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Moving my lathe

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Brian Rupnow

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A week ago, my lathe quit. This was very upsetting, because it had just quit about 2 or 3 months ago, and had to be taken to Toronto for repairs. Fortunately, the safety switch inside the change gear cover had slipped out of adjustment, so my cost was negligible, but the hardest part was getting the lathe out of my tiny workshop and out into the garage and into my truck. I must declare right here, that I really like this lathe. I bought it new about 6 years ago, and it has performed faithfully for me. When it was brand new, I brought it home in my truck, unloaded it with my engine hoist, and hired a local machinery mover to move it into my machine shop. Two great big men stopped by, put a machine skate under the heavy end, and moved it into my machine shop. This took about 15 minutes, and they charged me $500. Never again, said I!!! That was out and out robbery. Three months ago, I moved the lathe out to my truck by myself and drove it to Toronto for repairs. When it was repaired, I unloaded it from my truck and moved it back into my machine shop by myself. That went well, but I was 74 years old in July, and it was just about more than I could handle. Last week I moved the lathe out to my truck by myself again for a trip to Toronto, but thought "there has to be an easier way to do this". I had designed and built a "transfer table" three months ago which I could load the lathe on and transport it from my truck to my machine shop. The really ugly part was moving the lathe from the wheeled "transfer table" back onto the cabinets which the lathe normally sets on.--But wait!!!! I'm a machine designer. Damn, I'll build a machine to assist me!!! (The lathe issue was a wire coming loose on the reverse terminal inside the lathes electrical cabinet.) This first picture shows me in the process of unloading the lathe from my truck, using my cherry picker hoist to place the lathe on the "transfer table".

 

Brian Rupnow

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From my garage, one has to pass thru my office to get to my machine shop. (My "machine shop" used to be an annex of my office, with a huge old drafting table in it). The "wheeled transfer table" is quite easy to steer, with fixed pneumatic wheels and tires under one end , and swivel casters under the other end. This picture shows the lathe and transfer table in my office, having just passed thru one doorway between my office and garage.
 

Brian Rupnow

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And here we are with the lathe in my machine shop, almost in it's home position on top of the cabinets on the right hand side. You will see that I have built an overhead gantry, with a wheeled carrier riding on top of the dual 2 x 4'rs passing over top of the lathe, supported on both ends by vertical 2 x 6" timbers. A threaded 1/2" diameter rod reaches from the overhead wheeled carrier down thru a 1/2" clearance hole in a 1 1/4" diameter piece of cold rolled steel held in the chuck. By tightening the nut above the wheeled carrier, I can lift the heavy end of the lathe off the transfer table and see daylight under it. It doesn't require a tremendous feat of strength to manually lift the light end of the lathe and swing it over into it's home position atop the metal cabinets. Then, in theory, I can push the wheeled carrier across to position the heavy end of the lathe above the cabinets, and unscrew the nuts on the 1/2" threaded rod to lower the heavy end into place.
 

Brian Rupnow

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Now, as I said in my previous post, "In theory I can push the wheeled carriage with the heavy end of the lathe suspended from it into place". In reality, it didn't happen quite that way. The heavy end of the lathe was so heavy that the 3" o.d. diameter bearings on my overhead "wheeled carriage" actually sunk into depressions that it made in the 2 x 4 lumber, and consequently couldn't be pushed by hand. POOP!!!.--However, I have a couple of old scissor jacks that could probably lift the Empire State Building if I wanted to, so I laid one on its side and pushed the carriage into position.
 
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Brian Rupnow

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With the lathe correctly positioned, it was a simple matter to lower the lathe into it's home position and bolt it into it's final position on top of the cabinets. The lumber and the wheeled carriage are bundled together and put into storage in case I ever need to do this again. (God forbid.)
 

Brian Rupnow

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A number of years ago, someone (I don't remember who) gave me a bunch of huge old bearings, because they knew I "Built things". I never throw anything away, so when it was time to devise a wheeled carriage to move the heavy end of the lathe, I used a piece of 1" thick aluminum bar and a couple of steel shafts to mount the bearings on. The weld spots you see are holding bearing retainers in place so they don't slip of the ends of the shafts. It worked. Maybe not quite as easily as I had hoped, but it did work. If I ever have to use it again I will bolt some steel straps to the top of the 2 x 4rs, so that the wheels (actually bearings) won't sink into the wood and make it hard to move when the lathe is suspended from it.
 

