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Un-crating, Lifting, and Installing a New PM-1440GT Lathe

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Registered Member
Nov 9, 2015
Thanks to those who have posted about their new Precision Matthews machines. After two years of looking, your information and experience has led me to purchase a PM-1440GT lathe. I am a very satisfied customer. My expectations were very high, and Matt exceeded those expectations. I encountered two minor issues during this process, and Matt was immediately available to help.

This post covers un-crating, lifting, and installing the machine. It doesn't add much new information, but I hope will help a prospective buyer in some way. There were only two surprises during the process, which I will discuss later.

My machine arrived two weeks after I paid for it. It was very thoroughly and effectively crated.
1440 in Crate.jpg

Here is the machine and accessories with the top of the crate removed. Despite the long journey from Pittsburgh to the West Coast, everything was in perfect shape, aside from two minor paint scratches on the stand which were easily touched up.

I used the "Ring" method for lifting. Here is the assembly. I tried to go as cheap as possible, while making sure it was robust enough for 1750 lbs. The parts and pieces: An oval eye nut, a one foot length of 1"-8 Grade 8 threaded rod, Grade 8 nuts, 3/8" CRS for the lower plate, u-channel for the top, and 2 pieces of 1/8" neoprene.

Here is how the lower plate was positioned under the bed for the lift. By design, it was highly unlikely to slip toward the headstock, and I cranked down pretty hard on it to keep it from slipping toward the tailstock. There is a small section of u-channel bolted it the middle to keep it from twisting.

Now for the two surprises. First, this lift was a lot easier than I though it would be, which allowed me to do it solo. And second, I positioned the lifting ring way too far toward the headstock. While I eventually got the load balanced, one would be much better off locating the lifting ring closer to the midpoint of the bed, as is shown in the manual.

Here is the machine in the engine hoist. I had to go at it broadside because I didn't have the extension to get it from the headstock end. In order to get the hoist feet under the skid, I lifted the corners of the skid 1/2" at a time, individually, with a toe jack, using cutoffs from the crate slats as leveling blocks.
1440 in the Hoist.JPG
To balance the load, I moved the carriage and tailstock as far toward the headstock as possible, then used the ratchet straps at the tailstock end for final leveling.
Not pretty, but it worked.

Here is the machine with the pallet removed -- ready to be lowered into place.

After final leveling, I moved on to installing the DRO. I purchased the Easson ES12-B kit which includes brackets for both axes and for the display head. The brackets required minor modification, plus I needed a number of additional fasteners to complete the job.

Here is the X. I chose to machine a slot into the aluminum mounting bar to provide access to the cross slide locking screw. I replaced the original locking screw with a square-head 8mm set screw. This allows for a fairly small 8mm wrench for tightening the screw - and the wrench is small enough to leave in place.
X-Axis Installation.JPG

Here is the Y. I liked Jbolt's idea of using existing holes in the carriage rather than drilling and tapping additional ones. In my case, it sacrifices some carriage travel toward the tailstock end, which is easily changed if it becomes an issue.
Y-Axis Installation.JPG

And here are both axes with covers installed prior to affixing the cables.
X and Y with Covers.JPG

Here is the machine - installed and ready for work.

And finally, the first chips - preparing a fresh tailstock alignment tool. The best way I can describe the feel of this machine compared to the others is to say it is like riding is somebody else's Lexus. I really look forward to getting to know the machine a lot better.



Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Dec 3, 2013
Looks great Bill. I'm sure you will be pleased with the lathe. My only real complaint about the lathe at this time is the access for the coolant pump & reservoir. I fixed that by moving it outside of the base.


H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Jan 21, 2016
Bill, like da ja vue all over again and congrats on a great machine. I took delivery of a PM 1440GT in February and had similar tale of getting the lathe off the shipping pallet. I too set the lift point too close to the head but I came in from the back after cutting away the pallet except for the area under the Head and Tailstock stand. Used ratchet straps through the Headstock bore and around the Tailstoch to balance the Lathe until it was able to stand on its own. In discussion with Matt, he came up with the idea of three 3" square tubes 1/4" wall under the Lathe to raise the unit to a comfortable height, I used 24" long tubing to provide additional stability and ease in leveling.

Have you been able to lock down the Carriage after installing the DRO?


Registered Member
Nov 9, 2015


The slot in the aluminum mounting bar is 1 5/8" X 1/4" The locking screw I have in there is a shortened M8X25 set screw with a "stumpified" 8mmX4mm head. Thanks to sanddan for this appraoch.

I can get a very firm lock on the cross slide, but it takes two strokes of the wrench to get it. That's because I cut the screw just slightly too short, such that when it is in the full CCW position, it's loose. So while I get a fairly good lock by turning the wrench to the full CW position, I need another quarter turn to get it real tight, which requires flipping the wrench.

So my next move it to either add some shim or a ball in the hole, or cut a slightly longer screw. Then a single stroke will get the cross slide real tight.

Here's what it looks like. The wrench is a $3.68 Ebay special. I still have to shorten it by cutting off the ratcheting end. (ouch)

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