pulley system for garage

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by velmo, Jan 25, 2003.

  1. velmo

    velmo New Member

    anyone have experience with a small garage and using some pulleys to lift the layout (8x4) up and out of the way?
  2. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    I've seen it done. I once visited a large layout that was suspended in a 3-car garage. And there have been articles about this approach in the MR press over the years.

    I personally would only use a garage for a layout if I wasn't going to put cars in it --- so I could seal the edges of the garage door. In other words, make a room out of it.

    And if that was the case, there would be no reason to suspend the layout on pulleys.

    But to continue to use the garage for cars, lawn mowers, etc., is a bad way to go. Garages are dirty, dusty, bug and rodent-infested places. This is far worse than "not ideal" for a layout. It just about makes it impossible to have any fun. You spend so much time trying to keep the track clean --- not to mention keeping the scenery looking like anything decent, that you won't have much time to run trains.

    Why not suspend it over a bedroom or family room. At least it will stay reasonably clean.

  3. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    Velmo, I have to go along with the fact of dirt dust and grit on a horizontal layout. I would suggest a (4X8) ?? plywood hinged to fold up against the wall. Use 1X8, or whatever, so all buildings, scenery, and such could stay in permanent position. All necessary would be to remove trains and loose parts, fold it up, and virtually dust and dirt free till next time

  4. boppa

    boppa Member

    just a thought-why not have a `hood' that when the layout is lifted up-it goes up inside it-even put a weatherproof type seal around the lip so it remains dustproof when stored
    the hood would be a permantent type fixture on the ceiling so could be built using ply or any othersuitable timber
    just an idea havent actually tried it
  5. boppa

    boppa Member

    rough but gives the idea (arrow on left with cutoff word is foam seal around base)

    fingers x.d first photo ive tried here

    Attached Files:

  6. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Boppa's idea isn't bad. With some thought it probably would not be too complex, and would keep out most of the bugs, mice, and dirt.

    But I'd go a step further and combine Boppa's compartment with Lynn's hinge-up. A layout that folds up against the wall would be a whole lot easier to "engineer", and probably more stable when it was down. The disadvantage is that sooner or later you'd fold the thing up with your most valuable loco still on it. Bounce, bounce, crunch!

    Another approach. Presuming the car does have to go into the garage, why not just build the layout high enough for the hood of the car to go under it.... Then put a removable cover over it when not in use. It could be a rigid box that itself hinges up against the wall. That avoids all the hassles of either the lift up or hinge up layout.

    (But I'd still go to great lengths to NOT put the layout in the garage in the first place.....)

    Bill S
  7. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    I knew someday, somebody would ask this. :) :) My friend has a Stored in the ceiling layout.

    1st problem - it cant be too big. Whats too big???

    --- Small enough for you Yourself to raise & lower. You don't want to have to resort to getting someone to help you raise & lower it. Why?? - If you want to work on it until 1:00 Am "just to finish that project" you're stuck. Or how about - everyones out shopping - I just want to see .......(Insert any reason here)

    --- Small enough that the plywood won't "bow from it's own weight" -- try to keep the track connected while the plywood it's nailed to, is bowing. - Stop it from bowing with more "benchwork"? - see "weight" above :( :(

    --- Small enough that - Like my friend - you can hang it on 2 hooks yourself - and then swing it up by yourself. Would it bow????

    --- The best idea so far is just build it in place - 6" higher than the hood of the car.

    2nd Problem - Does my buddies O-27 platform work - Never did - every time we pulled it down off the ceiling, it took more (Way more) time to get it running than we had time to operate & enjoy it.

    What did he do??? We re-built it on a Ping pong table (no you cant play ping-pong on it anymore). he got tired of trying to raise & lower the layout.
  8. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Why not combine Imatomboygurls method of covering your layout with the winch? She's making fold up, hinged sides. When operating she folds the front one down, the other three act as backdrops. When she stores it, she can put a cloth cover over it that rests on the sides, and so doesn't mess up her scenery.

    The winch thing just needs to be adjusted so you have enough mechanical advantage to handle the weight. Use another set of pulleys/block and tackle or get a crank winch with which you can haul it up or down. I’d make the benchwork as if it’s gonna have legs and place a hanging support at each place you have a leg. Might want to install fold up legs or 2x 2 insertable legs as well as the hanging system. That way, if you can keep the car out of the garage for a couple days you could unclip the strings.

    “I got no strings, to hold me down, to make me fret, or make me frown”

  9. boppa

    boppa Member

    another chuck it in idea

    the winch up flat table- 4x winch cables-all to one cable-then to hand winch(sheesh super cheap has them for less than ten bucks-a whole 5 us dollars!!

    so that one person could (according to ratings on the winch i use on the hiliux) raise a 2 tonne table

    anyone who has one-please raise both hands and legs lol

    so any layout could be raised/lowered(im thinking hinged legs here for nthe table when dropped)by at the max ......1 person

    this is becoming a more than `thunking' idea here hummmm.
  10. boppa

    boppa Member

    a 4/6 nor more cabled system seems the go here

    no crunchie locos on fold up for vertical sysytem-not to mention those pesky houses/towers etc etc etc

    to me keeping it flat seems the easiest in terms of layout fixtures

    ie no gluing houses down so they dont do `the dive' on foldup etc etc

    lifting the table is soo simple-after all if i can lift a horse float on and off a truck-5 mm slots that pegs drop into
    then a lightweight table seems soo simple

    4 lift points-6/8 or more for the winch

    all join together-so one cable down to the winch as per usual

    weight becomes a no factor

    2 ton handwinch is the price of 2 handburgers here-yum
    a 2 ton layout-id like to see it-be awwwwsome
  11. wireyanker

    wireyanker New Member

    hey i just did it for 55 bucks. it is inside a heated garage. the dust is a problem but mine goes up to a flat drywalled ceiling. i used garage door cable and garage door pulleys rated for 300 or so pounds. with a counterweight you can lift an 8 by 16 table up with one hand. the only limit i have is my train setup without removeable mountains is limited to about 10 inches in height . this alows tripple crossing height. it was easy and turned out absolutly great. Wireyanker. i used a 1 by 12 for and edge all the way around which does block some of the side view however.
  12. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Hi wireyanker,
    welcome on board!
    Your post sounds like a success story. Could you post some pics of it?

  13. wireyanker

    wireyanker New Member

    pulley setup

    my pulley set up i like alot!!! the first time it was up and working we ran the table up and down probably 50 times. all i did was build a table and mine you iv'e been outof this for twenty years. anyhow i turned a scrap 1 by 12 board on it's side for an edge all the way around. again it does block your direct side view. i turned 2 by 4's sideways underneath 16 on center flatways. i may have to beef them later. i used 1/4 luan plywood for weight cause foam is on top. the pulleys were 2 for like 5 bucks . regular garage door stuff and used the 350 lb cable. i bought lag bolts that would go through the pulleys and cut small 6 by 6 holes in ceiling then screwed the pulley over the table on the edge where i wanted the cable. using several other pulleys i brought 4 lift points to one spot where you can be creative with a counter weight. wala i can lift a 7'6" by 15'6" table with two fingers. the cables are best brought to one spot so one end doesn't tip up before the other. tight to the ceiling out of the way little room fo dust but i am limited to 10 inch height unless using removable mountains. camera broke but you get idea. wireyanker p.s. cost about 60 bucks
  14. velmo

    velmo New Member


    thanks for the suggestion. I am not using my garage for a car. Unfortunately the grand kids go in and out sometimes.

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