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mill move - tiltback flatbed? really?

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  • #31
    A tilt flatbed works great for moving machine tools. Do it like the video. Work safe. Most machine tools are top-heavy and fall over easily, especially smaller lathes.

    If you don't have a tilt flatbed handy, it's easy to pick up and move a turret mill if you have a 3/4 ton pickup and a 2 ton HF chain hoist.

    Hit the home center or the lumber rack for a 12 ft 4 x 8 for a beam and four 4 x 4 for legs and some 5/8 continuous thread rod, washers and nuts. Build a giant saw-horse looking thing called a "lifting horse." It's a chainsaw and paddle bit project. Birdmouth the legs to fit the lower corners of the beam so the legs splay 15 degrees from center in a vertical plane. Make four diagonal leg braces of scrap 2 x 4 3 ft long to prevent it swaying sideways - and a couple of anti-splay struts about 4 ft long (maybe maybe less.) This horse with a short rig can lift a compacted turret mill so the base is over 4 ft off the ground.

    A handy reference for all to have on hand if ever there are heavy weights to life, shift or handle in the future: FM 5 125 "Rigging Techniques, Procedures, and Applications" Lots of pictures and simple diagrams. Free download on PDF :

    http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/MC...h.%201%20z.pdf

    BTW, the above lifting horse isn't in it.

    Steps to follow:

    $100 for lumber $10 for hardware.

    Rough carpentry, drill holes, bolt together.

    Erect, chain sling over the beam, hang chain hoist.

    Swivel head under ram (lower knee and rotate belt case 90 degrees to clear motor)

    Move mill to convenient lift site for truck access.

    Position horse over machine, rig, and lift.

    Back truck under load, lower machine, un-rig and tie down.

    Partly disassemble horse and toss in truck.

    Hit the road.

    To unload - well you're all grown-ups.
    Last edited by Forrest Addy; 07-22-2017, 05:13 PM.

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    • #32
      Great video - but cover the poor machines if it's going to rain!
      I'd check out the driver if using a wrecker. Each time I've had my car recovered they have driven like maniacs cornering on two wheels coming down the motorway off ramp.. I was amazed the car stayed on let alone a top heavy machine.

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      • #33
        I just moved a wells index about a month ago. first got it up on rollers. then backed the trailer up to the shop opening. then removed trailer wheels and tires. that put it about 4 inches higher then the floor. moved mill till it was on one roller in the middle . with the front of the mill up I hooked a come-a-long to the trailer tongue and the mill. started pulling. when it got to the right spot I put another roller in the front. kept pulling and adding rollers. when I got it where I wanted it on the trailer I use my pry bar to get the rollers out and set it 2x4's. strap it down put wheels back on and take the mill to it's new home.
        did not even break a sweat. in fact hardest part was putting the wheels and tires back on. I did cheat though I removed the head and ram. that took about 400 lbs. from up high.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Forrest Addy View Post
          Steps to follow:

          $100 for lumber $10 for hardware.

          Rough carpentry, drill holes, bolt together.

          Erect, chain sling over the beam, hang chain hoist.

          Swivel head under ram (lower knee and rotate belt case 90 degrees to clear motor)

          Move mill to convenient lift site for truck access.

          Position horse over machine, rig, and lift.

          Back truck under load, lower machine, un-rig and tie down.

          Partly disassemble horse and toss in truck.

          Hit the road.

          To unload - well you're all grown-ups.
          Next steps:

          tear whole wooden thing down

          load it all up

          move it to where you are PICKING UP the mill

          painfully put it all back together again

          load the mill

          tear wooden structure all down again

          load it on truck too

          drive to where the next machine is

          painfully reassemble wooden structure

          side trip to box store to replace wood with stripped-out lag holes

          side trip home to get saw and extension cord

          re-re-reassemble wood structure


          ... and on and on.

          I don't think so.

