How to Build Your Own Mini Porch Lift in 6 Easy Steps
Do you have an elderly relative who struggles to get their shopping up their porch steps? Or perhaps you just need a handy little lift to do some of the heavy lifting?
Then this great little DIY lift by James Biggar will definitely do the trick.
But, before we get stuck in we will need some things first.
Tools and equipment needed
- 2 foot (610mm) by 2 foot (610mm) 3mm thick mild steel plate
- 3-inch (76mm) by 3-inch (76mm) mild steel tubing
- 1-inch (25mm) by 1-inch (25mm) mild steel tubing
- L-bar steel (of various lengths)
- Pulley block wheels
- RM2-2RS Bearings
- 120V electrical winch and controls
- Wood planks
- 30/8ZZ Angular contact shielded ball bearings
- Metal builder's square
- Plasma cutter
- Angle grinder
- Welding gear and safety equipment
- Stepper drill bit
- Hex bolts (with washers and locking nuts)
- Various nuts and bolts
Step 1: Cut the main shaft steel tubing to size
First up, grab your 3-inch (76mm) by 3-inch (76mm) mild steel tubing and measure out a 60-inch (152.4 cm) length. Mark off straight lines to the top and sides using a builder's square.
Next, cut the mild steel tubing using a plasma cutter or other piece of suitable equipment. Whichever you choose, ensure you wear the proper safety gear and take precautions.
Next, take your angle grinder and strip the metal bare along one edge. This is to prepare it for the next stage.
Next, grab a length of angled steel, and weld to the prepared steel tubing edge. You want to weld the shaped steel to one side, rather than encasing the corner.
Then use some files, or your angle grinder, to clean up and smooth down any excess from the welding. Rinse and repeat for one of the adjacent edges.
Next, mark out a small rectangle to the top edge of steel tubing. Cut out using your plasma cutter. These will be used to expose the pulley wheels later.
Do the same for the opposing end of the same face of the steel tubing.
Step 2: Prepare the pulley wheel mountings
Next, grab your 1-inch (25mm) by 1-inch (25mm) mild steel tubing and cut two equally sized, small lengths. Bore a hole through the center of one face using a stepper drill bit, and another towards the end of the adjacent face.
Next, bore a screw thread through the drill hole using a tapping screw. These will be used to hold the pulley wheels to the main steel tubing.
Drill and tap matching screw holes on either side of the rectangular cutouts of the larger steel tubing.
Next, take one of your pulley wheels and bolt to the lengths of smaller steel tubing you previously prepared. Attach the mountings into the small rectangular cutouts you made earlier in the larger steel tubing.
Use hex bolts with matching nuts and washers. These are used to feed the electrical winch cable once the lift is installed and raise/lower the lift platform.
Step 3: Create the lift platform cradle
Take the steel sheet, and bore a series of holes. These will be used as guides for cutting out the shapes needed from the sheet later.
Then, mark out and cut using your plasma torch an angled piece as shown below. Rinse and repeat for another piece of steel.
Cut another piece of steel sheet, and cut out a trapezoid shape, as shown in the image below. Weld the two previous pieces of steel to it.
Next, mark out, and also cut out using your plasma torch, and x-shaped piece of steel. This will be used to reinforce the previous pieces of the steel sheets.
Weld into place, as needed.
Cut and weld some other smaller pieces of steel sheet, as shown below.
Next, take your RM2-2RS bearings, matching hex bolts, nuts, and washers, and attach them to two cut lengths of smaller steel tubing. Bolt to the base of the steel sheet cradle you previously created.
Note that the grooved bearings will need to run along with the angled steel runners you previously welded to the main lift shaft.
Align the bearings with the runners, and adjust the bolts as needed. The bucket will need to move smoothly along the length of the main lift runners.
Step 4: Create and attach the steel frame for the lift platform
Next, take two more lengths of angled steel, and cut some v-shapes into their very centers.
Bend the angled steel to form right angles and weld them into place. Match up the two corned angle steel strips and weld them together to form a square frame.
Create another shorter rectangular steel frame, and weld it to the center of the first, larger square frame.
Next, take your steel sheet cradle, and drill a series of holes into the sides using your stepper drill bit. Take your ball bearings and secure them in the cradle, as shown below.
Next, take some more grooved bearings, and your steel frame assembly, and secure them also to the main steel sheet cradle.
Adjust as needed so that the steel frame can slide smoothly along the grooved bearings.
Step 5: Paint the main steel assembly and complete the platform
Next, paint all the parts of the lift to the desired color. You can either hand paint using exterior proof paint or use spray cans.
As always, ensure you either wear respiratory protective gear or paint in a well-ventilated space. Ideally, do this outside.
Once the paint is dry, you can assemble the lift completely. Now, grab your lengths of timber, and secure them to the lift as shown below.
Rinse and repeat until all lengths have been installed.
Step 6: Attach/install the winch cable and secure the lift into place
With that, the porch lift is effectively complete. Now you will need to attach a winch and cabling to the lift.
With that, the entire lift can now be installed in its final location. Siting of the winch, cabling, and controls will be dependent on the location, so plan accordingly.
In this case, the winch has been mounted underneath the porch deck.
And that, as they say, is a wrap. With that out of the way, you are probably already eyeing up a new project.
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