See What You’re In For When Buying And Moving A Lathe

Sometimes, with patience and luck, one can score a sweet deal on machinery. But for tools that weigh many hundreds of pounds? Buying it is only the beginning of the story. [Ben Katz] recently got a lathe and shared a peek at what was involved in moving a small (but still roughly 800 pound) Clausing 4901 lathe into its new home and getting it operational.

The lathe had sat unused in a basement, but was ready for a new home.

Moving such a stout piece of equipment cannot simply be done by recruiting a few friends and remembering to lift with the legs. This kind of machinery cannot be moved and handled except with the help of other machines, so [Ben] and friends used an engine hoist with a heavy-duty dolly to get it out of the basement it was in, and into the bed of a pickup truck. Separating the lathe from its base helped, as did the fact that the basement had a ground-level egress door which meant no stairs needed to be involved.

One also has to consider the machine’s ultimate destination, because not all floors or locations can handle nearly a thousand pounds of lathe sitting on them. In [Ben]’s case, that also meant avoiding a section of floor with a maintenance trapdoor when moving the lathe into the house. Scouting and knowing these things ahead of time can be the difference between celebratory pizza and deep dish disaster. Pre-move preparation also includes ensuring everything can physically fit through the necessary doorways ahead of time; a task that, if ignored, will eventually explain itself.

With that all sorted out, [Ben] dives into cleaning things up, doing function checks, and in general getting the lathe up and running. He provides some fantastic photos and details of this process, including shots of the 70s-era documentation and part diagrams.

Watch the first chips fly in the short video embedded below. And should you be looking at getting a lathe of your own? Check out our very own buyer’s guide to lathe options.

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Moving Big Stuff Without The Tears

It’s something that has probably happened to more than one of us over the years, there’s an unmissable opportunity at the machinery auction or on eBay, with the small snag that it weighs a ton and requires a flatbed truck to transport. A big lathe, a bandsaw, or the like.

The sensible option would be to hire a crane or a forklift to do the job, but cash is tight so at the appointed hour the truck turns up at the end of your driveway to meet you and as big a group of your friends as you could muster. You’re going to shift this thing with pure muscle power! If you grow up around any form of workshop-based small business it’s something you’ll no doubt be familiar with. Craftsmen seem to have a network for such moments, so just as the blacksmith might find himself helping the woodworker unload a huge saw bench, so might they both spend an unexpected afternoon at the engineering shop manhandling a lathe.

It came as a shock in a casual hackerspace conversation to realise how many times I’d been involved in such maneuvers at home, for friends, or at hackerspaces, and how that experience in doing so safely isn’t necessarily something that’s universal. Maybe it’s time to tell the story of moving big machines on limited resources. This is something that starts by thinking ahead and planning what you’ll need and where you’ll need it. Continue reading “Moving Big Stuff Without The Tears”

Marble Chooses Its Own Path

[Snille]’s motto is “If you can’t find it, make it and share it!” and we could not agree more. We wager that you won’t find his Roball sculpture on any shopping websites, so it follows that he made, and subsequently shared his dream. The sculpture has an undeniable elegance with black brackets holding brass rails all on top of a wooden platform painted white. He estimates this project took four-hundred hours to design and build and that is easy to believe.

Our first assumption was that there must be an Arduino reading the little red button which starts a sequence. A 3D-printed robot arm grasps a cat’s eye marble and randomly places it on a starting point where it invariably rolls to its ending point. The brains are actually a Pololu Mini Maestro 12-channel servo controller. The hack is using a non-uniform marble and an analog sensor at the pickup position to randomly select the next track.

If meticulously bending brass is your idea of a good time, he also has a video of a lengthier sculpture with less automation, but it’s bent brass porn. If marbles are more your speed, you know we love [Wintergatan] and his Incredible Marble Music Machine. If that doesn’t do it for you, you can eat it.

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Alarm System Makes Sure Your Moving Truck Doesn’t Get Raided

When you move you generally load up everything you own into one truck. If your entire life is ever going to get ripped off, this is probably when it’s going to happen. To guard against the threat [Tim Flint] built his own alarm for a moving truck. If someone opens the door on the truck it’ll alert him via text message. Hopefully he’s got an annoying notification sound that will wake him up in time to catch them red-handed.

The setup is simple and shouldn’t distract you too much from your packing and loading. [Tim]¬†connected¬†a proximity sensor to an Arduino board which has its own WiFi module. The entire thing is housed in the black project box seen above and the proximity sensor is pointed at the moving truck door. When the door is opened the Arduino pushes an alert to Twilio which is configured to send him text messages.

The alarm system doesn’t protect from someone stealing the entire truck… that kind of system is an entirely different project.