Do it yourself tool rigging

My shop is in the basement: It has a high ceiling, easy access to the breaker box, and is comfortable all year around. I haven't had
too much trouble getting woodworking tools down there, but metal shop tools are another story.
* There is a straight shot from the back door to the basement door, about 15' away. The floor is constructed with BCI floor joists 24" apart, with OSB subfloor and oak hardwood flooring.
* The stairs are straight down, with no curves or landings. There are double 2x10 stringers on each side, and a 2x10 stringer down the middle.
* There is an egress window, 42"x44" opening, that opens into a window well about 5' deep and 2.5 feet back to front.
I want to move a Clausing 5400 series lathe and Grizzly G3616 mill downstairs. The professional riggers (the only ones in the area) can lift the lathe to my backdoor with a crane, but will not take it downstairs without my disassembling it. Of course the heavier milling machine won't go down any easier.
I'm told that the stairs are rated for about 1000 pounds as is, and I'm not sure of the 1st floor -- but I'll put 3/4" plywood down when I move the equipment, so that will both add weight and hopefully also redistribute it a bit.
My original plan was to add two stringers to the stairway and brace every 4th stair with a 2x4 frame to the concrete floor. But that was assuming the riggers would actually need to get 1000 pounds downstairs all at once. And with the double stringers on the sides, I'm not convinced that two more are really necessary. The basement has an 8' ceiling height, plus the height of the BCI joists, and there are 15 steps.
Here are my two notions -- comments and ideas are welcome.
1. Add angle irons to each side of the stairway (over the existing double stringers on each side) and use it as a track for a wheeled cart. The cart would attach to a winch, braced on the concrete slab that makes up the patio/step outside the backdoor. If I designed well, the cart could be used to wheel the machinery from the back door to the basement stairs, then rolled down on the track. There is still the problem of what the cart should look like, and whether I should bolt something together out of hardwood or have a steel frame welded up. I would use 1000 pound rated non-swivel casters.
2. Remove the window well frame, excavate an incline down to the window, and surface with concrete. This may require some kind of brace against the foundation to replace the window well (or maybe that's not necessary). The benefit is that machinery could be moved directly into the basement without using the stairs. However the window opening would still be too small for a lathe, for example, without disassembling it. I suspect this would be a very expensive proposition, probably in the neighborhood of $ 5000.
My garage is detached, uninsulated, not temperature controlled in any way, and only has one 117 volt circuit, so switching the shop location is not an option. I either have to come up with a solution or resign myself to using miniature machine tools.
Since a lot of people in this newsgroup move machinery all the time, I'd like comments on these ideas, and suggestions for things I may have overlooked. Chances are good that I'll move more equipment in and out over time, so something more than a one-time temporary solution would be good.
Thanks for your thoughts and ideas.
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Mike Berger wrote:

This is why I told the realtor that the new place had to have ground-level access to the basement. She found a GREAT house, that not only met the several requirements I had, but delighted my wife as well. We both sat in the car for 15 seconds after seeing the place, and said "We gotta place a contract on this, TODAY!"

You have to make sure this cart can keep the machine from tipping at each stage of the lowering. The lathe will go down the long way, so that doesn't sound too tricky. But, the mill may be more of a problem. You don't want it to start to roll over rather than roll down. Removing the head might be enough to keep it stable.

A temporary grade change to the window well might be possible. You aren't going to be doing this every year (or are you? It can get obsessive.) I don't know the 5400 contruction in detail, I'm guessing the bed is mounted on a stand with the motor, etc.? It may be pretty easy to get the lathe off the stand, and just carry that down the stairs with two guys. If you can get the window frame out, 42 x 44" is a pretty big hole. If the column comes off the mill, it almost has to go through that opening, unless it is a Bridgeport clone. If so, the main base casting will be difficult to wrestle through the hole. If it is a benchtop mill, it should be no problem. You might have to take the table off to get it through.

A year-round comfortable shop is a NECCESSITY, in my opinion. It is also a good deal easier to prevent rust and other problems with it in the house. So, the garage is out, unless you put a heater in there. The wiring is small potatoes, in the end.
Jon
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I just had a really cool idea. Build a cart with a horizontal top. Have it run on an inclined track which goes down into the basement and ends in a pit in the basement floor. That way you can keep your machines horizontal and not worry about them slipping off the cart, and just slide them on and off at floor level. Just like the inclined planes which used to move slate, canal boats, etc. Maybe it's not practical but it would be great fun and your friends would love it :-).
Good luck. Moving machines can be a lot of fun. The more you have to improvise, the more fun it gets.
Chris
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<snip>
<snip>
I would be inclined to use 1 1/8" flooring plywood. It is a whole bunch stronger than 3/4" and not much more expensive...
Jerry
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I would think some more about the window. I would make a bridge crane with maybe a 10 foot long beam. Position the machine tool to the side of the window. Move the bridge crane in place so you can pick up the machine too slightly and move the trolley on the beam so the machine tool is over the window well, lower to the bottom of the window well.
While you are making the window well big enough, how about changing it into a door with either stairs or a ladder to get to ground level. Then you could bring in stock without going thru the house.
Dan
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While that would be ideal, any modification of the foundation will be very expensive, and void the waterproof warranty.
snipped-for-privacy@krl.org wrote:

