Moving VMC with pallet jacks
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  1. #1
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    Default Moving VMC with pallet jacks

    I am looking for a VMC for my home shop, and am trying to figure out how to move it whenever I get one. One model I'm looking at is the Fadal 3016, so figure something around that size and weight (8,500 pounds). I don't currently own any machine skates, and can rent them if needed. However, I do have 2 5,500lb pallet jacks. Would it be feasible to lift it up (using bars through the fork pockets, and pick up with pallet jack), and position a pallet jack under each end, and move it that way?

    Assuming I can get one unloaded into my garage, the plan would be to go straight back to my machine area in the back, then reposition the pallet jacks and go 90 degrees back to the back wall. Any turning would be very minimal, as I would make sure it got unloaded facing the right direction.

    If needed I can get skates, just would prefer to use what I have, since the closest place that would rent them is an hour away. But a couple hours driving is much better than asking how to pick up a VMC on its side
    Last edited by cj7jeep81; 09-11-2019 at 04:25 PM. Reason: typo

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    My bet is the pallet jacks will not want to roll. Whatever you put through the base is going to bend some and one leg of each pallet jack will take all the weight.

    Don't be so cheap and buy some basic skates and a toe jack. Best money you'll ever spend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    My bet is the pallet jacks will not want to roll. Whatever you put through the base is going to bend some and one leg of each pallet jack will take all the weight.

    Don't be so cheap and buy some basic skates and a toe jack. Best money you'll ever spend.
    Yeah, up until this point the heaviest stuff I've had to move is 4,000lbs, which can be handled easily with my pallet jacks. Guess if I'm going to get into bigger machinery, I better upgrade my support equipment.

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    For cheap, get some 1/2" dia cold rolled steel bars and cut them into 4 foot or so lengths. Use them like sled runners, lay them on the floor and slide the machine along them with pry bars. (not like rollers, but that's OK too). Helps if they are greasy. Worst case if the machine slips off is it drops 1/2" so it's very safe. I've moved 20K lbs machines that way when necessary. If you are fussy about the effect on your floor, then get wheeled skates

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    For cheap, get some 1/2" dia cold rolled steel bars and cut them into 4 foot or so lengths. Use them like sled runners, lay them on the floor and slide the machine along them with pry bars. (not like rollers, but that's OK too). Helps if they are greasy. Worst case if the machine slips off is it drops 1/2" so it's very safe. I've moved 20K lbs machines that way when necessary. If you are fussy about the effect on your floor, then get wheeled skates
    Thanks, I've thought about that as well. I had only really seen the big Hillman skates for sale before, and those were well out of my budget (and way bigger than I need). However, I see these on Amazon.
    This one for steering https://www.amazon.com/Vestil-SSKT-3.../dp/B0052PUO54
    And two of these https://www.amazon.com/Vestil-FMS-3-...FR2WKVYSKGKA6Z

    Right at $300 for the set, doesn't seem too bad. But would suck to buy them and find out they suck, and the $75 rental for good ones makes it a lot easier/safer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cj7jeep81 View Post
    Thanks, I've thought about that as well. I had only really seen the big Hillman skates for sale before, and those were well out of my budget (and way bigger than I need). However, I see these on Amazon.
    This one for steering https://www.amazon.com/Vestil-SSKT-3.../dp/B0052PUO54
    And two of these https://www.amazon.com/Vestil-FMS-3-...FR2WKVYSKGKA6Z

    Right at $300 for the set, doesn't seem too bad. But would suck to buy them and find out they suck, and the $75 rental for good ones makes it a lot easier/safer.
    These are even cheaper.

    Heavy Duty Machine Dolly Skate Machinery Roller Mover Cargo Trolley 6Ton USA | eBay

    Yes, they suck compared to decent steel wheel skates, but they do work fine, IF you have a mechanical means of propulsion. Chain fall to an anchor point, no problem - push a 10k machine with two people, nope.

    I've moved a 9300 pound press brake on 3 of them with no issues.

    They've even improved the labeling since I bought them - mine are made in CHIAN.

