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Top Shops feature champ

Roger Johnson is a model of self-sufficiency. A farmyard of homebuilt machinery has exited the doors of his Chandler, Minnesota, shop.

Yet, the most impressive of all his fabrications is a hoist that assisted in building much of that machinery. "Because of the limited amount of shop space, I decided to custom build a crane hoist that didn't take up much room," Johnson explains.

In addition to tending to lifting duties, Johnson's hoist does double duty as an elevator to provide easy access to his storage loft.

The feature-rich design of the hoist won Johnson the Best Shop Feature category of Successful Farming magazine's Top Shops™ Contest.

Johnson's mast of jib hoist is as homebuilt as an invention can get. The structure is fabricated almost entirely from salvage materials. For example, the hoist's tower is a 6x8-inch toolbar from a six-row cultivator. "The bottom of that bar is bolted to the cement floor. Plus, it is bolted to the framework of the loft (about halfway up the tower), while its top is anchored to the shop's structural ridge."

For the hoist's mast, Johnson fashioned an Extanda boom from two toolbars, one of which fits inside the other. The exterior bar came off a four-row cultivator and is reinforced by an overhead rod steel bridge support.

The interior toolbar came from a disk wing. It slides out 29 inches pushed by a two-way hydraulic cylinder mounted inside the exterior bar, thus earning its Extanda name.

The entire mast is raised or lowered as much as 8 feet (at the end of the mast) with a 4-inch-diameter cylinder. Plus, Johnson added a 2,000-pound winch; its cable passes through a pulley at the end of the mast. The winch operates off a 12-volt battery connected to a trickle charger. "That winch comes in very handy for accurately lowering things very slowly into place," Johnson adds.

Finally, the mast swings right or left in a 180° arc thanks to an innovative hydraulically operated chain drive. Pressure for the cylinders as well as the hydraulic orbit motor comes from a hydraulic pump driven off a 3-hp. electric motor. Hoist control is provided through an electric-over-hydraulic valve assembly. That assembly is connected to a custom-built control box via a 25-foot cord.

As if Johnson's hoist isn't feature-rich enough, he added something that is truly unique. Running up and down the side of the mast is a man lift consisting of expanded metal and 2×2-inch tube steel platform. An 880-pound electric winch mounted at the top of the tower propels the lift up or down. For safety's sake, Johnson added a braking system consisting of "a dog-style latch that pushes against the side of the tower when the lift is going up. A pedal must be pushed in order to lower the lift," he explains.

As a final touch, Johnson mounted a hydraulic splitter valve at the bottom of the tower to deliver fluid power from the hydraulic pump to the shop floor. "This way I do not need a tractor in the shop in order to raise or lower equipment," he says.

Roger Johnson is a model of self-sufficiency. A farmyard of homebuilt machinery has exited the doors of his Chandler, Minnesota, shop.

Roger Johnson added an elevating platform to his hoist to access a storage loft.

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