Transporter
Nelson Riedel, Nelson@NelsonsLocomotive.com
11/12/2012, last updated
11/13/2012

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 effort.

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.

 
Wheels:  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 roll.

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 fixed casters.    
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 made from  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 frame.





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 is 35 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 strut 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 the channel.  
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 locomotive.  
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 door. 
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.

               

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