hours of brain storming to come up with the bracket!;) The hoist weighs at least 80lbs, so my little mule holds it in place while I’d just stare at it~thinking.

Gantry craneaa


And then stare some more!


Gantry cranecc


Of course finally I came up with a decent bracket to attach to the trolley. My brain works pretty well sometimes for figuring things out! Thank you brain!;)

Gantry craneEE

Now getting the hoist up there took some ingenuity! I know it must look pretty geeky, but it worked!

Gantry crane5That’s so cool!

gantry crane6

Amazing how the little things can take forever! Here, I made a wire/cable to suspend the electric cord so it wouldn’t be getting tangled up when I pull the hoist from one side to the other.

Gantry craneANext, our driveway, if and when I roll my GC out onto the driveway, our driveway isn’t exactly flat!:( So, I bought these trailer jacks from Harbor freight tools(where else), and welded the stationary pivots in place. Now they’ll just pivot down and I can level the GC as needed.

gantry crane9agantry crane7OH, I forgot to mention the wheels/casters. they’re cast/steel wheels from Northern Tools and rated at 1000lbs per wheel and roll nicely, even have grease fittings!;)

gantry crane9

My Gantry crane in ACTION!!

My first detail was in replacing my moms drive belt in her 26hp Lawn tractor. The deck has to be removed and to gain access to the undercarriage, I raised the tractor as high as I could and had great access to replace it. I am pleased!;)

Gantry cranee

Not long from now, I’ll be pulling the engine and tranny from my 71 Triumph TR6. My Gantry crane is going to make my life so much easier!!

Gantry cranegUPDATE!!! ***********************************************************************

Well had a little time after getting back from vacation~ the HF hoist worked flawlessly and effortlessly! I’m very pleased!!

TR engine pulled2 TR engine pulled

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little blog about my homemade Gantry Crane! Please subscribe to my Classic Cars and Tools. You’ll get updates as I post and you may tag along and even write me with questions/comments if you like!

Thank you! Dne’ ~ Classic Cars and Tools;)

7 Responses so far.

  1. Bruce says:

    Okay, MOST impressive and kudos to you for designing, welding and erecting this beast. So what was the total cost? I’m certainly impressed!

    • admin says:

      Hi Bruce, thank you for the compliments! I must admit it was quite a lot of work, but that’s OK! Nowadays, it’s just getting easier for people to go out and buy something made already than to make it ourselves, especially when we have the means to do so. If the cranes out there had been the width I was looking for, I probably would have bought it. I was talking to my husband about the costs; The steel was approximately 300(+/-), the jacks from HF were 100 bucks for 4, The steel wheels from Northern tools was 90.oo, the 2 ton electric hoist from HF was 200(add another 90.oo for extended warranty for 2 years), the Trolley was 60.oo, Nuts/bolts, the cable to string up to suspend the wire, etc,(20bucks), paint 30.oo, comes to about 860.oo, don’t forget I have a nice 175 amp wire feed welder and a chop saw for steel. Keep in mind also the Gantry cranes in the stores do not come with the hoist or trolley, however, some of the ones in the stores will raise up higher which could have been nice. My labor was free, but it took me about 5 days to completion. Let’s not forget the “I made it myself” self-appreciation, stand back and look at it in amazement thing!;)
      Thank you for looking and commenting!;)

  2. Arne says:

    Very informative, especially the trailer jack-solution.

    Thanks for posting,


    • admin says:

      Thanks Arne, I can’t take sole credit for the jack solution:( But I did make the lesser expensive trailer jacks from HF work~ so I can take a little credit for adapting them to my crane;) Thanks for commenting Arne!! 😉
      dne’ 😉

  3. Tony Collado says:

    looks great, recently purchased one from HF and b put wider lift beam on it to clear fender wells on trailer. Also adjusts up and down so can use where ceiling is low or high. would love to mount electric hoist on it, but coming up blank on how to mount motor to trolley. See you have solved the problem could you post some pictures or an explanation on how you did it.

    • admin says:

      Hi Tony, congratulations on your build, though I wish I had built mine taller, I didn’t, but never have had it to where I needed it higher. I’ll send you some pictures of what I did, hope it helps! Thank you for visiting my blog!
      dne’ 😉

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