Casters for Heavy Machinery

Advice on using heavy-duty casters or a pallet jack to make large equipment movable around the shop. December 17, 2014

I am running out of space in the area of the shop where solid wood is being machined. I was wondering if castors could be put on a jointer and a planer so the machines could be moved over a little when not in use. I have a SCM planer and jointer. I don't want to affect the structural integrity of the machines. Any info would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor S:
McMaster Carr leveling caster are expensive but are very well made, durable and functional. Move stuff around and then level it where needed and it sits on the pad, not the wheel.

From contributor M:
I've used Caster Store items for these projects, not shop machinery. They are nice, because they are foot operated but they are not cheap.

From Contributor H:
A number of machines in our shop are on moveable bases. 14" band saw, re-saw band saw, 12" Powermatic 100 planer and a large bench/cabinet are some of them. These are all light to medium weight machines though. I don't know if I'd want to put the SCMI T-110 shaper on a mobile base, or at least any commercially available ones I've seen.

From contributor F:
You can put pretty much any small to medium sized woodworking machine on a mobile base. There are companies like HTC that make these bases for pretty much any machine. Years ago I was at a local dealerís warehouse looking at a jointer. Somehow the topic came up and he showed me a Buss planer about the size of a Volkswagen Bug! I don't know how many thousands of pounds that thing weighed but it was on a mobile base. He told me to give it a push and I moved that planer with one hand! Now keep in mind that one was probably not an off-the-shelf model, but your machines should be!

From contributor J:
Mobile bases need not be restricted to HTC or equivalent. Any competent welder can put together a base of 3" or 4" angle iron and heavy casters to support a 1/2 to 1 ton machine. We have a T110 on a mobile base as well as a Casadei 115F that easily goes 1500 lbs. I would be careful about checking a big jointer or planer for twist with a precision level after shifting it, but it's not rocket science. Most modern machines have a stiff welded base that will plane out fine with equal support under four corners. With three points in contact with an uneven floor, a hardwood shim driven under the fourth corner will do the trick.

From contributor C:
If you just want to move it to the side once and a while, set the machines on 4x6ís and then use a pallet jack as the mobile base. It doesnít cost a lot and another pallet jack can always come in handy. My big 24" Yates American planer hasn't touched the concrete since I bought it. Mainly because I didn't want to try and lever it off the blocks when I put it in place.

From contributor H:
Contributor C has the right idea, a pallet jack. I think every machine made should come with pockets for this device so we can easily move them. I have pockets on two shapers, several scissors lifts and a jointer. I wish it was possible on more of my machines. Itís way easier than using a fork lift in tight spaces.

From contributor F:
Pallet jacks are handy, however one should also mention with pallet jacks your machines sit significantly higher in use than they normally would. I have several shapers that are on hardwood skids to allow for the pallet jack. I think they're roughly 4" high to fit my particular jack. I'm pretty tall but they still can be a bit high for optimal use. Now if we could only get manufacturers to build machines with openings cast into the base for the pallet jacks!