Friday, November 27, 2009

Started Gathering Droid Lift Parts

The time has come to start building a droid lift. Actually, the time came quite a while ago, but I'm a little slow sometimes.

Like everything else I do that's R2-related, I'm borrowing from Mike Senna's ideas. Here's what Mike's droid lift looks like, as seen at R2LA III.

Mike's droid lift fits his Toyota Sienna just right. However, my Honda Element has a tailgate that needs to be cleared, requiring a modification to Mike's droid lift design. After considering several alternatives, I've decided on a design that will allow part of the lift to extend onto the tailgate for loading and unloading, and then retract back into the car when in transit.

Most of the parts can be purchased at Home Depot and Lowe's, although a few structural connectors, such as 45-degree elbows and T-connectors, are on order from McMaster-Carr. The winch is from Harbor Freight.

I tried connecting the base together for a loose-fit to see how it would sit inside of the car.

The 3' pipes that run left/right provide the perfect spacing. The front/back pipes are two segments of a 10' pipe cut in half. This will all be anchored down to the anchors in the floor, once I have the base rectangle finished up.

I pulled the assembly out onto the tailgate for a look.

The fit on the tailgate seems good too. The only minor concern I have is that the tailgate tilts a degree or two upward, causing the front/back pipes to elevate a little bit above the floor. I don't think this will be a problem, but I'm keeping an eye on it.

Without the rest of the parts in place it may be hard to understand how it will all go together, but it should start making sense once I receive the parts on order. I also need to pick up a 1"-diameter solid steel rod from Industrial Metal Supply, that acts as the mast.

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