Thread: Help! Moving a big lathe...
Basically my dad has said I can buy a lathe I've found, that weighs 650kg, if we can think of a way of getting it up the garden into the workshop. The seller says he will deliver it, so that's not a problem.
So any ideas as to how to negotiate my garden are most welcome. There's a couple of steps and a slope. There's slabs most of the way up.
I'm thinking use an engine hoist plus maybe a couple of sheets of 18mm plywood to provide a smooth surface to run it on. Hopefully the hoist, if I can find/borrow one, will be able to lift it high enough to place on top of the steps - about 2' high.
I've got until tomorrow to work something out...
The man delivering it says he has got 'skates'. It looks like they need a flat surface, so I think some plywood or similar could provide that flat surface.
So the question is how thick plywood do I need to support that mass?
When I first picked up a cannon with an engine hoist I discovered that those little cast iron wheels don't actually help a vast amount in the moving department. There is a reason why pallet trucks have rolling bearings in their wheels.
OTOH, if you had a couple of scaffold poles sticking out the ends, lengthwise, you could probably lift one end at a time and walk it.
To move it with an engine hoist would probably mean rising it on blocks so you have clearance below to put the hoist legs. Lift it, swing it, put it down, move the hoist. Repeat ad infinitum.
a pallet truck will give you a better rolling surface, but the hoist and legs of an engine hoist often give you more versatility. I've moved a few harrison m300's with an engine hoist, and you can drop the lathe onto the legs for good stability. Two full sheets of 18mm ply should do the trick, as you pass onto the second sheet move the first around to the front. A strip of 10mm ply under the joint will stop the sheets seperating when the wheels go over the joint.
Thanks for the advice everyone, I'll show my dad this thread and see what he thinks.
We've got plenty of logs for the fire. I'm thinking if it came to it I could turn a few of them on the wood lathe to make rollers and do it Egyptian style!
The next thing to consider is the floor it's mounted on. The workshop floor is thin plywood with the thicker flooring under it and 2x1 bearers under that, all on top of a 6" thick concrete bed. My Dad understandably doesn't want to cut a hole in the floor to mount it on the concrete.
Could we put the sheets of 18mm plywood used for shifting it underneath (how big, ideally not the full 8x4) to spread the load. Would that be stable enough?
you'll probably have to, 650kg is a fair weight.
I have done such a thing more than once so i am speaking from experience.
An engine hoist is a must i used one with a capability of 2 tons
A pallet truck will fail because of instability and the whole of the machine would have to be sitting on the forks and you will fail there too.
I made a dolly this would be as wide as i could get through the door way and as long as the base of the machine this was made from 2 x 4 steel tube welded fixed to this are 200mm dia castors HD around £23 each from machine mart.
To travel from the front of the house to the back, i used 2 x 4 steel U channel with welded brackets that fixed the channel to a cross member that fitted between a doorway. So you are effectively making a railway track so the thing cannot come off the rails.
They were cut to 8 foot lengths and even then it took an incredible amount of effort to get them up the rails.
Machines moved Bridgeport, J&S 540 surface grinder & Myford cylindrical grinder
The worst cast scenario is the machine falls over causing damage the worst case scenario is someone gets killed if it falls on them if you fail to take the required precautions.
One last thing, you have left it way too late to ask for advice.
This sounds like a disaster waiting to happen :(
Lathes are very top-heavy and often the weight is biased to the front of the machine so be very careful if using rollers; if one twists under it can topple the machine.
Remove as much of the weigh from the machine as possible (e.g. tail-stock top-slide , chuck cross-slide [these usually come off quite easily] carriage handle etc. etc.)
If you're going to use a trolley, take Phil's advice make it as wide as possible (be aware that castors can swivel inwards making the actual footprint narrower and less stable) and as low as possible then strap the lathe to the trolley. Make sure no one is ever pulling on the lathe or standing on the wrong side when someone is pushing.
Last time I helped to move a heavy lathe (Churchill Cub) over a lawn , we dismantled it first into parts , the heaviest bit, the bed still weighed in at ~100kg, but we were able to move it with a sack barrow.
Above all - think before you try to move it - do things one step at a time.
 Only just spotted this!
Hopefully the hoist, if I can find/borrow one, will be able to lift it high enough to place on top of the steps - about 2' high.
What make of lathe is it? because dismantling it sounds like your best option .
Last edited by BillTodd; 13-04-2011 at 09:30 AM.
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