Now that I’m retired, I’m focusing only on projects that interest me and help people do everyday things that are difficult without the right equipment. For example: I recently built a fire pit and water fall in my backyard and needed concrete to hold some of the rocks together. I had to mix several batches of concrete and for each batch I lifted the heavy bag of concrete to pour out the amount needed. I had a hand truck to move the 80 pound bag around, but had to use muscle power to lift and pour it out. After I finished, I had a back ache for a couple of weeks.
I wanted to solve this problem. I had a hand truck, some tools, and a shop but didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the solution.
Here’s what I came up with.
Of course this device will also work great for lifting heavy bags of sand, dog food, fertilizer, compost or almost anything sold in bags. It can also be used for loose dirt, rocks, animal food or anything you want to move around and easily dispense. It just has to fit into the box (I call it the bucket) shown in the video. Larger buckets can be made for these uses. If you want to dispense bags or portions of bags of concrete into a wheelbarrow for mixing, you will need a simple ramp to obtain the required height.
The hand truck I used for this adapter was one I have had around for several years, but almost any hand truck will work with slight modifications. The lifting device is completely removable from the hand truck when it’s needed for other tasks like moving furniture.
The winch shown is commercially available for a low price and is a worm gear design. It takes a lot of turns to elevate the bucket but is extremely easy to turn and there is no latch needed to keep the bucket from moving back down after elevating. Simply turn the handle in the other direction and lower the bucket to the bottom of the hand truck.
The parts are extremely heavy duty and will last a long time. If you don’t have a hand truck, you can purchase one for $40 to $50 that will do the job.
Since I’m an engineer and am used to designing parts and assemblies on the computer, I made 3D computer models of all the parts and moved the mechanism up and down in a computer simulation before building anything. After I built the prototype unit to ensure it all works, I created a set of plans to help you build your own hand truck lifting adapter if you desire. This hand truck is easily built with simple tools such as a cordless drill, saber saw and measuring device. It’s a fun project to work on.
The plans show part numbers and vendors for all the parts so you can easily find the parts you need. They also have an exploded view showing where everything goes, dimensioned detail drawings of the custom parts (made from plywood and 2 x 4’s), and detailed assembly instructions. The plans (in pdf format) are available for download for $15.00.
To order a set of plans, press the “Buy Now” button below.