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  1. #1
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    Default Moving a lathe and mill safely without hiring a rigger.

    There are lots of threads in machinist forums on moving machinery (Google "moving a Bridgeport") but not much on making a safe, non-tipping rig to protect your new toys from damage and you from being crushed by them.

    This setup is stable, has reasonably low rolling resistance and is cheap if you scrounge the metal or buy from a scrapyard. I'm keeping the outriggers for my next machinery move since it's so easy to use this setup. Next time I score a tool I'll bring them plus extra metal, hardware and tools so I can adapt them on the spot which is basically "drill more bolt holes". It will of course work with a rollback and is much more stable than a wooden pallet. I ain't havin' narrow running gear wrecking the precious. Outriggers are 4" channel.

    Lathe going into my ISO container shows tiedown (tie em high to avoid tipping) and scrap plates to bridge the gap so my casters don't get stuck. Old round ram mill heads are inconvenient to control on a hoist because they will tend to flop. We used a couple of nylon choker slings but whatever you do go slow and play safe. The mill sits on heavy angle so I can get a pallet jack under it in future if needed. If I left the mill on its own base I'd grind more pry bar notches in the base so I could use more than one bar at once and to make shimming to raise the base much more convenient. Instead I'll leave it on the angle and install leveler feet into the same holes which mounted the outriggers. No holes are wasted.

    I enter the container with the fixed casters first then maneuver the outside end which has the pivoting casters. The result steers like a pallet jack.

    You will notice the outriggers straddle the machine bases allowing those to be lowered by loosening the bolts, hence the term "straddle dolly".

    I erred by using galvanized anchor bolts for the lowering bolts (they were handy and have sufficiently long thread) when I should have used allthread which has a much better thread finish. They will be fine for one trip but next machine I move I'll grab some 5/8" allthread and tack nuts on on the top end. My machinist bud mentioned the anchor bolts galled (even with lube) with standard nuts because nuts for anchor bolts are typically tapped for a loose fit even after galvanizing. I didn't know that before but will damn sure remember it now.

    I should have gotten machine tools earlier. That was a fuckup. Now I know how truly easy it is to handle them with simple equipment. I should have done this long ago because it would not have been at all difficult to move them when I moved. The moral is spend a little time to make it forever convenient to move your shit. You can scale the setup as large as you like, so if you get something large enough you could use a trailer axle or slice the ends off a full-floater truck axle if you have to move over soft or broken terrain.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bport straddle dolly.jpg   Straddle dolly lathe movement.jpg  
    Last edited by farmall; 09-11-2015 at 6:53 PM.

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    Very interesting, gracias.

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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	BP in ISO.jpg 
Views:	66 
Size:	40.5 KB 
ID:	63730Mill on dolly in end of 40-foot High Cube ISO shipping container. Lowered it onto some 1 1/4" pipes for final positioning after pic was taken. Angle under base allowed a floor jack to fit underneath.

    The lathe, mill and tooling storage will only take up about half the container. Note the extra internal height of a 9'6" High Cube compared to standard containers.

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    None of this is formal instruction. If you break things or yourself, too bad so sad and tough shit.

    Stuffed gunsmith bros Bradford Metal Master into his wooden shop where no forklift can fit. Guesstimated weight 6000lbs and tends to tip towards the operator side when lifted as we found when slinging it onto the trailer at the auction. Lathes are dangerous to move because of their high center of gravity so DO NOT fuck around with them. Place your body so they cannot fall on you if something fails and have standard commands between crew leader and helpers. No hick mumblefuckery, precise English and keep it short. "Alright" and "ho" don't mean shit. "Halt", "ready" and "go" work well and have the leader say "go" after the helper says "ready" when coordinating actions such as simultaneous pry bar work.

    Borrowed trailers wooden decking (I detest wooden decking) turned out to be rotten. Just how rotten we found out when we moved the lathe backward from the safe locations above the metal crossmembers! We also had only about 8" overhead clearance to get it into the shop.

    We backed the trailer up to the doorway. blocked the rear end keeping it level with the floor, chocked the tires, and kept the trailer hitched to the truck for stability. We didn't feel like hand drilling 5/8" bolt holes through the pipe crossbars so we welded them to the orange channel after bolting the channel to the lathe base with Grade 5 hardware. Bolts work well for dolly moves because you can take them apart and tweak alignment. The crosspipes were loaded in compression so welds just serve to control position. Nuts go on the bottom for easy bolt extraction once he gets some steel load spreader plates for his wooden shop floor.

