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Question About Moving a CNC Lathe

the average Joe

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 16, 2022
Hi everyone!

I have my eye on buying a cnc lathe that I saw on Craigslist. The first quote I got for moving it 3.5 hours from the Bay Area to the Central Coast of Ca. was 3000 usd, and the lathe is only 1000 usd.

It's a smaller Nakamura Tome lathe, and the current owner says that it weighs about 3700 lbs and can be moved around and loaded onto a trailer with a standard forklift with 6 foot fork extensions. I can use my shop forklift to move the lathe if I get it to my shop, so I don't think I need a rigger or anything special besides the vehicle to make the drive.

I'm considering renting a truck to move it myself. Enterprise has 16 foot stake bed trucks with a 6000lb load rating:


So, I was thinking that I could rent one of these and do the move myself.

Has anyone here used this kind of truck for a similar machine or load? Would this be a suicide mission?

It's times like these I wish I had friends with trucks and trailers...
 

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If you google Nakamura TMC-2 you will find several listings for that machine with the weight listed as 2500KG.

3700 sounds on the light side to me. Naks aren't light.

I think you'd want a stoutly built 8K forklift to load and unload that lathe.

You could haul it on a medium duty truck. Trailers are a foot lower. The biggest challenge is getting it to the middle of the truck or trailer deck so your not going down the road tilted to one side.
 
The truck will not be a problem. The difficulty is locating the tie down points on the lathe. The truck will come with four winches that work with the 4" wide polyester load straps. The winches may be fixed in position or may slide on a rail depending on the truck bed design. It may be necessary to build a pallet that the lathe can be bolted to. The pallet is then tied down to the truck bed. You will also need to nail 2x4's to the truck bed to prevent the pallet from sliding.

Your alternative is to hire someone with a truck and trailer to do the move. The last quote I received in California was $90/hour of driving for a 20 foot trailer and 10,000 lb load. The rigging at the sellers end can be a do it yourself operation with a two hour forklift rental.

Penske, Ryder, and Enterprise will only rent flat bed trucks to business accounts.
 
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Good points.

I thought the weight estimate was off. Every other Nakamura I saw was way heavier than 3700 lbs.

I'll see if I can find a guy with a truck and trailer. 90/hr for a full day sounds better than 3k.

Otherwise, I may have to pass on this one.
 
Try these guys:
Speedway Machinery Transportation
favicon.ico

5715 Preston Ave
Livermore, CA 94566

209-815-0407
 
Pretty simple to lift it straight up, slide a trailer/truck under and then set it straight down. Moving stuff /Machines around when lifted is to be avoided if you can. Steel on Steel is like skates on ice... just tapping the Hilow brakes can have a machine on the floor or kill somebody...A rope/strap tie makes slide-off less to happen

Moving a lathe it is very common to tip one over because they're Top Heayy.
Bolting some 4x4s to make it wider can make moving safer, screw some 2x4 on the trailer/truck floor so it can skid, dive like you have a hot coffee to spill.
Good to have a KeepsEyesOpen navigator with you.
 
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An update:

I finally arranged a trucking service to pick up the lathe and drive it 200 miles to my shop for 900 usd. Then I'll have a rented heavy duty forklift with 6 foot long forks waiting to unload and position the machine. Cost for forklift rental will be about 500 all in.

The owner was cool enough to lower the cost of the lathe to cover the forklift rental, mainly because he wants the lathe gone so he can reorganize his shop.

All told, I'm paying about 2000 for a 500 dollar CNC lathe with all the moving costs.

Fingers crossed that the move goes fine and I can get this thing hooked up and running soon.

Thank to everyone for your input. Now I just have to figure out the old fanuc 6t controls...
 
An update:

I finally arranged a trucking service to pick up the lathe and drive it 200 miles to my shop for 900 usd. Then I'll have a rented heavy duty forklift with 6 foot long forks waiting to unload and position the machine. Cost for forklift rental will be about 500 all in.

The owner was cool enough to lower the cost of the lathe to cover the forklift rental, mainly because he wants the lathe gone so he can reorganize his shop.

All told, I'm paying about 2000 for a 500 dollar CNC lathe with all the moving costs.

Fingers crossed that the move goes fine and I can get this thing hooked up and running soon.

Thank to everyone for your input. Now I just have to figure out the old fanuc 6t controls...

6T is pretty solid. Ask lots of questions in the CNC section. Lots of us got our start with lathes like this.

