Saturday, April 23, 2022

A DIY Winch

For our tree house, I wanted a winch to lift up heavy materials.  
 I found just the trash I needed to make it from, starting with a saw blade I have no desire to ever use to cut wood. (I'm too spoiled by carbide).
I formed a piece of scrap steel tubing into a crank.

I needed a pawl to stop the winch on the saw teeth as a safety against falling loads. I cut a snap ring groove in a pin with an angle grinder and the drill press.

And added a snap ring.

I cut a few plywood circles for each side of the drum and to enclose the saw.

I turned a drum from a 4x4.

To put a straight hole through it, I first cut it in half.

Then I cut a notch down the middle of each half, making a diamond-shaped "hole".

 Then I glued the halves back together and added a shaft of steel tubing.

Then I built a frame to hold it up and put it all together.  The pawl consists of a closet shelf bracket with the pin through it to catch on the saw teeth.  To lower a load, you raise it up and out of the way so it doesn't catch the saw teeth as you control the speed with the crank.

Two Tree House Watch Towers, Linked by a Bridge

 In June, 2020, the parks were closed due to COVID-19.  At Chip's Wood Shop, we built our own tree house.  Not just one, but two- each in its own avocado tree, linked by a swinging bridge.

Video Tour

The foundation of each tree began with a frame around and through a fork in the trunk.  The frames were contoured on the inside to minimize stress on the bark.  For added support, I put steel fence posts between each frame and the ground. 

Next, I made a bridge with steel rope, strung through palettes and around the frames, creating a "belt" around the two trees without strangling them.  I sprayed all palettes with termite treatment before using them.

To hoist up material for the rest, I made a winch, the subject of a separate post.

Each tree has a platform above its frame, on vertical supports.  The platforms are made of palettes and pressure treated lumber.  I built railing around all walking surfaces and fastened wire fencing to prevent falls and dropping large items.  The design of the tree houses makes them tricky to photograph.  They are meant to be hidden as much as possible within the trees so they don't annoy the neighbors.  There is another steel rope "belt" around the platforms so they support each other.  They are designed to move with the trees, rather than fight them.  In a heavy wind, they sound like a wooden ship at sea.

A friend gave me a load of used flooring, so I used it for both tree houses.

The kids wanted a ladder they could hoist up to keep the bad guys from getting in.

After a year and a half, the tree houses have held up under many friends coming to visit and the highest winds we get in our area.