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Question How do you lift large signs into place >10ft high?

Discussion in 'Installation Equipment & Techniques' started by RyanT, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. RyanT

    RyanT Director of Entropy

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    I've been getting more requests for larger signs with installation over 10ft high. I've installed some smaller signs (3ftx5ft, 4ftx4ft, etc) off a scissor lift and that's about the largest I can safely do by myself (depending on weight) lifting them out of the scissor-lift cage and onto the pre-hung brackets. Now I have a request for a 5ft x 10ft 1/8in ACP install where the bottom is about 11ft high. I didn't make the sign, just doing install on this one.

    In general, how do you all lift large signs into place for mounting on buildings, etc? Strap them to the outside of lift buckets? Cranes? Some kind of hoist? Bonus points for pictures.

    BTW, I'm insured, use a harness per OSHA, etc etc, lets get that out of the way.
     
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  2. JTBoh

    JTBoh I sell signage and signage accessories.

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    2 big ladders and 2 guys to walk it up is easiest. Better if you have a 3rd guy on a 3rd ladder to tack it in place but that's a luxury.
     
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  3. Dan360

    Dan360 Member

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    We would probably just walk it up on ladders, that sign isn't very heavy considering other things we've done it with. We did a 4x8 recently this way on 2 A-frames, wouldn't be much different for a 5x10. Get two corners set first and then add the rest of your anchors. When it gets above 12 feet we consider other options.
     
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  4. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    For that type of sign and height I'd also use ladders and two men
     
  5. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    If you're flying solo, you can easily (or somewhat easily) do this with a rented tow-able lift and one person... I do these all day long. 4x8 are a breeze, 5x10 are just a tad more challenging. Doing these on ladders when it's only 10' high shouldn't be a problem either. 10' should be no big deal... If I have two people, I usually start to skip ladders when it gets over 20'.


    Basically I get a tow-able bucket.. I go up to the wall and measure and mount two screws at the bottom edges of where the signs is supposed to go. I go down, I screw two, 2x4's to the bottom of the basket and have them stick out about 4" or so. (Kind of like making a little fork-lift.) I put two screws at the ends of the 2x4's and leave them about an inch or two out so that the sign face won't slide off them. I then place the sign on the forks and use a strap to go from under the bucket...over the sign and tie it off inside the bucket near the controls. (The buckets I use require two hands to operate, so tying the strap is helpful) I then raise the bucket into place and gently rest the forks against the wall or just shy of it. I then lift the sign panel off the forks and onto the two screws I have sticking out of the wall I did earlier...that way the panel rests on there and it's already straight. I pop fasteners in, wipe it down and get on with my life.

    I never really took pictures of the sign before I hung it...but I have to do one on Wednesday and I'll take photos... but here are some shots I found that kind of show it.

    PS: Do not comment on the below design... This design was sent to me in PUBLISHER and you should already know the rest of the story.... I tried, that's all I'm going to say.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2018
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  6. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    niftylift! Ive been reading about those they are all on ebay very reasonable
     
  7. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    I really like Nifty. I mostly use Nifty50. If you get one, get one that uses gas AND battery... you'll run out of one and be happy you have a backup.

    I've seen how Niftys hold up over the years by renting from our local equipment rental place and they are amazing. I dont recall having one break down on us, if it did it was rare. For a time they were renting out Genie lifts and those were horrendous. Controls would stick and several times the machine died on us or started spewing out hydraulic fluid. The manager said his company had 9 of those things and at one point all 9 were out of service...They got rid of them.

    Look at NEW Niftys. The used ones are not that much cheaper. I think the ones from Greer, SC are where they are made. The 50' are like 30-35k. I WOULD NOT look at the 34's. I hate them, they cant handle any weight and I have a problem with them alarming ..had that happen on two different units.
     
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  8. jimbug72

    jimbug72 Member

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    For something that high generally 2 guys on ladders/staging. There have been a few times I've had to do it solo from a bucket and I've used the method Kerning decribed almost exactly. (I never thought to add the screws to the 2x4s.)
     
