Kevin shows the mobile gantry crane he built for a water sculpture commission. He had 2 stones that didn’t have flat bottoms, so he built the gantry crane to enable him to hold the stones in place as he created the metal part of the water sculpture.

But then he thought, “If I make this gantry crane just right, I could help myself out when it comes time to deliver this piece!”

Before Kevin even ordered the steel to make the gantry crane, one of the specifications he needed was the inside measurement of his 14-foot trailer, because if he made it right, he could take the gantry crane for the installation. Kevin realized that, if he raised the crossbar brace in each gantry crane leg, he could clear the height of the fountain’s 2 stones.

When it came time to deliver the water sculpture, Kevin was able to pick up both stones with the gantry crane. He turned it sideways in the driveway, and backed up his trailer right under the gantry crane. Kevin Caron had 1 stone on each side – the gantry crane is 10 feet wide, plenty big enough for the trailer.

He picked up each stone and put it into the trailer. He then took the gantry crane around the back of the trailer and right up the ramp and over the stones. He tied it down in the trailer and went to the location where he reversed the process to unload the fountain.

The gantry cranes you see in big factories are huge. The I-beam Kevin used for his mobile version is tiny compared to the ones in the rafters of the big factories, with hooks the size of his head or bigger. They move on their own trolley tracks, which can span a building from side to side and move from one end of the building to the other.

How did Kevin build this gantry crane? “That was the easy part,” he said. He first went to the metal yard and explained that he wanted to build a gantry crane. He asked, “How big of an I-beam do I need?” They asked, “How much weight are you picking up?”

He knew he could get 2 1-ton chainfalls, so that gave him a starting point. Kevin knew he was going to pick up 2 tons at the most. Still, he knew to overengineer it. He got an I-beam that will handle 4 tons. For his uprights, he used 3″ x 3″ box tubing with at least a 3/8″ wall, maybe a little thicker. It’s heavy! Kevin got enough steel box to make the uprights, with a smaller steel box for the leg cross braces. He got the trollies the chainfalls move on at either Grainger or at MSC.

Kevin realized, too, that he has to be able to get the gantry crane out the door. He measured to the top of the rolling garage door and made the crane about 2″ shorter.

To fabricate the gantry crane, he laid out the 2 legs on his lift table and tacked it together solidly. Kevin went to the local caster store and said, “I’m building a crane. I need something that’ll stand up to about 3 or 4 tons.” Two of the casters have locks on them to keep the crane from moving when you want to park it.

Once the the legs were in place, Kevin laid the I-beam on its side on the lift table. He picked up the lift table until the legs leveled out horizontally with their feet up in the air. He tacked the I-beam to the legs, adding a heavy gusset between each leg and the I-beam to take the strain off the weld itself and put it into the I-beam and the 3″ box tubing.

The gantry crane quickly became known as “Elmer Gantry” – look him up.

Hopefully you found this as uplifting as Kevin does. He appreciates you watching – hit that “like” button and click on an ad or two you find interesting to help pay for the videos.

Before you head out, stick around for a moment to see him play footsie ….

See this video now ….