The Safe-T-Lift

| Overview | Proof of Concept | Detailed Design |

| Fabrication | Finished Prototype | Meet the Team | Acknowledgements |


There are many types of racecar hydraulic lifts in use today. International Motor Contest
Association (IMCA) modified racecars weigh approximately 2600 pounds and with a mass that large, a
failure can cause major injury or fatality to its users. Most conventional racecar lifts are difficult to
maneuver and only have one or no safety feature. Some existing lifts have failed due to poor designs of
their safety features. Because the risk of failure is present in these designs, users are susceptible of
major injury from the car slipping off the riser or a structural failure in the lift’s safety members. To
address these concerns, the design of the Safe-T- Lift includes multiple layers of safety mechanisms,
lifting/carrying handles, and wheels to improve the overall operation of the lifting process.

With all of these great features, the Safe-T-Lift is competitive to the cost of an existing lift.
This allows racing teams the ability to afford a better designed and safer hydraulic racecar lift.





Proof of Concept



Half-scale wooden model

  • Allows the team to analyze the model in person instead of needing a computer to generate a model from SolidWorks.
  • It is easy to transport from place to place because it is light and small.
  • Helps the team to develop an assembly/building instruction manual.
  • Strictly for developing an assembly method/procedure for the final product and to determine the best mounting methods for the hydraulic cylinders and the safety device

Full-Scale Steel Safety Dog-Lock Mechanism

  • Made for examination and visual inspection.
  • This safety device will become one of the safety devices used on the Safe-T-Lift.


Detailed Design


The Safe-T-Lift design is based upon:

1) Safety

  • The Dog-Lock safety device automatically locks the lift at incrementing heights.
  • All body parts are far from the lift as it raises the car.
  • Rubber pads on the top of the lift make sure the car will not slip off.

2) Mobility

  • Handles on both sides and front end of the lift allow for easy transportation.
  • Wheels allow for the lift to be dragged through terrain instead of carried.

3) Effectiveness

  • 2 hydraulic cylinders that are battery powered make for no need of a power outlet.
  • The Safe-T-Lift is able to lift a 2600 pound race car in 8 seconds.
  • Made from grade 5 steel, the Safe-T-Lift should last 5 years and run 1000 cycles each year.

Not intended for under the car maintenance and pit stops where speed is a concern.





The Finished Prototype


Safe-T-Lift Demonstrational Video
Resulting Specifications:

– The Safe-T-Lift has a set-up time of 10 minutes and raises/lowers the car in 8 seconds.
– The lift weighs 160 pounds.
– Total cost was around $1750.00 without considering donated items.
– The lift can support 4500 pounds safely.
– At its lowest height the lift measures 3.5 inches tall.
– At its raised height the lift measures 16.5 inches tall.



Meet the Team


Tom Purcell


This is Tom Purcell, and he is graduating in May 2015 as a Mechanical Engineer from UNR. Tom has been a mechanical engineering intern for four and half years for Click Bond, Inc. in Carson City, NV. Click Bond, Inc. is a mechanical/aeronautical engineering company, which produces aeronautical and automotive fasteners. Tom works in the machine design/development and automation department designing and making robotic machinery.
Tom has been mechanically inclined for a long time through his racing background. He started driving race cars at six years old, and now, at 23 years old, he drives race cars with 700 horse power on dirt oval race tracks. Tom builds his own race cars and maintains them with the help of his family. Also, Tom has many skills in fabrication, welding, and product design with the ability to operate manual milling and lathe machines. He has been a machining apprentice for three years, but he started machining various parts when he was thirteen years old. Tom spends his free time driving his race car, fishing, hiking, or shooting.

Janet Butler


Janet Butler is a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno pursuing a Mechanical Engineering degree and currently holds an Associate of Science from Western Nevada College. She is currently working for the State of Nevada. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her Labrador, going to the lake, and shopping.

Justin Yates


Justin Yates is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering at UNR. He has received an Associate degree in Architectural Drafting as well as an Associate of Science from Western Nevada College. He loves using computer design programs such as AutoCAD and Solidworks. Currently living in Minden, NV, Justin loves to be outdoors when he is not in school. His hobbies include skiing, baseball, fishing, riding ATV’s, and many more outdoor activities. Justin is also a phenomenal bowler and has shot seven 300 games, making bowling one of his biggest passions in life!

Jessica Lupena


Jessica Lupena is a senior at UNR pursuing a major in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Math. She already has an Associate of Science degree from Western Nevada College. Jessica is very active in the Society of Women Engineers and is currently the section secretary. Her hobbies include playing pool, snowboarding, and solving Rubik’s cubes.

Joel Shedd


Joel Shedd is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering at UNR. He worked for 11 years in the construction industry before going back to school. Currently he is working at a local defense contractor for the military, working in the engineering field. On the side, Joel works on a side business doing remodeling and small construction projects. Some of his hobbies include fishing, hunting, mechanics, anything hands on and the outdoors.


Team Safe-T-Lift would like to express our gratitude to the
following people and companies for making our project
possible: Karl Hutter, Ralph Strahan, Barry Madson and
Click Bond, Inc. for their generous fully-funded sponsorship.
Jim and Steve from Reno Hydraulic and Rebuild of Reno,
NV for their assistance and donations. Jensen Metal Tech
donated proof of concept materials. Gary Krupp, with
Interstate Battery in Carson City, NV donated a battery.
Tom Purcell Sr. donated machine availability and materials.
Finally, our mentor: Justin Beug, from Click Bond, Inc., for
his guidance and advice throughout the entire project.


Team Safe-T-Lift was awarded the 2015 Owen Stedham award for their efforts on displaying engineering acumen, ingenuity, and professionalism throughout the entire project. The Safe-T-Lift team members are very honored to receive this special-prestigious award.

For more information about this award, refer to the Owen Stedham Award link at the top of this page.