Lifting and Handling Aids

As models become larger (and their owners become older!), is it increasingly difficult to handle models in the home workshop, and move them about for loading into a vehicle or onto the workbench. Apart from sheer brute force effort, and often less-than-ideal lifting conditions and angles, some form of handling and lifting assistance is usually required. Occupation health and safety issues are also involved - even at home.

The most basic is a fixed-height trolley on which the model sits for moving about the workshop, usually with the trolley top level with the workbench. And ramps, shorter or longer, to accommodate any height differences between trolley and benches or vehicle.

But some form of lifting assistance, and a means of easily positioning the trolley is very useful. These can be either self-made, or modified from readily available items.

Portable lifter

At left is a typical commercial hydraulic lifter on castors, which is usable immediately with a suitable sling or frame with tracks attached to the hook. Available from machinery houses for $200-400. One advantage of using one of these commercially made lifters is they are readily disassembled for transporting the lifter iteself.

Scissor lift tableMotor cycle lifter

Another option is a typical commercial hydraulic scissor lift table on castors. With basic modifications to put the pushbar/handle on the side, and putting a track on the table top, this makes a very cost effective lifter-transporter. Available from machinery houses for $200-500, depending on lifting capacity (200-500kg). Another variant (possibly heavier duty and easier to modify) is what is called a motor cycle lifter [right].


Several people have made purpose built lifters, and these are published on various web sites:-

Scissor lifter

This lifter is described by Jim O'Connor on his Discover Live Steam web site.
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Portable lifter

Juhani Saloranta has constructed a very practical loco lifter based on a commercial hydraulic lifter design.
[Click picture for the link in a new window]

Dual scissor lifter

Chuck Hackett's engine stand.
[Click picture for the link in a new window]


There are also several commercial suppliers of loco lifts.
in the UK:-
Jim Vass
J.B. Lift Tables