Roller ball positioning plates for moving machinery?

The recent thread on machinery skates had me browsing McMaster Carr's web page. I'm familiar with the normal kind of machinery skates (they look like
a tiny army tank), and my local tool rental place has them for rent for $13 per day each. The problem is they are about 4-5" high and I can't lift that much with a pinch bar.
McMaster Carr has inexpensive "roller ball miniature positioning plates" which are about 1/2" high and appear to be ball bearings contained in a steel plate. Go to mcmaster.com and put 5764K31 in the search field. Has anyone tried to move machinery on a smooth level floor using these?
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It looks good at first but consider this: Most machines don't have flat bottoms so to prevent the casting edges, from going between and binding-up the balls, you'll have to add a 2X4 (the width of the ball plate) under the machine to roll on the plates; a pretty good lift with a pinch bar.
If you want to lift higher with a pinch bar you lift the machine as much as you can first and, while holding the machine up, slip a block under the machine, across the full width of the machine (easier with a helper). Then reposition your pinch bar on a block the same thickness you've put under the machine and lift the machine again. You've just lifted twice as far as you could previously.
If you intend to lift the machine more than say 2 inches (for example to use thicker roller skates) you should go to the opposite end of the machine and, if you've set the first end of the machine solidly on 2X4s, raise this other end up to the level of 2-2X4s and blok it; then you move back to the original side and raise that up to 3-2X4s, etc. etc. until you get to the height you need to go. It's fast and easy, just have lots of short pieces of 2X4 and maybe a helper. And watch where everyone's fingers are, and let everyone know that pinch bars CAN and DO slip.
That said, to use those plates you should have three to a side to keep the machine perfectly stable (some machines you could get away with four) and my handy calculator pen tells me that comes to $93.12 plus shipping (and maybe tax ?). Why not just use 1/2" rollers ( get three) a few inches wider than your machine (you want them wider so you can slide the machine sidways on the rollers when you turn or position. You can put 1xs or plywood down to protect the floor. A lot faster and cheaper than any other way to move machines short distances as you discribe (many times I would have killed for a level floor...Mr. Lucky). Just watch the fingers.
dennis in nca
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I had thought that the balls were only on one side of the plate, and the other side was flat. So I would put the balls facing the ground, with the casting resting on the flat side. Was I mistaken?
I tried 1/4" rollers with a 6000 pound mill and couldn't get it to budge. Next time I'll try 1/2" rollers.
I'm too scared to lift any machine more than an inch without using my forklift. Why not just use the forklift? Ideally I would like some of my machines in a tight space where the machine plus the forklift wouldn't fit.

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Looks like the balls protrude on both sides of the plate; at least that's the way I would design it (if I was smart enough to design things like that). Lifting one end with a pinch bar, in my opinion, is the safest way to lift. Fork trucks are great when the weight is high but not for something like a Bridgeport (which I thought you were moving; sorry). When you go to 4000# and up you should increase the thickness of your rollers. On a decently level floor you can roll 15,000# without too much difficulty on 1" rollers. If you move up to 2" rollers you can, subject to the floor condition, roll around items 50,000# and higher (of course your rollers will be solid) as long as you keep the floor swept in front of the rollers.
Using a 5 ton Simplex style jack means you need to get the machine up (using a pinch bar or fork lift) about 1 1/2" to just get the jack underneath it; more than enough to slide rollers under it. Use the bar (or jack) on the short end of the machine opposite the knee, definitly not on the long end, which would be a very unstable lifting method.
Just watch those fingers.
dennis in nca
p.s. The type of pinch bar used is important. The type we used the most when picking up the end of a 6000#, or under, machine was the type with a flattened end bent at around 60 degrees. You could usually get the sharp end of the bar started under almost anything. The other type of bar you see a lot is the type with the thicker end with a bevel on it. Those are especially good when you can use a 2X4 under them with the bevel down (not so easy to get a machine started up with these unless there is a notch, or something similar to get started with).
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I looked again and I think you're right about the balls being on both sides. When lifting a Bridgeport, I put the forks under the dovetails and then lift it up an inch or so. It might slip off the forks, but I don't think it would tip over at that height. The problem with the forklift is that it plus the machine won't always fit where I want.
I have a pinch bar with a bevel on the thick end. Could you have a look at page 2693 (just put 2693 in the search field on the left side of mcmaster.com) and tell me which is the 60 degree one? I think I'll get one of those.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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When picking up a BP with a forklift, always put a small piece of thin plywood or even carpet on the forks before lifting, and I assume you know to put a small piece of 2x4 under the ram above the table?
I keep various pieces of 1/4" ply in my rigging box. Even a bit of corrugated cardboard on the forks will keep even the slipperiest machine from sliding on the forks.

"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
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Gunner suggests:

Carpet or cardboard work pretty well but won't give protection to the edges like a 1x or 2x will give (especially cardboard). When using thinner forks, lifting a Bridgeport, we would use a 2x under the ram above the knee and a 1x under the fork at the rear of the machine. This keeps the machine level. Make sure your wood is clean as imbedded chips or turnings can really tear-up finished surfaces.
Just watch those fingers.
dennis in nca
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The type we most commonly used was similar to "H". but "J" looks like it will work well. Nothing under around 4' is effective as you'll be down on your knees to use it. 4' is also a good length if you're working by yourself; you can still keep a good, controlled, grip on the bar and nudge your rollers or blocks underneath with your boot. A 6' bar would put most people too far away. If you need a little more "umph" you can add a pipe to lengthen it (if you bend your bar on a really heavy machine I didn't tell you this).
Just watch those fingers.
dennis in nca
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Several riggers around here use a gizmo that slips over the tounge on Simplex jacks and allows you to go under the edge of a machine and get it up far enough to stick a 2x4 or another Simplex jack under it.
Ill make one of those up one of these days.
Gunner
"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
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Gunner noticed:

Clever idea, I've not seen one of those. If this gizmo extends and lowers the reach of the jack do they block between the jack and the machine to keep the jack from tipping forward or have they figured out something better? Seems like this extension gizmo might be a good add-on product for a jack. Bet McMasters and others would be interested.
dennis in nca
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The positioning balls are a little lightweight for heavy machinery. Pipe rollers are still the best and cheapest method for this type of activity. Bugs
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You have machine tools, but dont have a Simplex jack yet?????? For shame!!!

Gunner
"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
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Is a Simplex jack a toe jack? I could see it working on something that is wider than it is tall (eg. lathe, horizontal mill, shaper, etc.), but wouldn't it tip over something like a Bridgeport?
wrote:

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<http://cgi.ebay.com/SIMPLEX-NO-85A-HOUSE-RAILROAD-JACK-5-TON_W0QQitemZ7548112752QQcategoryZ61574QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
"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
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