DIY Elevator – Simple and Strong

DIY Elevator – Simple and Strong


True! But that was not the point, for a couple of different reasons. First and foremost, Dan and I are engineers. We love to design and build stuff. For us, this is not work, it’s a fun project. However, Dan had additional plans for this “elevator” – When done with the roofing task, he disassembled it, moved it to his 2-story barn, made a few design changes and re-assembled it where it now serves as a freight elevator. $400 well spent!

Also, we want to thank all the folks who have pointed out errors in the design. Dan and I have researched those and incorporated the improvements during reassembly in his barn.

ADDENDUM: For those who ask to see the top of the elevator for the pulley system that was not shown in the video, here is a small series of basic CAD drawings for you to ponder. No additional information will be provided. Use this as you see fit at your own risk:


The video describes why a friend of mine built this elevator. It does not, however, explain why I am so interested in it…

For several years, I have wanted a freight elevator from my garage up to my house. I even designed an elevator shaft into a house re-model that we did a few years ago. Unfortunately, we could not afford the elevator at that time, so we placed a floor in between levels and had “stacked closets” which we used for storage.

NOTE: At the time, a real elevator designed for a house would be about $50,000. We later decided we’d have to settle for a vertical platform lift. It would not be fancy, but it would only cost about $15,000 for parts and installation. Still, I was not quite ready to spend that money. Too many other things seemed more important.

Then my friend and colleague built this elevator to lift shingles onto his roof. It cost him about $400 and an afternoon of labor. I wanted IN ON THIS!!

With some design modifications and improvements, he is designing for me a variant of this elevator that will be custom fit into my elevator shaft. I will finally have the freight elevator that I’ve been wanting, and it will cost just over $1,000.


UPDATE REGARDING MY UPCOMING GARAGE ELEVATOR: We have already prepared the shaft and started preliminary installation of components common to the shaft walls. Although this is being designed as a freight elevator, it can easily carry people. Therefore, Dan is designing a number of safety elements into it. Due to that, the cost will increase to about twice the original $1,000 estimate, but I approved it. Theoretically, it should cost far more than that, but Dan is able do most of his own fabrication work (mill, lathe, weld). The main safety device that Dan designed is based on whether or not there is tension on the cables. Anything that releases tension, such as a broken cable, will immediately activate spring loaded actuators underneath the elevator car floor that will shoot hardened steel catches out into the slots of machined steel tracks mounted on the sides of the elevator shaft. There will also be a trap door at the top of the car for an emergency exit. At some point in the future when the work is all done, I will be releasing a video of that task.

ELEVATOR MUSIC provided “Royalty Free” by Benjamin Tissot.
Track = “Straight”



Mike Greene says:

I guess it is what thee title says..but who wants to just look at an elevator? You showed the motor but didn't show the pullies or anything else… Sigh

Dooby Master says:

Pretty ingenious, solid well supported frame and platform. Eyebolts into each corner of the platform, connected with aircraft cable (likely 5/32”) through four independent pulley networks, commoned up to a single cable from the 12V winch bolted at the bottom of the elevator frame. Very well done and effective. I’m going to make one to move furniture and other materials to and from my 2nd floor back deck. Thanks for the idea…. Dooby

Dan Bogel says:

I want to do something very similar in my garage. How is the top engineered where 4 cables meet the pulling cable? Thanks.

frostxr says:

This could be used for a tree house. Great idea.

Syed Zabiulla says:

Could you please let me know the input power(battery details) to the motor?

Irfan Afrridi says:

Amazing, great job πŸ‘πŸΏπŸ‘πŸΏπŸ‘πŸΏ

george m says:

excellent idea!… i will build one for my dog to go up and down from a pretty high deck with lots of stairs… he is old and has hip problems and i'm sure this will help him a lot…

John Smith says:

Yep, it goes up and down… twice,Β but HOW did you make it!

crandf says:

Which codes does it comply to?

Brian Adams says:

Really nice work and after looking at the additional drawings/photos, it's a good,efficient design. Many thanks !

doberfag says:

lol could have rented a fork tractor and had it loaded on roof in about 2 hours for probably 200.orrrrrrrr the seller of the materials will load on roof with their delivery truck with the belt device. but i guess if it was for a shop or barn permanent in place,

John Doe says:

How long did it take to burn up winch

Bass Player says:

I'm old as dirt and need to use this to get on my front porch up about four feet. I was going to build one like this and mount the wench at the top but this is much smarter so servicing the wench would not be difficult.
*Would you please share your pulley arrangement at the top so I don't need to try to figure it out*?

Edigy says:

Excellent work on hiding the pulley system above! I couldnt tell how it is made!

Ronnie says:

All the negative comments because people seem to be allergic to using there mind to figure something out. Too much work they cant handle it they only understand simple. Tell them to build the elevator they would throw the wood down and walk away I promise you that LOLOLOLOL!!! This is how you use your brain, its what makes us different from animals using only there back

dwf dwf says:

Awesome if you are working alone, hire one person and it would be illegal Labour board would shut you down.

Frost Knives says:

Waste of time


Its cool but how are you gonna take it to the next job site

Lakeman 76 says:

At $400 that about $100 per hour if you carried them by hand on a ladder. I’ll save the money.

Justin Carter says:

Under $400 and in one day to build? Smart guy. I am impressed. If you were on a two story house and working all alone this would be handy.

moncorp1 Inc says:

How many illegal immigrant roofers will it lift up at a time?

Guy H. says:

Can't believe all the negative comments. It's wonderfully amazing and innovative what happens when somebody gets a wild hair and decides that they want to build something! Way Cool! Way fun too! My only question is why so tall? Just because you were building and having fun? Nice use of the winch system as well!

Good job! πŸ˜πŸ˜‰πŸ˜

Adam Mackey Smith says:

Some detail of the cable routing please…..

Pablo Cruise says:

You know they boom trucks for roof top delivery?? 400? More than the truck to deliver … but I get it.. nice job

fatcat007 007 says:

All that for a single story house wtf

tphone720 says:

By the time you built this you could have carried the shingles up and still had time for some brew

Shawn Travels The World says:

Spend the left over money on beer and dart tournament or something. I like building stuff too so I know why you really did it.

Write a comment