Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Introducing the An-D Lifter

We needed some sort of solution for moving and storing our hot tub cover while we were using the tub, so I decided to copy a product I knew worked.  My parents have had something called the E-Z Lifter on their hot tub since they got it, and it is an incredibly simple and effective tool for handling the spa cover.  Unfortunately, I believe it is also overpriced.  Prices range from $120 to $190, for what is essentially an rectangle made of light aluminum tubing.

It was clear this product could be easily copied, so I went to Home Depot and got all the necessary supplies to build a version of my own for less than $40.  The cost could be as low as $20 if you already have PVC cement and some spare rope to use.

The result is a perfectly usable tool for a fraction of the cost of the original, with twice the style.  Or not.

Original E-Z Lifter:
E-Z Lifter closedE-Z Lifter

New and improved An-D Lifter:
Here's the play-by-play:
I had to start by fixing/reinforcing the hot tub cover.  It is the most worn part of the tub, but only really at the seam.  I got a five inch wide roll of awning repair tape and went for it.  The result seems good so far.  We'll see how long it lasts.

Now I could get started on the lifter.  It started with creating a mounting point for the support rope.  I went with a 2x4 block.

I even got fancy and centered the hole with a high tech method, known as an X.

Four inch blocks, one of which I shaved down a bit.

Some light finishing work with the rasp and sandpaper.

Eye screw test fit.

After painting and realizing I forgot to countersink.  Another coat finished them up.

Mounting done.  Stainless steel, of course.

The first test.  It works!

I decided to add a small table to actually support the weight of the cover when it's raised.  This should extend the life of the cover and my repair job.  We found the table on the street, and its height is just about perfect, after I shortened and evened out the legs.  With the table, the support ropes aren't even needed.

The only (surprisingly minor) injury from the project.  The table got away from me while maneuvering it for trimming.

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