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Thread: A Little Winch For The Shop

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    Don42's Tools

    A Little Winch For The Shop

    A SMALL WINCH FOR SHOP USE

    Rather than make yet another video of machines making chips and welders making sparks, I decided to write and show photographs. If you saw my videography ability you would thank me for not sharing it.

    There are lots of very reasonably priced lifting devices available for loads from ¼ ton and up. I want a smaller one to safely handle loads up to 150 lb: big lathe chucks, mill vises, rotary tables, welding gas cylinders, etc. The 150 lb is because the things I handle frequently in my shop are all less than 150 lb. I want small and lightweight.

    It must incorporate a Weston brake for safe load handling, as is commonly found in chain hoists and boat lifts.
    https://nanopdf.com/download/the-wes...-operation_pdf
    The load will not fall if the operator releases the crank or hand wheel; it will just stay put. That feature greatly reduces the user strain in operations like mounting a big lathe chuck at arm’s length. When shoulders are aching and back is screaming from holding that big 4-jaw at arm’s length trying to get the pegs of the chuck into the holes on the D1-4 lathe spindle without crushing your knuckles on the ways – relax! The little winch will bear the weight for you while you swing it and tease it into place.

    My light-duty design is simple. I use only one friction material disc, no gears and no splines. The single friction plate (friction material) goes between the friction disc with hex nut and the ratchet disc.

    This device weighs less than 2 pounds and is about the size of a baseball. It relies simply on a small diameter spool being operated by a larger-diameter crank. I used 1” wide .043” thick nylon webbing rather than wire rope because webbing is much more flexible and “stacks” nicely on the spool without jamming up. The webbing I used is rated at 1415 lb breaking strength.
    https://www.sailrite.com/1-Black-Lig...-Nylon-Webbing

    The various parts are shown in the photo below:
    A Little Winch For The Shop-finished-winch-parts2.jpg

    This photo omits the load end hook and the web centering guide that I made later. The load hook is held captive to the webbing by many stitches of ordinary carpet thread using a vintage Singer 301 sewing machine.

    In operation: when the hex drive is rotated clockwise, if the spool doesn’t turn then the threads on the axle draw the drive disc tighter to the friction disc between it and the ratchet disc – but the ratchet disc is free to turn clockwise so the axle and spool can also rotate clockwise. The thrust bearings insure free rotation of the spool when the axle is in tension, keeping the spool and the ratchet disc from scraping against the frame.

    If there is no torque applied to the drive disc, any downward movement of the load rotates the spool CCW which draw the axle threads tighter, increasing compression of the friction material and hence friction with the ratchet wheel – but the ratchet wheel is prevented by the pawl from rotating CCW. “Squeeze” on the friction disc increases as the screw tightens, increasing friction between friction plate and ratchet disc which cannot turn CCW. When friction torque meets or exceeds load torque, rotation stops. External drive torque is necessary to reach this point, but once it is reached there is zero load torque on the drive nut so no further restraint is necessary.

    Rotating the hex drive CCW “unscrews” the drive disc, reducing friction between drive disc and ratchet disc so the spool can rotate CCW until the threads on the axle again increase friction between drive disc and ratchet disc, which can only rotate clockwise, enough to again stop further CCW rotation of the axle and spool. All credit to Mr. Weston who invented this scheme.

    The idea of the ¾” hex drive is so the device can be driven with a variety of devices including open end wrench, ratchet socket wrench, a socket driven by cordless (or corded) drill or a hand wheel with a ¾” socket. The mechanical advantage varies with how much webbing is on the spool. Assuming an 8” radius on the driver, as a ratchet wrench with an 8” handle: with webbing fully deployed mechanical advantage is 19.6 : 1, load moves 2.5” with each revolution and 7.65 lbf of force on the crank is enough to lift 150 lb. With 9 feet of webbing on the spool, the OD is about 2.34” so radius of 1.17” giving a mechanical advantage of 6.84:1 so 7.35” of load movement per revolution (or 0.021” per degree of rotation), with 22 lb of force on the 8” crank enough to lift 150 lb. That’s about 180 in-lbf of torque, well within the capability of most cordless drills.

