11/12/2012, last updated
While building the Shay I modified a
Harbor Freight hydraulic table to make a
Shay Transporter .
The Heisler could be moved with the Shay transporter but the tender had
to be removed --- a real pain. A major use of the
transporter is to move the equipment between the shop and the trailer.
The concrete driveway next to the shop is smooth but sloped.
A bigger transporter was needed --- one to carry a larger load and be
more stable on slopes.
The folks at Mill Creek Central put tracks on a Harbor Freight #68892
Motorcycle Lift shown above to use as a backup for their transfer table.
The lift costs less than $400 if purchased on sale with a discount
coupon. The long petal is used to raise the lift and the
short petal is used to lower it. The lift has a 1000 lb capacity
which was right for my use and the price was right so I purchased one
(on sale with discount coupon).
|Ramp: The transporter must be rolled
between the shop and driveway over a door threshold that is ~1"
above the shop floor and ~ 2.5" above the driveway. I
removed the lift deck so I would have access to the under side
of the equipment being transported. The deck was
removed from the frame using a 6" cutoff disk and a couple hours
Two of the pieces of the deck were used to make
the ramp shown on the right. There are several supports
under the ramp to keep it from flexing when the transporter
is rolled over it. The ramp fits nicely in the one side of
the 5 foot double door.
The ramp has a hump in the
middle that is higher than the ground clearance of the lift so
it had to be a raised a little. The original wheels
were 3 1/2" diameter on the front and 2" diameter (in
swivel casters) on the back. I decided to use 4"
diameter wheels on both ends to make it a little easier to
Photo on the right shows the new 4" wheels on the
front. The original stub axels were cut off and
replaced with a 5/8" diameter CRS axel. The
spacers between the axel and the frame are short pieces of 2"
channel. The wheels are from Harbor Freight #38707
|The casters and screw stops were removed from the rear
caster brackets. Harbor Freight 4" wheel
swivel casters #41562 were used on the rear. I first tried
to attach the casters using adapter plates between the caster
and the brackets which moved the casters to the side so that
they were free to rotate. There were two problems with
this. First the casters barely fit on the ramp and secondly, the
transporter was prone to tip back if loaded at
that end if in the down position. The
second attempt shown in the photo worked much better.
The brackets are made from scrap 2"X3"X1/4" angle and 1/4"
plate. The wheels are about 7" to the rear of the original
position. The vertical pieces are 1" square 1/8" wall
tube used as handles to move the transporter.
|The driveway to the rear of the shop has a several degree
slope so it is very important to be able to stop and hold the
transporter in position while loading and unloading.
The original screw stops worked very well but were too
short after the base was raised. The stop shown was
part of the lift motorcycle wheel chock that was welded to the base frame.
It works quit well.
Deck: The photo above shows
the new deck track made of 1" square 1/8" wall tube.
The track with cross supports is welded to the original deck
Photo on the rights shows the top
of the new deck after it was painted. Strips of the
original deck material were cut (band saw) from the remaining
scraps and welded to the deck framework to serve as shelves to
hold small tools when working on equipment.
|This is the underside of the new deck.
|Stops of 1"X1"X1/8" angle were made for each end of the
deck. They are held is place by taper pins down into the track.
|This shows the stop removed for loading or unloading.
The finished transporter in the elevated position. Maximum height
1/2" at front and 35 3/4" at the rear. The height at the lowest
position is 12 1/2" at the front and 11 1/2" at the rear. Note
that the raising mechanism is such that the deck is out of level in one
direction when lowered and out of level in the other direction when
fully raised. This deviation from level is not enough to
cause a problem. The deck rail length is 8' and the maximum
width is 26" when the petals are removed. The ground
clearance is 4 3/4". The black bar near the rear is a removable
safety stop to prevent the track from being lowered.
Photo above shows the fully collapsed transporter. The black bar
setting on the deck is the safety stop.
Trailer: The primary use of the Transporter is to move
the locomotives and cars between the trailer and the shop.
I've included some photos and a description of the trailer I use to give
possible ideas to others. The trailer is a custom built
5'X8' wedge front cargo trailer with side door. Everything
is standard except for the height which was reduced to minimize wind
resistance when towed behind my Ford Escape. The customization was
at no extra cost but required advance payment. The fully
loaded trailer (Shay + Heisler+ Utility car) weighs less than the 3000
lb towing capacity of the Escape. I can put two log
cars in the back of the Escape bringing the total capacity to two
locomotives with three cars or one locomotive and four cars.
|The side door was reduced in height to match the overall
reduced trailer height.
|The side hinged rear door is standard except for the height.
|The door opening is
51" wide X 37" high. Three tracks
of 1/4" X 1/2" aluminum bar stock were screwed into the trailer
floor. Friend Bruce Werner suggested I use
channels to secure the load. The 10' lengths of
strut channels were obtained from the local Home Depot store.
|Strut Channel nuts (McMaster) threaded 5/16"-18 are used to
secure the attachments to the strut channels. The angle
with bolt and nut shown in the photo is placed behind the equipment wheels to
prevent them from rolling backwards. When the bolt is
tightened the nut rotates until it is crosswise in the channel
and against stops that prevent further rotation.
When the bolt is loosened the nut can rotate so that the long
side is in line with the channel and can then be lifted out of
|This photos shows some of the additional fixtures used to
secure the load. The stops for the front of the rail
equipment are fabricated from steel channels and use a cast
dummy coupler to mate with the equipment coupler. The stops are
secured to the strut channels with the standard bolts and nuts
so that the stops can be relocated as necessary. The
tie down eyes are 5/16"-18 treaded eyebolts through scraps of 2"
channels into the strut channel nuts. The ratchet straps from Tractor Supply have a spring rewind
feature which helps keep things neat.
The normal loading sequence is the track furthest from the side
door, the middle track next and then the track closest to the
side door last. Unloading is in the reverse order.
|Transporter in use:
The following sequence
of photos shows the transporter being used to move equipment
from the trailer to the shop, in this case the Heisler
|A transition is required between the trailer tracks and the
transporter. This transition is made of 11 gauge
steel. The transporter track is against the back of the
trailer so the gap is only a couple inches.
|The transporter moves over the ramp but not too easily since
the total weight here is about 1000 lbs.
Note that the load is at minimum height for stability and the
pedals have been removed so that the transporter can fit through
|The transporter is near maximum height here as the Heisler
is moved onto its storage rack.
|The transporter is at minimum height here as the Shay is
moved onto the lower level of a two level storage rack.
|Hoist: I thought I might mention the Harbor
Freight (auto) engine hoist left over from my days restoring
Triumph Roadsters. It comes in handy lifting parts of
locomotives such as boilers. In this photo the hoist is
lifting the back of the Heisler frame so that the middle truck
could be removed for repairs. The locomotive rack
was modified to give greater ground clearance (2X4 blocks
between casters and rack) so that the hoist legs could slide
under the rack.