Thoughts on the dreaded B word.
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  1. #1
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    Default Thoughts on the dreaded B word.

    I’m certain at some point many of you have wrestled with having to make a choice on where to house your lathe. My 13” is sitting in my garage awaiting the necessary yet slow to obtain provisions needed to set it up.

    With winter coming sooner than later it seems foolish to leave it in an unheated, non insulated, damp, drafty garage for the rust gremlins to have their way with.

    One of my initial hopes was to build a dedicated shed shop for it in my yard, but one of my other hopes was to win the lottery three weeks in a row. The reality is.. neither are likely to happen anytime soon.

    This leaves me with my only option, the dreaded B word in lathedom… Basement!

    Is it possible to carefully move my 13” into my basement (across a landing and about steps 4 steps down) in mostly assembled parts?

    This is to say, with the initial help of a 2 ton engine hoist, some decent furniture dollies, a winch (Chain, Rope, Straps, Prayers), is it doable to lift off the bed with the head stock intact as one part, the bell casting with motor and counter shaft still installed as another part, then carefully the QC and lead screw, tail stock, entire apron with carriage, and finally chip pan, and rear legs each as smaller parts?

    I’d like to do some cleaning of things like the inside of the QC and the apron, but I’m not ready for the full fledged tear down and rebuild yet. My goal would be get it in my basement, do some cleaning, then reassemble and use it over the winter, THEN delve into the full tear down re-wick, strip, paint and polish next spring/summer.

    I know the bed with head stock attached, and the bell casting with motor and pulleys intact are no walk in the park weight wise, but are they impossible to maneuver into a basement? Will this be the way I die?

    Thoughts please?
    Thank you

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    Call a rigger...

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    It is very doable. You should separate the base, the bed, the tailstock, apron and carriage. It is easy to do. This gives you the opportunity to rough clean BEFORE you move it. Then assemble at your leisure. To make it simple, keep the QC, screw and apron in one piece. Removing the headstock is easy.

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    I second the suggestion to call professional help. Those are heavy components and if one should get away from you, you could end up ruining your lathe, your stairs, or maybe even you.

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    Don't do like me. I thought I could ease the 13 X 5 bare bed down the basement stairs - there is no doubt still the gouged out result in the basement floor of that little house in Coventry, Connecticut

    Learning what not to do circa 1967

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    I also suggest hiring professional help. They have not only the skills but also the equipment to do it properly and safely. A lathe that size is likely going to need more equipment than you think to get it into a basement under full control.

    The mere fact that you had to ask is a good indication that while you may be skilled at moving some things, this job is probably too high risk.

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    You will need a helper , but like Steve-I said , you can move it in pieces .
    Two men can carry the headstock with a shovel handle through the spindle hole , or the bed . The heaviest piece is the pedestal ; need a hand truck for that .
    I would not want to do it by myself , but two guys could do it in half a day , including some light cleaning .

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    Give up. There's no way you can put machine tools in a basement.







    The SB is a heavy ten.

    The biggest problem you will have with the 13 is the cast iron motor base, it's the single
    heaviest item. Remove the motor and the motor plate if you can. The one photo above
    is shot from the bilco door stairs to the shop, same as yours four or five steps.

    I slid the cast iron base for the first 10L I had down two planks, with a come-along attached
    to my truck axle. The only thing to remember is:

    NEVER PUT ANYONE UNDER THE LOAD WHEN IT IS SUSPENDED. This includes putting
    anyone near the bottom of the planks while you are sliding it down. NOBODY.

    You will need to tip it up to a dolly when it's down. A good dolly.

    Bring the pieces down one at a time. Tailstock, headstock, bed, lead screw attached to the gearbox,
    carriage, chip pan, legs and so on.

    Tape the lead screw to a length of 2X4 when transporting it with strapping tape.

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    You need to contact Nate here on PM. He'll explain to you the easy way to get machines in a basement. It might include knocking out a wall and cutting a hole in your kitchen floor. First requirement is being single.

    Machines that will fit thru the opening: Moore jig grinder, Moore jig borer, Moore universal measuring machines, Monarch 10EE, Tree VMC, Parker Majestic surface grinder, and I am quite sure the list has been added to since I was over for a visit.

    Oh, and nice shop Jim!

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    I truly appreciate the wisdom of all opinions on this matter. The concentration of pure common sense from all sides is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you guys.

    I still don’t have a plan, and certainly won’t rush into one whatever it might eventually be, but I do have thoughts.

    Deviating from my initial scheme of handling the bed with head stock attached AND moving the bell casting with the motor still in it, I am instead turning over in my mind the notion of pulling the head stock from the bed and adding it to the still very heavy but perhaps more manageable sub-assembly list (Tail stock, apron, carriage, gear box etc).

    With the head stock removed, the bed would obviously weigh less, but how much more realistic the prospects of then very slowly and carefully taking it from hoist to dollies to hoist again to come-along down a sturdy and well supported “ramp” with back up ropes and straps is… I still don’t know.

    IF the bed is in fact possible for me, then after the relative ease of chip pan and rear legs, I could ideally focus on getting the motor assembly out of the bell casting in hopes that minus the drive train, door and vent covers, the casting alone might also then be within the realm of possibility.

    Beyond general muscle help, I can see how enlisting the aid of someone well versed in disassembly of my specific style machine could go a long way.

    Likewise, stepping away from the idea of necessarily having to get it all done in one day might be beneficial as well.

