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Thread: Loading &transporting a lathe

  1. #1

    Post Loading &transporting a lathe

    I have a couple of genius questions about moving my new purchases. I need to load a 10k south bend lathe and a small mill for travel (about 500 miles). Now, I can drive a trailer up there and load it with no problem.

    My question is will I be able to load it onto the bed of a 1/2 ton truck. I am guessing the lathe weighs 600 lbs and the mill around 400 lbs. I would rather do this than drive 500 miles with an empty trailer.

    The lathe is and underdrive model and has been fitted with casters for transport. I have ramps, a comealong, and plenty of tie-down straps.

    Maybe I just need a concensus on the better overall way to move the items.


    New guy waiting on tools.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Milton, WI


    My experience is items always weigh more than you think and a thousand pounds will make a 1/2 ton pickup light in the front end and miserable to drive. Just my 2 cents but I would take the trailer. It's also much easier to load and unload than a pickup. Good luck with your move and make sure everything is secured well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2001


    Rule #1: make haste slowly. Think things through completely. Stop and reconnoiter immediately if there's any sign of a problem.

    The lathe, and likely the mill, are going to have a relatively high center of gravity.

    If you can arrange a hoist, that may be the easy way to load. Lift the lathe through the center of the bed -- put crossbars under the bed, straps down through the bed, and lift on those. If you have to go up a ramp...see rule #1.
    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
    Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
    There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
    Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    On the Oil Coast,USA


    Does U-hual exist where your going?A one way with one of their single axles shouldn't be too bad cost wise,the gas you save by not pulling both ways might be worth it too.
    I just need one more tool,just one!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004


    I don't load much in the truck anymore. the trailer is so much easier to load, and unload. I was always having problems getting my cherry picker high enough to make a pick out of the truck, but a piece of cake from my trailer. also, much easier to move the trailer around once you get it home. I use my lawn tractor to back it into the shed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Ann Arbor, MI


    Lathes have a high center of gravity and an asymetrical weight distribution. Given a chance, they'll tip over a the worst possible moment. And they tip quickly. Very quickly.
    One thing I've done is to take along the necessary tools to separate the lathe from the stand and load them individually. They're much more manageable, there's a drastic reduction of the center of gravity, and if you have a topper on the bed of your pickup, you don't have to worry about the weather.
    This has worked well for me for moving three lathes (2 SB 9"'s and a Colchester weighing in at near 1400 lbs), an 8" ShapeRite shaper, Rototrex tool & cutter grinder, and a Burke horizontal mill.
    Take plenty of chain and ratchet straps, a handsaw and spare lumber to block in the machines once they're in the bed. Shifting loads are a Bad Thing. Having a engine hoist and a nylon sling makes loading and unloading much less exciting, and that's a Good Thing.
    Whichever approach you decide to use, take your time, think it through, and stay out of the tip radius at all times. Good luck!


  7. #7


    when I loaded my leblond I used a frontend loader. I went with the tip of lifting it off the bed webbing with straps, as I lifed it the lathe proceeded to try to roll on its side (#8000) I was able to flick it back up before disaster struck. So to solve the problem I stuck a bar in the spindle through hole which I also passed through the basket formed by the strapes which kept it stabilized, the next time I lift this lathe I will probably make a plate to fasten to the gear head to make a higher lifting point. Like everyone says move slow and think of all the bad things that can happen.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Jacksonville, Florida


    I have a worn out Chevy 1500 p/u that I just set a Maho mill into, along with the transformer and the base full of oil. The manual says it weighs 4189 pounds. I didn't like the way I would have had to strap it down, so I unloaded it without moving it. Decided to try to find a trailer to move it on, or go get the tags for that old one-ton that hasn't left the yard in 3 years.
    What your truck will haul is really up to you and your truck. I brought that 16" shaper home from JR45ACP and the truck drove like it wasn't back there.
    Typically p/u's have very poor means of securing loads. If something goes wrong, the machinery is going to come loose. That sheet metal they make beds out of these days won't hold much of a load.
    Be safe, be carefull
    David from jax
    A serious accident is one that money can't fix.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004


    I moved a 10k about 6-months ago in a 1/2-ton without a problem. If you rent a u-haul pickup in the vicinity of its current location and return it locally (at home once the lathe and mill have been moved), you will find the rate much cheaper than if you did a round trip with u-haul and returned it to its original location (they then charge by the mile also). If I were to do it again I would do as described above.

    Good luck, --Rob

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004


    Brought my 11" Shelon lathe with a cabinet base home in my 1/2 ton Ford. Estimated weight 900lbs. I agree that the tie downs in the bed are insufficient, mine started to bend. Next time, if I can't borrow or rent a trailer, I would drop a frame of 2x6's into the bed with eyebolts through them and fasten the machinery down to it. If you make the frame as wide and long as your truck bed, it should stabilize the machine the same as if it was bolted down. Makes it easy to add blocking around the base as well.

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