DIY Network

Install a Dumbwaiter: Assemble the Motor

Host Paul Ryan shows how to assemble the motor with these step-by-step instructions. He also demonstrates how to add the guide rails for the dumbwaiter to move up and down on.

More in Remodeling

  • Time


  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Position the Motor Assembly

Nail a few temporary 2x6s over the hole on the floor so you can stand on the inside of the shaft and work (Image 1).

Place the motor assembly in the elevator shaft (Image 2).

Step 2: Attach the Motor to the Ceiling

On the top of the shaft, install two pieces of 3/4" plywood finished with drywall. This will be a surface to anchor the motor.

Once the motor assembly is in place, attach it to the ceiling with the lag bolts supplied with the unit.

attach motor assembly to ceiling

Step 3: Secure the Lower Frame Assembly

Pre-drill the holes to secure the lower frame assembly (Image 1).

Once all the holes are drilled, get the lower frame assembly in place.

Take measurements to make sure that the unit is centered in the shaft (Image 2). Fasten the frame to the concrete at the pre-drilled fasten points (Image 3).

When drilling into concrete, use a hammer drill with a masonry bit. A masonry bit will ease your progress into the concrete.

Step 4: Secure the Guide Rail

The guide rail slides into the clip and is secured with screws provided with the kit (Image 1).

You may need to add a second rail to reach the main floor. A backer plate attached to the rail will give an anchor to attach another rail (Image 2). Use self-tapping screws to secure the backer plate. The screw tip should have its own drill bit so you will not need to make pilot holes (Image 3).

Step 5: Cut and Attach Additional Rails

Use a table saw to cut the additional guide rail (Image 1). When cutting guide rails it is a good idea to put a block in the channel to keep from crushing or bending the channels while you are cutting.

Attach the rails to the walls (Image 2). Use shims to snug the rail to the wall.

Attach the rails every 36" on the backer boards (Image 3).

To get enough room to get the right rail into the clip, jack up the lift container with a 2x 4 (Image 4). Be sure to maintain an equal distance between the guide rails.