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Have you actually gotten any estimates on cost? I have not done anything like that for a long time. I think I got my whole basement excavated and poured for less than $5000 thirty years ago.
Dan
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No -- and I'm having trouble finding someone that wants to do that kind of work. I'd certainly do it for $ 1000, but $ 2000 might be a stretch. But even a simple driveway, already graded, costs that much.
snipped-for-privacy@krl.org wrote:

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| I want to move a Clausing 5400 series lathe and Grizzly G3616 mill | downstairs. The professional riggers (the only ones in the area) | can lift the lathe to my backdoor with a crane, but will not take | it downstairs without my disassembling it. Of course the heavier | milling machine won't go down any easier.
Just thinking out loud here, but instead of trying to attach something to the house, why not just place a few heavy beams over the length of the stairs such that the stairs do not bear any load, and "suspended" so that they don't load the stairs? You'll need to come up with a platform at the bottom that will both support the beams and provide a reasonable transition from the incline to a level surface, then you can crib the machine down from that height to floor level. On top of the beams will slide a platform of wood with runners to act as guides. Two I'd think would be best, one for each end of your lathe. At the top, connect a winch or hoist to act as a control for the machine sliding down on the beams. A block of paraffin should provide the lubricant you need for the wood runners. Wheels would reduce the friction needed for good control on the incline. You'd have to work out the necessary size beams to support the load safely, but it seems to me to be better than any modifications to the house that pass loads on to parts of the house not intended to support such loads.
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I've moved similar tools down to the basement of our townhome, including a Clausing 5914 lathe, 8520 knee mill, 8540 and 8550 horizontal mills and a KO Lee S714 surface grinder. They weigh between 650 and about 1,000 lbs each and all of them were partially disassembled before moving. We could usually get by with a 2-wheel fridge dolly, but the base on the surface grinder proved too heavy for that approach and here's what my wife and I used to get that down:
http://member.newsguy.com/~mphenry/base_move.htm
Basically a HF 400/800 lb winch was rigged to a frame that bore against the basement doorway frame and the base (400 lb?) was slid down the stairs. It worked a treat. We didn't reinforce the stairs or doorway and neither suffered any damage. The same idea was used to move the base and column for one of the horizontal mills, though that was tied down to the 2-wheel dolly. As the pictures above show, tools come in through the garage into a utility room and have to make a sharp 90 turn down the stairs, which really limits the choices.
The 5400 lathe shouldn't be a problem, so long as you don't mind tearing it down to major pieces. The bed will probably be the toughest part. The mill might be another matter as it is 2,000 lbs. Judging from the parts diagram I'd guess that the column is the heaviest component and is probably 500-750 lbs. If you take that apart, watch for any shims that might have been used for alignment. I'd be inclined to check alignments before tearing it down (if that's what you end up doing) as a baseline to check against on re-assembly.
Mike

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wrote:

Disclaimer: I've never done it, but I can see what works. In Los Angeles we don't do basements as a general rule - exceptions being McDonalds locations.
I'd vote for leaving the window well alone (if possible, unless that is the only good place to do it) and build a full outside access well, with a storm door and removable steel stairs for everyday use.
This also gives you a fire exit that's a lot faster than crawling through a window, and gives the firemen a way to get into the basement without tromping through the house and opening the fire door at the top of the stairs.
(Oh, and on the subject of fires, is the basement drywalled - especially the ceiling? A little linseed oil on a rag, and you can have big trouble...)
When you are moving equipment or large projects in or out, you lift the stairs out of the way and drop the lathe in using the same HIAB knuckle boom truck they delivered it on. Or you use an A-frame and hoist.
Don't drag anything through the house, unless you are looking for trouble from SWMBO.
--<< Bruce >>--
--
Bruce L. Bergman, Woodland Hills (Los Angeles) CA - Desktop
Electrician for Westend Electric - CA726700
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My approach has always been to disassemble the machines and move them in piece by piece. The largest bits are slid down wood planks, via external access stairs - which are stone btw.
I've found that the disassembly and move are always a good opportunity to clean and inspect machine tools anyway, as I typically buy used.
Jim
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Mike Berger wrote:

