On Monday with the big Cat, we moved the two gear hobs and finished-parts pallet rack two feet down the main wall where they set. Yes, the meager two feet was needed…lol
(On a side note, it’s kinda ironic how the ToolCat ends up renting a Cat for use at the Cathouse…lol)
Tuesday (today) the big Cat was put to a bit more of a challenge than the 7k pound Barber Colman 16-16’s.
It was time to move a 12.5k pound QT28N. We basically just have to turn the big unit 90 degrees, from parallel to the long wall of the shop to perpendicular.
There is problem though: the machine sets only about 1” off the floor, while the forks get to 3-1/2” thickness at the heel.
So, how to get under the QT?
We used a “see-saw” trick that I learned from my friend Sandy, on how to get a long narrow machine like a lathe up off the concrete a few inches.
We easily got a fork in deep enough under the tailstock-end, and starting blocking the machine up from that end.
After each block-move-left, we would get a better bite with the fork, making it easier to lift the machine higher for the next block shift.
The goal is to keep blocking a 4x4 towards the opposite side of the machine, just past the center of gravity.
Once we got the 4x4 left to a point under the chuck, I then had Chuck lower the forks, and walla! The machine “see-saw’d” to the right, lifting the heavy headstock end up.
Now that she’s up high enough, next was getting a bite on the entire machine. We used a ratchet step just for piece of mind, although the machine was stable on the forks.
We were about a foot from the mast, and the lathe has a 2-1/2 foot load center (estimated),
so we end up with a total load center of about 3-1/2 feet. Considering that, with a 12.5k lathe hanging off the forks, it shows how stout this 15.5k lift is! (The lift itself weighs 21.5k pounds.)
The Cat is larger in person than it looks. Chuck is 6’3’, 250 for comparison…haha
We got the QT turned 90 degrees and while still on the cribbing (thankfully), I decided to move it 8” closer to the wall. To maximize center isle space down the shop.
The chip conveyor comes out towards the wall, and I have the machine just far enough off the wall to clear a chip hopper rolled under the conveyor. (Does 2” clearance between the wall the chip hopper count as “just far enough”?…lol)
So, we got her spot-on level, and at the correct height for the coolant tank. Then we decided to clean out the coolant tank while we were at it.
Where’s Mike Rowe when you need him, because cleaning coolant tanks is for sure a Dirty Job!
Tomorrow is another big day for “ToolCat Rigging LLC.” A truck is showing up from Kansas with another task for the Cat, stay tuned.