It's a tough gig to empty barrels full of sticky granules all day. Imagine if you had to hold them in place, too.

Space bug was a crazy solution to an annoying problem. He started his life as a $150.00 engine hoist from a consumer tools superstore.

With the addition of some hydraulics, a pair of extra cylinders and the oil box from an International Harvester Lowboy Tractor, he came to life as Space Bug ... able to lift full barrels above human height, stack and rotate them and hold them for hours in any position for filling and emptying!

Making Space Bug was a ton of fun, involving angle grinders, micrometers, CAD and a lot of on-the-spot ingenuity.

The welders were used for the obvious use. Sketchup was used for the initial concept, and illustrator was used to make the cutting layouts.

Since Spacey is intrinsically dangerous, a lot of safety testing was put in place as well as training for anyone new to his nasty trickery.


  • Hydraulics
  • Welding
  • CAD / Sketchup
  • Layout
  • Planning
  • Testing
  • Mr. Safety


  • Franklin MIG/TIG Welder
  • Princess Auto Hydraulic Block
  • Spare hydraulic pump
  • IH LowBoy Tractor oil box
  • Canadian Tire Engine Hoist
  • Ranger Bands (Inner Tube)

It's undoable. If I ever need an engine hoist, I can put the original hook back on the ring at the end.

It's safe By leaving the structure unchanged (the original cylinder can be placed back in to make it manual again) it's still has the 2 ton safety rating it came from the store with. Not that I expect them to honor the guarantee.

It's handy. Space bug has done some really useful things beyond his original design, including lifting a fridge to a second floor balcony, compacting boxes, and providing a platform for changing ceiling lights.

It's color coordinated. Red Primer and black are stylish, rust-resistant and match our pallete mover, Ground Bug.

Don't Tell OSHA. Of course we took rides in it. Short, terrifying rides.