Gordon

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Are you lifting the lathe by a piece clamped in the chuck? That would seem to be risky and hard on the chuck.
 

ignator

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The lathe issue was a wire coming loose on the reverse terminal inside the lathes electrical cabinet
Was this problem caused by the previous repair of the door switch out of adjust? I looked in the manual, not much serviceable components, looks like mostly circuit card assemblies.
1606057252292.png

I like your temporary bridge crane solution.
 

lathe nut

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Brian, neat way to move it, we have to do things on our own now days those robbers are ever where, I like you work alone and don't know if I really want help anymore, they have there Ideas and don't suite what we want and where we want it, I made a boom for the front end loader for my tractor to put in the small shop and in the big shop I was able to get a Clark 2,500 pound Heister for the big shop, now that I have that don't know how I got along with out it, at the age where lifting heavy items are not in my lifting capacity anymore, glad you got it done, now its play time.
 

Andy Munns

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Do this a lot - When lifting lathes and mills never lift with forklift tines under steel and cast iron machines as the coefficient of friction is way too low. Professionals use web slings and lift from above. I run the sling down through the bed to a block of wood, then up and around each side of the chuck (Avoids bending feed and lead screws). I also chuck a piece of decent sized pipe that is long enough to reach the tailstock to keep the slings from tripping out. Keep tail stock far to the end of the bed and tweak the balance using the carriage. Awkward with a large lathe and heavy back mounted motor - Once I saw some guys pick up a back heavy lathe which tipped over backwards and smashed the motor mount.
 

lathe nut

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Andy, yes i have slings but years ago I used chains, always behind the lead and feed screw, wood to support so I don't scratch the bed, I lifted several with a track hoe, used a binder with the chains to get it level, never dropped one but move the swing very slow, I would lift them then back the trailer under them, one guy wanted to help when I got the lathe up he motioned me to swing it and walk the hoe to the trailer, called him to the cab and said, you just watch that kind of advise means you have never loaded a lathe or mill.
 

packrat

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When I bought my SB heavy 10 with cabinet full of tooling the seller was goin to lift it on my truck with a chain hocked on the cross slide & compound,
he would have done some real damage..
 

bluejets

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Seems it would be more sense to get the lecky to visit. :rolleyes:
 

Steamchick

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Thanks for the lessons in "shifting!". I like the timber "travelling crane" I have a small (200kg.) lathe and if I ever need to move it I shall make something similar and "give it a go", as I have 4 car wheel bearings that are too big for any models. It took some back-breaking heaving to slide it up a plank onto the bench when I installed it. - One scaffold plank to a saw-horse, then another from horse to bench. One person either side to "heave, grunt and make lots of noise". But I have no lifting devices besides jacks. Although I do have some slings... which I used for 4 people to lift 200 kgs of yacht 40 years ago... = More grunt than brain!
K2.
 

SmithDoor

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That is 440 pounds
My self and wife move 750 lathe last summer. A I would not do that again and thank God for pain pills my wife said we are to old and never do that again. I was 65 and she is older.

Dave

Thanks for the lessons in "shifting!". I like the timber "travelling crane" I have a small (200kg.) lathe and if I ever need to move it I shall make something similar and "give it a go", as I have 4 car wheel bearings that are too big for any models. It took some back-breaking heaving to slide it up a plank onto the bench when I installed it. - One scaffold plank to a saw-horse, then another from horse to bench. One person either side to "heave, grunt and make lots of noise". But I have no lifting devices besides jacks. Although I do have some slings... which I used for 4 people to lift 200 kgs of yacht 40 years ago... = More grunt than brain!
K2.
 

HMEL

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Now, as I said in my previous post, "In theory I can push the wheeled carriage with the heavy end of the lathe suspended from it into place". In reality, it didn't happen quite that way. The heavy end of the lathe was so heavy that the 3" o.d. diameter bearings on my overhead "wheeled carriage" actually sunk into depressions that it made in the 2 x 4 lumber, and consequently couldn't be pushed by hand. POOP!!!.--However, I have a couple of old scissor jacks that could probably lift the Empire State Building if I wanted to, so I laid one on its side and pushed the carriage into position.
Clever way of moving it. If you have to do it again mount angle irons on the top of the timbers for the bearings to role on. It will keep it from depressing into the wood and add a bit of strength. The set up is similar to the old barns which had similar rollers with rails to move hay across the mow. Good job for a one man operation.
 

Richard Hed

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For a small to medium lathe how about using an engine hoist? Owned, borrowed or hired... This is how I move these smaller units, again always slung carefully.
How medium is medium? What is the largest one can safely use an engine hoist for? I have the largest engine hoist I could find, also a moveable overhead crane I built many years ago. The engine hoist is the most convenient but it only lifts so much at each adjustment.
 

Tim1974

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Bit silly question just check your numbers on hoist and weight of lathe or what Eva your lifting basic get the rigging right and good to go
 

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