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Thread: Help needed to design a bed on a winch/pulley system!

  1. #1
    Associate Engineer
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Help needed to design a bed on a winch/pulley system!

    Hi!
    I am converting a Sprinter van into a campervan. I want to put my bed up on the ceiling, and use a winch to lower it partway down to sleep on. I will have legs for the bed to sit on in the down position, so the bed will only lower/raise about a metre.

    I was thinking of using pulleys on the ceiling on either side of the bed, in the middle, so one cable could run from side A of the bed up to the ceiling through a pulley to the other side of the ceiling - this is where I get stuck!
    I think it needs to go through a double pulley with the second cable running from side B of the bed, and then both cables need to get to a small winch that preferably sits at one end of the bed (not underneath it).

    I realise that having the cable only in the middle of the bed would leave it unbalanced during winching, but planned to keep one hand on the end to steady it - it's not going far.

    Would it be easier to not use pulleys? I need the bed to smoosh right up onto the ceiling, so a pulley might take up too much space... Could I run the cable through eyelets instead? Or would the friction affect the wire? It is going to run through twice a day after all...

    I'm afraid I don't have the engineering knowledge to figure this one out, I hope someone can help me! I'm open to completely different ways of achieving the same end too.

    Thanks!
    Missy

  2. #2
    Project Engineer
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Look at some existing designs for folding or Pullman berths. Some are ceiling mount - some are wall mount. Also consider getting double duty out of another piece of furniture like a table or a sofa. Lots of on line Sprinter RV details are available.

  3. #3
    Associate Engineer
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    Feb 2019
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    Thanks, I'll look those up.
    I'm already putting two beds on the bottom that are benches in the day. That's why the third bed needs to be on the ceiling!
    I can't find anyone who has a bed that winches up in a van, apart from those using kits with runners, I've been looking for 3 months.
    Cheers!

  4. #4
    Associate Engineer
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    Feb 2019
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    Ah, Pullman berths are no good, I need the bed to go straight up and down.

  5. #5
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by missyvoid View Post
    Ah, Pullman berths are no good, I need the bed to go straight up and down.
    Why must it be straight up and down? There are other configurations that may work. Also, consider that a winch is not the only way to lift and lower the bed. If the weight is low enough you could simply have chains and hooks. By setting the bed height with the chain link on a lower and higher link you have height control.
    Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

  6. #6
    Associate Engineer
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    It has to be straight up and down because we have shelving underneath on both walls and benches underneath too.
    I'm open to other configurations that fit those parameters though, if you care to suggest any?
    I have considered that a winch is not the only option, but a bed complete with mattress is heavy, and I doubt I'll be able to lift it myself, even if I were to do one end at a time.
    Chains and hooks- can you elaborate? The chains are fixed to the bed? And go up to the ceiling and back down to fix on hooks?
    I don't really need help setting height control, the bed will sit on a fixed post when down.
    I need help lifting the bed and lowering it in the simplest possible way that doesn't hurt my back!

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