    Here it is assembled and ready to go to work.

    A Little Winch For The Shop-winch_done_1.jpg
    The green steel frame is 2.75” wide x 3” high. It is a weldment made of 1/8” mild steel. All unpainted parts are zinc-plated. The spool drum was made from ordinary black iron pipe with OD of 0.814”. The sides of the spool are 2.68” dia 14-gage (0.078”) steel. The thrust bearings were found on EBay, ten for about $10. The axle is .500” dia, threaded ½-20 on one end. The drive plate (rightmost part) is comprised of a 3/16” thick steel disc brazed to a bit of ¾” hex stock drilled and tapped ½-20. I wanted more length and better threads than are found on hardware store nuts.

    The gray friction disc is made of friction material from McMaster Carr. I cut it out freehand with an x-acto knife. The ratchet disc is made of 3/16” HRS. The teeth were cut on a Bridgeport mill using an indexing head and a dovetail cutter. There are 24 teeth 15 degrees apart so a spin index would have sufficed.

    The bronze bushings have 0.501” holes and 0.6255 OD, pressed into 0.6250 reamed holes in the frame. The holes look red in the photo because I used a red primer when I painted the frame. After applying green epoxy paint I had to ream out the holes so the bronze bushings would go in.

    The bushing that goes on the left has a flange to keep it captive in its hole. The bushing on the right needs no flange because thrust bearings on each side of it keep it captive to the frame. Upon assembly, the axle is pinned to the spool with a roll pin that joins them both axially and rotationally. The webbing is then attached to the spool.

    The top (green) hanger hook is free to swivel. I made that a bolt-on rather than just welding to the frame so I can easily change it later if I want to. The pawl was sketched in a 3D solid modeling program (Alibre) and then made freehand of 3/16” HRS (same as the ratchet disc) with belt sander, die grinder and file. The pawl axle is 3/16” dia stainless rod. The little brass washer is the same thickness as the thrust bearing so the pawl will be aligned with the ratchet disc. The little E-clip fits a groove in the pawl axle that’s hard to see in the photo.

    The pawl spring is shop-made of .032” music wire using a very simple shop-made tool.

    I will have ceiling-mounted anchors (lag screw eyes) above the lathe, mill and welding gas cylinders. This could also be the working part of a toolpost-mounted crane like Skyhook, which goes for nearly $1000.
    https://tinyurl.com/yhsws567
    The Skyhook is rated for 500 lb, far more than I need.

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  2. The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to Don42 For This Useful Post:

    bruce.desertrat (May 24, 2022), cogentia (May 23, 2022), Corm (May 24, 2022), DIYer (May 21, 2022), Frank S (May 20, 2022), Jon (May 20, 2022), NortonDommi (May 26, 2022), Sleykin (May 29, 2022), sossol (May 23, 2022), tooly (May 24, 2022), WmRMeyers (May 21, 2022)

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    Another nice non videoed build and well explained
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
    When I have to paint I use KBS products

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    Thanks Don42! We've added your Shop Winch to our Jacks and Lifts category,
    as well as to your builder page: Don42's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:




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    Quote Originally Posted by Don42 View Post
    A SMALL WINCH FOR SHOP USE

    Rather than make yet another video of machines making chips and welders making sparks, I decided to write and show photographs. If you saw my videography ability you would thank me for not sharing it.

    There are lots of very reasonably priced lifting devices available for loads from ¼ ton and up. I want a smaller one to safely handle loads up to 150 lb: big lathe chucks, mill vises, rotary tables, welding gas cylinders, etc. The 150 lb is because the things I handle frequently in my shop are all less than 150 lb. I want small and lightweight.