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    Fish On is spot on
    Buy three of the china skates and a toe jack and you well be a happy camper .. I moved around the DNM5700 by my self and was over 18,000 lbs .. well I try not to support CHIAN . I looked at the hillman skates and just could not make my self buy them ,, even with the welds and the paint job on the china ones looking like crap they have moved a hell of a lot of machines for me and are still working good.

    FYI you well need blocking when moving machines and I had my local Dump cut a whole sheet or 3/4" and 3/8" plywood into 5 7/8" by 11 7/8" blocks and its so nice to have blocking just for moving machines around the shop ,,

    Just hide everything when your not using it good or you well find you have "WAY" more friends that you want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish On View Post
    These are even cheaper.

    Heavy Duty Machine Dolly Skate Machinery Roller Mover Cargo Trolley 6Ton USA | eBay

    Yes, they suck compared to decent steel wheel skates, but they do work fine, IF you have a mechanical means of propulsion. Chain fall to an anchor point, no problem - push a 10k machine with two people, nope.

    I've moved a 9300 pound press brake on 3 of them with no issues.

    They've even improved the labeling since I bought them - mine are made in CHIAN.
    Thanks! The machine I'm looking at is 8,500 pounds, so a bit lighter than your brake. Not sure if I'll have an anchor point to pull from though when moving into my shop. Worst case, I could drill some holes in the concrete and put something in, but would rather avoid that. Would it make sense to put two of those skates on one side, and a pallet jack on the other to act as the steering end?

    Quote Originally Posted by D.D.Machine View Post
    Fish On is spot on
    Buy three of the china skates and a toe jack and you well be a happy camper .. I moved around the DNM5700 by my self and was over 18,000 lbs .. well I try not to support CHIAN . I looked at the hillman skates and just could not make my self buy them ,, even with the welds and the paint job on the china ones looking like crap they have moved a hell of a lot of machines for me and are still working good.

    FYI you well need blocking when moving machines and I had my local Dump cut a whole sheet or 3/4" and 3/8" plywood into 5 7/8" by 11 7/8" blocks and its so nice to have blocking just for moving machines around the shop ,,

    Just hide everything when your not using it good or you well find you have "WAY" more friends that you want.
    Yeah, a toe jack has been on my list of things I want to get for a while as well. I should be good on blocking. I have a pallet in the corner of my garage that I keep any scrap piece of boards/plywood on. I don't know how many times I've needed to block something, and having a pile of boards in various widths 10-20" long comes in handy.

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    Moved a Milltronics VMC (probably not quite as heavy as that), with a rollback wrecker and one of the heavy-duty large electric walk-behind pallet-jacks (rented).

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    Quote Originally Posted by car2 View Post
    Moved a Milltronics VMC (probably not quite as heavy as that), with a rollback wrecker and one of the heavy-duty large electric walk-behind pallet-jacks (rented).
    Yeah, unfortunately this is a bit outside of the walk behinds I've seen, or too close for comfort. So here is my total plan, and based on the recommendations for more affordable skates, I might be changing my plans.

    So first of all, this is all contingent on it going for a fair price at an auction, otherwise its all for future mills. Plan was to rent a tilt deck trailer, and pay the rigger to load it on the trailer, on top of some 6"x6"x8' skids. Drive it 5 hours home, and back into my shop (which luckily has 14' tall doors). Put a comealong attached to the trailer and vmc, and raise the trailer. Slowly lower it down, until the skids touch the ground. Then use a tractor to slowly drag it off the trailer, raising and using the come along as needed. After that, use skates/pallet jacks to move it back into my machine shop area.

    However, if I buy the skates and toe jack, I can skate it out of the plant and to the trailer. Raise it enough (with blocking) to put the 6x6 skids under it. Then use the come along to drag it up onto the trailer. Granted, if the riggers are reasonable, I'd rather just let them do it. But I've been to enough auctions to know that sometimes they are great, and sometimes they rake you over the coals knowing you don't have options.

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    If your trailer does not power tilt it will be difficult to do any machine moving. Moving a machine on a trailer deck is a bit sketchy. Steel ones are wavy between crossmembers and wood ones break right through if it isn't apitong or your over a crossmember. And no come-a-long unless it's a real nice chain one. Use a chainfall or an electric winch.

