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Fork pocket machine skids- bad idea?

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strantor

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#1
I have to move my machines from one shop to a new shop on the same property. I am going to fab up some hefty steel skids and bolt the machines down to them. This way a forklift can move them from one place to the other across uneven ground and I won't leave any brown stains in my pants.

I was wondering about just leaving them on the skids once in the new shop. This will open doors for me. Having the ability to quickly rearrange my smallish shop will enable me to take on larger projects. But I feel like there's a "gotcha" hiding somewhere in there. What is it? Giving up rigidity? I would put adjustable levelling feet on the skids.
 

wcunning

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#2
Take this advice for what you paid for it, since I am no real professional...

I read over on Practical Machinist, in the rigging section, about how many riggers in other countries *never* move anything with a forklift. The reason for this is that you're picking up a fairly top heavy, tippy weight from the bottom. Coupled with the fact that anything you'd really call a rigger in to move (i.e. definitely bigger than a South Bend 9A, for instance) is a not-insignificant fraction of a typical forklift's load rating and you need to be *very careful*. What they do instead is use something more like a telehandler and pick the machine up from above with a chainfall attached to the handler or move on skates directly underneath the machine. This keeps the center of gravity either 1) below the pick point or 2) effectively as close to the ground as would be possible while still adding wheels to move the thing.

The takeaway I got from that whole discussion is the following: lifting a machine with a forklift is done regularly in the US, can be done safely, will likely be done by a huge number of people, but it has some specific challenges that you want to keep in mind. In your case, moving across a property, potentially over uneven ground, with a machine on the forks, you probably want to plan your route to keep it as flat as possible. You should also plan it to keep the machine as low to the ground as possible. Consider, say, grading the driveway if it's gravel prior to moving things out of their current building. Similarly, try not to keep your fork pockets close to the center of gravity of the machine. If you have a lathe with room between pedestals rather than a chip tray, for instance, maybe get the fork pockets up nearer to the ways so that you're not making the tipping problem worse. This makes them not amenable to a pallet jack, but is handy for powered moving.

Otherwise, I recommend the idea of hanging the machine from something from the forks, since that allows it to swing a little to take up uneven ground.

Final note about the bolting the machine to the frame. I assume you intend to use some rectangular tube and/or angle iron and weld things up, and if so, this should apply. If you're doing something else, maybe it'll be less important. If you weld up a frame in the shape of a Pringle chip or a horse saddle, something with extremely exaggerated twist and cup and bow, and then you bolt your lathe to it, that might introduce twist in the machine that is impossible to remove with leveling feet. It would take some careful modeling in good computer aided engineering software to really tell you what your design of frame could do, but I can certainly imagine a level of strength in a frame, coupled with weld induced twist that would "permanently" twist up a long and relatively light lathe. Just keep that in mind. A mill or a surface grinder on the other hand should be built sturdily enough to "hang it off the wall" and still make good, true, accurate parts, but a lathe is a different matter.

Good Luck,
Will
 

strantor

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#3
Good points, Will. I was planning to weld up the skid underneath the machine. But now that I think about it, I've seen weld-induced bend/twist do some pretty powerful things. It would be much safer to make bolt-together skids.
 

Bob Korves

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#4
Having the machines easily accessible for a forklift is a good idea, as long as it does not put them up too high for comfortable use by the operator -- you. With leveling screws it would be relatively easy to move them and set them up again quickly. Make sure that you have a plan for supplying power and lighting to them quickly and easily in the new locations as well.
 

benmychree

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One thing that I have learned about handling machinery with a forklift is to never have metal on the machine against the bare steel of the forks; the bottom of machines are always slick with oil/grease/crud, and especially if you are traveling on uneven ground, it is rasy for the machine to move on the forks, possibly to fall off; generally I put wood between the forks and the machine, and it's a good idea to chain the machine to the forklift mast. I also usually put thin plywood between the machinery skates and the machine base. In moving such as milling machines, I generally lift them under the overarm, also padding the forks with wood to avoid damage and slipping.
All the above advice is good advice, as well.
 

Ed ke6bnl

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#6
I used my forklift to move my lathe and mill and made easy work of it, I made a base for my Bridgeport and I like the extra 4 in or so and I can easily move it around now with a pallet jack. My lathe already and a frame that is easy to lift from. go for it
 

benmychree

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#7
Unless you are quite tall, I can't see raising a machine that much; at one time I raised my 19" lathe about 4", but at the time I was using wooden slat "duck boards". Since now I use rubber floor pads, I lowered the machine back to its original height.
 

strantor

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I used my forklift to move my lathe and mill and made easy work of it, I made a base for my Bridgeport and I like the extra 4 in or so and I can easily move it around now with a pallet jack. My lathe already and a frame that is easy to lift from. go for it
Yeah this is what I had in mind. Scoot the mill around with a pallet jack. Do you notice any downside to it? Any extra chatter? I don't understand the science behind it, but it was my impression that the machine bases are cast iron to dampen vibration, and the base is designed to be coupled to the concrete to direct any vibration down into the mass of the slab. This is a (likely erroneous) understanding that I gathered from reading old threads on cnczone about DIY machine bases. My concern is that by putting steel between the machine base and the slab, there would be an adverse affect on surface finish & such.

Can you post a picture of your skid?

Thank you.
 

rock_breaker

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#9
I have to move my machines from one shop to a new shop on the same property. I am going to fab up some hefty steel skids and bolt the machines down to them. This way a forklift can move them from one place to the other across uneven ground and I won't leave any brown stains in my pants.

I was wondering about just leaving them on the skids once in the new shop. This will open doors for me. Having the ability to quickly rearrange my smallish shop will enable me to take on larger projects. But I feel like there's a "gotcha" hiding somewhere in there. What is it? Giving up rigidity? I would put adjustable levelling feet on the skids.
The brown stains might occur even with the skids. I was taught to keep the loads close to the ground and travel slowly. A tipped load that can be recovered by lowering the forks is a lot better than having to re-engage the load.
Have a good day
Ray
 

rock_breaker

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#10
One thing I have not noticed here is that the forks should be as far apart as possible, just my $0.02 worth.
 

JimDawson

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#11
I don't see a problem with doing that. But my prefered method of lifting machines is from the top where possible.
 

Aukai

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#12
You can cut pockets out of the frame, and add boxes for the forks to go through, no tipping, no sliding.
 

strantor

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#13
This just popped up on Facebook marketplace and I'm headed out to look at it. Seller's description reads:
Super clean 4x4 all terrain diesel caterpillar forklift , Perkins diesel motor. Runs great, has 8,000 lb lift capacity. This forklift you can drive anywhere you won’t get stuck. Delivery available.
It's caterpillar V80D, which Google confirms is a legit 4WD forklift, something I wasn't aware existed except for telehandlers. The seller says it will fit through a 7ft garage door. If it's everything I think it is, it's perfect and I'll probably bring it home.
 

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