Hi Mike.
When I moved professionally we would add some temporary vertical braces beneath the stairs underneath a set of runners 2x6s or 2x8s (whatever we had handy) the length of the stairs and put another set (the length of the stairs) on top of the stairs for protection. The set on top would have suitable bevels and extend about an inch above the top of the stairs as this is the point at which the most weight will be concentrated. How you'd fasten these to be removable and make the fastening points invisible would be up to you.
As long as you have a straight shot to the stairs we'd put plywood or other suitable protection on the floor and roll the skidded machine up onto thicker rollers as we approach the stairs. The minor trick here is to set your rollers so when the end of the lathe (or whatever) protrudes over the lip of the 2x6s on the stairs the roller will be "just" before the lip and the machine will be at the balance point, ready to tip forward.
Winch control is important at this point. If you feel you have anything but full control DON'T USE THIS METHOD. I'd suggest, generally, to hook low on the machine. Let me repeat: Unless you have TOTAL control of the machine using the winch DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS MOVE.
As long as the machine is on wooden skids and the stairs are of ordinary steepness you should be able (with the winch attached, of course) to move the machine down a foot or so without a roller beneath it. I'll explain why in a moment. Then we'd put a short piece of 6x6, or similar, (with suitable buffering) across the stair doorway so as the machine continues downward the top of the stairs is protected from the cable. IMPORTANT: The rougher the wood and the higher the friction the better the control; do NOT "Grease the skids" in any manner.
Before too much weight is transferred past the top edge of the stairs and while the winch has a firm hold, tip the leading machine edge up and slip a 1" roller beneath it. Continue moving the machine downward on rollers and catch the edge of the machine's skids now near the basement floor on (ideally) a 4" to 6 " wooden roller. Wood is best because it won't skate around like steel at this point and as the machine progresses the thicker roller will help keep the tips of the skid clear of the floor. Progress forward to thinner rollers, roll to position, remove skids.
I'd suggest not using a roller at the very top edge of the stairs (after the edge, not before) because the tipping point of the move is the most critical and should be the slowest part of the move giving you the most control. With a roller at this point the tendency of the machine will be to go down FAST until the winch has full control of the weight; it's better to move forward "dry" until you have better control (the reason for hooking low on the machine). Another, lesser potential, problem would be the tendency of a machine to spin when all the weight is on a roller at the balance point and tipped in this manner. Ideally you'd shivvy the machine enough forward, past the top edge of the stairs, so it'll tip forward on it's own.
Go slow, slow, slow. And watch the fingers and toes. Everything else is more easily replaced.
A move like this with 3 movers would have taken us about 2 hours, including cleanup. More elaborate methods can certainly work well, however I found when a machine owner was paying us by the hour the request was usually for "Fast and safe", so fast it was.
It's funny how long it takes you to write a description of something so simple.
dennis in nca
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Mike Henry wrote:

Very nice Mike. I don't usually recommend dollies or "two wheelers" on this news group as they generally require a little more knowledge and strength to control safely. Not knowing people's limitations I usually suggest the slower methods.
I thought your move of the machine base was elegant and well thought out. I'm just glad I didn't have to pay you by the hour. ;)
dennis in nca
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Mike Henry wrote:

<snip>
We had a nasty incident with the fridge dolly and the mill base - sometimes knowledge and strength are not enough. One must also apply the knowledge and use a bit of common sense!

The local riggers wanted $700-900 to move the lathe downstairs, but only charged $200 to deliver to the garage. Another member of the group here helped get it into the basement and we've done a similar move for his Rockwell lathe. The local rigger didn't want to bother with the grinder base, though he did offer to loan me a come-along. Another rigger quoted me $1400 to move the base and that was way beyond my budget. The winch and frame approach was an amalgam of suggestions from here and a few other related web fora.
Mike
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Mike Henry wrote:

Well, whoever came up with some of those ideas has made me jealous. When we moved machinery it was usually "Slam bam, thank you mam" then you're on the road again. It was the very rare move where you'd allow yourself to get creative.
dennis in nca
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I'd just have them do it for that price -- but the local riggers won't!
Mike Henry wrote:

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Well, if you are in the west suburban Chicago area, try Diamond Rigging (Riggers?) in Batavia.
I suspect a major reason for the low cost of the $200 delivery charge was that I was willing to make myself available to accept delivery whenever they had a partial load going to my area. The higher cost for downstairs transport was probably due to the unknowns in getting it down there and the PITA and liability factors that come into play for residential work.
Mike

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Too_Many_Tools wrote:

In general going out is just the reverse of going in. Except the pieces you need to hand-carry, of course. In fact, like many endeavors I'm told, such as cliff climbing, it's actually sometimes easier upward than downward; your control is better.
dennis in nca
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