One thing that most people would agree on is that it’s a big lathe at 20 feet overall length. I usually tell people that it’s relatively long. There are a lot of special-purpose lathes in the world that are much larger.
Fortunately, we haven’t had to move any big machines like that. This one was complicated enough. Worried about the strength of the legs, we linked them together with full-length wooden sleepers. We moved it on machinery mover’s skates. Our set will support 5 tons. They have very little rolling friction, so it’s not hard to push something very heavy across a smooth, level floor.
There were a couple of places where the machine didn’t have space to go around one of the posts. The solution was to jack up the machine and turn the skates to a right angle of what they had been, get around the corner, then turn the skates back to straight and continue on. Note that the lathe had to be rotated 180 degrees in the course of the trip to its new place since it was moved to rest against the wall opposite from where it had started. I’d estimate that this lathe weighs around 2 1/2 tons. But that’s what you might call “just an opinion.”
Here’s a picture of the lathe after it had moved into position but not yet set down on the floor. That’s volunteer Steve Wright contemplating the situation—one of the many projects that couldn’t have been done without him.
There’s an adjustable foot in the middle of the lathe! For precision, that foot would have to rest on something completely stable relative to the feet at the ends of the machine. Our multi-layer wooden floor just couldn’t be good enough. It would have to be stone or concrete.
There is a pair of riser blocks in place on the lathe. They raise the headstock and tailstock about 4 3/8 inches. They have the letter “F” boldly chiseled into them. Using them enables work on a larger diameter workpiece. The maximum diameter would be about 29” now.