• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
  • PLEASE: Read the FORUM RULES BEFORE registering!

Be Careful Lifting A Lathe

ih8beingold

Active Member
Active Member
#1
I'm new but thought I'd share my experience hoping that it may help someone. I recently purchased a lathe and mill. Like most people that buy used, I wasn't ready when the big day arrived. I did a quick search on moving lathes and headed out the door. I used an engine hoist and a "treesaver" strap about 4" wide and 6' long. I saw numerous pictures on the net where people basically wrap a SINGLE strap twice around the body of the lathe near the head to choke it, use the carriage travel to balance it, and lift. Easy right? Well this worked well to bring her home. The problem came later after I had to move her again in the shop. I had the lathe stored near the door and had taken the time to wipe her down with oil to prevent rust. DO NOT WIPE A LATHE DOWN WITH OIL IF YOU INTEND TO MOVE IT WITH A SINGLE STRAP. The next time I moved it the strap slid just a LITTLE from the oil. Maybe 1/2 an inch. Just enough to change the center of gravity. As it tipped slightly the carriage suddenly decided to freewheel and started travelling down the bed towards the headstock and the lift went bad in a hurry. Luckily I was only a couple of feet off the ground when this happened and as far as I can see no damage was done. The lathe slid FAST at an angle until the base hit the cement floor. It happened in the blink of an eye. I would highly recommend using at least two straps. I will never again lift with a single strap and I will remove any oil from the area I intend to lift from. LOCK the carriage any way you can!!!
 

RJSakowski

H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
#2
Welcome to the group ih8beingold.

Thanks for sharing your experience. Hopefully, it will prevent someone else from having a similar or worse experience.
 

chips&more

Active User
Active Member
#3
Sorry to hear, but glad you and your lathe are OK. You did an excellent job of explaining without pics. I could visualize your experience in just your few words of the story…Dave
 

ih8beingold

Active Member
Active Member
#4
Yes, I hope it helps someone. I shudder to think of the few times it was high in the air during the move. Nobody got hurt and no damage done, but that was just dumb luck. If the carriage hadn't moved it wouldn't have been as bad. I have never seen locking the carriage mentioned in any post related to moving a lathe so I thought I'd better mention it. Laziness and trying to save $10 on another strap was stupid in hindsight. Another lesson learned. Be safe.
 

grumpygator

Global Moderator
Staff member
Director
#6
Last time I moved a friends lathe I chucked a "Eyebolt" in the headstock and ran the strap thru it and around the bed. Then I took some weight off it and moved the tailstock till it blanced out and locked it down. Worked real nice.
************Just Saying**********************G****************************************
 

JimDawson

Global Moderator
Staff member
Director
#7
Very good write up, thank you! Locking down any movable objects is a really good idea.

When I do a lift like that, I normally do use two straps, one to lift the load, and the other as a balance strap. Position the lifting strap purposely off of the balance point and use the balance strap the level the load. For the balance strap I normally use a ratchet type tie down and tension it to about 10% or so of the load. This method also works great for setting engines into vehicles, allows you to precisely control the angle to mate up to the transmission.
 

jpfabricator

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#8
There are 2 kinds of riggers in the world, those who have dumped a machine, and those who will!

Sent from somewhere in East Texas Jake Parker
 

silence dogood

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#10
Thanks for sharing your experience. I had once worked for a piano retail store. John had taught me a lot about moving pianos and organs. First rule: don't lift if you don't have to. 2nd. Use arms and legs not back. Always check your equipment before using it. If a strap looks worn, throw it away(yes, we had one that broke, fortunately not one got hurt). Always use more than one strap. When the item is on a trailer or truck, strap it good. Do not have someone support it. Plan your move, it's frustrating to start over because it won't go that way. Make sure that everyone knows what is going on NO GUESSING. If and I hope never, it starts to fall, get the he!! out of the way. After we got done moving a piano, John's favorite saying was "another child has been born". Mark
 

mksj

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#12
I do exactly the same method as Jim Dawson, also remove a lot of the heavy parts if possible or on a mill move the head to the lowest position to minimize the top heaviness. I now use an eye bolt for the lathe by Jerkins rated at a few tons with a Grade 8 bolt and two cross straps to adjust the balance, I always use additional safety straps and lock everything down. You also need to consider having the cross straps attached above the center of gravity. On a lathe you can move the carriage and the tail stock to the far right to counterbalance the head. Being too careful is never wasted, and always take your time.
Lathe Lift.jpg
 

4gsr

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium
#13
You mentioned you had this lathe up in the air about two feet....
Only a couple of inches of clearance is all that is needed. Even if you pull from trailer or upper deck, let it down to near the floor before moving around.

