Saving Floor Space With A Scratch Built Bike Hoist

Vertical storage is often underused in the garage or workshop as it can be tricky to get bulky objects off the floor safely. So we stick a few shelves on the wall, put boxes of screws and components on them, and call it a day. Meanwhile, you end up playing a game of horizontal Tetris with all the big stuff on the ground.

Looking to free up some floor space in his garage, [Chris Chimienti] recently decided to design and build his own hoist to lift his bicycles off the floor. While his design is obviously purpose built for bikes, the core concept could potentially be adapted to lift whatever it is you’ve been kicking across the garage floor as of late; assuming it doesn’t have any strong feelings on suddenly being tipped over on its side, anyway.

A simple modification allows for operation with a drill.

Before he started the actual build, [Chris] knocked together a rough facsimile of his garage in SolidWorks and started experimenting with the layout and mechanism that the hoist would ultimately use. While we’ve all felt the desire to run into a project full-speed, this more methodical approach can definitely save you time and money when working on a complex project. Redesigning a component in CAD to try it a different way will always be faster and easier than having to do it for real.

We’ve become accustomed to seeing projects include sensors, microcontrollers, and 3D printed components as a matter of course, but [Chris] kept this build relatively low-tech. Not that we blame him when heavy overhead loads are involved. Even still, he did have to make a few tweaks in the name of safety: his original ratcheting winch could freewheel under load, so he swapped it out for a worm gear version that he operates with an electric drill.

If you like the idea of having an overhead storage area but don’t necessarily want to look at it, you could always cover it up with a rock climbing wall.

14 thoughts on “Saving Floor Space With A Scratch Built Bike Hoist

    1. Attractive option, but misses out on the elegant simplicity of the build. Also more spendy, meaning you’ve doubled the price of the entire project, as well as being harder to deploy multiple of them

    2. Neat. I couldn’t tell if the e-bike has hydraulic brakes or cable-pull, but that is my only concern. After storing bikes with “hydros” in the past I’ve had severe brake fade due to air being squeezed from the fluid and allowed to migrate to the lever.

  1. I find it both comforting and depressing to see such a huge space compared to my own needing such tricks. I guess that dream of a big enough shop so I won’t spend so much time trying to squeeze it all in just won’t happen…

    With the space available in his shop it seems you could use the same concept but with a parallel linkage for a motorbike (Or anything else that won’t like being tipped over) on the end of the arm, while still having the bicycle (or kayak etc) on the arm itself.

  2. Great idea.

    I was in the attic a few days back assessing mount points for the garage door track and rail mounting points since need to upgrade/update with steel. Updating insulation and ventilation too… though that’s a tangent.

    While up there in the attic… I was thinking about making hanging shelves from the ceiling, especially over the main garage door. Not exactly the same… though interesting to see the article method. Over each entry door (not main garage door) there are already 2ft deep shelves along the wall to make better use of open space. Back wall has also. Been thinking to add even more. A simple method I was thinking was using the grow light adjustable rope ratchet hangers also for an easier to access shelve for lighter items.

    Maybe something heavier duty like for climbing so can pull up and down from a single point with some pulleyness if required came to mind too, though I’m not familiar with. Any ideas?

    1. I found/made storage in my garage attic by placing doors ($1 scratch & dent at the big box hardware store) in the “W” portions of the trusses. Just place them level, spanning several trusses, and they don’t even need to be nailed down. The weight of the packages on them keep the doors (now shelves) in place.

  3. Inspired me to think about a Murphy like fold out bed, though a bench with under shelves like for the garage. Maybe that even detaches from the wall. Maybe add a pivot point for the center two shelves to swing out to the sides… though don’t want to forget before folding back up.

  4. I’m surprised a cheap winch wasn’t used. Harbor Freight and ebay have really inexpensive models, they come with wired or wireless remotes with easy to use arrow buttons, and I believe the winch assemblies have some form of motor lock where the cable will not move unless the motor is driving it. But the drill is definitely the cheapest motor option since it is already owned. I just picture sharing this with my housemates and them putting my drill back in a different place each time, or leaving it out, so my mind jumps to making this project idiot proof where (my) tools aren’t needed to use it. But that’s just my specific living situation.

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