How to Move a Metal Turning Lathe

Written by michelle keefe
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How to Move a Metal Turning Lathe
Moving a metal lathe can be an imposing task. (lathe image by Tomasz Plawski from

Metal lathes are very heavy, bulky machines used to cut and grind tools and accessories. When in use, the lathes remain bolted and secured to the floor. The weight and moving parts of the machine require that it remain secured in place to operate. To relocate a metal lathe, disassemble part of the machine and get some strong people to help you lift the heavier parts.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pallet jack
  • Jack
  • Wrench
  • Tie downs
  • Winch

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  1. 1

    Ensure that the lathe's new location has a level floor, is clean and free from clutter and includes an adequate power source. If the floor is not level or there is not proper power, these issues need attention before moving the lathe machine.

  2. 2

    Remove the bolts securing the lathe stand to the floor, leaving the lathe securely attached to the stand. Be certain not to lean against or to hit the lathe after removing the floor bolts as it could tip if it's unbalanced.

  3. 3

    Insert the jack under the lathe and lift it just enough to allow the pallet jack to slide underneath the machine.

  4. 4

    Lower the jack so the lathe machine is resting on top of the pallet jack.

  5. 5

    Secure the lathe to the pallet jack, using tie downs to prevent it from slipping or becoming unbalanced during the move.

  6. 6

    Move the lathe by pulling the pallet jack to the new location. This is where additional help may be necessary due to the weight of the lathe. Once in the new location, lower the pallet jack.

  7. 7

    Attach the lathe to the winch and start the winch to pull the lathe off the pallet jack and into the new location.

  8. 8

    Secure and bolt the lathe to the floor to finalise the move.

Tips and warnings

  • If you're moving across a surface that's not smooth, such as dirt or gravel, line the ground with plywood to create a hard and flat surface for the pulley to move across.
  • Removing parts and accessories from the lathe before the move will minimise the machine's weight and make the move easier.
  • Lathes can weigh in excess of 680 Kilogram. When starting the moving process, have both areas clean and clear of clutter to prevent accidents and injuries.

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