  9. Chuck B

    Chuck B Member

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    HaHa...Love it! I used to get in pissing matches with people in trying to provide better design. Alas,...I surrendered long ago as well.
     
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  10. burgmurk

    burgmurk Member

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    Ladders and two dudes is how we'd do it too, but that's not cool with Sitesafe (kinda like New Zealands equivalent of OSHA). If the clients demanding full safety compliance, they have to pay for height access machine rental, which can double the price of a small job. Meh, whaddyagonnado?
     
  11. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Yea no need to when you loose in the end. All you can do is present alternative options and if they dont pick those, oh well..at least you got some layouts already done for the next guy.
     
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  12. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    As promised...here are some photos.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Moze

    Moze Precision Sign Services

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    Sometimes prep makes all the difference. I have two 2x4 brackets than hang on the front of the aerial lift basket. They're J-shaped at the top to hang over the basket and J-shaped at the bottom (in the opposite direction) so the panel can rest in them. If I'm screwing a large panel to a wall, I'll drill a hole at the top center of the panel and everywhere else I want a hole on the panel. Then I'll boom up and drill a hole in the building that will receive whatever screw I'm using (Tapcon, GRK, Spax, etc.). Then it's just a matter of resting the panel in the brackets (with a moving blanket between), booming up and quickly putting the top center screw in. I level the panel, tighten that screw down, mark the other holes, loosen the screw, pivot the panel as needed to allow me to drill the other holes, then run the rest of the screws in.

    Prior to lifting the panel, I put a hook from a strap through the top center hole with the opposite end strapped to the boom......just in case.
     
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  14. signman315

    signman315 Signmaker

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    Never thought of that, love it! Your whole method/description is great but I especially like the idea of resting the sign on the two screws while you anchor it. Keeps it level and in place. I used to anchor in the center or a corner, then level and finish anchoring but I'm going to try your method next time, thank you!
     
  15. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

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  16. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Yea, only prob is you make two unnecessary holes in the wall, but you'll have to judge that move on a case by case basis. I dont like the center mount idea because you still have to hold the substrate or push up on the wall with the bucket.
     
  17. Big Rice Field

    Big Rice Field Electrical/Architectural Sign Designer

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    Replace "not cool" with "NOT SAFE!" You can get injured from a ten foot fall.
     
  18. KMC

    KMC Graphic Artist

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    Holy power lines :eek:
     
  19. RyanT

    RyanT Director of Entropy

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    Thanks a lot for the feedback, awesome pictures too. Installs like this have kept me up at night thinking through prep, safety, equipment, contingencies and all that. I'm getting more experience but it's kind of like leaving a chuck in a drill press - you screw up once and that might be all for you.

    Interestingly enough, I had the prime contractor tell me I could/should do this install (3mm ACP, 5ft x 10ft, 11 ft up) with one person on a ladder. I probably could, 4 out of 5 tries. I'm going to put together a few of the tips here though and it should be fine. Predrill the holes, screw a 2x4 to the bottom edge for stiffness and edge protection, prescrew two or three screws into the wall to set the bottom edge of the sign on, then lift it into place from a ladder and put one screw in the top center. Level, remove 2x4, then put in the other screws with silicone since it's stucco.

    I also recently had a prime contractor ask me to hang a banner in stonework about 25ft up - lifts weren't allowed on site and I purposefully don't want a 30ft+ ladder. So he recommended I hang out of a second story window to drill and hang a banner into the stonework above the window, again, about 25ft up. I'd be hammer drilling over my head while hanging out a second story window. I finally passed on that one. Someone else hung it lower down.
     
  20. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Absolutely ridiculous. Dangerous.


    On a side note, I wouldn't do 4x8 by myself that high, let alone 5x10. Why strain and put yourself in danger? Around here a 4-hour lift is $160. Charge the customer for the lift rental and sleep easy at night and work safe the next day. I used to do stuff like that but NO WAY anymore. If the customer can't pay a buck sixty for me to work safely he can hit the road.
     
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