    It must incorporate a Weston brake for safe load handling, as is commonly found in chain hoists and boat lifts.
    https://nanopdf.com/download/the-wes...-operation_pdf
    The load will not fall if the operator releases the crank or hand wheel; it will just stay put. That feature greatly reduces the user strain in operations like mounting a big lathe chuck at arm’s length. When shoulders are aching and back is screaming from holding that big 4-jaw at arm’s length trying to get the pegs of the chuck into the holes on the D1-4 lathe spindle without crushing your knuckles on the ways – relax! The little winch will bear the weight for you while you swing it and tease it into place.

    My light-duty design is simple. I use only one friction material disc, no gears and no splines. The single friction plate (friction material) goes between the friction disc with hex nut and the ratchet disc.

    This device weighs less than 2 pounds and is about the size of a baseball. It relies simply on a small diameter spool being operated by a larger-diameter crank. I used 1” wide .043” thick nylon webbing rather than wire rope because webbing is much more flexible and “stacks” nicely on the spool without jamming up. The webbing I used is rated at 1415 lb breaking strength.
    https://www.sailrite.com/1-Black-Lig...-Nylon-Webbing

    The various parts are shown in the photo below:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	finished winch parts2.jpg 
Views:	311 
Size:	2.56 MB 
ID:	42756

    This photo omits the load end hook and the web centering guide that I made later. The load hook is held captive to the webbing by many stitches of ordinary carpet thread using a vintage Singer 301 sewing machine.

    In operation: when the hex drive is rotated clockwise, if the spool doesn’t turn then the threads on the axle draw the drive disc tighter to the friction disc between it and the ratchet disc – but the ratchet disc is free to turn clockwise so the axle and spool can also rotate clockwise. The thrust bearings insure free rotation of the spool when the axle is in tension, keeping the spool and the ratchet disc from scraping against the frame.

    If there is no torque applied to the drive disc, any downward movement of the load rotates the spool CCW which draw the axle threads tighter, increasing compression of the friction material and hence friction with the ratchet wheel – but the ratchet wheel is prevented by the pawl from rotating CCW. “Squeeze” on the friction disc increases as the screw tightens, increasing friction between friction plate and ratchet disc which cannot turn CCW. When friction torque meets or exceeds load torque, rotation stops. External drive torque is necessary to reach this point, but once it is reached there is zero load torque on the drive nut so no further restraint is necessary.

    Rotating the hex drive CCW “unscrews” the drive disc, reducing friction between drive disc and ratchet disc so the spool can rotate CCW until the threads on the axle again increase friction between drive disc and ratchet disc, which can only rotate clockwise, enough to again stop further CCW rotation of the axle and spool. All credit to Mr. Weston who invented this scheme.

    The idea of the ¾” hex drive is so the device can be driven with a variety of devices including open end wrench, ratchet socket wrench, a socket driven by cordless (or corded) drill or a hand wheel with a ¾” socket. The mechanical advantage varies with how much webbing is on the spool. Assuming an 8” radius on the driver, as a ratchet wrench with an 8” handle: with webbing fully deployed mechanical advantage is 19.6 : 1, load moves 2.5” with each revolution and 7.65 lbf of force on the crank is enough to lift 150 lb. With 9 feet of webbing on the spool, the OD is about 2.34” so radius of 1.17” giving a mechanical advantage of 6.84:1 so 7.35” of load movement per revolution (or 0.021” per degree of rotation), with 22 lb of force on the 8” crank enough to lift 150 lb. That’s about 180 in-lbf of torque, well within the capability of most cordless drills.

    Here it is assembled and ready to go to work.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	winch_done_1.jpg 
Views:	175 
Size:	1.05 MB 
ID:	42755
    The green steel frame is 2.75” wide x 3” high. It is a weldment made of 1/8” mild steel. All unpainted parts are zinc-plated. The spool drum was made from ordinary black iron pipe with OD of 0.814”. The sides of the spool are 2.68” dia 14-gage (0.078”) steel. The thrust bearings were found on EBay, ten for about $10. The axle is .500” dia, threaded ½-20 on one end. The drive plate (rightmost part) is comprised of a 3/16” thick steel disc brazed to a bit of ¾” hex stock drilled and tapped ½-20. I wanted more length and better threads than are found on hardware store nuts.

