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How do I make a ceiling suspended, counter weighted table top (5' x 9') on pulleys? Answered

HO guage train base platform (~ 5' x 9') needs to be suspended from ceiling rafters. I want it to be on a set of pulleys. It needs to be counter weighted for easy access from rafters or placed out of the way up to rafters



Best Answer 10 years ago

Mine was a slot car track.

If you don't listen to anything else please listen to this - There is going to be a lot of weight overhead if it falls it will destroy your train set. If it falls on you mom's/wife's car she will destroy you. If it falls on someone it could kill them or at least injure them severely. Where strength is concerned make it a lot stronger than you think it needs to be.

Make sure that the ceiling joists can support the extra weight.

4 pulleys in the rafters. Either securely screw into the joist or use a chain or strap over the joists.

4 stout cords or cables bolted to the corners of the table. I had Eye bolts and the cables were on hooks so when the table was on the down I could raise up the cables and get them out of the way. Align the 4 pulleys with the draw cable.

Gather the cables at the top and connect to a single cable that will be the draw cable. Make sure that when they are raised that the table will be balanced.

Run the draw cable to a larger pulley attached to the wall in a good location. You might want to attach it to more than one stud since there is going to be considerable side force on it.

Run the cable down the wall to your counter weight. Using a counter weight you are going to have to have a way to lock the weight at the top when the table is lowered and at the bottom when the table is raised. Even though it is counter balanced you it will be unstable if you don't lock it.

I used a boat winch with a crank handle to raise and lower my track. It was easy to use and I had no locking problems. You can get these very economically at the boat shop and the cable also.

You need to have a set of folding legs to support the train while it is down. It will not be stable enough just hanging on the cables even it it is balanced. It will still sway side to side expecially if someone bumps into it.

Be sure and cover it with a thin plastic painters drop cloth or it will get dusty.

If you make one do it as an instructable so we can see it.

Good luck.


Answer 10 years ago

i  need some kind of  diagram  please  iam  stuck with  the hole  pulley  system. i  have rafters. that should make it easier right?


Answer 10 years ago

The "rectangle" is your train board.  The colored lines coming off is your lifting cords.  They go to pulleys attached to the joists.  The are the circles at the end of the cords.

They go thru the pulleys and are tied to a single line that I call a draw line.  That line goes thru a pulley attached to the side wall securely.  The draw line runs down the wall to a crank or motor that lifts the whole thing up to the ceiling.

Now is it more clear and do I get "best answer"?


10 years ago

Re-Design's answer is spot-on ;-)


Answer 10 years ago

just a thought, not strictly related to your Q, but close... have an idea to wallpaper/paint the underside of your table to match the existing ceiling - will help to blend it in.