          I have to pick up one machine from a loading dock in downtown Seattle, then another from a driveway in Sammamish, then drop one machine in a driveway in Kirkland and then the other in a driveway in Woodinville. The wood sawhorse idea would work if you were say selling a mill and you just had to put it up onto the buyer's truck and forget about it, although you'd then either have a big wood ugly in your driveway or a pile of expensive scrap wood. But that idea doesn't travel well.

          metalmagpie

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          • #35
            One option to move it around and pick it up is a good engine hoist. Not the Harbor Freight crap, a good one. Lift it with the hoist and set angle iron across the legs under the mill. Set the mill down on the angle iron and you have wheels under it. Then you can move it around with a spud bar on hard surfaces. You can also do this and rent a small utility trailer for moving stump grinders and ditch witch units that sits low. Those pieces of equipment are very heavy so the trailers are pretty stout. Just remember that 1 inch straps that you get at Walmart are NOT sufficient to strap 1.5 tons of cast iron down. Get some real straps. Buy em, rent em, what ever... Don't go the route of the small utility straps.

            Another type of trailer that no one considers is a livestock trailer. They too are a low deck trailer. They are designed for heavy 4 legged animals to be walking around in them so they too are very strong. 1800 or 2000 pounds spread out across a 3 foot by 6 foot base is easier to support than the same weight on four legs with feet that are 4 inches around.

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            • #36
              Rental places may have a low trailer for backhoes or trench machines. I rented one once to move an eight foot Cincinnati lathe. The bed did tilt but it was close enough to the ground so as to not be in the stratosphere or working on a "mountain side".
              I have also moved several Vert. mills by dual axle trailer and had a tow truck lift them up to move the trailer out and sit the mill on timbers or rollers to move into the shop.
              Rentals also have dollies for heavy machine moving. I only use three when moving Vmills as uneven floors can send one scooting out and leave you with a tilting machine. I had one mill almost fall over from that. A bench and hi-low post kept it from going on over. Learned that lesson with one incident!
              Krutch


              Mentally confused and prone to wandering!

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              • #37
                In my first and only album on this site, I put photos of my Aciera F5 being winched forklift and all onto a roll-back truck. I did not approve of the lift height!

                I think successfully linked the photos into this post. If not, the album is public, and I think you should be able to view the photos by clicking through my user name.

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                • #38
                  I've moved many machines up to 10,000# & never paid anyone except for grunt help because of my back & never rented a pc of equipment. One thing I advise is to buy a real solid leg shop crane. I have 2 & like this towable Blue Bird the best. Tips down on wheels to tow. Paid $100, made for rental centers.
                  https://www.zoro.com/vestil-hoist-tr...yABEgKJzPD_BwE

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by metalmagpie View Post
                    Thank you to all who responded! In the end I found a local truck rental place that can rent me a 16' flatbed with liftgate rated for 3500 pounds. I rented it for Sunday morning.

                    metalmagpie
                    Word of warning, liftgates don't often stay level once they're off the ground, be sure to put a strop and come-along, a hefty ratchet strap or something similar from the mill to the front (or two tie-downs either side of the front) of the bed before raising it... Specially if you're raising the liftgate with the mill on rollers/pallet truck! DAMHIK!

                    Dave H. (the other one)
                    Rules are for the obedience of fools, and the guidance of wise men.

                    Holbrook Model C Number 13 lathe, Testa 2U universal mill, bikes and tools

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by metalmagpie View Post
                      Next steps:

                      tear whole wooden thing down

                      load it all up

                      move it to where you are PICKING UP the mill

                      painfully put it all back together again

                      load the mill

                      tear wooden structure all down again

                      load it on truck too

                      drive to where the next machine is

                      painfully reassemble wooden structure

                      side trip to box store to replace wood with stripped-out lag holes

                      side trip home to get saw and extension cord

                      re-re-reassemble wood structure


                      ... and on and on.

                      I don't think so.

                      I have to pick up one machine from a loading dock in downtown Seattle, then another from a driveway in Sammamish, then drop one machine in a driveway in Kirkland and then the other in a driveway in Woodinville. The wood sawhorse idea would work if you were say selling a mill and you just had to put it up onto the buyer's truck and forget about it, although you'd then either have a big wood ugly in your driveway or a pile of expensive scrap wood. But that idea doesn't travel well.

                      metalmagpie
                      Responding to assertions:

                      Nah. I had a lifting horse I built in a hurry I used for 20 years. Stored the pieces in my rack when t wasn't being used. There were only eleven parts and eight bolts. It took maybe ten minutes to assemble and erect. I bet I moved a dozen machines with it.