When I started out I did the same thing. $600 Mazak and $2500 in rigging.
 
Welp, we got the lathe back to our shop. I brought my son/employee along to help with anything that might come up. All was well right up until we got back to the shop. I found out that the lathe was in fact way heavier than the seller estimated and the 6000lb forklift that I rented wasn't nearly enough. Since the hauler really needed to get going, we did a little forklift tango with the rented forklift and our regular shop forklift to get it off the trailer. At least we were able to use a combination of machine skates, bottle jacks and come alongs to get it into the shop later on.

Like they say, bad decisions make for good stories...
 

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Good job, you made it happen!

I got to do forklift tango with a brand new $250k lathe a few months ago. Rented forklift was half the capacity that was promised. And machine was loaded very poorly from the factory. So I used rented 10k forklift, a 6k telehandler, a 5k telehandler, and a 5k forklift. It turned out okay, but I wouldn't want to do that particular maneuver again. Subsequently I bought a 16.5k Hyster forklift so I hopefully won't have to!
 
Yup- ya learn real quick about load centers when you start moving machinery and not just pallets of stuff. Some machines are a bitch to rig because all the sheetmetal moves the CG out so far. Only cure is long forks and lots of lift truck capacity. So ya rent a 15 K lift and it shows up with 48" forks.............WTF!!!
 
Glad you could make it work. Always get more lift than you think you need. It would have cost a lot more if you couldn't get it off the truck and had to rent some other equipment on very short notice, not to mention paying the driver to hang around or drive it to some local rigger to store until you could figure it out. It's worth the small increase in cost to be confident things will go smoothly (and safely). My first machine move was 4500 lbs. I calculated it would require a lift rated for 6800 lbs @ 24 LC so I rented a 10k to be sure it would make it down by bumpy gravel drive without issue.
 
I recently ran into a forklift dilemma I'd never faced. I bought a couple gear hobbers. The lightest one was around 5500 lbs. Seller had a 6K Toyota lift from the 2000's. It was a pretty tired forklift, very beat, but I got right up to to the little hobber and it picked it right up. Felt solid as could be- Hobbers are not very deep, load center was probably 20".

I go to load it on the trailer and the Forklift had some kind of load sensing/limiting mechanism past a certain height. It would only let me lift it about 3 feet. No matter what I did it refused to go any higher. Luckily, with the mast tilted all the way back, the fork tips were right at the trailer deck height. I ran the forks up on the deck while raising the forks and it worked. Then I put a toe jack under the hobber on the trailer on one side and just a little up force was enough to get the forks up enough to get cribbing under it. Then I backed out and used the forklift to walk the hobber into the center of the deck one side at a time.

Stupid safety features! Seems like the more of that stuff they put on machines the more "dangerously creative" you need to get to do the job.

I will keep my old dumb forklifts. My old H80C Hyster doesn't know it's not supposed to lift 12k+. Had 11K on the ends of the 60" forks recently.
 
Reading all these stories makes me glad I bite the bullet and pay my experienced riggers their money.
Moving your own #10K+ iron is like a NASCAR team hiring the town drunk to be their driver! 😆
 
Reading all these stories makes me glad I bite the bullet and pay my experienced riggers their money.
Moving your own #10K+ iron is like a NASCAR team hiring the town drunk to be their driver! 😆

Lol!

I've hired the town drunk to help me rig machines! It went pretty good too.

Nothing like being in a multi-hundred million dollar facility moving 20 ton machines at 6am and hearing a beer crack open.

But seriously, you haven't the first clue if you think the average rigger is safer than most of us that move our own shit.

I could tell plenty of dumb fuck rigger stories. They don't always hire the best or brightest to heft toe jacks and drive forklifts.
 
The one rigger I was able to find who's schedule matched up with mine wanted 3k to move a 500 dollar cnc lathe that was made during the Carter administration.

It was a fair price for a newer machine, but moving this one(and reading the advice here) taught me a lot about moving machinery and now I have those skills for the next time I impulse buy a cnc machine off Craigslist : )

And like Garwood said, just because they hang a shingle that says "rigger" it doesn't always mean they know what they're doing.
 
Sorry you don't know a professional when you see one. I have more than a clue. Always had 100% professional riggers hired without issue these last 30 years.
Never had one machine fall or get damaged. Been in some tough buildings too. Not easy moves.
Glad you are so awesome Garwood!😆
 








 
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