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.
- 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.
- 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.