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NH4me 04-22-2012 04:44 PM

cabin pulley/hoist/lift?
I am an islander who is getting tired of lugging groceries and water to the cabin from the dock, about 30 steps up and 50 feet back from the shore. Some kind of overhead pulley/hoist/lift type thing attached to a tree on the lower end and cabin above seems like it would work. We can conceptualize but don't know exactly how to go about designing it. Has anyone built anything that sounds similar?

Rattlesnake Guy 04-22-2012 05:30 PM

I have been designing ours for years. Keep buying parts and then changing my mind. Last year the plan was a fixed heavy cable with a cart that hung from it and a smaller cable that pulled it up. I have the cable, pulley, big motor and gear box etc.

Current idea is to use a pair of electric wheelchair motors with rubber wheels to drive a cart up a winding pressure treated monorail. (Around and behind the giant rocks on our hill. The biggest challenge for us is to minimize the visual impact of the project from the land and from the water.

I keep thinking that someday I am really going to wish I made it capable of carrying my large frame up the stairs when my knees are no longer up to the task. The monorail seems to be the most likely way to achieve something I would actually get on.

camp guy 04-22-2012 06:50 PM

Cabin pulley/hoist/lift
It seems to me that this question has come up before, although I can't remember when. I lived in Winter Harbor for a number of years, and I used to take guests for a slow boat ride around Rattlesnake Island so they could see the ingenuity necessary to live successfully on an island. It seems to me that there are several "lifts" of one type of another employed by RIers to get stuff from their dock to their home and I would be willing to bet that if you quietly pulled into one of these docks and asked a few questions you would get some good suggestions. Over the years I found that island residents were a very friendly bunch anxious to help. Give it a try. Good luck.

Jumbie98 04-22-2012 09:49 PM

Pulley, hoist etc
The camp I purchased came with a trolley type dumbwaiter that works on a wooden track with the pulley at the base of the wooden car. It has the switch up top with a small landing works great..especially for those cases of water and other beverages!:):)

NH4me 04-23-2012 08:54 AM

Thanks to both for the suggestions. We really wanted to try an overhead hanging type of solution rather than a track since there is still another flight of steps up to the cabin once the land levels off - that's when the groceries seem the heaviest. Scouting out the Rattlesnake innovations sounds like a plan though!

codeman671 04-23-2012 09:28 AM

I recently received a dock catalog from Dock Doctors in Vermont. They offered a manufactured hillside system. Pretty slick.

Webbsatwinni 04-24-2012 08:23 AM

We were thinking of this last year but never completed the research. Thinking ahead for the future and many years at the lake, someday those stairs will be too much.

Here are some of the sites we were using for ideas.


This one has a few collected in one place:

Rattlesnake Gal 04-24-2012 09:46 AM

Rattlesnake Island Transporters
From the 2008 Transport question on steep lot:


Originally Posted by Rattlesnake Gal (Post 71865)
Some Rattlesnake Islanders instituted a little Yankee ingenuity to transport items up to their cottages.

Click here for supersized photo
(I tried very hard to not draw any attention to the cottages themselves, only the slide. Hopefully no one will have issue with me!)

dpg 04-24-2012 12:07 PM

probably just easier to move. :D:eek:

jmen24 04-24-2012 01:42 PM

This may be one of those situations that "the simple solution" may be your best option.

String a cable between the low point and a point beyond where you want the trolly to end. String it good and tight and use quality loop splice binders at each end. Also may sure the cable is high enough to clear your trolly basket hanging below throughout its course of travel with weight in it.

Have the hardware store assemble all the parts to make a zip line style trolly. Needs to be able to handle weight, but not speed.

At your upper cable attachment point bind an ATV winch around the tree with left over cable, attaching the ends to the supplied winch mounting plate. It would not need to be mounted on a solid platform, because the tension of even the empty trolly will keep it all taught. It does need to have a sturdy loop around your mounting point.

The ATV winch is powered by a battery and a solar powered trickle charger will keep the battery gassed up for when you need it.

Coming up with a trolly that will work for what you need will be the hardest item to come up with, but I am sure there are many options out there or just assemble a box out of aluminum angle iron (available at a harware store) and use some cable to go from each upper corner to your zip line pully. Fill in the shell of your trolly box with 3/8" plywood.

Attach the hook on the winch cable to the zip line pulling and then you have a power up and down trolly system. Some of the winches even have a wireless remote to activate the winch.

List of items:

-100 feet of 1/4" or 5/16" cable
-End loop connectors
-Laundry line pully ends or purpose built zip line trolly
-Aluminum angle iron with related bolts to assemble the trolly cube (remember to put 2 diagonal braces on two of the sides and one on the bottom to keep its shape)
-ATV winch with a long enough cable to meet your needs
-a good deep cycle battery
-a solar trickle charger for the battery
-3/8" sheet of plywood

Most everything could be purchased a well stocked hardware store and the entire project will likely cost considerably less than any other type of system.

Please note that there are some calculations that should be used to make sure that your system will support the weight of the trolly and a google search will provide you with most of them. This system would be good for groceries or similar. You would want to make sure that your upper end connection is firmly mounted to something, don't just screw a lag into the corner board of your house. The upper connection will carry all the weight of the trolley added to a tension stress from the cable. This will make the stress at the upper connection greater than the loaded weight of the trolley alone.

Take the time to think out each part of the system and it should be a closed system (nothing can remove itself without the aid of tools) Depending on the total weight of the system and what you want to carry in the trolley for weight, may require you to use rated parts (not available at your local hardware store).

Use google images and search for "overhead cable trolley system" and adjust your search from there. Starting with a picture and then looking for information is often faster than aimlessly clicking on search page results.

Good luck

jrc 04-24-2012 07:06 PM

I'm sure it goes without saying but a gizmo to pull groceries is one thing but something to haul people is a whole different matter. Even the funiculars pictured have broken bones and crushed fingers written all over them.

Be careful!

That said, being an engineer, it would be blast to build one of these.

NoBozo 04-24-2012 08:42 PM

We have a new 1.5 MW Wind Turbine in town. I has a "Lift"" inside the tower to lift stuff (tools, oil for the gearbox, etc) up to the top for servicing the machinery. There is also a ladder inside for the personnel to use to climb to the top. (185 feet)

Someone referred to the "Lift" as an "Elevator". He was chastised because.... IF... IT Was an "Elevator" it would have to be routinely inspected as such by the STATE and meet certain criteria for "Elevators". Just sayin.....NB

VitaBene 04-24-2012 09:43 PM


Originally Posted by codeman671 (Post 180491)
I recently received a dock catalog from Dock Doctors in Vermont. They offered a manufactured hillside system. Pretty slick.

I bet it is not cheap but unless you are real (I mean really good) good at McGivering stuff, something like this is perfect for most!

Did you get any pricing?

NH4me 04-24-2012 10:16 PM

It sounds as if you have hit the nail on the head, jmen24. We aren't looking to move anything but groceries and maybe 5 gallon water bottles. Our steps aren't that daunting and have to be good exercise, but the arms feel about a foot longer than usual after hauling up provisions for a week of company. Thanks for the list of items and general idea of how to assemble - should keep my husband and some of our engineer-type friends and visitors busy for quite some time!

codeman671 04-29-2012 08:37 AM


Originally Posted by VitaBene (Post 180620)
I bet it is not cheap but unless you are real (I mean really good) good at McGivering stuff, something like this is perfect for most!

Did you get any pricing?

No, I just saw it in a catalog and passed the link along. I am on a flat lot in Gilford so I don't need such a setup. Coincidently since my post we are looking at another property that has a LOT of stairs to the water and I may investigate it.

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