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The Freight Elevator Project
Since I can't carry Locomotives in and out of my no-outside-access basement, one key piece of equipment will be a lifting mechanism I am building. I have fabricated my own freight elevator for the stairwell opening. H. Graham has completed the engineering, provided 16 pages of drawings. Project start: November 2010. I have completed the mechanical fabrication Winter 2011. The power is in, the controls are in and operational. The staircase stand is now finished. Modifications to the lifting stand is complete November 2011. The lifting stand has made a trial lift to the top without issue. December 2011: Fabricated the jumper track for the top of the stairs to bridge the stand to the garagee. First solo lift, load out, load in and lower, December 2011. February 2012: Cover for electrical controls completed. March 2012: First full load trial lift completed, issues found. The tension on the chains was so great the posts shifted against the anchors, introducing excessive chain slack, even with redesigned chain guards. The posts will have to be laterally braced. April 2012 -- horizontal post braces installed. May 2012 -- The first full-load lift of the locomotive resulted in one nut seizing on the screw, jamming the system. July 2012 - Four new nuts and a one replacement screw have been fabricated. August 2012 - the lift is reassembled. September 2012 - Success! Lifted the locomotive and Bill and myself out of the basement without issue.

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 2-Sept-2012 Success! This afternoon we brought the locomotive out of the basement for the first time.  The lift performed flawlessly without any sign of strain or binding.  28-Jul-2012 Bill and I spend a Saturday in the stop away from the triple-digit heat we are having and re-assemble the lift with the new nuts. Each screw has also been well slathered in  28-Jul-2012 The finished nuts ready for assembly. They look like T-nuts for a mill far bigger than mine!  28-Jul-2012 Indicating the nut in the vise to finish machining the tab and enlarge the bracket bolt holes to be a tiny bit bigger.  24-Jul-2012 Brian Miller has finished tapping the nuts and sent them back to me!  9-July-2012  The new cast-iron nuts machined to size and square all around, drilled for the 1-1/8  2-July-2012 Squaring up cast iron blocks with my new shell mill.  The blocks will be the new replacement nuts for the elevator. The day before I used the bandsaw to rough cut the blocks, eight sawing operations (two per block) in total. It took 20 minutes per cut using a fine (12 tooth) blade at medium speed because the proper rough cut blade (8 teeth) broke at the start of the first cut. :(  25-June-2012 Checking the fit of the key and sprocket.  Good to go!  25-June-2012 Using a woodruff key cutter to mill a slot in the shaft.  18-June-2012  I welded the threaded rod and stub shaft together in a previous step.  After it cooled Bill re-chucked the assembly, centered it in the chuck and turned the now extended shaft down to size.  18-June-2012 The stub shaft has been screwed into the end of the threaded rod and is ready to be welded together.  18-June-2012 Bill has turned and internally threaded the end of the screw in a previous operation.  Here he has turned a stub shaft down for threading (on the small stub) and beveled the shaft.  11-June-2012 While Bill works on the replacement screw in the big lathe, I begin hogging the bar of cast iron down to size to make replacement nuts.  The first nuts were steel, which is the same material as the screws and we believe contributed to the sieze condition.  Aparently I did not use the feed and speed calculator correctly for my shell mill. I tore one of the cemeted carbide inserts out of the holder, shutting me down until I can get a replacement. maybe the pretty golden chip sparks or the pile of blue cast iron chips should have tipped me off that something was wrong before I broke the tooth.  11-June-2012 The gear train is set up for threading.  11-June-2012 Centering the replacement screw in the lathe for machining  11-June-2012 the replacement screw had been procured and we begin the process of machining it for the lift. Using the big lathe again, st start by centering the screw in the four-jaw chuck using an indicator with a large button back.  25-May-2012 Metal shavings sticking out on the screw damaged by the siezed nut.  We will replace both the screw and the nut.  25-May-2012 The reason for lift failure: the lifting nut on screw #1 galled and then siezed on the screw.  25-May-2012 Here's as far as we got lifting the engine out for the first time before the drive train halted.  25-May-2012  Since the installation of the lally columns tensioning the chains, the drive system is working much better.  This evening Bill and I start bringing the tender and engine upstairs for a first fire-up.  The tender (and Bill and I as passengers) came up fine, although the motor bogged down at one point.

