Moving a Lathe

Some questions:

What kind of truck are you going using?

Will it be a rental U drive or a moving company?

Flat bed or box van?

You said you had no lifting devices, often these can be rented. You might also put them on a small trailer, and bring them to a place where they have forklifts, Often some guy making $8 an hour will jump at the chance to make a quick $20 and find a Six Pack on the seat of his pick-up after work.

-- Roger Shoaf If you are not part of the solution, you are not dissolved in the solvent.

Reply to
Roger Shoaf
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When I purchased my Habegger, I removed the headtstock, bed and tailstock. I also removed the motor and the drawer for the cabinet. I was able to horse everything around by myself (down an airway into the basement). While the Logan is larger, this might be the safest and easiest way under the circumstances you describe.

Besides, it gives you the opportunity to spruce it up before you reinstall it.

Also, believe it or not it may be least expensive and safest to ship it via Amtrak. Crate and skid the parts. I once shipped a 150 lb watch cleaning machine from Baltimore to Chicago for $28; and it got there the next day. They even provided the plastic wrap. I also shipped a 100 lb timeclock to Boston. Both arrived in excellent condition.

You just have to arrange pickup and delivery from the station and Amtrak will even help with that.

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Dismantle into smaller chunks so that two individuals can carry each chunk easily. I've moved more large stuff that way.


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Reply to
jim rozen

You may need a heavy tree limb or beam and a chain fall to raise at least one end of your machine to load single-handedly. Perhaps some sort of ramp would work if it is a cabinet-style machine. You didn't specify whether truck or trailer would be used this time but if the lathe has cast iron legs and you load it onto a truck you can make short work of the job by unbolting the headstock-end legs first and just slide the machine and chip pan onto the truck bed and then remove the other leg set and slide the remainder on. You can support the motor/countershaft assembly or better yet, remove that first since the connection is very brittle. Perhaps a bit off topic, but I was surprised how the harmonics generated by varying road surfaces can loosen bolts, nuts, etc which aren't "properly" torqued over the long haul. Almost lost my Cincinnati Toolmaster's vertical head and the main control panel literally fell off a 15x42 lathe I was hauling x-country which pulled a bunch of wires out as it went. These are good sized machines but no matter, I'd make sure any loose accessories are well packed away and you frequently check your tie-downs or binders and "loosening" heavy parts. Have a safe trip and watch your back. Uncle Lucky

Reply to
Uncle Lucky

I just bought a lathe of similar size. It was delivered 300 miles. The lathe was moved in the back of a pickup truck. It was positioned with the head towards the cab and the tail towards the rear. It was bolted to boards as wide as the truck bed and double nutted. Other boards were cut to length and positioned between the tailgate and the cross boards to prevent it from moving backwards. It was unloaded with a strap around the bed hooked to a hoist. AFter it was lifted up, the truck was driven out from under it.

It went very smooth... Rocky (rockwell 11x24) is setting in my garage... chuck

Reply to
Charles A. Sherwood

Lag bolt it to Skids (4X6s work well) if you can't bolt them on very far apart then bolt the lathe down to crosspieces about 4 feet wide then lag bolt them down to the Skids. If you get the skids wide enough you don't really have to worry about the top heavy problem so much. Buy, rent, or borrow a car trailer or (less ahndy, but nicer for moving) horse trailer (they do ride lower, makes for easier loading). Get several wooden posts of about 4" diameter, they make good rollers and are large enough to roll over small irregularities. Have some blocks and planks handy to use as ramps and you can pull the lathe anywhere with a good come-along and a pile of log chains. It takes a long time, but you can move about anyting like this if you are careful and think thring through. Always keep a log chain tied to the lathe with a few feet of slack when moving it, that will save you from having any runaways. It is easier than you'd think to be paying attention to a roller and not notice that the whole thing has started rolling downhill. :)

If you jack up the back bumper of your vehicle the trailer will teeter totter into a ramp, kinda, anyway, the back will go down, support it there with blocks and set your ramps and just winch it on. You can move it all by yourself, no heavy lifting, and you don't have to disassemble it. I have a few pictures of me moving a 19" LeBlond lathe this way on a sidehill an up into a building. You can see them at

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look under Movingthings01.jpg and on up.

Don't let it intimidate you, remember the egyptians moved big giant blocks of stone with ropes and wooden levers. With sufficient mechanical advantage and time you can move anything.


Reply to
David L Peterson

Gentlemen; I just purchased a used South Bend Heavy 10 lathe, now I have the problem of how to get it home. It is located about a 4 hour drive away, so to save some money I would like to go and get it myself. I have a suv that can tow a trailer; so I could rent a trailer or rent a small truck. I have a

2 ton engine hoist at my end to unload it and there won't be any problem getting it loaded at the source. Does anyone have any recommendations for a type of trailer or truck to rent? Thanks...Mike
Reply to
Mike DeAngelis

Be extra careful because lathes are way more top heavy than you would think I found this out the hard way by tipping one in my driveway when a cat. type roller slipped out. If you even think your two ton hoist is marginal, have a wrecker take it off the trailer for you. A machine rigger can easily cost $500.00 where a wrecker does a nice job for around $50.00.


