lifting heavy machinery onto carts?


In my search for space for a forge on an urban campus, it seems my most promising location is to work outside but store everything inside. That is, there is too little space inside the room a club is hosting me in for me to operate the forge, and also it's too cluttered to get it approved by the fire department in that particular room anyway.

So I'll keep everything in a corner there-- 300-lb anvil,

100-lb forge, 800-lb hydraulic press-- and then move it out to the courtyard to use, then move it back. I also have a 500-lb grinder in progress that I'll need to walk a mile back to the dorm I'm using it in from the shop it's being built in, though that's only a one-time deal.

Since I'm building everything, I was thinking that instead of getting 4 very fit assistants every time that press needs shifting to lift it onto a cart and off again, I could build it with a base with a wide pocket at the bottom and only two long feet, a sort of bridge, such that something could get under the middle of the base, lift it up, and then I could wheel it way and lower it again. Maybe, to be simpler, lift it, lower it onto a cart, use the cart to do the wheeling, and lift it off again.

Basically a forklift, but buying and keeping a forklift just to move three pieces of equipment back and forth 100 ft would be ridiculous. And cost 5X the cost of the equipment itself :-) Are there forklift-like devices, just the front end of the forklift but wheeled manually, which are still quite small/portable and affordable? If so, what am I looking for; what would it be called?

thanks! -Bernard Arnest

Reply to
Bernard Arnest
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A pallet jack. Have a look at a pallet jack and design your machines so they can use one.

If you are on campus you ought to be able to talk someone into the use of a forklift anyway.


Reply to
Grant Erwin

A pallet jack is the way to go. Harbor Freight sells them for under $300. I see a used one (probably better quality) on craigslist for $175. But, a thing to watch out for on a used one is worn/leaking hydraulics... It can cost a couple hundred to get one re-built...


Reply to
Jerry Foster

Hi, Thanks! Just what I need. Borrowing a forklift wouldn't make sense because I'll be using it every other day, though for a one-time job you're right, I could probably arrange that.

Btw, how again do I get those HF coupons I heard about some weeks back...? I'm on their mailing list (I get their print catalog, at least), but no coupons/rebates.

thanks again, -Bernard Arnest

Reply to
Bernard Arnest

Powered pallet jack - has 24V or 36V of deep-cycle batteries on it, has a drive motor to take out the heavy pushing involved, and usually a hydraulic pump power lift for the forks.

WARNING: It does NOT violate the laws of center of gravity, nor of 'The bigger they are the harder they fall'. They are designed for moving a pallet full of boxes with a fairly low CG. If you put tall heavy and tippy loads on top of a power jack, you have to be very gentle in your motions or someone's gonna get crunched.

And for really big stuff that would tip too easily, you might be better off to build a permanent cart for it with swivel or fixed casters mounted way out at the corners to maximize stability, and drop-foot stabilizers to park it in place. The forklift or power jack would be good for the tugging and pushing work, so make provisions for fork pockets under it.


Reply to
Bruce L. Bergman

On 9 May 2006 23:31:47 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm, "Bernard Arnest" quickly quoth:

The suggestions for a pallet jack are good. Another possibility is an engine hoist. $150 on sale at Schucks Auto Parts, HF, etc.

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Reply to
Larry Jaques
[> >Bernard Arnest wrote:]


A walk-behind powered pallet jack is what I recommend too; an ordinary pallet jack can handle the load but dragging your

1700 pounds of anvil, forge, press, and grinder around can be slow going. See if the surplus-equipment department or facilities people at your school have an extra one you can use.

You might be able to start with free pallets as platform bases. Typical pallets can support a couple of tons, so your stuff is light enough for one pallet, but probably would be too crowded. If you locate each heavy item at the center of a 40"x44" pallet you might be ok without the extra stabilizers that Bruce suggested. Note, if you use a pallet as a base, you'll need to add a surface (eg 2 layers of 3/4" plywood or particle board, or 1/4" steel sheet, or 1/8" steel over plywood) and brace it to cut down on vibration, without blocking the fork and roller channels. Whatever you use for platforms, bolt your stuff on. :)


Reply to
James Waldby

Hi Bernard:

There is a pallet jack at HF on sale for $279.99 at this time. Your idea of setting the mill on runners is a good idea. Have a person on each side to steady it (unless the route is as smooth as glass) and check floor clearances beforehand so you can choose the runner thickness properly. While rolling keep the load as low as possible.

I would suggest the powered model is a bad idea in this case. They work ok for ordinary wood pallets but when using them on metal items like a mill or anvil, etc. the items will have a tendency to slip and slide on the steel jack surface (and you can't tip back like you can with a fork lift) unless you go through the unneeded time and expense to add a "floor" of wood or carpet to the top of the pallet legs. This is especially true of most powered pallet jacks I've seen; they're very "jerky". Besides you will only use this for short periods; so why have to maintain a battery AND charger system. So unless you find yourself going uphill save your money and use a manual pallet jack.

dennis in nca

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