How to move a shop full of machine tools . . .
I am in the process of "pulling up roots" and moving from MD to CA.
Eighteen years ago I moved from CA to MD, hauling many 5,000# loads on a tandem-axle trailer. This involved over fifteen trips spread over a three-year period, but at the end, I had to get the last 30,000# moved fast, so I used the services of a national moving company's 53-foot van. This service allowed for what is called a "live load" in the trucking business -- I had three hours at each end to do the loading/unloading while the driver waited. I prepped for this by palletizing everything on thirty pallets. I rented a digital platform scale and weighed every pallet to the nearest pound. Because the company wanted the load heavier in the front, I chalked the outline of the inside of the trailer on my shop floor and used a pallet jack to place the pallets (heavy items last) without violating the "walls" of the trailer. This was in reverse order, so that when the time came to load the trailer, all the fork-lift guy I hired had to do was to pick them up in order and place them in the trailer where his assistant rolled them to the front of the trailer. The whole loading operation took 1-1/2 hours. At the receiving end, I operated the forklift and the driver assisted me with the pallet jack -- the unloading operation only took a half hour.
I "ran the numbers", comparing the cost of my previous trailer-loads to the 53-foot van service and it was cheaper to use the professional service, even without including meals & lodging. With the prospect of moving the greater number of heavier machine tools I have acquired over the last 18 years, I checked moving options on the internet and there are more options out there now. This thread will document this project. Questions will be welcome -- I hope to provide options for those of you that may need to move.
P.S.: I enjoyed the time I spent on the road during my first move, but I am getting older and coast-to-coast trips in four days are a lot harder than they used to be. I only got my F-350 flat-bed near the end of my first move and have converted it into some of the machine tools I will be moving, so it is not an option for moving a few machines at a time. This is fine because the bulk move is much more efficient, even if it does take a lot more prep and planning to go smoothly. For fetching a machine at a time, the bulk move might not be so competitive.
More (a lot) to come . . .
The last time I moved, which was some years ago, I moved around 75,000lbs total- split, about evenly, between a 40 foot container and a 53 foot box trailer.
I bought my own container, and loaded it at my leisure, then hired a trucker to move it. The disadvantage was I had to hire a crane at each end to load it onto the 40 foot flatbed.
The 53 footer i used was from Schneider, and they gave me a price where they dropped it off, and I took several days to fill it, then they delivered it to my new home, and dropped it off again, and came and picked it up when I called them, almost a week later.
I had rented a forklift at each end, for several days, so I could load and unload at my own pace.
Now, however, I have some items that are just too big for either a container or a box truck- and so I would add, to the mix, a 40 foot flatbed that I loaded with all the bigger, more ungainly machine tools. I would only deal with a trucker that was going direct from my place to my place, no changes of trailer. I have shipped various large things this way- I load, and supervise the chaining or strapping down, then I fly to the other end, and unload. This works pretty well for stuff too heavy or large for a container or to be palletized.
But honestly, I am not moving again. I plan on keeping my shop where it is til I cant use it any more, then, hopefully, selling it off.
That's what I said . . .
That is what I would have said six months ago, but my daughter's life course changed and my chances of becoming a grandfather have increased dramatically.
Originally Posted by Ries
I am returning to my home-town of San Luis Obispo -- I am actually going to rent the house I sold 14 years ago -- it has 1,000 sq.ft. shop in the back yard. This means I will have less than a third of the space I have here in MD, so it will be an excellent chance to get rid of a lot of stuff and focus on the machines I want to restore and operate.
Today I made a reservation for three 28-foot semi-trailers with ABF's U-Pack program. The trailers will handle up to 22,500# and I have three days at each end for loading/unloading. I specifically informed them that most of the household goods I am moving were to be machine tools (all oil drained) and was told that would be no problem. I will be doing one load in early July and two more in early August.
The prices change with the cost of fuel and the season, but July & August are the busiest season and my trailers are costing around $6,200 each, which works out to just over $.25 per pound and $.20 per ton-mile. This works out to around half the cost per ton-mile that a U-haul truck costs for rent & fuel and then you also have food & lodging costs for 4 or 5 days, not to mention the actual work of driving.
I will be using my 2,000# small Clark forklift (will actually lift 2,700#) for loading and a 2,800# electric Yale I just bought in Las Vegas for unloading. The six working day transit time will give me time to load, drive west, and unload, although I can pay for someone to do the unloading if the need should arise.
For the next few weeks, I will be prepping my MD home to show -- hopefully it will sell quickly and the move will go on schedule. If I get a fast sale, I need to be able to vacate the shop should the new owner want to use it immediately at the end of escrow. If I can arrange it, I will pay rent so as to be able to sell more things off rather than scrapping them. I am working on finding homes for the machines that are not going to CA.
