The Frame

Here’s my new lifting frame with paint barely dry. It’s the second such frame I’ve ever built so it has some design defects like marginal stability without something on the lifing-loop… It’s also made from a gazillion pieces of scrap steel. The first frame was built from whole pieces of structural steel. It was far better (I’d still have it but it disappeared while I was teaching in the North…), but this will do. It supports my weight and the weight of the engine of my new tractor without a groan, just graceful flexure. It flexes more than I’d planned, probably due to the holes in the steel and my use of intermittent welds instead of continuous welds. It’s good enough to do the job.

I shifted the engine into its final lifting position today. The only problem was that the lifting frame was too high to stand in the doorway of the garage. I had to lift and swing the engine a couple of feet (inches at a time) to create space between the overhead door and hoist. I also rotated the engine to line up with the space normally occupied by the car. The job was a darn sight easier with this frame and a chain-hoist than putting that engine in the garage back in January using brute force and leverage. Thank Goodness spring has arrived so it’s less painful to do this kind of work outdoors. It’s all good. I might do the final assembly of the tractor later today or on the weekend when I can have some additional manpower. For that, the engine will need to be lifted 24 inches and a sudden drop would surely damage something… It would be best to have a second opinion on all operations. 😉

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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25 Responses to The Frame

  1. TransgenderJen wrote, “Stick-welding such thin material is stupid, you are better off using a MIG welder; and who buys welding rods from China, when you can buy them locally?”

    I don’t have a MIG welder and besides THE STEEL IS PAINTED. MIG is useless on painted steel without a lot of grinding. You may not have noticed but a lot of welding rods are made in China these days. Buying locally costs me ~$3/pound. Buying in China costs ~$1/pound. I haven’t actually bought any from China directly. They like to sell by the ton/pallet which is a huge investment in the grandchildren. It’s not likely any of them will be a welder and if TLW sells the property and moves after I’m gone, she would have to sell/move them, a useless chore. Now, if I imported a ton of peanuts… So, I’ll likely stock up from Amazon where I can get E6011 for about $2/pound plus freight. Oh my! Here’s 50pounds of 1/8″ E6011 for $125 CDN and free shipping! Must buy now!

    UPDATE – Amazon has accepted my order, free shipping included. Cute. Instead of my local drive of ~16 miles into Winnipeg, I’ll need to drive only 5 miles to and from my nearest post office.

  2. ram says:

    Might want to consider putting in some supports from near the end of the legs to the lifting member.

  3. TransgenderJen says:

    Stick-welding such thin material is stupid, you are better off using a MIG welder; and who buys welding rods from China, when you can buy them locally?

  4. TransgenderJen wrote, “This eye-sore, has the shittiest welds I have ever seen in my life.”

    Are you writing about my welds? I was top in my class and I know how to do the job. What might concern you is the welding process. All of my welds on this frame were made with E6011. It’s a fast-freeze digging electrode. It’s not meant to make smooth-looking welds. They are rippled by the manner of welding. The coating emits a blast of CO2 that blows away the paint/rust/dirt on the steel. It also causes penetration by nearly 1/8″ so what it lacks in beauty on top is made up with guaranteed penetration and 100% fusion to the root of the weld. One deposits metal briefly in the puddle and then moves the arc to the edge of the puddle so that the deposit freezes. Then one moves the arc back and repeats the cycle. Many welders work on clean steel and use something like E7028 or E7024 to make a nice smooth weld with good strength but I have a lot of painted scrap so the choice is grinding it all off or using E6011. The penetration allows me to make butt joints without any grinding even on ¼” thick material.

    Don’t worry about my welds. I make them right. Been doing that for nearly 40 years now.

  5. DrLoser wrote, “I don’t really care much whether you kill yourself when your badly-constructed non-triangulated frame collapses on you”.

    You don’t seem to understand the strength of steel. My simple frame is very solid and reliable. It does have a limit on strength like everything else but it handled 99% of my tasks.

    I’m a welder. If you examine my welds you will find they penetrate the base metal well, join the pieces together and in fact do hold the pieces quite rigidly. None of the shortcomings of my frame were in the welds but in the members. This has nothing to do with triangles just the stiffness of those members. I did the deflection calculations but omitted the perforations. I was close, but it wasn’t good enough for TLW’s largest rocks. The frame was still very useful. We moved dozens of rocks with it and the roto-tiller and I am very confident it will hoist the alternator when the time comes because it is lighter than the roto-tiller. As you can plainly see, I’ve built in a few triangles in the frame and the welds do function to render joints rigid as well.

