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Thread: Modification to Bluebird Engine Hoist

  1. #1
    Supporting Member tmate3's Avatar
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    Jan 2021
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    Modification to Bluebird Engine Hoist

    I have a Bluebird 1,200 lb hoist with a very long boom and only one hook position. The legs of the hoist are straight and 37" apart on the inside.
    The only problem with lifting my incoming 2,000 lb Bridgeport mill off the pallet is the lifting capacity. The frame and boom are sufficiently sturdy (American made - 1/4" wall).

    I made some calculations based on measurements of other hoists with multiple hook locations. The amount of increase in lifting capacity from a relatively small decrease in boom length is remarkable.

    If I move my hook location only 15" inward, the lifting capacity is theoretically tripled. Although it has a 3 ton jack, it should be enough for 2,000 lbs. I would through bolt a 5/8" industrial lifting eye to accommodate the hook. I should still have enough height given the 99" maximum hook height with the stock configuration.

    Is there anything I'm overlooking?

    Modification to Bluebird Engine Hoist-bluebird-lift-points-sm.jpg
    Modification to Bluebird Engine Hoist-engine-hoist-lift-points.jpg

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    Last edited by tmate3; Apr 11, 2021 at 04:35 PM.

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    EnginePaul (Apr 15, 2021)

  3. #2
    katy's Avatar
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    Is there anything I'm overlooking?
    Drilling through the lifting beam will weaken it. Suggest that you make something to go around the beam that would be adjustable for position.
    Maybe a piece of 2-1/2" square tube w/1/4" wall?

  4. #3
    Unkle Fuzzy's Avatar
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    Mar 2017
    Near Monkeytown, USA
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    I wouldn't trust the outriggers...not much for bracing there.

    Why not spend a few bucks and rent a hoist for a day rather than modify yours, just to get it off of the pallet. Be careful of the spread between the outriggers on a rented lift. My lift will pick up my mill be at the extension it will do so, there is very little clearance between the mill and the outriggers.

    In my experience, an a smooth floor with 2 people pushing, a simple bump with a crowbar will break it free from the floor and allow the machine to be slid to whatever position you want it in.

  5. #4
    Supporting Member TrickieDickie's Avatar
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    Jun 2018
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    Three of us with some simple cribbing of 2x4s, wrecking bar and muscle moved my knee mill into position from the shipping palette

  6. #5
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    Compare the Bluebird to the one on the right.... (1) You have no side bracing on the vertical post... To me, that is a little scary. (2 The one on the right has a supplementary brace on the top to provide additional strength to keep the lifting arm from bending. (3) Since the one on the right is adjustable, that means the additional length inside the outer shell makes it stiffer, and therefore stronger.
    If the Bluebird were mine, and I was attempting to do what you have in mind; I would make a sleeve that would fit over the lifting arm, and attach a hook underneath the sleeve. You could then slide it to whatever position you desired, and hold it in that position with a chain attached to the top of the sleeve, and running back to the top of the vertical post, where it is secured by a bolt.
    OR, just rent a hoist for a day..........better safe than sorry.......
    Good Luck

  7. #6
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    old kodger's Tools
    I have an "old" style engine crane, from the photo, exactly the same as your Bluebird. it already has three lifting positions drilled into the inner sliding portion of the boom. you're right the wall thickness on those cranes is high.
    As to bracing on the column and the outriggers, never found it necessary, they are extraordinarily strong.
    With regard to the comparison between the "bluebird" and the other crane, you must remember that the other crane is cheap Chinese design to reduce material and thereby cost. When the material hasn't got the balls, you must give it a walking stick.
    I'm not in the workshop right now but later on today I'll take pics of my machine for your comparison.

  8. #7
    Supporting Member mwmkravchenko's Avatar
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    Perth Ontario Canada
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    I have the lift pictured on the right hand side and have lifted 2000lbs at full extension without a hickup a few times. But it has an 8 ton (rated) jack. I agree with the outriggers the weight is sitting on the rolling frame.

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