    The gray friction disc is made of friction material from McMaster Carr. I cut it out freehand with an x-acto knife. The ratchet disc is made of 3/16” HRS. The teeth were cut on a Bridgeport mill using an indexing head and a dovetail cutter. There are 24 teeth 15 degrees apart so a spin index would have sufficed.

    The bronze bushings have 0.501” holes and 0.6255 OD, pressed into 0.6250 reamed holes in the frame. The holes look red in the photo because I used a red primer when I painted the frame. After applying green epoxy paint I had to ream out the holes so the bronze bushings would go in.

    The bushing that goes on the left has a flange to keep it captive in its hole. The bushing on the right needs no flange because thrust bearings on each side of it keep it captive to the frame. Upon assembly, the axle is pinned to the spool with a roll pin that joins them both axially and rotationally. The webbing is then attached to the spool.

    The top (green) hanger hook is free to swivel. I made that a bolt-on rather than just welding to the frame so I can easily change it later if I want to. The pawl was sketched in a 3D solid modeling program (Alibre) and then made freehand of 3/16” HRS (same as the ratchet disc) with belt sander, die grinder and file. The pawl axle is 3/16” dia stainless rod. The little brass washer is the same thickness as the thrust bearing so the pawl will be aligned with the ratchet disc. The little E-clip fits a groove in the pawl axle that’s hard to see in the photo.

    The pawl spring is shop-made of .032” music wire using a very simple shop-made tool.

    I will have ceiling-mounted anchors (lag screw eyes) above the lathe, mill and welding gas cylinders. This could also be the working part of a toolpost-mounted crane like Skyhook, which goes for nearly $1000.
    https://tinyurl.com/yhsws567
    The Skyhook is rated for 500 lb, far more than I need.
    I suspect that the winch, as pictured and described, is unsafe. Safety of any readers is my primary concern here.

    It looks like the ratchet disc is free to rotate on the shaft. In other words, the interface is ID on OD, without splines or any other mechanical anti-rotation features.

    I think that is a critically flawed bastardization of the referenced Weston Brake. The ratchet disc must be splined (or equivalent) to the shaft.

    All readers please keep all items, of any value, clear from below the load when using that device. Better yet, buy a small strap winch such as below.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PVBP5DD...NsaWNrPXRydWU=
    Last edited by rayh__; May 23, 2022 at 10:18 PM.

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    rayh, you may not have fully understood the full function of his build as it was explained #1 the max load is 150 lbs #2 the direction of the winding on the strap has a natural tendency to try and tighten the nut and a handle if someone is holding on to it. in order for the load to be raised the handle would first have to tighten against the friction free floating friction plate and the free floating ratchet wheel the spool axle is pinned to the spool, if these were not present than the nut would have to tighten to the last thread.
    to lower he merely rotates the handle in reverse if he stops rotating the handle the spool will retighten. If the nut were to be locked on the spool without any additional devices to hold the load then he would simply have to hold onto the handle to keep the load suspended, the one problem here could possibly occur if he happened to be using a socket mounted on a ratchet because a ratchet would be free to turn in the same direction.. but a box end wrench would be just fine.
    The only fallacy in his build as designed would be the possibility of slapping a mounted handle to release the amount of holding friction against the ratchet plate and the plate welded to the nut allowing free spin this would result in a free fall. however since there is no mounted handle to the hit in this fashion it is unlikely for this to ever happen you couldn't grip the nut by hand and try to loosen it allowing a free fall.
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
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    Don42 states "It must incorporate a Weston brake for safe load handling, as is commonly found in chain hoists and boat lifts."