I like mksj's method of lifting.
 

British Steel

Active User
Active Member
#14
I avoid lifting beyond 2" off the ground, but I'm lucky in that my lathe's hefty cast-iron base is a full-length flat bottomed box that rolls beautifully on a bunch of scaffold poles! If I had to lift it I'd use at least four straps, two for the load and two for safety!
Those with leggy machines could bolt on timber skids and roll on poles, it has to be safer than having if fall, even if near you rather than on you!
When transporting it, I use an "access trailer" with a drop ramp and winch it up on scaffold poles, then wedge in place and strap down with four or five 7-ton ratchet straps - and check the straps nervously often, a 4400 pound lathe on the loose would make a bit of a dent!
 

core-oil

Active User
Active Member
#15
If I am moving lathes & other machine tools around the workshop, I try where possible to move them on four steel plates about 6" broad x 1/4" thick I coat the plates with washing up soap and the lathe glides over them with very little effort, The plates can be positioned to make a track, If the soap gets onto the workshop floor it can be washed off with a mop and hot water, Never use oil, you cannot get rid of it & it is a safety/ slip hazard
Extreme care is required in case you or a helper glides on the soap liquid COMMON SENSE!

If I have to lift a lathe I use at least three slings one near the headstock, & one to balance near the tailstock end , Another sling I always wrap around the bottom of the quick change gear box, & back up to the crane hook, My reasoning for this is the fact that the front weight of the gearbox and apron tend to tip the lathe over towards the front, Always try a gentle trial lift just clear of the deck, Check your lift is even, And if other personnel are helping on the job, one man only in charge.

Be extremely cautious when binding your lathe up with slings to pack the slings out from the lead screw and feed shaft with a piece of timber and protect the bed ways as well.

Another danger area I came across recently was hearing of a friend I know who was moving a milling machine on which the table was traversed by a ball leads crew, He was lowering this machine and it tilted and the table shot forward like a racehorse, narrowly missing his hand against some other part of the machine When ball screws are fitted they run to a lower point , one does not have the locking characteristic's of a conventional lead screw
 

Uglydog

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#16
It's the kind of experience that makes you wish you could vomit. But, you are to busy trying to figure out what you can do to prevent catastrophe.
Copious emesis would be a lot more fun!
I'm happy to hear that no injuries were incurred.


Daryl
MN
 

Bill Gruby

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium
#18
There are a thousand stories in the Naked City and this has been on of them. Thank you for sharing it.

"Billy G"
 
Last edited:

6mmBR

Active Member
Active Member
#21
Here's mine going up right after it was delivered. It has since been moved to another bench, but it was rigged the same way then. Luckily, I did quite a bit of rigging in my job over the years. This was a piece of cake as they say. Those shop cranes are a wonderful thing to have around. They don't move too well laterally, so I lower the load until it's just about the legs before moving a load. If I can I'll put the load right on the legs. With this lathe, it wasn't possible without using lumber.

If you're not careful, though, rigging can hurt you and wreck equipment.

20150707_154356.jpg
 

6mmBR

Active Member
Active Member
#24
No, I got lucky the first time. I figured the headstock is the heaviest part, and played around with the straps while still low to the pallet. At first, it would be level with the straps closer together, but I didn't like that way so I spread them out like you see. It went up very nice and level.
I almost screwed up and put the straps on the lead screw, but I caught it before I did it and routed them properly.
 

Leonard

Iron
Registered Member
#25
I've purchased a Craftex CX 707 12/36 lathe from Busy Bee Tools. I should be receiving it in a couple of weeks. I came to the site to get some ideas on lifting and moving it. I've picked up lots of good advise from you fine people with experience on the topic. Thanks for passing on your knowledge. Can't wait to get my new machine.

Scott
 

sanddan

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#26
On a lathe I do 3 straps. One at the lift point hear the headstock and the other 2 angled at each end. The 2 extras keep the load balanced and prevent tilt with the main strap taking the brunt of the load. Stills scares me every time, especially the lift up onto the stand. I also modified my engine hoist by spreading out the lags which makes it more stable. As noted above, always run the straps under the lead screws and not over them.