Having a moving sale at all?
Moving sale ? ? ?
I will be selling anything I have serious $$$ invested in -- anything I got for next to nothing I will let go for scrap prices.
As might be expected, I am keeping all the good stuff . . . there still might be somethings of interest. I'll send you my address via private message and you can come take a look most any time.
For others, here is a partial list of what is for available: (italicized items are spoken for)
o Hendey 2G mill project (see thread in Antique Machinery & History forum)
o Buffalo Forge 20" drill press (see thread in Antique Machinery & History forum)
o 16" DoAll bandsaw project
o Two (different) 6x18 B&S surface grinder clone projects
o Lincoln "airplane" welder (a.k.a.: fire-plug) -- you need serious three-phase for this one
o Old-school Braden truck winch converted to hydraulic drive
o 18KVA three-phase generator project w/ good Dodge flat-head six engine
o Lincoln Weldan Power welder in very good condition
o Curtis air compressor
o Sheet metal shop w/ 8-foot brake & 3-foot squaring shear (my Father's shop complete)
o K&T model K dividing head & other misc parts.
o Pallet racks
o One ton of blacksmithing coal in metal container
o Clark forklift (after I am finished loading!)
I'll post more as I think of it . . .
Last edited by Archie Cheda; 05-29-2013 at 07:13 AM.
Reason: update list of items available . . .
Originally Posted by Archie Cheda
My Lord, I haven't seen an old Lincoln Fire Plug welder in many years. They were a heck of a good welder, and were made in both 180 amp and 225 (250?) amp ratings. Every time I had a pipe fitting crew working, the old hands always made a bee line for the Lincoln. Wow - you took me back with that machine. Thanks.
Last edited by Archie Cheda; 05-14-2013 at 06:07 PM.
Reason: eliminate redundancy . . .
You made a good choice - years ago, I'd happily drive forever, but I reached the point that driving was a task, and not fun. When you look at making multiple trips across the country, it just ain't fun.
Moving a shop will give you a real appreciation for the "One more box should do it" point in moving. It's amazing just how many "One more boxes...) there are in a home, let alone a shop.
Best of luck on your move - it looks like you have things figured out very well. Ciao.
Old-school welding . . .
Thanks for your good wishes . . .
The Lincoln is like a small (but heavy) statue -- as long as I had the room, I liked keeping it around just to admire. It is the higher amperage model, and needs something like 32 amps @ 220VAC for full power. I would rather find some one that could use it than to get the $$$ for scrapping it. My working welding supply is a Lincoln inverter that does pulse stuff and will support TIG. Being quiet & compact it is the one that will be moving.
You couldn't have picked a better time to document how to move heavy iron. Thanks.
My wife and I are moving out of Alaska to parts yet undetermined, probably Pacific Northwest so your posts will be very helpful. I was planning to use a professional moving service but cost may prohibit that.
Are you going to skid your larger machines and crate your smaller ones or do you crate everything so you can stack lighter crates on top? Are you concerned about air ride suspension on the trailers?
The old Lincoln was the smallest welder I had in my old shop -- we had a shop was full of 100 amp, 600 VAC disconnects & receptacles. My other welders came from American Hoist and Derrick when they moved down south somewhere - the smallest was a 300 amp "torpedo" welder, and the largest was about 750/800 amps. I don't know what they weighed, other than PLENTY. I had two welders who would argue with each other about who was better, faster, etc, and one guy would grab a load of 1/8" 7018 from the oven, and the other guy would haul out 1/4" 7018. The guy who used 1/8" would weld non-stop, while the 1/4" guy liked to weld, then stop for a cuppa. Guess who got more metal down per day? The 1/8" guy. When I stopped at the supply house for rods and asked for 1/4" 7018, they gave me a heck of a deal - it seems the only company that had bought 1/4" 7018 was American Hoist, and they hadn't sold any since AH&D moved south.
Thankfully, I don't have to deal with 3/4 plate any more.
Good luck on your move - I hope you enjoy CA. It's a beautiful state.
Details yet to come . . .
I last used professional movers in 1977 for a household move paid for my my employer, but it is a luxury I cannot justify when it is my money. I was so far under the weight limit that I included my wife's car. Even then, we had to box all the small items. I have heard that most pro movers that do households are not at all prepared to deal with machine tools -- for example they do not use forklifts and pretty much muscle everything up a ramp. I strongly recommend doing your homework by asking any potential professional service about their experience with machine tools. My fear is that anyone who would do it is a specialist who will want typical riggers' rates. If they know what they are doing, you will pay for it. If the price is what you can afford, the service will not be up to snuff. On the average, I will be paying about half the cost my machines are worth to ship them -- if it were much more, I would sell at one end and buy at the other, but I spent ten years selecting these machines and do not want to go through that again.