  6. TransgenderJen says:

    This eye-sore, has the shittiest welds I have ever seen in my life. I would be amazed if it would hold 100lbs. My neighbor has a John Deere 318 and the rear lift on it can pick about 600lbs.

  7. DrLoser wrote, “You claim that a form based upon triangulation is but one of many. I claim that it is but one of two.”

    Well, by finite element analysis one can break down any planar cross-section into triangles, but a tube is much more stiff than a strap of the same mass/unit-length. Anything with lots of symmetry can be very stiff: triangles, circles, squares all provide stiffening in a fabrication. Conversely, one can take a form that is pretty stiff and cut out of it symmetric or smooth openings with only a small reduction in stiffness. Hence corrugated cardboard is rather stiff with few triangles. Even children know this. I once assigned Grade 5 students the task of building a construction-paper bridge between two desks. There were some remarkably flimsy bridges built but two were great. One used a bed of rolled paper tubes and the other, triangular corrugations. Both held up a modest pile of books.

  8. DrLoser says:

    And yet, Robert, we are both clearly circling around the very important stipulation that you, yourself, brought up.

    Certain essential parts of structural engineering require “stiff forms.” You claim that a form based upon triangulation is but one of many. I claim that it is but one of two.

    Do, please, provide your own personal example of an instance of the “non-triangulated” many.

    I suspect you can guess my only other plausible example. Bonus points for that guess.

  9. DrLoser says:

    Triangles are one of many stiff forms. A lot of really good construction is made with just closed tubes and few if any triangles. Here’s a building being made with very few triangles.

    Try again, Robert. Your cited steel frame sky scraper clearly features triangulating struts. The important question, of course, is whether those struts can carry compressive load, in-plane buckling load, out-of-plane buckling load, and potentially (see for example the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster) torsional loads.

    A simple matter of structural engineering, really. You don’t necessarily need to rely on “strict” triangulation — and believe me, I have come up with some creative and yet solid engineering alternatives — but you do need to get an acceptable equivalent built in.

    Now, I don’t really care much whether you kill yourself when your badly-constructed non-triangulated frame collapses on you. I do care. I do care, really. But it’s your choice.

    Just don’t go foisting this ignorant crap on other people, please.

  10. oiaohm wrote, “a fixed jib frame is kind of this halfway tool works ok in shed works ok in field neither place absolutely perfect”.

    My principle intended use works well with my design. All I have to do is position the two legs on either side of a load (engine/rock/whatever), attach the chain-hoist and go to it. My cart is narrow so it fits between the legs as well. On concrete, I can use pipes as rollers underneath to improve mobility but out in the field it’s carry and shift, so weight is limiting. I did consider buying a frame but there was none so compact and serviceable. Besides, I’m a welder and I have hundreds of pieces of this T-bar scrap… The price of welding rods has risen over the years so I may have to buy direct from China again to continue welding but if I buy a ton it will last longer than I do.

  11. oiaohm says:

    My design ran hard into the limit of what I could easily move around unassisted. No kidding.
    I did some back damage at one point and run into a hard limit of 20Kg per bit for a while. The 48KG tripod I could move in multi-steps back then. I do also have the tripod gantry from as well I don’t use it with fencing or pump work. Tripod gantry 5 legs.

    Most of your standard gantry are not use on open field. Its hard enough to straight a normal jib designs without longer base to attempt to get all squared away. Tripod gantry if you need a gantry in the field makes way more sense than any form of standard gantry due to indvidual leg adjustments to suit the uneven ground. Then it comes a question does my job need more than a tripod if it does not why waste all that extra setup time.

    Same thing with a Jib frame vs Tripod. The jib frame can be lot lower setup time than the tripod due to less adjustments and just using feet packing. Jib frame only have the tower to avoid where the tripod you have 3 legs when in use. The tripod with the good ones that break into bit can be simpler to get into some horible positions than a Jib frame. Tripod has more adjustment for uneven ground.