    Also, look at how your trailer is built. If it's built like a car trailer with the frame on the outside and little pieces of angle going side-side then it's made to support loads at the sides. 8500 isn't too bad, but if it's got wimpy crossmembers it will pretzel up.

    If you've never used skates before I really wouldn't suggest trying to figure it out after an auction in someone elses plant. I'd be surprised if the auction co lets you do it. If you're really going to try make sure you pick up a hard hat, safety glasses and one of those orange vests to wear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    If your trailer does not power tilt it will be difficult to do any machine moving. Moving a machine on a trailer deck is a bit sketchy. Steel ones are wavy between crossmembers and wood ones break right through if it isn't apitong or your over a crossmember. And no come-a-long unless it's a real nice chain one. Use a chainfall or an electric winch.

    Also, look at how your trailer is built. If it's built like a car trailer with the frame on the outside and little pieces of angle going side-side then it's made to support loads at the sides. 8500 isn't too bad, but if it's got wimpy crossmembers it will pretzel up.

    If you've never used skates before I really wouldn't suggest trying to figure it out after an auction in someone elses plant. I'd be surprised if the auction co lets you do it. If you're really going to try make sure you pick up a hard hat, safety glasses and one of those orange vests to wear.
    Thanks for the feedback. Trailer I'm looking at is power tilt, and rated for 11 or 12k payload. Agreed it wouldn't be a good place to learn how to use skates, so hope to use riggers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    If you've never used skates before I really wouldn't suggest trying to figure it out after an auction in someone elses plant. I'd be surprised if the auction co lets you do it. If you're really going to try make sure you pick up a hard hat, safety glasses and one of those orange vests to wear.
    You've also got to keep in mind that most auction companies won't let you move the machines you bought unless you have the insurance to cover it. It's to cover their butt if you hurt somebody on the property or damage the customer's facility.

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    I really don't like using pallet jacks for heavy stuff. They tip over way too easy. I'd rather go with 1" bar or pipe than pallet jacks.

    You can use a 2x4 as a lever if you don't want to ding your concrete floor with a steel bar. A bar doesn't usually hurt the floor too much tho.

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    Also consider Rol-A-Lifts:

    Rol-A-Lift: Home

    Their 10K & 12K wide models would handle a small VMC quite nicely. I have a narrow 8k set that I got off CraigsList for $100. To buy them is big bucks - the wide 10k version lists for $3,400 - but several local rental places carry them. While pallet jacks are good, these things are great.

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    I move my 4020 around on 1" cold rolled. With 3 rollers and an electric winch for the tugging it's pretty cheap and easy. I use the leveling feet as jack screws to get them under there. Easy peasy, just get a creeper and a good Allen socket for your big 1/2" ratchet.

    With careful arrangement of the rollers you can make the load move at an angle as well.

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    I am sure your methode with 2 palletjacks will work Or at least will not do any harm
    You only have to lift it 1cm or so The machine cannot not tumble over
    The bars or pipe through the machine have to be sturdy enough but some flexing is not a problem
    Put some wood between bar and palletjack
    Sweep the floor beforehand
    And slow Not too many people around

    Peter

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter from Holland View Post
    Sweep the floor beforehand
    Can't stress that enough. ^^^^

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    Thanks for the replies everyone, if I end up with it, I'm sure I'll try a few of these methods, and will not be in any hurry at all. Will definitely sweep the floor multiple times prior/during the move. The concrete is only a few years old, and in very good shape, so a nice smooth surface to start with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    For cheap, get some 1/2" dia cold rolled steel bars and cut them into 4 foot or so lengths. Use them like sled runners, lay them on the floor and slide the machine along them with pry bars. (not like rollers, but that's OK too). Helps if they are greasy. Worst case if the machine slips off is it drops 1/2" so it's very safe. I've moved 20K lbs machines that way when necessary. If you are fussy about the effect on your floor, then get wheeled skates
    Did this many times with My former father in law. Surprising how much 2 guys can move with the right amount of leverage. Often times (depending on weight) we did use three 1" diameter pipe and actually used them as rollers. Biggest issues were needing a clean floor and be careful of how top-heavy some machines are. Would be pretty easy to get something to go over.


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