My approach only works if you have the time and a good place to get everything prepared and a forklift at that end, plus another forklift at the other. When I shipped my 30,000# in 1999 I actually moved my forklift on a tandem-axle flat-bed trailer so that it was at the receiving end and then paid for the forklift, operator, & assistant at the sending end. This time I am leaving the forklift to sell once I am finished and have already purchased a forklift at the other end. I will drive with a light load on a trailer while my first 28-foot trailer is en route. I have three days (not counting weekends) to load, so I will probably load in one day and take off, leaving a designated person to meet the driver when the trailer is picked up.
Different machines will get different treatments, some to be determined as I go along, so stay tuned . . . The tallest machines will be laid down -- although I could probably tie them off, I prefer not to have to twice deal with forklifting top heavy loads on/off of a 4-foot high trailer deck. I will spend a lot of time slowly preparing things so that the loading/unloading are super easy. This is especially important if I have to have someone else do some of the forklift work. At this point, I plan on doing all the forklift work, but I want to be prepared for any contingency that comes up. Because I am doing the loading, I will not crate much, although some projects that have a lot of small- & middle-sized parts lend themselves to being crated. Most of the machines will be on pallets, either commercial or custom made. In some cases I will just lag the machine to a couple of skids such that it is easy to pick them up with a pallet jack -- remember that a pallet jack is less flexible than a forklift.
As much as possible I put something light (household furniture) on top of something heavy, all strapped into one unit. (I use 3/4" steel strapping for heavy stuff and 1/2" nylon for light stuff. I will be buying a large quantity of identical cardboard boxes so that I can stack up may layers on a pallet with plywood between each layer. These stacks will be stretch-wrapped into one unit and then will be easy to handle with the forklifts.
Everything will be packed so that even a rough ride should cause no problems. The various pallets will be loaded in contact with each other so that they cannot move around. I am investigating using the "E-Track" system that the ABF trailers have installed -- I need to go inspect a trailer to be certain how I can use them. I will be buying E-Track fittings and separate ratchet straps -- this will all be documented in this thread. All my wife's very fragile items will be riding in her Crown Vic, packed by her so I have no liability (good luck making that stick!).
P.S.: Bob, San Luis Obispo is my home town. My father and his parents were born there and my daughter still lives there, not to mention a lot of cousins. My wife is giving up living in her home county, cousins in all, but she is ready to return to CA. I am fully aware of the massive "pro's" and equally massive "con's" that the golden state presents -- I intend to enjoy the good part and ignore the rest. This is easier to do when one is retired.
CA is a beautiful state, and the area around San Luis Obispo is real nice, with great farmer's markets and produce that we only can think about here in MN in January - but I gotta agree, there are a few negatives --- too many people, too much traffic, earthquakes, etc. Every place in the world had good news, and bad news. That's life. Here in MN, we have winter, in FL, they have humidity and hurricanes. It is what it is.
Way back when my father retired, I asked him if he was going to move south. Nope. He told me that winter was easy to handle if it was on YOUR terms. He didn't have to be at work at 0800, he didn't have to fight afternoon rush hour, and if the weather was totally ugly, he could stay home and admire it through the window. That will be my plan when I retire next year. Winter - on MY terms.
If you are retired, then San Luis will also be on your terms. And being out of the LA basin will certainly help. And if you've been there before, that helps a whole lot.
Your moving plan makes sense. If machinery is palletized and crated, it becomes a large, heavy box, and that is a whole lot easier to handle than a bare BP. When I moved 20 years ago, I used a Penske truck with a power tailgate - the next time I move (if ever), I'll use a forklift to handle everything possible. When I moved, I was able to buy some wood parts boxes from the old Twin City Army Ammunition Plant - they were about 30 x 40 x 30" high, and were fairly light but very sturdy. They wound up on 4-wheel dollies that I could load, wheel on the truck, then roll off and back inside. The 3/4" strapping is great stuff - when I moved the big shop years ago, there wasn't much that couldn't be tied down with strapping.
Back then, I welded some 1/2" grab hooks towards the top of the mast on my 8000 Lb forklift. I could pick up a load, throw a chain around it, then lower the forks a bit to tighten up the chain. If necessary, some blocking would be placed between the load and the fork lift. The lift was so old that it had a 6 volt electrical system, but it did the job just fine, and the hooks let me move mills and drill presses very easily.
Best of luck, and happy trails.
Winter in Minnesota ? ? ?
