temporary pulley lift
Friday, October 26 2007
Today I built and installed a pulley-based temporary lift system to allow me (perhaps with Gretchen's help) to easily lift the bulky eighty pounds of solar panel that needs to find its way ten vertical feet from the laboratory deck to the solar deck. I built the system around a horizontal twelve foot long two by six. On one end I clamped it to the multi-antenna rotator mast (a 1.25 inch steel pipe) that rises from the northeast corner of the solar deck, and at the other to a temporary post erected from the solar deck's northwest corner (I'd first dismantled the FM transmitter antenna that had been there, which doesn't really seem to add much to the transmitter range). Onto this horizontal beam I mounted a small cursor device I'd made (by cursor, I'm referring to the cursor found on a traditional slide rule). The cursor had a U-shaped cross section with casters mounted inside the U. When upside down on the beam, the casters allowed the cursor to roll smoothly back and forth. From the cursor I could hang a number of pulleys, depending on what mechanical advantage I desired. I'd strapped the cursor with perforated steel so that any pulleys would have more than enough anchorage to lift considerable payloads. The idea was that I could hoist my payload upward using pulleys and then slide it over to where it needed to be, perhaps to the gap in the solar deck railing where the access ladder usually resides.
After building the lift system, I gave the panel a few test lifts measured only in inches to see what sort of advantage the pulleys were giving me. It was considerable! I could have, with the strength of one arm, lifted the panel all the way had I wanted to. At this point, though, I became paranoid about hoisting something so heavy and fragile supported only by one quarter inch thick steel hook. What if it should have a defect and snap? (I've known things like this to happen!) So I put off the lift for later. Besides, it was getting dark and a rain had begun to fall.
Here you can see the temporary lift system (the only wood not painted dark brown) in the context of the laboratory deck (left and lower) and the solar deck (right and above the roof). Notice the new panel in position to be lifted. By this point I'd decided not to use the cursor's sliding function, which would have required some metal to keep its halves separated so as to keep it from pinching the support rail. To the far right in this picture, near that chimney (which is actually about twenty feet away) is the part of the solar deck annex where the new panel will eventually be mounted, if I don't destroy it trying to get it there.
The lift mechanism viewed from the laboratory deck. I'd pushed that lamp down to get it out of the way in preparation for the lift.
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