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Easy-Open "Pit door"
By making use of a counterweight I was able to come up with an easy-open "pit door" for the outside entrance to the basement at our daughter's place. The door is made from 1/8-in. thick deck plate and was too heavy for her to lift. I didn't want lag screws, pulleys, etc. screwed into the house, so I built a counterweight system as shown. It takes all the work out of lifting the door.
  The system is simple and balances the door perfectly. A length of 3/16-in. cable connects to the door and to a pipe that's set 3 ft. in the ground with concrete around the base. There's a 20-in. long, 4-in. dia. shaft weighing 78 lbs. inside the pipe with a pulley welded on top of it. The cable runs up through a slot in the pipe and over a pulley attached to the cap on the pipe, and then under the pulley on top of the counterweight.
  My only cost was $12 for the 3/16-in. cable. (Jerry Stevenson, 56680 295th Ave., Chariton, Iowa 50049)

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #1