Adding casters to lathe for moving/transit?
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  1. #1
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    Default Adding casters to lathe for moving/transit?

    12x40 geared head lathe, right around 2100 lbs all castings no sheet metal. No towmotor

    Planning on moving in a box truck with a 3k lift gate. Anybody see an issue with making an I shaped frame out of 4x4 or 6x6 cribbing and attaching 4 HD locking casters to the outboard ends to roll it around? Frame will be a foot or so wider than the lathe on all sides. Reason for no skid to liftgate is because there is another machine in the truck with it, so the lathe needs to be set in the truck perpendicular to how it would be sitting on the liftgate. I’m concerned that I won’t have the room to manipulate the skid once inside the truck box to turn it.

    Plan is to lag lathe to the runners of the frame through the leveling screw holes in the base, roll over and onto liftgate, strap lathe to the liftgate itself, raise, push in truck and turn 90*. Once set in truck where I want it, use 5k pallet jack to lift up lathe an inch, then just remove casters from the runners and set lathe down on the wooden frame. lag frame outboards to the truck floor for the ride.

    I have the 4 800lb casters, lags and all the cribbing already. Thoughts?

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    Hire someone.

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    Thanks for answering my question. I’ve moved all the lathes, mills, saws, platens, shears etc i’ve ever owned myself, in box trucks, on trailers, and flatbeds. i see no reason to stop doing it myself now.

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    Why not just use the pallet jack for everything? Too long for the swing in the truck? If it starts to move, the brakes will be hard to find. I used to move 2000 lb chemical tanks by myself on a pallet jack, but did not have to deal with a lift gate. The process never seemed to be out of control at that weight.

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    Well , odds are you will make it OK. But if you don't, whether this time or in the future, all those times you made it won't count for shit. Screwing it to the floor is a problem. The floor was never meant for tensile loads It could easily raise up and turn the machine over. Can you get a truck with proper tiedowns? Much better. Forklift instead of liftgate? Much better.

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    Truck is a ryder with e-trac and proper tie downs. I’m strapping it down, lagging to the floor just for an extra safety factor.

    And yeah wheels17 i think the swing of the pallet jack is too long inside the box.

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    I did a similar thing with a hendey 14x42 recently, but I made dollies with 4 casters each and put one under the headstock and one under the tailstock. Didn’t screw the lathe down to the dollies at all. Worked well enough, about exactly what you would expect. Those aluminum lift gates are pretty floppy sometimes so strapping it down before you lift it is probably a good precaution. I see no problem removing the casters and lagging the frame to the box, especially if the frame is wider than the lathe by a good bit.
    Just make caster frame width to lathe cg height ratio bigger than the trucks track width to cg height ratio and you will be sure the lathe won’t tip unless the truck does....

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    Te4250 - thanks. Just curious did you leave the lathe on the caster dollies during transit? I thought about making a jack screw with a plate foot on each end, but just taking off the casters seemed like much less work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by upthebikes View Post
    12x40 geared head lathe, right around 2100 lbs all castings no sheet metal. No towmotor

    Planning on moving in a box truck with a 3k lift gate. Anybody see an issue with making an I shaped frame out of 4x4 or 6x6 cribbing and attaching 4 HD locking casters to the outboard ends to roll it around? Frame will be a foot or so wider than the lathe on all sides. Reason for no skid to liftgate is because there is another machine in the truck with it, so the lathe needs to be set in the truck perpendicular to how it would be sitting on the liftgate. I’m concerned that I won’t have the room to manipulate the skid once inside the truck box to turn it.

    Plan is to lag lathe to the runners of the frame through the leveling screw holes in the base, roll over and onto liftgate, strap lathe to the liftgate itself, raise, push in truck and turn 90*. Once set in truck where I want it, use 5k pallet jack to lift up lathe an inch, then just remove casters from the runners and set lathe down on the wooden frame. lag frame outboards to the truck floor for the ride.

    I have the 4 800lb casters, lags and all the cribbing already. Thoughts?
    All this s**t is not likely to be dead-level in one plane, let alone two, or at least not all the time during the load-and-rotate maneuver. Rented liftgates are notorious for not delivering to their rating and/or tilting in scary ways.

    FL and pallet jack would be better. Lag screws can split the grain of the cheap-ass farm-raised wood generally available. I drill and through-bolt with big, thick, washers.

    - First, shed the caster idea.