    Frank S, I understand Don42's little winch. Without having the ratchet disc keyed to the spool/shaft, it is relying on the friction in threads vs the friction in the clutch to hold the load. I wouldn't and I believe, for a lifting device, it is unsafe to do so. It certainly is not a Weston brake.

    I've stated my safety alert, as I feel compelled to do. Lots of good advice on the internet and lots of bad advice.
    I've been pretty clear and specific about my criticism and choose to leave it at that. The readers are free to make their own choices.

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    rayh_, you clearly do not understand my little winch. Please read the description again. You may be correct in asserting that it is "not a Weston brake" per Mr. Weston's design but I credit Mr. Weston for conceiving the basic idea of a device comprised of a ratchet, a friction clutch, and a threaded axle that increases compression (and therefore friction) in the clutch when a load-bearing spool rotates in response to load more than the threaded actuating member rotates.

    It does indeed rely on friction in the clutch to hold the load. It does not rely on friction in the threads. If anything, it is best to minimize the friction in the threads. If I were to make another one (and I might) I'd use coarser pitch threads, possibly Acme, perhaps with a lubricated bronze nut. A ball screw would be even better but obviously overkill.

    Please bear in mind that I have the actual device to observe rather than merely a flawed understanding of my perhaps inadequate description upon which to base published opinion and advice to others.

    In actuality, even if I can see daylight between the friction disc and friction plate (which wouldn't happen in practice), it still stops a falling load within a couple of inches because the rotational inertia of the nut and friction plate cause them to move toward and eventually engage the friction disc. When that happens, the load stops. That's not conjecture: I just now tried that with the actual device to see what might happen. This device is all about shop safety for this senior.

    My Hewitt 2000-lb boat lift has a Weston brake in which the ratchet disc is restrained only by a pawl -- no splines. Every boat lift I've ever seen works that way.

    The simple strap winch with switchable ratchet you recommend is definitely dangerous. I incorporated a Weston brake in my shop device because I once had a finger smashed by a runaway crank on exactly that type of winch on a boat trailer. I sustained a compound fracture requiring orthopedic reconstruction surgery and 2 days in hospital. Couldn't play the violin after that -- but then, I couldn't before either so no loss there.

    I feel compelled to note that your "safety alert" to others is incorrect and hazardous. As you note, " lots of good advice on the internet and lots of bad advice". QED I'll skip the photo of my strap-winch-busted finger that never healed quite straight. I can still type OK and even play my piano badly but enjoyably.

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    I have put forward my concerns regarding the claims of Don42.
    We seem to have a difference of opinion. I can live with that.
    My conscience is clear.
    Be safe out there.

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    Don42's Tools
    Opinion is no substitute for observation of actual performance, but thank you for noting that your critique is merely unsubstantiated opinion. You are certainly welcome to offer whatever opinions you might entertain.

    If your conscience is OK with the dangerous advice you have posted, it shouldn't be. Simple strap winches as you advocated, having no means for preventing runaway cranks when the ratchet is reversed to pay out strap under load, can and have caused serious injury. Attention, rayh conscience: That was bad advice.

    Be safe out there indeed!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don42 View Post
    Opinion is no substitute for observation of actual performance, but thank you for noting that your critique is merely unsubstantiated opinion. You are certainly welcome to offer whatever opinions you might entertain.

    If your conscience is OK with the dangerous advice you have posted, it shouldn't be. Simple strap winches as you advocated, having no means for preventing runaway cranks when the ratchet is reversed to pay out strap under load, can and have caused serious injury. Attention, rayh conscience: That was bad advice.


    Be safe out there indeed!
    The danger involved with using "simple strap wrenches" is primarily caused by operator error. You have already provided sufficient evidence of your competence in that regard.

    PS: Thanks for keeping this thread alive so more people will have a chance to see it.
    Last edited by rayh__; May 26, 2022 at 09:18 AM. Reason: Added PS

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