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If you have the boom on your hoist extended all the way out, just keep in mind it will no longer be capable of 2 tons. Hate to see accidents happen.

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type of trailer or truck to rent?< A short open trailer would be my suggestion. If you can load the heavy end toward the rear that is usually best. When you fasten it to prevent tipping and sliding some of those ratcheting straps might be a good idea. Then, when you get home, hook-up and make your lift, and then make sure, by pushing downward on the lathe, that it's not going to overbalance, and then pull the truck/trailer out and lower the lathe straight down to the ground. On the ground you may find you can not move with the hoist. In this case you should have the machine skidded for moving on rollers (1" OD pipe would be good). In fact adding a couple of 2X4 cross pieces and a couple of runners before you load on the trailer would be a good idea, if possible. Just remember not to skid it too long or wide as this may prevent your getting in close enough with the hoist and/or finding you can't set it down because it comes down on the legs of the hoist. When you get it where it's going to sit you use the hoist to lift and remove the rollers and skids. What ever way you do it, tie it down well on the trailer and, when unloading, make sure everyone stays clear and understands they need to listen to you. The natural instinct of the average person, if something starts to tip or otherwise go wrong, is to jump in to "catch" the item. This is what can get you killed. Be careful.

dennis in nca

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Someone should jump in but IIRC the SB HD 10 is about 600 pounds or so???

Bolt it down to a pair of 2x12's about 6 feet long. Or better yet, 4'

2x12 crosswise to a pair of 6' long 4x4's with beveled ends. You can do this before you load it on your vehicle. Makes securing it much easier also.

My local rental place has some low bend utility trailers, about $30 a day. Steel beds, steel sides. Either skid the lathe up using a 2x12 x8' or hoist it up. Only needs to come up 24" or so. Pickup can handle the load but very high lift.

Be very careful when hoisting. The center of gravity is right near the center of the bed. If you sling it below that, it can just flip over. Adding the skid base helps there.

The other choice is to dissemble it into mangeable pieces. My Logan

10x24 dissembled > Gentlemen;
Reply to

call all the local rental places and get a hydraulic drop deck trailer , the entire deck will drop to ground level letting you roll the lathe up on it either on dollies or skates , which you can rent too

I made some dollies for moving my lathe , a 1945 monarch 18x 54 , it worked really well , email me I will send you some pictures of moving the lathe

Reply to

10L's are nice and light, maybe 800 lbs total. If you don't mind disassembling, then you can load the pieces into a regular pickup truck and off you go- 2 people who don't mind a bit of exercise can do it easily. The pedestal base is marginally easier in this case since it doesn't take up as much room as the cabinet. You'll only need assorted wrenches & screwdrivers, a socket set, some allen wrenches, a couple buckets for bolts & gears etc, baggies for the little bits- maybe a camera to help you remember where stuff goes. 10L's come apart very nicely, nothing magic about it and there are no critical adjustments to worry about- the headstock has a locating peg and is held in place with a couple plates that bolt up into it from beneath the ways. The nylon tie-straps w/ the friction catch are great for tying stuff down once its loaded. If you do disassemble, take off the headstock & remove the carriage. Leave the gearbox in place, but do put the leadscrew support back on once the carriage is off- you really don't want to have that leadscrew hanging out just inviting something to smash into it. The feed collar on the backside of the apron has a funky hook shaped key that will come out once the leadscrew is removed, fetch it and stash it w/ the other small parts- very easy to lose that!

- if your machine has the pedestal base and you're disassembling, be very careful when removing the bed. It tends to require a shove to unseat, and when it comes loose it will try to tumble off the pedestal- be ready for it.

For loading/unloading the assembled machine, if you can back your vehicle into a garage or equiv w/ enough vertical clearance, you might consider putting a 10' 4x4 up on the rafters to distribute the weight, then hoisting from that- though you should be confident about the state of the rafters before trying it, and don't skimp by putting a eyebolt up into 1 rafter, you really need to distribute the weight.... A comealong works but is annoying with weight on it, a 2 ton or so chain hoist from harbor fright will do the job a bit more easily. The usual rig is to lay the nylon towstrap (>= 5000 lb stuff) across the bed up near the headstock, then bring both ends under and up between the ways and up to the hook. If the strap is long enough, maybe you'll have to double it so its not too long. Lift till the lathe starts to shift, then move the carriage and tailstock around until the whole thing balances, maybe also shift the strap if needed, then lock down both. Obviously, remove chucks, cutting tools, toolpost, etc.. If you use a chain hoist, don't let the chain fall batter the lathe, put a piece of old carpet over it, or suspend a bucket beneath the hoist and let the slack chain feed in & out of that. *** Take great care that you and any help DO NOT have any body parts beneath the machine at any time its up in the air ***

I've done 1500 lb machines this way, but I think thats about the most I'd care to do with the 4x4 in the rafters trick.