    They'll move in directions you don't want, and at the worst time AND/OR ELSE they will NOT move when you wish them to do. Sometimes they just collapse sideways. Near-as-dammit the ENTIRE weight of 2100 lbs PLUS the inertia of MOVEMENT - can, and very well MAY - find itself put onto a lone "800 lb" caster, the other three off taking a nap. That can topple a load or TRY to do.

    - "Skates" are what you want if you use rollers at all. And you don't even have to with a lathe this light. And it IS "light".

    - Place ONE pair of machinery skates at ONE end, let the other end "anchor" your work. Or NO skates at all if the surfaces are seriously out of level. Wood will be pleased to slide on top of OTHER layers of wood with a nudge from a pry-bar, "polywood" weather-resistant trim board or machine-oiled pine especially.

    Make use of that instead of rollers to reduce risk. There's enough friction left to see it doesn't go rogue on yah.

    - Then use blocks placed near center-mass as pivots, a pry-bar, pry dolly, and/or jack(s) to do the 90-degree turn.

    Not theory. Recent practice.

    This is how the roughly 3,000 lb Cazeneuve HBX-360-BC lathe was turned 90-degrees once FL'ed into a 26-foot box truck by Milacron and meself in Dogpatch by the Sea. Milacron's special short-fork pallet jack was used at that end to do the swing.

    Once back to Sterling, VA a single 10,000 lb-rated Vestil fifth-wheel type steerable skate, a 5K lb Vestil pry-dolly, and a HF low-profile garage floor jack with lots of grillage and shims did the do, single-handed, to once again align the lathe crosswise for FL unload.

    I'd have even said "no sweat", save that the weather was so dreadfully hot one got soaked just thinking about a cold drink!


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    I took it off the casters, easier for me since it was just two dollies to pull out. Plus like monarchist said they had started to collapse sideways a bit. I would take them off no matter what though, I think those box truck floors are often 3/4 ply so even just getting rid of that point load during transit would be nice, not to mention lower cg and making it have to slide instead of roll if it wants to move.
    Monarchist- skates are expensive haha

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    Quote Originally Posted by te4250 View Post
    Monarchist- skates are expensive haha
    Hillmans are expensive. Damage is expensive. Injury - or worse - is expensive.

    Northern Tool and Vestil ones not so much, and work a treat for we Chik'ns infrequent use.

    I have about a dozen of each of these:

    https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...3818_200673818
    (in the older orange-painted version)

    https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...9288_200679288
    (in the older purple-painted version)

    Plus some Vestil 10K straight skates, two 5K pry dollies, the 10K swivel-top, two trolley jacks, and two toe-jacks. No SPACE for FL nor even pallet-jack here.


    Why so many skates?

    I attach a set to each new machine permanent-like as I acquire them.

    Small space here. What is not in-use or under hands-on rebuild has to be "parked".

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    I've used rollback wreckers and custom skids with no problems. Lag to long (4'min) (or big heavy pallet) perpendicular to the bed(block/reinforce these skids with a couple of 2x's parallel to the lathe) the skids should have openings for getting a pallet jack under the skids parallel to the bed. Take a bit of weight off with the pallet jack (or two), and pull onto a rollback wrecker (**lathe parallel to the sides of the trailer**) with the wrecker's winch. Reverse process for unloading. The winch and tiedowns are handy on a rollback wrecker, and its ability to adjust level to different dock heights. The lathe never has to be raised more than an inch using this method.

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    Quote Originally Posted by car2 View Post
    I've used rollback wreckers and custom skids with no problems. Lag to long (4'min) (or big heavy pallet) perpendicular to the bed(block/reinforce these skids with a couple of 2x's parallel to the lathe) the skids should have openings for getting a pallet jack under the skids parallel to the bed. Take a bit of weight off with the pallet jack (or two), and pull onto a rollback wrecker (**lathe parallel to the sides of the trailer**) with the wrecker's winch. Reverse process for unloading. The winch and tiedowns are handy on a rollback wrecker, and its ability to adjust level to different dock heights. The lathe never has to be raised more than an inch using this method.
    I had to hire a rollback a few years ago to move a lathe. 36" swing, 11" something hollow spindle, 12' bed.
    If I remember right it was $500 for about 15 mile trip but worth every penny.
    If it ended up in the middle of the interstate on top of a car...not my problem at the courthouse.
    He snaked it right out and up onto the rollback with his wench, reverse process right into our shop.

