Archive for the ‘Cranes & Derricks’ Category

March 14, 2015 · by David Gilbert · Cranes & Derricks, Erector Sets, Williams, Russell

Before building this crane, I looked at several crane designs on the Internet and incorporated some of the designs in my model. I have given my crane the name “The Mammoth Crane”, representing the new generation of 200,000 ton heavy lift cranes. These are cranes which are platform twin-rig containerized. In the PTC design of these cranes the boom height is as high as 587 feet. In addition, these cranes can lift in excess of 3,500 tons.

My super heavy lift crane weighs about 125 pounds. Over recent months I have taken it through a number of tests. Upon performing a heavy lift test in August 2014 I successfully lifted 40 pounds. This was done with the use of 5 gallon milk jugs filled with water. The boom height of my crane is 8 feet and it has 4 two-speed hoists and 5 motors.

– Russell Williams, March 8, 2015

March 18, 2014 · by David Gilbert · Cranes & Derricks, Erector Sets, Worley, Larry

Larry writes: About a month ago, I was almost finished with my Tower Crane model when a tornado blew through and destroyed it. Judging by the condition of the boom, you can see that the damage from these tornadoes can be fast and severe. Truthfully, I think I should have paid more attention in those anger management classes. The thing is still lying out on the patio, rusting up and I could care less about it or the parts that might be salvaged. Watch that temper guys.

Larry confesses: As you can see from what little is left of the tower crane, it was pretty complicated. After about the millionth try to get the trolley to travel up and down the boom smoothly, I just lost it. On its final run it jumped the tracks and I jumped its tracks!

March 16, 2014 · by David Gilbert · Cranes & Derricks, Erector Sets, Jonkman, Norm

Norm Jonkman's Tower Crane

(3/7/2014) Norm writes: This is my latest Erector set project. I originally made it for the AC Gilbert Convention in Chicago in July 2013. I’ve revised it to improve functionality several times since then. This is a model of a tower crane, used in constructing tall buildings. My model has 3 motors to control rotation, load and tram as illustrated in the video.

  • Video of Norm Jonkman's Tower Crane
March 15, 2014 · by David Gilbert · Cranes & Derricks, Erector Sets, Truckenmiller, Doug
· by David Gilbert · Cranes & Derricks, Erector Sets, Pack, Charlie

This type of intermodal crane is similar to the large ship unloading cranes you see at major ports, except it is smaller and does not have the large boom off of one end. My crane is freelance and not built to scale, but the real thing would typically be used in a railroad yard for transferring standard containers from a truck to a railroad car, or vice versa. The hoisting and trolley movement functions are each powered by an Erector P55 motor. The entire crane is on wheels, four in each base, but travel on wheels is not powered (yet). The control panel is located at the bottom of the left leg in the photo. The model is about 39” long by 13” wide by 29” high overall.

Instead of a hook, the crane has a lifting frame which attaches itself to a container, and containers can be transferred from train to truck or vice versa as in the real thing.

The trolley is pulled in either direction by two cords (the trolley itself is not powered). Each cord runs from one end of the trolley, around a pulley which is powered by the motor drive at the left end of the gantry, across the inside of the gantry, around another idler pulley at the opposite end, and then back to the opposite end of the trolley. Thus, a continuous loop is formed. The trolley stops automatically at each end of the gantry, even if power is still applied. Here’s how that works:

The trolley rails on one side of the gantry are electrically insulated from the frame. There are three rail sections – a long center rail (an MB angle girder), and a short stop rail (a BE angle girder) at each end. The stop rails are electrically isolated from the long center rail, which is always alive. When the trolley switch is thrown – say to the left – the motor circuit is completed through an insulated rail, the trolley’s wheels and axles, and the gantry’s frame (ground) – and the trolley moves to the left. When it rolls onto the left stop rail, which is dead, the circuit is broken and the trolley motor stops. Now we throw the trolley switch to the right. This makes the left stop rail alive, the circuit is again made, and the trolley rolls to the right. When the trolley rolls onto the right stop rail, which is now dead, the circuit is again broken and it stops. At any time, only one stop rail is alive and the opposite one is dead. Model railroaders have long used this technique for automatic control of their trains.

There’s a lot of wiring in the photo – that is because all of the wiring from both motors (four wires each) and the three insulated rails congregate at a long barrier terminal next to the trolley motor. Two cables run from there to the control panel at the bottom of the left leg.

The hoisting cord runs from the winding drum (EK or MR) to a pulley on the underside of the trolley, down around the pulley on the lifting device (or hook), back up to another pulley on the underside of the trolley, and across to the opposite end of the gantry where the end of the cord is fixed.

The hoisting and trolley power units are each mounted on a standard frame and are each designed to use almost any type of low voltage motor. Power units with different kinds of motors can be interchangeable. In addition to the Erector P55 power units, I have power units with efficient DC operated gearhead motors which can run on penlight cells. I can swap out both the trolley and hoisting power units in about half an hour. At the convention I used batteries and DC motors for power. The wiring system and control panel will work with either kind of power unit. The consequence of this is, there are four wires needed for each motor. Two additional jumpers have to be installed for DC motors. The wiring and control system will also work with sideplate motors such as the P58, and even Gilbert Meccano sideplate motors! It is not designed for 110 volt motors as these cannot be reversed by remote control. I favor the DC motors because I can exhibit the model without needing a power plug-in. Remote controls can be added easily.

The lifting device is a rectangular frame with a small hook dangling at each of the four corners. It is positioned just over and a bit to one side of the container. The trolley is then moved slightly so the open parts of the hooks are under the side rails on the container. When the device is lifted the hooks grab onto the container so it is also lifted. Precise control of motor speed is needed! (Learned this the hard way at the convention!)

The container has opening doors at one end. It fits perfectly on a Lionel Standard Gauge flat car, suggesting the crane could be the center of a train layout at some point.

· by David Gilbert · Cranes & Derricks, Erector Sets, Klein, Bill

Bill Klein’s Turntable Crane

Bill Klein writes: The crane is shown lifting an Erector truck. It has 2 hand winches. One lowers and raises the boom. The other lowers and raises the truck. It is mounted on a swivel base.


  • Bill Klein’s Turntable Crane
· by David Gilbert · Cranes & Derricks, Erector Sets, Klein, Bill
· by David Gilbert · Cranes & Derricks, Erector Sets, Klein, Bill

Bill Klein’s Mobile Crane

Bill Klein writes: The crane is powered with 2 A49 motors. One motor drives it forward and back. The other motor runs the bucket. It features treads from a 12 1/2 set. A heavy duty trailer and truck move it from place to place.

Bill Klein’s Panama Canal Crane

Bill Klein writes: The crane uses lots of type I parts. It runs on tracks. The gantry car travels back and forth on a track near the top. It is all hand powered. Two hand built winches more the crane back and forth on its tracks.

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