But no matter how you move the machine, do take the back off the apron at some point and make sure its clean in there. Its supposed to provide an oil bath for the apron gears but is usually clogged with dirt and chips and solidified oil. One nice thing about disassembling for the move is you can clean & check for worn/busted parts as you reassemble.

And be careful!



Reply to
Greg Menke

They are not all that massive or heavy. Just about any Uhaul should hold it just fine. The key how to load it properly...make sure the headstock and heavy end is ahead of the axle..and use REAL tie down straps, not clothesline.

And always remember..when you slam on the breaks..things want to move forwards. Fast and hard. Tie down accordingly.


"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.

Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner

Reply to
Gunner Asch

Its only a 600-800 lb lathe.......

Much different lathe


"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.

Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner

Reply to
Gunner Asch

It's "brakes" Gunner. One doesn't want to use the word "breaks" in any post that discusses transportation of machine tools and tie downs. ;) You might jinx the whole operation.


Reply to
Peter Grey

The drop deck trailer is really nice. I've used them on many occasions. The local rental place here has a 2,000 capacity trailer with a manual (crank) lift. The deck appears to be about 1/4" thick so that's how close to the ground it will go.

Just roll the tool on, crank it up, tie it down and off you go. The rental is something like $20.00 a day.

Someone suggested bolting the lathe to a couple of 2X's which is what I always do. I will then run a couple of 4X's in the cross direction so that I can move it with a pallet jack.

A Johnson bar comes in handy to lift the lathe and slip the 2X's and

4X's underneath. Use a small sledge to position them.

As for the engine hoist, it is certainly strong enough but I find that the position of the legs on the host is usually a problem. If you can slip the hoist endwise on the lathe, then that might save you time and effort but those support legs are often too close for that to work.

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One trick I just figured out is to clamp a 1/2 inch eye bolt into the chuck jaws, and run a sling through that and around under the bed and back through. This lets you lift with your hoist from above, the bed taking the lifting force, but the eye bolt keeps the whole unit from tipping. Then you can roll it onto your truck or van or trailer.

If you have to roll any distance, put some lumber across the hoist legs, and lower the lathe onto that, thus using the hoist as a furniture dolly. You only suspend the lathe at the beginning and end of the loading.

Reply to
Richard J Kinch

Gunner Asch wrote in news:

Sold our old 10SB a year ago. I would suggest a HF folding shop crane, with one lifting strap and two furniture dollies. Lift one end and shove a dolly under. Lift the other end and shove the dolly under. Nail 2x2s to the dollies, around the pedastals, to prevent the dollies from slipping out. Roll it it onto a squatting trailer. Load the shop crane. And "TIE THEM DOWN" big time.

Reply to
Ken Moffett

I'm in a similar situation.

I purchased a 12 X 30 Turnmaster lathe that is located in N. Calif. and I'm in Western Wash.. About 800 miles drive.

The lathe weights about 1200# with the tail stock, chuck, center rest and tool post removed.

Here is my plan: I have old S-10 pu that I drive back and forth to CA. every year to visit my kids and I also have a single axle 'low deck' trailer with a 5000# GVW.

I also have an "A" frame, made of two pipes, that I use regularly to load large logs onto this trailer. The way this "A" frame works is, I secure the lower end of the pipes to the tie down rings on the end of the trailer sides. Where the come together at the top, I have a pivot plate with a 2 ton chain come-along suspended along with the hook to my small trailer winch (rated at #2000 but really much less).

I allow the "A" frame to hang over the end of the trailer about 3-4 ft, attach a choker around my load (for the lathe, the chuck or spindle) and lift, using the chain come-along unit I'm higher than the trailer bed. I then winch the A frame top forward until the forward end of the load is over the deck end of my trailer. (in the case of the lathe, this would be the gear end support pedestal).

Note: when loading logs, I just let the farthest end drag on the ground, however for the lathe I will have a skid/pallet that will slide fwd as I progress.

Once the gear end of the lathe is on the trailer bed, I can then shift the A frame to a tie down farther fwd and repeat the process until the tail end is up to the trailer. At this point I must raise that end to deck height with a floor jack and blocks until I can skid it onto the trailer deck. During this operation I will keep the gear end stable with the overhead lift from the A frame/come-along. (as others have mentioned, the lathe will be top heavy, hence I want to lift from above. to keep it stable.)

To off load, I have the advantage of heavy overhead beams in my shop and will only use the A frame for the tail stock end.

Well that is my plan, if you can understand my "Ramblings". I've given it much thought and even though 3 guys could load this lathe by hand, I considering the fact the gear head makes it top heavy and the possibility that one or more "guys" won't show up.

Steve (wanna-be Machinist)

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