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    All of the responses are good. I'm sure they all work, but I wouldn't do any of them for the simple reason of legal liability. You will not be insured for this move, but a commercial rigger will be. You will not have all the correct tools, the rigger will. I would move the lathe with skates out of the shop myself to save costs.

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    I've put lathes on casters for moving about the workshop during rebuild several times. My HLV currently sits on casters.I wouldn't stick one in a trailer on them, though I would happily roll it up, jack up each end and slide timber bearers under the cabinet so the casters were of the deck in transit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monarchist View Post
    Hillmans are expensive. Damage is expensive. Injury - or worse - is expensive.

    Northern Tool and Vestil ones not so much, and work a treat for we Chik'ns infrequent use.

    I have about a dozen of each of these:

    https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...3818_200673818
    (in the older orange-painted version)

    https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...9288_200679288
    (in the older purple-painted version)

    Plus some Vestil 10K straight skates, two 5K pry dollies, the 10K swivel-top, two trolley jacks, and two toe-jacks. No SPACE for FL nor even pallet-jack here.


    Why so many skates?

    I attach a set to each new machine permanent-like as I acquire them.

    Small space here. What is not in-use or under hands-on rebuild has to be "parked".
    I actually hadn't seen those northern tool ones, not bad.

    Yeah rollbacks are handy if you have one, all the machines I've moved with one I never bothered to put on wheels, as long as you have a steel bed and a little lip or something to get it started. A tilt trailer with an electric winch works pretty well too for a lot less money.

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    Sounds exactly what I did with mine. Bolted a 4"x6" to the bottom of the lathe long ways perpendicular to the bed. The wider you can get away with the better. If you can put cribbing under the the 4"x6"'s to get the wheels off the the ground so it won't roll all the better. Strap it down and away you go. If you plan on using someone else's truck don't "DRIVE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT". Take your time and all should be right with the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by te4250 View Post
    I actually hadn't seen those northern tool ones, not bad.
    The 4,400 lb'ers are about a third the capacity of a Hilman or the best Germany makes for their size, but... at least with even but TWO, let alone four, it is usually MORE capacity than we peons actually need, AND .. they have a neat built-in arrangement for drop-together latching in either/both side-by-side or end-to end.

    Whilst I was widening my driveway, I KNEW I had a surface all-too similar to Jello. Made a "magic carpet" out of a dozen of those skates - 24 Urethane rollers in total, well-spaced-out, and the load rolled easily and didn't sink-in atall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monarchist View Post
    Hillmans are expensive. Damage is expensive. Injury - or worse - is expensive.

    Northern Tool and Vestil ones not so much, and work a treat for we Chik'ns infrequent use.

    I have about a dozen of each of these:

    https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...3818_200673818
    (in the older orange-painted version)

    https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...9288_200679288
    (in the older purple-painted version)

    Plus some Vestil 10K straight skates, two 5K pry dollies, the 10K swivel-top, two trolley jacks, and two toe-jacks. No SPACE for FL nor even pallet-jack here.


    Why so many skates?

    I attach a set to each new machine permanent-like as I acquire them.

    Small space here. What is not in-use or under hands-on rebuild has to be "parked".
    I purchased 4 of these from northern. Made moving my shop a piece of cake.
    https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...3816_200673816

    As an aside, I got a deal on them because they put them in the wrong spot, so they were priced at $55/each. I asked the sales associate if it was the correct price, so she looks it up and says no, that they are supposed to be $125/each, and starts cursing a bit. I say no big deal, just that if that was the correct price I would get them, and didn't want to pass up a good deal. She calls the manager over and explains how someone put them in the wrong spot, and then says the customer wants to know if he can get them at that price. For the record, I didn't say that, and I really didn't have the money to spend on them anyway. So the manager says, "I guess we have to" Now I have to fork out $240 that I really didn't need to be spending. I get out to the car and SWMBO asks how much I spent on them, so I say "I saved us $280". She wasn't amused.

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    To bring this thread to a close, building a caster frame for moving this lathe worked very well. Rolled it through the shop, blocked it onto the lift gate, strapped lathe to liftgate, took it up, then set it where it needed in the box. Had a forklift on the home side, so unloading was simple. The 3k Maxon liftgate (on a 2017 truck) did not even flinch and was surprisingly level throughout its range of travel. The first 3 inches or so of travel tilted the gate back so it was off the ground, the next few inches lifted and tilted the gate to be level again, and the rest of the travel was with the platform level.


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