How to lift it onto the bench? (an answer)

This forum is dedicated to those hobbyists with the 3-in-1 metalworking machines. Mill-Drill-Lathes. Tips, techniques, modification and use of these machines is topical.

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How to lift it onto the bench? (an answer)

Post by Doug4d3s » Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:59 am

I posted these elsewhere but thought I'd leave them here too.

A lot of people who buy the 3-in-1's don't have much room to spare, and lack any equipment for lifting such a heavy item. The usual way to lift them is to obtain (rent) a car engine hoist, but what if there's nowhere to rent one conveniently near, or even worse--if the car hoist will not fit into the spot where you want the machine? Here is an alternate way, using a scissor carjack, some wood and some concrete blocks. You need enough concrete blocks for two stacks as high as the table, plus you need two "half-height" blocks also. I lifted a 350-lb mill and a 500-lb lathe onto 48" tall tables this way, with nobody else helping.

The first picture pretty much shows how it's done. You need enough concrete blocks to stack up to the height of the table you want the machine on, plus you need two "half-height" blocks also. The machine is placed on a couple sheets of 3/4" plywood, and jacked upwards a "half-block" at a time, on opposite sides. To be able to keep lifting after the first level of blocks, you stick boards through the lower blocks to sit the jack on, to lift the next level. This room is inside my house, and the floor is wood--so I laid down another piece of 3/4" plywood where I stacked the blocks, to stabilize them a bit more.

The lifting here doesn't require much effort at all--it's the beginning and end when all the muscles are needed. You could bolt the machine base to the plywood if you wanted, but I didn't find it necessary even with the relatively-tall mill. With the head lowered it was nowhere near sliding or tipping.

The second picture shows the final "bridge". After you get the machine jacked up on two sets of blocks as high as the bench, you can't just scoot the machine off the stacks, because they won't be stable enough. You need to lift it enough to allow one last layer of 2x4's under it, and those 2x4's need to reach from the block stacks over to the bench (watch that they don't creep!). You can then gently scoot the plywood+machine over the 2x4's over as far as you need to.

One thing not shown here: the blocks flat faces aren't quite flat, and they will tend to wobble and spin on their centers, especially after you stack them 4-5 blocks high. To avoid that, you need to stick some thin strips of wood under each end as you stack the blocks. I didn't do this when I lifted the mill (was the first time I did this) but did when I lifted the lathe, and it worked much better.


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Post by david5605 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:44 am

Concrete/cinder blocks are very weak when used on their sides like that. It may be ok for a couple of hundred pounds but you are still flurting with disaster.

The cores should always be vertical.

I have personally seen blocks used on their side like that and when the weight is finally off of them they simply fell apart when someone tried to move them.


Post by sailingamerican » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:36 pm

Blocks will work but on a large 3 in 1 like my grizzly would have crushed the blocks sending the machine to the floor. One bump and the blocks will break.

I used cutoff pieces of wood beams. I braced them so they would not rock form end to end. I took the machine off the pallet and slid it onto a 3/4 sheet of plywood. I used a floor jack and 2 bottle jacks. It did not take long. I put my Grizzly 700 pound 3 in 1 crap machine on a small Sears Craftsman steel top workbench. I made a level stand to but the bench on because my garage floor slants. I then took flat bar aluminum and put it around the table to creat a splash pan. I drilled a whole in the table nad made a drain tube into a bucket so I can recycle coolent. It works well. I have sense moved the machine on the table twice. I beefed up the table with plywood on the inside ends of the table. That way they will not bend at the bottom. I moved it buy picking it up one end at a time and using my foot to put pipe under one leg end at a time. I rolled it one inch at a time to the new location. I doubt if you can to that. I am 6'-1' and 270 farm boy and contractor. I am 59 and I moved it 2 years ago. Next time I am not sure I could do it. I ran track and played hock. I have huge legs that will lift more than my arms. I don't have a bad back but I am not sure I want to chance it again. LOL Machines are easy to move. Put it on pipe and roll it into place. Put plywood under it first and the pipe will roll at any angle. Have fun moving machinery. I hate my Grizzly 3 in 1. Pure junk. Buy two machines and leave the car outside. LOL I am going to sell the machine and tooling.

Jose Rivera
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Post by Jose Rivera » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:04 am

I would have never taken a risk using cinder blocks on the side.
Beside crushing, balancing is critical, one false move and it will be like a deck of cards.

I have been lucky enough to have a friend to let me use a portable crane.
Like the ones that Harbor Freight sells that they fold for storage.

With my Clausing mill my neighbor that has a crane on his truck volunteered to lift the mill off the trailer.
There are no problems, only solutions.
Retired journeyman machinist and 3D CAD mechanical designer - hobbyist - grandpa

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