    We prepped my cutoff 14-bolt axle tubes with stripped hubs (no drums or backing plates) to attach just aft of the headstock for easy rolling, but because of the rotten decking I chose to run full width pipe across the bottom instead of rolling on narrower hub flanges or rims or tires. Pipe locations allow getting a jack under the lathe base while keeping the "wheelbase" reasonably short. We restrained the tailstock end with a cargo strap while winching with a Wyeth-Scott cast comealong. Initially we slid some old forklift tires over the crosspipes but to bridge the trailer-to-shop gap we used pipe and wood because the trailer deck was collapsing. Full width pipes plus bridging any weak points made it a safe but slow move.

    Once inside we slid pipe sections under the crosspipes as rollers and the rest was the usual long prybar dance to turn and final position the lathe. We took the load off with a forklift jack to reposition pipes and dunnage but you can fab a "toe jack" (plenty of pics online) if you lack a forklift jack. Make short, controlled motions so you don't slide off your rollers.

    If your object CANNOT fall more than say 3/8" then you have a decent safety margin.

    Cross pipes had to be narrower than doorway of course, but they should be wide enough to form the base of as close to an equilateral triangle as you can. They were offset about 1.5" to the heavy side of the lathe for safety. Know where your floor joists are and span them in any direction you move heavy objects for best load bearing.

    If you are gonna winch a lathe up a rollback or similar, securely bolt at least one outrigger under it before winching. Most rollback drivers don't move a lot of lathes and they easily tip on a slick, inclined metal deck.

    If you have a plan to move big toys you can always be ready to score bargains. That lathe went for a hundred bucks at auction because no one was really ready to move it. That's WELL under scrap, and we bought it out from the scrapper on the spot for three hundred (still well under scrap) which pleased him because he didn't have to touch it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Headstock.jpg   Forklift jack.jpg   MetalMaster aft.jpg   Bridging weak floorS.jpg   MM tiedown.jpg  

    Last edited by farmall; 10-01-2015 at 11:16 AM.

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    A few more.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Perpendicular pipe roller pivot.jpg   winch view.jpg   in shop.jpg  

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    pretty cool. i have a buddy here that buys and sells a lot of stuff like that and he gets incredible bargains quite often just because he has the equipment to move it. he mostly uses a small forklift.

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    good job farmall. most people don't have a clue what goes into moving heavy/large things right. they just think they are heavy. i did a bunch of rigging years ago and balance, picking points, securing the load and having the right stuff is important like you show. it takes more than muscling it into the back of your suv.

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    Yesterday we finished the job. To spread the load on the floor owner got a 4x10 x 3/16" thick sheet of steel. He wasn't quite aware of how heavy the lathe was, and hadn't planned on one that large.

    We blocked at the the tips of the skids to get turning clearance for the sheet (it's like driving into a tight parking space in a ver low garage because the sheet is wider and longer than the lathe base) then worked the sheet under them using screwdrivers as pry bars since they are small and bite the wooden floor well. Some small rod under the sheet cut sliding resistance. We handled it with visegrips locked down hard by turning their knobs with another visegrip.

    We'd marked the floor where the sheet would go, placed it, then rolled the lathe to final position. removed the skid, removed, cleaned and anti-seized the levelling bolts on the lathe and cleaned their threads in the casting using bore cleaner and a shotgun bore brush chucked in a hand drill. That lathe has extra holes near each lowering bolt so I used the skid hardware to add a second bolt (nut below the lathe casting) so owner can deload the stock leveling bolts if he needs to shim under them as I expect.

    Without cleaning the three jaw chuck or more than wiping some cold rolled scrap off before three-jaw chucking it the runout doesn't exceed .005". Should go well under that when tested properly but we were tired and quit for the evening. (One trick my pro machinist bro uses in his three jaw chuck for fine parts is to chuck a smaller four jaw chuck mounted to a spindle he turned for the purpose. Since you may not get extra chucks with a used lathe that's a slick way to go and even though he has multiple chucks time is money so they don't get swapped unless necessary.)

    Owner has less than two grand including transport in a good Hardinge toolroom mill, the Bradford lathe, a homebuilt phase converter and a decent pile of tooling.

    I posted to encourage others to go for it. The earlier you get a tool the more years it can pay you back and there is nothing like being able to make and mod what you want.
    Last edited by farmall; 10-03-2015 at 8:03 AM.

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