I have survived two Minnesota winters, two Utah winters, and over a dozen MD winters -- the latter being not much problem. I use your dad's approach, but I do find that the 250-foot walk to my current shop is too far in the winter. My old CA shop I left 18 years ago and am returning to is just outside the back door.
Great tip on the top-mast hooks to stabilize a top-heavy load. Another is to not pick up oily cast iron on bare steel forks -- put something in between to increase the friction and reduce the chance of the load sliding on the forks. Even a piece of 1/4" plywood scrap would help -- all the better if sandpaper is glued on both sides. Even better, one can strap the load back against vertical portion of the forks.
P.S.: Earthquakes? Not a worry for me living in a small city in a wood-frame house. I would not want to be near LA or SF when the "big one" hits.
Thanks for the tips. I haven't read any of your post before now but will certainly be on the look out for them from now on. I hope your move goes smoothly.
Archie if your not busy in a couple of weeks, May 31-June 2, I will be teaching the 3rd Annual West Coast Metal Scraping Symposium in the Bay area. My friend DH Mayeron has organized the class again. We will be doing it at Jim Austins Forge and Blacksmiths shop (see below)who specializes in hand forged throwing axes. If you have time stop by and say hello. On Sunday afternoon, we have invited students from past classes to visit, to say hello, have a tool swap, and reacquaint with past classmates.
I see it's about 200 miles away a long drive for a day, but come over sat, stay the night and come and observe. Our friend and fellow scraper John York (also retired master machinist) who contributes to PM will be there observing too. I am sure everyone would like to meet you too.
I got a super deal at the Hilton Gardens Hotel in Emeryville, $101.00 a night on Priceline. It would be nice to see you again.
The shop is not to big, but if any other locals want to stop by, shoot me a PM or email and I'll ask Jim or DH and see if it's OK.
Class will be at Jim Austin's shop:
2440 Adeline Street (x 24th St.)
Oakland CA 94607-2444
Tel 510 986 1173
You can visit Jim's site: forgedaxes.com to see his beautiful work.
Can also email or PM me. Rich
I'll be in MD prepping machines for shipping from now until July third when my first 28-ft. trailer will be dropped off, so it would be a long commute to visit your class. Sorry to miss out, but I have my hands full for a while . . .
Update on stuff available . . .
I updated the list of things available -- I'll have some things to add to the list once I get rid of some items that must be scrapped and get room to get access to the "back row".
was a good trip
It was great to meet you. The shop tour was an eye opener. When I grow up, I want a monster Cinci-Bickford too. And a planer, and....
I got the surface grinder unloaded and safely under cover until I can get to it. Each machine I move presents new problems and that thing was really special. It wasn't super heavy, but the center of gravity is way high and to the back. Until I wrapped my head around that fact I almost dropped it a couple of times.
A note to anyone on the fence about getting one of these items: Go for it. They may be projects (When Archie says project - believe it) but they are worth it. Besides, I think the "door prizes" alone were almost worth the trip for me. He's got a lot of stuff and he's serious about downsizing. There are some real gems in there.
Red letter day . . .
As of noon today my house is "under contract" -- seven days from the day it was first listed. Now all I have to do is pack . . .
I have a 45-day escrow and an additional 45 days to empty the shop. A lot of stuff that I am not moving is going to be scrapped or given away.
This week I'll haul off some scrap & junk and next week I will be palletizing the following for my first shipment:
Hendey 12" Shaper
Covel 6" x 18" Surface Grinder
B&S Tool & Cutter Grinder
Hardinge HLV-H Lathe
Marvel #8 Saw
SBL Turret Mill (Bridgeport clone)
Cincinnati Bickford 24" Drill Press
These are the machine tools that I have not taken apart, but the last two will be broken down for palletizing because they are top-heavy. This first shipment will be mostly iron, but in the 2nd & 3rd shipments, I will be strapping furniture on top of machine tools. I'll liven up this thread a bit with pics of the palletizing.
P.S.: I have reserved three 28-foot ABF semi-trailers, the first for early July and the other two for early August. I will be loading the first and the "racing" the shipment to CA. ABF states at least six working days, so I should not have too much trouble beating them. I have a Yale electric forklift waiting to be picked up in Las Vegas for unloading.
Congratulations on the real estate sales contract and for negotiating your additional 45 day period to vacate the shop. That sounds excellent. I'm also pleased that we've converged regarding the parallelism checker.
I'm wondering how you plan to get the Yale from Las Vegas to SLO? What I mean is, how heavy is the Yale? What are you going to carry it on? I would expect it to be nontrivial to get it off of a ramped tilt trailer and onto the slab in SLO.