Sunday, June 5, 2022

(Very) Small Engine Hoist or Similar

I have a problem that one of my very clever readers doubtless knows how to solve.  I have two telescopes that sit on mounts in dovetails.  On rare occasion (although not as rarely as I would like) I need to remove the telescope from the mount.   

Neither scope is heavy.  Each is about 25 pounds which I can easily lift. But they are about 6 feet long and a little clumsy because of it.  Two people can do it safely but a bit clumsily.  Think of Dr. Doolitle's PushMe-PullYou.  Being on a dovetail plate means you slide it out of the saddle while holding on for dear (optical) life.  Likely neither telescope would handle well the shock of falling several feet onto the concrete.

I can do this with another person's help, usually my wife.  I would like a solution that I can do myself.   My thought is something like an engine hoist for a very light engine.  

1. Put some sort of easy to open buckle through the telescope mounting rings.
2. Loosen the dovetail clamps completely so I do not need to slide it out of the saddle.   

3.Lift the scope up and out of the saddle.

4. Move mount out from under telescope.

5. Get a good grip on the tube and release the belts.

Ideally, because this need not carry a heavy object, something that can be disassembled into relatively light components for transport to a dark sky or star party site for assembly and disassembly at site.

There is something that tells me that some other high value fragile object needs this sort of special handling but if I cannot name it, I cannot search for it.  Deer hoist or perhaps coyote hoist?  What game animal weighs 30 pounds?  Ideally, free standing and capable of lifting the scope from four feet to perhaps five feet.

Kayak Hoist is good for 125 pounds and cheap.  As several have pointed out, to what do you attach it if not inside?  Having some build a framework is one solution.  Do

es anyone make what is effectively a frame to which the hoist can be attached, hopefully easy disassembly?  It could be entirely held together by bolts.  It only needs a six foot ceiling.

This rolling storage unit might be a way to mount the hoist but it needs to be wider.  Like this!  But I suspect the bottom shelf cannot be removed.

I just noticed the roof beam of the shed is thick enough that 30 pounds would not load it.


  1. I'm thinking a decent welder could make a basic rolling frame fairly quickly and using moderate materials given the light weight to be lifted. Wouldn't even have to sketch it on a napkin.

  2. A deer hoist is a simple block and tackle arrangement - and it will handle considerably more than 30 lbs, so you are covered there. If you do this mate/demate operation in the garage or some place with exposed overhead beams/joists, tie off to that?

    If you want a semi-portable device, build a jib boom on a small wheeled platform. Knock it together with 2x4's and the deer lift, or small block and tackle (a piece of 1/4" rope, and a pulley from the BigBox store of choice should provide sufficient mechanical advantage).

    To secure to the tube, a sling made of either a piece of webbing, or a piece of rope, with sufficiently large loops in each end to tie off with a girth hitch, and hoist from there - you can approximate via iteration the balance point.

    Good luck!

  3. You could easily knock together your frame from PVC - slide fit *should* be tight enough to hold but you could put bolts through to pin it for safety. Just need a big U on the ground, one upright, and one horizontal to hang from. Probably only need to pin the joints at the top.

  4. Bike Lift Hoist for Garage Storage - Heavy Duty Ceiling Mountain Bicycle Hanger Pulley Rack 100 lb Capacity

  5. My vote goes to something with pulleys on a frame. Fidel's Jib boom on a wheeled platform reminds me of the portable engine hoist my brother rented to change his engine out on his Frankenstein's monster of a Scirocco.
    Figure out what else you might want to lift with a hoist , and engineer something out of wood, with something like three pulleys and lots of rope, also selected for the maximum weight. If you're building something that will take up space in your garage, you want something versatile.

  6. Boat winch, ratchet strap, come-along, etc. etc. Attach to your aforementioned roof beam or even a large step ladder. You can also put hoists like that on a right-angle boom mounted to swivel in a socket in the floor or on a heavy rolling platform as previously mentioned. You could acquire a rolling clothes rack that consists of two vertical ends with an overhead rack if it would be high enough, or have something like that made up out of metal conduit. Or you can always buy the fold-up cherry picker style engine hoist. Bit of overkill.