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Plasterboard/drywall lift design help

  1. Nov 27, 2005 #1
    Hi everyone

    For my college project I am designing a hydraulic telescopic cylinder type plasterboard lift and need help in finding the correct methods/formulas to use in order to design the safe dimensions for the wheel base, the plasterboard platform itself and to determine the weight capacity etc, etc. So if anyone can help i have included more information below:

    The Plasterboard lift is a device that enables the easy positioning of plasterboards on to the ceiling joists of buildings, thus enable a single person too easily and permanently tack it in to position. The plasterboard lift simply acts as a platform. Once the plasterboard has been placed on the platform, it can be roughly manoeuvred in to position and jacked up to the required height.

    The plasterboard lift will be required to support plasterboard/wallboard sheet of dimensions 2400 x 1200 x 12.5mm and with a weight of I believe to be 24.71kg. The plasterboard lift will consist of three or four castor type wheels, which will support a telescopic, foot operated hydraulic ram/cylinder. At the top of the ram/cylinder there is required to be rectangular frame, which will be the platform to which the plasterboard will rest. At its lowest level the maximum height should be no more than three feet and is required to be able to reach heights of up 10 feet minimum.

    Any help will be very much appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2005 #2


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    How will this design be different from existing drywall supports? Have you looked at the way existing ones are designed?
  4. Nov 27, 2005 #3
    I have looked at various different types of plasterboard/drywall lifts and they all seem to consist of a winching/winding system in order to lift the platform. My design is different as it will work by a hydraulic, foot operated telescopic type cylinder.
  5. Nov 27, 2005 #4


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    Well, the big thing for the base dimensions is to ensure that no matter where the drywall is positioned, the the CG is within the wheelbase. Odd angles like this are common in installations:
    This will involve the basic statics equations at different configurations to ensure the model does not tip.

    The hydraulic cylinder is the easy part. You simply need P=F/a for the calculation of required pressure. Most hydraulic cylinders off the shelf will go well above the pressures you'll need. You may run into some issues with the amount of stroke required though.

    You are at the stage where everything is very general. What have you done, or how far are you with the design?
  6. Nov 27, 2005 #5


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    Carla, you want to be looking into things like centre of gravity (so that the device doesn't topple), hydraulic forces (so that your pump and piston will quickly, safely and easily lift and hold the plasterboard), and other basic mechanics to calculate how strong your frame will be, how to select your castors, all that kind of thing. Remember always to include a factor of safety to help idiot-proof the design.
  7. Nov 27, 2005 #6
    so you want to improve on http://www.tool-crib.net/telpanllift.html ?

    looks to me like the http://www.tool-crib.net/telpanllift.html 138-2 is similar to what you're doing, other than it's battery-operated.

    in addition to the other suggestions, below, allow a little tilt factor in the platform, i'd suggest, since not all ceilings are parallel to floors... and the 138-2 looks like it can handle anything from vertical to horizontal positioning!

    your differentiators are what?

  8. Dec 1, 2005 #7
    plasteroard lift

    Thank you for your reply.

    So if I look up static equations on the Internet, would this point me in the right direction in being able to design the base then?

    I am not very far in the design, as I have so many other assignments and also have to complete lots of critea around the plasterboard lift, such as other possible ideas, logbook, health and safety, British standards etc, etc, etc. So far I have a very basic drawing, and know what I want, and have done a lot of research and am sure I have leant all the formulas that I need, but it is being able see it and to put it in to practice.

    The platform of the plasterboard lift at this stage will be a very basic rectangular frame, so would you suggest that I design this with mild steel tubing welded together, as shown in the attachment: (If you see it, that is)

    View attachment My plasteroard lift.doc

    Again, many thanks for your help.

  9. Dec 1, 2005 #8


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    In regards to the static equations, have you taken a statics class? It may be a fair amount of learning if you haven't. You'll want to start looking into summation of moments and basic equations of static equillibrium. They're not too terribly difficult once you get the background on the theory.

    As far as the frame goes, I would go with low carbon/plain carbon steel, but be aware that it will rust. It must be painted. No one would want rust stains on new drywall. Angle iron shapes would be good since you really don't need tubing to do what you are doing. Either way, it will be the easiest route.

    Since you're really not lifting terribly high loads, you may consider aluminum angle. The aluminum will add a bit of complexity as far as welding, but would be lighter for the person to move. It also won't rust. Just something to consider in your design.
  10. Dec 1, 2005 #9
    plasterboard lift

    Yes, they all work in a similar manner. My basic design at present although looks a little different, it does not match any of the other plasterboard lifts available, as I have an opportunity at a later stage in my HNC project to modify and improve my design. At this present time, it is important for me to use the correct methods and formulas to ensure that I have a safe and correct design so that I have something to show. I have not designed anything before and am on a time limit, I also have a lot of other assignments to complete, including a literature survey on a plasterboard lift, so far I have not found anything on the subject, other than plasterboard lifts for hire.

    Please see attachment for very basic design.

    View attachment My plasteroard lift.doc

  11. Dec 1, 2005 #10


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    Did you take draughting lessons from Escher? :biggrin:
    Other than that, the design looks fine. I think that the wheelbase might be a bit on the short side, though. Your CG is going to be pretty high. Are there brakes on those wheels, by the way?
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