    Matt Stuart says inserting fence posts you have to presume uneven ground no flat surface. So what Robert has built is a option. The other is tripod and at worse Tripod gantry. The big problem with a Tripod gantry can be setup time from the individual 8 parts you can need to pin together and the 5 individual leg adjustments then attempt to get the gantry part level. So a gantry in the field is fairly much when everything else either does not work or will not be suitable and then it not your workshop style gantry. Using a workshop style gantry on soil can get you hurt.

    Socrates the Wise suggested is totally the wrong thing because it the wrong machine completely. Of course using a tripod or a tripod gantry in a shed with sold floors is a pure pain for consumed space and movement restrictions.

    So a fixed jib frame is kind of this halfway tool works ok in shed works ok in field neither place absolutely perfect. In the field there is nothing that is absolutely perfect but there are many things that are absolutely not suitable due to risks like standard shed gantries.

  12. oiaohm wrote, “Both Jib and Gantry solutions suit different job requirements.”

    My design ran hard into the limit of what I could easily move around unassisted. No kidding. If I tip it over and lift it by the balance point of the vertical beam, I can just carry this thing where I need it. Better, I carry it to the cart or shove the cart under it and let more steel carry the load. This thing has been to the top of TLW’s berms, across the driveway, inside the garage, and all over the yard. Can’t do that with something weighing much more without a crew and I can’t have that apparently. The kids have lives of their own… Since I don’t want the weight to increase, I won’t add any more bracing, just so I can still manage the thing.

  13. oiaohm says:

    Socrates the Wise has photos of what is know as a Gantry.
    Roberts frame is a fixed jib.
    Basically Roberts is basically above simplified even more.

    Failing that, use something that will transmit the loads downwards in a suitably triangulated fashion.
    DrLoser that is very uncommon to find in any jib. Most load will be transmitted down by straight frame in a jib and depend on what you choose as the tower to be suitable strong enough. Only the joints will be triangulated if at all.

    Both Jib and Gantry solutions suit different job requirements. It where can you afford to have blocked access and the size of the lifting frame. Gantry in most cases is larger than a Jib solution. So the consumed storage space when not in use a Gantry can be worse as well.

    Matt Stuart problem with bore pumps and the like you can be facing a lack of space problem so make Gantry not suitable. So this then comes build a suitable strong enough jib with either a C or H footing. H footing is if you expect it to snap it connection to load and not going be far enough away that it does not matter.

    Again without more details on space and operating requirements suggesting a frame type can be foolish.

    Two common solutions for pumps and post placing are jib and tripod. Both have a very compact foot print. Tripod requires a better ground surface and done hinder more directions of performing work.

    A-frame and Gantry are normally too baulky for the work requirements.

    DrLoser basically you are clueless as well.

    Recommend Matt Stuart with bore pump at least consider placing tripod feet(concrete block in ground with connection mountings and re-enforcing ) and a tripod that connect to those feet would be sane.

    I have done fencing using a tripod, tracker backed jib and frame based jib as well. A well made tripod packs up the smallest to transport not always the lightest. I have had a aluminium tripod that weight 48Kg assembled (breakable into 4 parts so quite light when disassembled with heaviest bits about 15Kg) Lifts 1000kg no issues. For fencing in really award places I have found that tripod really useful. I have found the tripod to have it downside due to foot sinks due to load being more focus than a tractor jib or a H/C base frame jib. Please note steel tripods can get quite heavy even dissembled.

    So fencing I can end up with 3 different lifting solutions and in fact need all 3.

  14. DrLoser wrote, “transmit the loads downwards in a suitably triangulated fashion”.

    Triangles are one of many stiff forms. A lot of really good construction is made with just closed tubes and few if any triangles. Here’s a building being made with very few triangles. The builder is relying on the stiffness of the members and the rigidity of the connections. My connections were just fine. My members were a little too weak for my design.

  15. DrLoser wrote, “not properly triangulated, then”.

    Nonsense. It lifts heavy weights with no problem, just not the 1000 pounds I’d planned. That’s not because of the design but the components that I used. They are not solid T-bars but angles spot-welded. I added intermittent welds but the members were still not stiff enough because of the perforations. If you note the heavy cross-piece supporting the vertical beam, you will see it is massive but it still twists because the members are not as stiff as solid pieces would be.

