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Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

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  • Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

    Hey, this is my first post on this forum, and I've got an oddball problem. My wife and I are rehabbing an old house, and we added a 12x30 deck on the back. There was originally a dormer over the basement door, which is 12' from the corner of the back of the structure. I built a 12'x12' section, left a 32" opening for the basement door, then another 12x16'4" section, who's end is enclosed by the family room addition to the house. I then built a hinged movable section between them, with two wooden braces which swing on bolts, and are cut on the bottoms to fit on to two stationary lag bolts to hold it up when I need in or out. Let me say that the basement is more for storage due to it's low head space and dampness. (Old house).
    This section is liftable by anyone with decent strength, but we bought this house to sell, and there will be issues with anyone who is smaller, older or feeble. I'm looking for some sort of motor that I can connect to the bridge and either the foundation wall or a stationary section of the deck, and wire it to a switch that would raise or lower it. Does anyone have any sources of these kinds of motors or lifts, or any other ideas? I appreciate any and all input on this. Thanks!
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  • #2
    Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

    Somewhere I saw an article or blog on a way to do this. Showed a neat method for installing a door / raiseable platform similar to what you mention. Too bad my memories going so fast.

    I'll look back and re-post if I find it.

    Bobby

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    • #3
      Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

      try the jlc magazine .( the jounal of light) I think it might have been in there. the guy used awinch motor but he built the frame out of steel. i think thats where it was . I recently saw that in that last few months. That is the only other magaizne iget besides this old house and this magazine
      good luck
      c4 chief

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      • #4
        Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

        Mike Gabriel, a deck builder in Ohio, wrote an article in the July/August issue of PDB about a winch-powered hatch. You can also check out a Youtube video of the hatch in action.
        Laurie Elden
        Managing Editor, Professional Deck Builder

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        • #5
          Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

          Wow....perfect solution to a big problem...gonna have to remember that one!
          Kelly Hanna
          Art Deck-O

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          • #6
            Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

            Thanks for the info, all! Great site and really good visuals and explanations! But I think I'd like to try something a little different, such as AC instead of DC, which would be lower maintainance, and easier since I have electric access right inside the basement door. Also, I was thinking more of a direct drive gear-driven type of set up. The thought of cable failure (ouch!), not to mention the lubrication of pulleys and keeping everything cleared of 'stuff' that might get bound up in it, would be a little high maintainence for some.
            My bridge section is 32"x 6'6", with a 2x10" perimeter fascia board backed up by a 2x8" that ties into a 2x8" lengthwise board down the center for support of the 2x6" deck boards. Then (2) 2x4"'s down each edge that set down on two more 2x4's that are attached to the the stationary 2x10"s of the two larger deck sections. The deck support runners mentioned above are screwed into another 2x8" at the rear of the bridge, creating a rectangular frame for the deck boards, and two galvanized gate hinges on the rear. I have a swing gate balluster section that swings away on 2 hinges that will attach to the 4x4 post on one side of the opening to allow the bridge to rise, and keep the inspector happy. But something more of a ram type or threaded gear set up is what I'm aiming for. No doubt, the one shown is a great idea, but a lot of things that could cause problems. I can imagine a kid getting their fingers in those cable pulleys. I'm an Ironworker, and crane cables and winch cables are unforgiving.
            Last edited by showme; 09-16-2009, 10:03 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

              Sounds like the solution you want has yet to be invented...let us know what you come up with.

              For the current solution, that's a supervision issue. That said I don't know of too many kids who would stick their hands in a pulley. All you would need is a simple lock to prevent unauthorized use.
              Kelly Hanna
              Art Deck-O

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              • #8
                Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

                I'm checking with Grainger's catalog, and a few other places. I'm also thinking of the same concept of a powered auto window regulator. The main thing would be a reversible AC motor, geared low for torque and speed.
                It's not just the kids, but the plants, pets and dirt and rust. I just don't want anymore exposed moving parts than necessary. I believe the cable\pulley system is ok, but there's too much exposed to the weather for me. I want mine as "direct-drive" as possible.
                As far as the kid thing goes, better safe than sorry. No one intentionally would do it, but grown working men who are aware of the dangers accidentally get fingers caught in the sheave of a crane or chain fall all the time. To me, that would be like leaving a bare electric line open. Mainly, though, it's just too many possible problems. As soon as I come up with something, I'll post it. Lee

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                • #9
                  Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

                  Yeah I hear ya. Today's kids don't hang out outside and are mostly clueless to danger....not to mention some adults!

                  Can't wait to see what you come up with.
                  Kelly Hanna
                  Art Deck-O

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                  • #10
                    Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

                    Originally posted by showme View Post
                    I'm checking with Grainger's catalog, and a few other places. I'm also thinking of the same concept of a powered auto window regulator. The main thing would be a reversible AC motor, geared low for torque and speed.
                    It sounds like you're describing a bascule bridge, with a couple of sector gears driven by a motor. If it's counterweighted correctly, the motor shouldn't really need much torque.

                    Although this sounds like a lot of fun, I think the risk of failure causing injury is too high. In my jurisdiction, this would require a permit & inspection, which probably means an engineered (sealed) design.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

                      I doubt any city inspector would have an example to go by or a code on such a structure to begin with. Most are completely clueless even to the rules they are supposed to know.
                      Kelly Hanna
                      Art Deck-O

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                      • #12
                        Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

                        Instead of an electric motor, you might consider adding a couple of pneumatic cylinders to assist in the lifting of the deck section - not unlike a hatchback on a car.
                        Trick is to figure out how much force you need - enough to make it easy to lift, but not so much that you need to use a catch to hold it down and no so little that you're exerting too much effort to raise it.

                        I seem to remember reading something in either JLC or FHB recently (in last 1/2 year) on someone who did something very similar inside a home. The author even went to one of my favorite supply houses for the cylinders (www.mcmaster.com).

                        Good luck.
                        ocdrigging@sbcglobal.net

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                        • #13
                          Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

                          I don't know if it's the article you're referring to, but there was an article in the March 2009 issue of JLC titled Hidden Hatch that described a hatch built above a stairway inside a house. The architect used paper honeycomb packing material as a core and a pair of gas springs to open and shut the hatch. The paper core would obviously present some challenges outside, but the design is pretty interesting nonetheless.
                          Laurie Elden
                          Managing Editor, Professional Deck Builder

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Need a draw bridge or lift gate motor for a section of my deck

                            FWIW, I think adding counter weights without any motors would be the safest/easiest and most maintenance free.

                            Instead of the counterweights found on a bascule bridge, what about a counterweight design similar to that used in elevators or in old double-hung window sashes?
                            http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/project_...rd/replac1.jpg


                            In your application, perhaps mount some pulleys underneath the above handrailing with a weight on each side that in the closed position is suspended immediately under the deck.

                            As the deck is lifted, the weights drop to aid lifting the deck. (Hard to tell distances in the photos, but you might need to excavate two small 6"-12" holes immediately below each weight in order to provide sufficent verticle lift. Also, you could box around the pulleys to keep the weather out and make it more visually appealing.)

                            Just my 2 cents,
                            Jim

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