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First Of Its Kind Farm Shop Crane
"It's the first portable crane built specifically for farm shops," says Grant Hanson about his "expandable" shop crane that'll remove entire tractor axle assemblies with-out removing wheels for brake or final drive work and also reaches up high enough to lift off cabs.
Hanson is a traveling farm mechanic who makes on-farm service calls with a converted medical ambulance (Vol. 14, No. 5). He tows the crane behind. "There's almost no job it can't handle. It'll cut hours off many jobs because the base can be expanded or contracted to work in or around tractor wheels, making complicated jobs easier than ever to perform."
The crane has a telescoping mast that'll lift off any tractor cab without problem. The base is narrow enough to fit between the rear wheels of a tractor set up for 30-in. rows, but can be expanded wide enough to straddle the wheels from the side to lift off an axle assembly. A pair of wheels on the mast end make it easy to steer the crane by hand. A powered "assist" wheel helps move heavy loads.
"Most shop cranes sit idle collecting dust because all of the cranes on the market are manufactured for automotive or truck use," says Hanson. "They work great for lifting engines out of tractors, but only 20% of the service work on tractors involves engines.
The other 80% is done on the transmission or final drive assembly. Unfortunately, all of the other cranes are built with a one-piece solid-welded frame of fixed width that can't straddle the tractor's rear wheels. My crane has two 4 by 6-in., 18-in. long expandable beams. By removing two pins the beams can be slid out to widen the distance between the legs. Fully expanded, the crane can straddle a 20.8 by 42 tire without touching it.
"When the telescoping mast is fully raised the end of the boom can reach 16 ft. high, yet when the mast is at its lowest point the boom will fit under most doorways. Also, the steerable mast end makes it easy to move the crane. Other cranes have castor wheels that sometimes make them difficult to steer. My crane has no castor wheels. I use my left hand to push the mast while I steer the wheels with a jack handle in my right hand."
A chain runs between the left and right wheel, working like a tie rod to keep both wheels moving in the same direction. To steer the crane Hanson inserts the bottle jack handle into a tube that extends above the right wheel.
An "assist" wheel that mounts back by the mast normally rests 1/2 in. off the floor. Hanson turns a screw that forces the wheel down onto the floor. He then uses an electric drill to drive a shaft in a gearbox that powers the wheel. "It works great for the final inches of movement that are necessary during engine splining or final drive installation. Reversing the drill turns the assist wheel in the opposite direction so I can back up the crane."
The crane is equipped with an 8-ton bottle jack. A sprocket on the mast acts as a locking device and also is used to "telescope" the mast.
Hanson says he's considering custom building his prototype crane for $2,000 to $3,000.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Grant Hanson, 200 14th Ave. N.E., Glenwood, Minn. 56334 (ph 612 634-4681).

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1991 - Volume #15, Issue #1