    In the old days, I would buy good structural steel from a salvage yard in Winnipeg, but it’s long closed and the local steel mill makes strap and angle but not pipe/tube. Rather than shop around, I just used my dwindling supply of scrap. I might as well use it for something. Other projects I’ve built have stood up well. The swing at the old homestead still worked after 20 years in the sun and the wind although it had a little rust. One of those uprights did crack where the perforations were. They were a stress-multiplier. Still it provided many hours of enjoyment. The hoist served us well too. The custom-made lintels I made for the old homestead gave no problem at all. They were arched angles… I tripped the breaker a few times making those of ½ inch plate flame-cut.

  16. DrLoser says:

    Oh, and for the benefit of Matt: use an A-Frame if at all possible.

    Failing that, use something that will transmit the loads downwards in a suitably triangulated fashion. As long as you construct something which, in a planar view, has two load transfers towards the ground, you are probably OK.

    (But make sure you have no eccentricity, or at least none to speak of. Bending moments are hell.)

  17. DrLoser says:

    In use, two weak spots were identified: the horizontal beam and the connection between the vertical beam and the legs.

    So, not properly triangulated, then.

    It’s a simple little item of basic structural engineering, Robert. You should feel ashamed of yourself for offering your incompetent advice to the likes of Matt Stuart.

    That’s the problem with the Internet, really. Some poor schlub out there asks a perfectly decent question of his or her search engine, and ends up getting totally bogus advice from amateurs like you.

  18. DrLoser wrote, “Are you sure that your frame is properly triangulated?”

    In use, two weak spots were identified: the horizontal beam and the connection between the vertical beam and the legs. I relied on the stiffness of the horizontal beam and that connection for torque. It was fine for 90% of TLW’s rocks. We hired a tractor to lift those. No welds broke because I’m a decent welder.

    Besides the issues with the frame, the cart could not haul those heaviest loads without sinking too far into the soil, especially where it was disturbed. So, the larger wheels of the tractor were required. We improvised a bit by running the cart over lumber to distribute the weight but it was slow and awkward. TLW is quite happy with her rocks. That’s all that matters now. I will use the frame this year to assemble my alternator-cart. I will also hoist the old Sears tiller with it to separate the engine from the scrap-iron. That will free more space in my workshop.

  19. DrLoser says:

    Looking back on my previous approval of this frame, Robert, I suspect I was wrong in terms of structural engineering.
    Are you sure that your frame is properly triangulated?

  20. Socrates wrote, “This is a better hoist”.

    Well, it’s very useful on concrete. Mine is an “off-road” vehicle. I use it in combination with a sturdy cart with large diameter steel wheels.

  21. Socrates the Wise says:

    This is a better hoist, I did not take a picture of the rolling chain hoist, but the center beam does lift up as well.

  22. Matt Stuart wrote, “Why did you angle back.”

    I didn’t. The post is more or less vertical and the beam is cantilevered to keep the weight inside the legs/feet for stability. We did manage to bend it a little because a couple of the rocks were just too heavy but that’s my fault, ignoring the weakness of the members. The steel has perforations and we didn’t weigh the rocks beforehand. It’s still plenty strong enough to lift our 8-18HP engines or the odd giant pumpkin. The rocks are now in their final resting place but I still keep making things…

  23. Matt Stuart says:

    Hey Robert,

    Why did you angle back. I am building a frame to insert fence posts and lift a bore pump and have set the forward lean at 75 Deg. I have a further tilt forward of 35 Deg to shift the load out from the base. I have a hollow base plate and diagonal straps to support the upright. I’ll post a picture when complete.

  24. DrLoser says:

    No, seriously, Robert. That’s a fine frame.

    But I do recommend that you add at least a back foot to it. It doesn’t have to be permanent — you could weld a hinge off the bottom girder, and use a convenient bolt to anchor the hinge.

    The webbing struts on the X-Y axis are basically optional.

  25. DrLoser says:

    Looks a bit wonky to me.

    I’d have soldered a back foot onto it to avoid the out-of-plane unloaded imbalance you describe; even a short stub should do the trick. I’d possibly want some webbing struts on the bottom chords, on the assumption that the bottom corners are going to be subjected to rotational tension/compression during normal usage.

    Then again, that’s just structural engineering gleaned from designing roofing software. I’m sure welding steel is totally different.

    I hope you shopped around for the rust-proofing bit, though. I think you can get a litre of the stuff for about $10 … it looks like you might have splashed out, with no good reason, on something that gives your rig a bit of completely unnecessary colour.

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