We started to bring the big Mikado engine up and everything was running smooth and quiet until the motor stalled halfway up without warning.  The drive system seemed jammed, but we could not figure out where. Taking the drive chain off showed neither the motor or worm drive was jammed.  Taking a large Stilson wrench to the drive found it extremely stiff and hard to turn.  25-Mar-2012 The big engine fills the opening as the lifting stand is prepared.  Hitting the  25-Mar-2012 Preparing for the first full-load test lifting the big Mikado engine.  25-Mar-2012 Going up! An uneventfull ride to the top brings the crab out of the basement.  The new chain guides seem to work.  25-Mar-2012 Keeping a close eye on moving parts as the engine is lifted.  25-Mar-2012 The little Crab locomotive is on the lifting stand to come out of the basement.  9-Mar-2012 Another small but important sheet metal job: fabricating the chain guard. I threw a coat of some leftover red metal paint on and installed it.   4-Mar-2012 After folding, priming and painting, I spend a couple hours installing the switches and lettering the buttons. The electrical controls cover is completed! I labeled it  26-Feb-2012 Sheet metal cover for the electrical controls is laid out.  3-Dec-2011 One little problem: this chain guide slipped, wrapped around the sprocket before jamming and stalling the motor.  3-Dec-2011 Stairs out of the way, stand in position and read lifting beam and lifting bracket in position.  3-Dec-2011 The Crab at elevator top ready to roll outside across the jumper track.  Sunday, December 4, 2011


 One Last Fun Run 



Saturday turned out to be an incredibly nice day, sunny and warm (62).  Tim had called me earlier in the week saying we should run out at the track, our friend Alan W. from TN was going to visit and that he was going to bring the 1  3-Nov-2011 Using a large chunk of well-used metal, I've drilled a 51/64  2-Nov-2011 Using the rear lifting bracket as a drill guide to pilot the bushing holes in the legs of the stand.  I use the motorcycle lift to position the bracket, and later to lean against it for leverage since my feet kept sliding on the floor while drilling!  29-Oct-2011 The finished rear lifting bracket in paint. Update: Discovered the upper bushings were too high on the stand legs, had to drill two more holes and weld bushings in place a few days later.  19-Oct-2011 First trial lift of the stand and it is a success!!  The modified stand legs clear the chain drive and the shorter length fits into the lifting beams opening.  19-Oct-2011 First trial lift of the stand, rear view.  16-Oct-2011 Modifications nearly complete, and finished in gloss black, the lifting stand goes back into the basement.  I still have to weld the lifting pad onto the front and drill bolt holes for the real lifting pad bracket, but I have to position the stand over the lifting beams to mark their locations.  9-Oct-2011 Tickled with a paint brush, both stands roll over onto their backs.  I actually spent last weekend cutting, grinding and re-welding the lifting stand to it's now shorter dimensions.  And installed foot brakes on both units. I also got a coat of rusty metal primer on both.  22-June-2011 An unforscene problem: the wheels are underneath the drive chain.  When the cart is lifted, it will hit the chain on the way up and down.  Looks like I will have to modify the cart design a bit.  22-June-2011. Uh Houston, we have a problem! Looks like the Field Engineer forgot to tell the draftsman to adjust the drawings for the lifting cart. The end of the cart is supposed to be _between_ the lifting beam (to the left), not straddling it. We're going to have to do some cutting and grinding to modify....  22-June-2011 Measuring the gap between the stand and the top of the stairs with a plumb line. It is better than I calculated!  Hmmm, here's a little problem.  The wheels are hitting the chain guide supports before the cart is fully in position.  22-June-2011 Wheels under the stairs, Rolled out of the stairwell. That worked well!  22-June-2011 Maybe a little crude right now, but an old sock on the end of the stairwell handrail seemed like the best 'watch out!' warning flag at the time.  The lower limit switch installed!  Lower Limit switch and mounting bracket fabricated. The switch was recycled from old computer/printer assemblies.  I start welding the vertical legs for the staircase  The upstairs control panel mounted, wired in and operational!  I am thrilled with the look!  22-May-2011 The upstairs control panel is mounted.  The finished faceplate with buttons afixed.  22-May-2011 Cutting a 7/8  20-May-2011 The Basement control buttons are mounted and operational!  17-May-2011 - Holes drilled - buttons installed! The lower control box is ready to be mounted.  17-May-2011 I needed to put a 7/8  17-May-2011 The big mill was tied up with a part for the Mikado locomotive, so I use the mill-drill to bore a 1.087 hole in the control box I picked up. The 'cancel/stop' button will go here.  28-Apr-2011 With a clamp holding the blackberry overhead, I use my phone to make a quick video of the bench wired control circuit working.  28-Apr-2011 This setup may not be what Blackberry had in mind when the designed their device.  25-April-2011 Control wiriing in progress on the bench.  It looks a bit messy now, but I have a plan!  The TECO FM50 AC Drive controller.  Pretty nifty, 110vac15amp input, 220vac-3-phase output. Service disconnect switch on left.  2-Apr-2011 Proposed wiring schematic for the controls.  19-Feb-2011 Clearance check.  The keystock is close, but not touching the support post.  here you can see how they sit on top of the lifting nut, bearing the load.  19-Feb-2011 The final piece of fabrication on the lifting beams - welding 1/2
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