    If I were an artist I might try to create some hieroglyphic style artwork depicting builders of the great pyramid trying to contend with an old South Bend lathe or a Bridgeport mill.

    Thank you guys again, and please keep the thoughts, info, suggestions, photos, and warnings coming. No sincere considerations are wasted.

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    SoCal boy here. What's a 'basement'??? Move your garage to SoCal and not worry about it being "unheated, non insulated, damp, drafty garage for the rust gremlins to have their way with". Your only concern will be to air condition it (and living in f***king California!).

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    Is heating or running a dehumidifier out in garage ? If possible i would try turning that into your workshop. Easier moving things in and out. Once dry, you'd probably only need to run dehumidifier occasionally.

  20. #13
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    ". First requirement is being single."

    Don't understand this! First requirement, a spouse who's stronger than you are. How else can you get help for
    this stuff?

    Absolutely break the machine down into the smallest bits possible. A single strong person can lift a 10L bed, two it's easy. Might
    take three to do a 13 inch bed.

    You need to remove the headstock, tailstock, carriage, tailstock, gearbox and leadscrew, those are together as one unit.

    The motor housing absolutely is the single heaviest item and anything you can do to lighten it up (motor, motor mount and countershaft,
    door, end covers) will make your life easier.

    If you don't feel comfortable with this you cannot go wrong with hiring riggers. You can buy a LOT of rigging services for the cost it would take
    to visit an ER or stay in the hospital for one night....

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    Good advise and warnings already. My only experience with the SB 13 is high school shop class, I'm familiar with the size. I would disassemble to the component level; headstock, carriage, tailstock, counter shaft, leed screw with gear box and gears. I would also separate the bed from the base and remove the motor as already suggested. Please seriously consider John Oders experience when moving the heavy components. Be safe.

    Based on what you have discribed so far I would disassemble and clean in the garage and outside. At that time I would make a value judgment regarding the garage or basement and reassemble in the chosen location. I don't repaint machines without good reason. I like to run the machines first to uncover and fix unforeseen problems, run it before any disassembly and again reassembled. If painting becomes part of the project then set up work in the garage first and do your repainting work outside. You can move it to the basement later when familiar with the lathe construction and component weights. You will know by then what help will be needed.

    The rust gremlin's real names are humidity and dew point. Both basements and garages have humidity problems. A year in an un conditioned unheated space won't hurt the lathe, but get humidity issues fixed. Weather conditions might limit your progress though.

    Have fun.

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    My 13 is in my basement,And I put it in there by my self.The big difference is that my basement has an outside concrete stairway.The stairs are parallel with the wall and the landing is all the way at the bottom,so it wasnt a walk in the park.But I was able to put wood on the steps and slide the bed and the drive housing down it.The previously mentioned 2TON engine hoist was waiting at the bottom.There is also a steel railing that allowed me to slowly slide both items with the aid of a strong hand line wrapped around it.I worked on heavy machinery all my life and I would not recomend trying to move either of those items by hand.Either one could snap your leg like a match stick if you lost control of it.

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    It is possible.
    It is easy.

    One person can quite easily move a 40 ton Mig21bis jet, and rotate 180 degrees a 40-70 tons boat, using no more than hand tools.

    Jacks are cheap. So are slings.
    So are powered winches.
    Wooden beams and blocks are cheap- so are block-tackle setups.

    If You approach it from the pov of no-possible-failure ever, You can do it easily, in about 10x the time a rigger or a pro would do it.
    But they have the tools, skills, examples You do not.

    I feel there is no "right" or "wrong" about this.
    Endless ways to do this safely, for 30$ in material.
    And 10x faster for 200$ in material.

    Beams, lifts, deadfalls, levers, slings, winches, come-alongs, jacks, even screws could do this.
    A clever plumber might do this with water-pressure and (free) pvc leftovers.
    I am not recommending that you yourself do it.
    You asked, and I am responding that it is not hard as a challenge, and many people have learned how.

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  28. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by k3vyl View Post
    Either one could snap your leg like a match stick if you lost control of it.
    Well said.

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    "The rust gremlin's real names are humidity and dew point. Both basements and garages have humidity problems. A year in an un conditioned unheated space won't hurt the lathe, but get humidity issues fixed. Weather conditions might limit your progress though."

    The basement shop shown above, has a dehumidifier running 24/7 in the summertime. It drains into the shop sink nearby,
    a constant stream of water. In the wintertime the shop does not need that, it's dry enough.

    The lathe being stored in the garage, is covered with a canvas tarp that breathes, and has a 60 watt trouble light inside
    the motor housing, during the wintertime. Key is to keep the machine above the dew point and limit air exchange with
    a canvas tarp that does breathe somewhat. No rust on it yet!

  30. #19
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    You can see Halligan142 do it here, same lathe with full resto:
    New Lathe and Pennsylvania Trip - YouTube

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  32. #20
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    I should add that what I moved was single castings.The drive housing and the bed had nothing attached.The headstock came down the same slide,separately.The rest was done with a 2 wheeled hand truck.The machine had been dismantled by the seller and my self in his garage,using another 2TON engine hoist.I cleaned everything in my garage and then moved it into the basement.I think someone else has already said take out every bolt.
    Also be aware that having a 13 in your basement results in more cutting oil fumes that can be socially unacceptable.The 9" lathe has not got enough power to generate those fumes,The 13 does.
    Also if you have a 1 1/16" open end wrench with a thin head you can separate the leadscrew from the gear box for transportation.This applys to the Flather, single tumbler type.


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