                      Did I say lag bolts? No, because they pull out I said continuous threaded rod as in through bolts with nuts and washers so they won't pull out.

                      I built my wood lifting horse out of necessity in 1976 before roll-back tilt-bed trucks were available. You can probably rent one now for the price of lumber. My old lifting horse died after too many years in the rain thanks to the guy I loaned it to. He used it for a kiddy swing. By the time the rot was sawed off the legs, the beam was too low for loading tall stuff

                      If I had to move smaller machine tools again, you bet I'd use a tilt-bed truck but I'm an old fart now. Moving heavy loads has a different meaning but it's just as much of a struggle.

                      In the meantime, don't disparage without fully understanding what's involved. One can accomplish much quickly and safely with simple materials but you have to use the best technique. The key to the lifting horse's strength and safety is not the bolts; it's the bird's mouth cut the beam sits in. The beam is supported on the end grain step of the bird's mouth in the end of the leg. The bolts see only incidental loads.
                      Last edited by Forrest Addy; 07-22-2017, 05:16 PM.

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                      • #41
                        A friend used to own a wrecker company. He moved mills, lathes, compressors, and industrial refrigeration equipment regularly.

                        If he had something to belay to, he could reach fifty feet around a corner with a snatch block and pull the machine to the door before sliding it up the bed.

                        That was before the days of the rotator-boom trucks, which are freakin' amazing. They can pick a machine off a trailer, swing it around, and set it on a second-story roof, if that's where you want it.

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                        • #42
                          My Bridgeport was moved by a towing company on a flat bed truck. He put a strap low on the machine and we put 1/2 inch black pipes under the base to roll it on/off. He charged me $150 to pick it up, drive five miles and put it in my garage.

                          A friend that worked at a big bearing company came over and helped--we slid it down hill on pipes with plywood strips to keep from soaking into the grass and into my walk out basement. It took us about an hour! If the pipes slipped out, we had a Johnson bar that we levered under the base of the mill to lift it. Like the pyramids were made, I guess. Wheels, levers and inclined planes.

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                          • #43
                            If I have to do something I haven't done before I just think how did they do it 100+ years ago. Like when they cleared woods into farmland the removed the stumps with a pole or log chained to the stump with a horse or mule on the other end so when the animal moved it tightened the chain & the mechanical advantage will twist the stump right out. Just sub a truck, 4 wheeler, lawn or tractor & an I beam & you have to buy or rent nothing.

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                            • #44
                              Machine tools of all sorts can be moved in a variety of ways. For me the simplest and least expensive has been a drop bed trailer like this:

                              https://www.unitedrentals.com/en/equ...e-axle-special

                              They are relatively inexpensive to rent at about $75.00 per day and available from national chains like United Rental and Sunbelt Rental. In our area they are also available from local companies like A to Z Rental and Area Rental.

                              My most recent purchase was a Sheldon MW-56-P lathe. It weighs in at about 1650 lbs. When I picked it up the previous owner and his neighbor helped position it on dollies and roll it onto the trailer. After loading it we raised it enough to remove the dollies and tied it down to the deck and side rails. Then it was just a matter of raising the deck to travel height and driving away. When I got it home I was able to unload it myself by simply lowering the deck to the ground, placing 3/4" rods under the bases, and rolling it off the deck.

                              The trailers come in several sizes and weight ratings. I used a 7,000 lb. capacity one that used a standard 2" ball. A larger 12,000 capacity units need a 2 5/16" ball. They also come in single and double axle configurations. The double axle ones can be loaded and unloaded without being attached to a tow vehicle.

                              As a reference hiring a rigger would have cost between $2,200.00 and $3,300.00. Renting a flat bed truck with lift gate would have cost between $300.00 and $500.00 per day plus mileage and fuel. The trailer cost less than $200.00 for the 3 days I had it.

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                              • #45
                                If you crank the knee all the way down and invert the head,the average bridgeport isn't nearly as top heavy as you think.A rollback wrecker will load and move one with ease.If you're really that worried about it,then add a couple timers to the bottom for out riggers.
                                I just need one more tool,just one!

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