Above Ground Pool Lift




Introduction: Above Ground Pool Lift

I googled for several months to find an above ground pool lift, but only found in-the-ground pool lifts. Only after I built this did I find anything, but even then they were over $4000 and didn't go as high as this one does. I had no idea if this was actually going to work until after I built it -- but it does work !!! And for around $300. The idea is simple. A pole is cemented into the ground. A wooden crane was built to pivot around the pole. Then a winch was used to raise and lower a chair that could swivel over the pool.

Step 1: Build Crane

Build the piece that slides over the pole and rotates around it. This was made to be 4' in length all out of pressure treated lumber. Start with a back piece (2x8) and screw 1x6's into it to make the sides.

Step 2: Cut Pole Support Pieces

Cut a 2x4 into 4-inch squares. Actually, cut it so that it matches the square area of a 4x4 post (which isn't exactly 4 inches). Then using a jig saw, cut out a circle the same size as the pole (really just a tinge bigger). I used a 2-inch diameter pole.

Step 3: Add Square Support Pieces to Frame

I think I added about 4 of these squares to the frame using L-brackets and wood glue.

Step 4: Complete the Frame

Add a 2x4 to the frame to finish it. Note that you have to leave room at the top for the 4x4 boom to fit in.

Step 5: Prepare 4x4 Boom

The boom of the crane will rest on the pole. The boom is made out of a 4x4 piece. In our case, the boom was made to be 4' long.

I was worried that the pole would dig in to the wood and then the crane wouldn't turn around the pole. So, I cut a thin piece of metal (I bought a door protector kick plate and cut it to size (4x4) ). Then I screwed it onto the boom before bolting the boom to the frame.

Step 6: Add Boom to the Frame

Used two large bolts to fasten the boom to the frame. I don't remember the size of the bolts that I used. Also used a couple L-brackets for extra support.

Then screwed in a support piece to complete the crane.

At this point, we slid the crane onto the pole just to see if it seemed to be working so far.

Step 7: Add Winch

I made a platform at the base of the crane for the winch to sit on. Then I used down spout connector pipe to string the cable through and protect the wood of the crane.

Step 8: Build Chair

I used a baby swing set chair for the chair. Our son still fits into this chair at six, although, I'm sure he'll outgrow it and I'll have to figure out something different.

I needed a steel bar, and repurposed one from a shelving system. I cut it to size, then drilled a couple holes in it. I bolted swing set hangers into it and this is what the chair fastens onto.

In the middle of the steel bar I put a U-bolt. The cable from the winch hooks onto this U-bolt.

It took a little bit of playing around to get the chair all balanced.

Step 9: Put It Together

Dig a deep hole into the ground and cement a 2-inch pipe into it. Our pipe is buried about 4 feet into the ground and is 10 feet above the ground. We assembled the crane onto the pole before we cemented it because we weren't sure how to put the crane on a 10 foot high pole.

We used quick drying cement. One person held the pole up with a level while the other poured in the cement and water. Let it dry for two days and ta-dah -- done.

When we want to use the lift, we bring out a battery with all the winch wires hanging off of it and attach it to the winch. When we're done, we put the battery away to protect it from the water.

I was worried that the crane might not turn around the pole, but after using it several times now, it seems to turn just fine. Today I got our son in the pool by myself and I didn't even have to grunt!

Thanks for reading. If you're interested, visit jenmadeit.com for other accessible builds.

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    Question 3 years ago on Step 9

    Hi. Could I make this for a 250lb adult?


    Answer 3 years ago

    I really couldn't say. This was supporting a 50lb kid -- and it worked well for several years. I think you'd have to beef it up for a 250lb adult. Maybe you could use a similar concept, but make sure you had enough bracing for the weight you're talking about.


    6 years ago

    Awesome, wish i could have some someone build one for my daughter. Her weight is a major issue. Thanks for sharing.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    i would put a handle on the crane to make it easyer to swing around.


    8 years ago

    This is a great idea with many very good parts that you have come up with. I just worry about potential collapse with your son under it.

    The Mechanical Engineer in me thinks you should add another metal bracket on the top outside of your crane. Go to Lowes / Home Depot and get a 3' metal bar about them same thickness and width as what you used on them bottom inside holding the 4x4 in place. Bend the 3' bar in half and drill through it 3 or 4 times on both ends. Attach the bar with big screws through the holes.

    Another things to watch for is any fraying or breaking of the strands of your cable. Does your crane have a pulley or wheel to help the cable pass over the top outside of them crane? For that matter it needs something like that on both ends of the top bar.

    I know you probably don't want to do these mods but I had a similar structure fall onto my daughter 25 years ago. Sorry to dump all this on you. Consider this, there is a reason the cranes you can buy are very expensive. They have all of those parts added and have been professionally analyzed to a specific weight limit.



    Nice work!

    I suggest, you remove the front guard of the chair. If the structure fails completely, the front guard could potentially trap a body under water


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Yes something to consider, but since the chair floats and I'm always with him, I'm not too worried about getting trapped underwater. -- more worried that he would fall out of the chair 7' above the ground.