(Sorry for the crappy camera phone pics....)
Well, my plans for a "stand" for my hard top never really materialized. Mostly because as I was walking through Princess Auto here in Edmonton a few days ago I saw a $99 120V electric 400lb winch.....soon as I saw it, I knew the hardtop was going vertical.
Now, I didn't want to get too crazy on the mounting as we are going to move this year, so with that in mind...here is the end result. Total cost was around $140.00
First shots....the hard top lifted up and secured. The electric winch is mounted to a 6' piece of chain link fence pipe. Next trip to the hardware store, I will add the decorative end pieces to the end of the chain link pipe...this will prevent any accidental slipping of the straps off the end.
The mount in the ceiling is a massive eye-bolt I found, which is supported up in the rafters by 2 2x6's laid across 4 rafters. Eye-bolt is connected to a big piece of threaded rod.
The thick yellow straps are 2000# lift straps I found at Princess auto (got 4 straps for $16).
The orange straps are my safety straps I have attached to some other existing ceiling hooks just screwed into the ceiling joists in case the winch or any other primary lifting component should slip/break. I think I will also throw a safety chain on the eye-bolt/metal bar just for total/complete piece of mind too.
The weight of the top is actually supported by the 2x4's I have lag bolted to the existing holes in the hard top (tightened very gently - in fact, they are actually loose) and then those 2x4's are screwed to the three 6' 2x2's. So, there is virtually no pressure applied anywhere on the top....the sides of the hard top are held to a fixed distance apart etc so they can't twist, bend etc. The entire weight is lifted by the straps on the 2x2s. The 2x2's also act as a shelf I will put the hard top panels on as well.
Lastly....I ran into one problem I never thought of until I tried the lift and the top was shifting all over the place. Because the winch is not really connected by any hard fasteners to the top, as the top lifted, the slightest change is balance would amplify and the entire top would go out of balance and was unstable. To solve that problem, I just threw a piece of old foam padding in between the winch/bar and the hard top. It protects the top, but also the friction it creates prevents the top from "shifting" side to side and it keeps it all in balance. A couple more straps also could have done the same thing to prevent the lateral movement.
When we move, I just unscrew the big eye-bolt from the threaded rod, and take the whole thing with me.....
I aint going back up in that attic.....even with a good dust mask, I am still coughing up dust balls!