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Toe-Jacks: recommendations?

Spud

Diamond
Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Location
Brookfield, Wisconsin
Been looking at used toe-jacks at auctions for a while now. What brands can get under machines with the least clearance? What are some good brands? How would you rate railroad-jacks? Have you'll ever used one of those small enerpac pancake jacks to jack a machine up?

How do I delete thread, because I just noticed there are older threads asking the same question?
 
My $100 china special toe jack is still working just fine, if doing commercial work every day that $1500 one above might be a better choice. I need about 1/2" to get mine under a machine.
No commerical stuff. Just to lift stuff I buy at auction. Usually the stuff is already on blocks or a pallet but occassionally the machines are just sitting on the ground..
 
There's no "one" toe jack. Takes a collection to move any machine. All machines are different. Main problem you encounter with toe jacks is the body hitting part of the casting so the toe can't get close enough where you need to jack.

Mechanical railroad jacks are really fast and superb when you must employ several jacks at the same time. Each stroke is same-same across all jacks. Mechanical jacks are really good at lifting machines with cast ledges between 3" and 30" off the ground. Mechanical jacks will lift and move way more than they are rated for. 15 ton jack will break 3/4" B7 allthread holding a 40K lb machine to the floor with a 265 lb guy on a 10' handle. Mechanical jacks work at any angle. They are really good at pushing stuff across the floor and locking shit from sliding in your pickup bed.

The itty bitty $89 5 ton toe jack gets used more than any other in my shop just because it weighs nothing. But don't dare overload that little toy, it'll kill you.

Yes, enerpac pancake cylinders are lifesavers. So are wood and steel wedges.
 
My $100 china special toe jack is still working just fine, if doing commercial work every day that $1500 one above might be a better choice. I need about 1/2" to get mine under a machine.

Same for me.

Rick “but 1/2” ain’t always low enough” Denney
 
I have an 8-foot steel pry bar that will lift my lathe high enough for the toe jack. But I was putting the lathe on a skid and needed more height.

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Rick “moving day this week” Denney
 
Some pancake jacks and wedges are never taking up too much space. Toe jacks I find aren't needed that frequently when you have those things in your inventory.
 
I have an 8-foot steel pry bar that will lift my lathe high enough for the toe jack. But I was putting the lathe on a skid and needed more height.

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Rick “moving day this week” Denney
I've had to put my Bridgeport on 4x4's a couple times to move them. While maybe easier with a toe jack, I wouldn't buy one for an occasional move.

-Pry bar to get it high enough to be on 3/4" plywood. In my case "pry bar" was a 1/2" steel rod sticking out of a 3' piece of black pipe because it's what I had. Another pipe or a 1" piece of hardwood scrap for the fulcrum.
-Same pry bar with a 2x4 fulcrum to now get a a 2x4 under the corners.
-Repeat on the back.
-Throw another 2x4 under your fulcrum and go up another layer to fit the 4x4s.

If you need a lever longer than 3 feet you will want a helper to shove the blocks under for you.

I wouldn't want to move a large shop this way, or a 20k pound machine, but for something like a garage sized lathe or mill it works just fine.
 
I've got the Enerpac Flat-Jacs and the short travel makes a pile of steel shims a necessity. The shims need to be 1/8 to 1/16 less than the jack travel. But for anything short of 10 tons, my lifting bar and several wedges are much faster. I recently moved a 7 ton K&T 30' by myself with just a prybar, wedges, blocks, and rollers. You need rollers and solid blocks that match the lift height of your bar. For me, that amounts to 1 1/2 rollers and 1 3/4 blocks. For more height, you can put your lifting bar on wedges or shims.

Pine need not apply. You need hardwood wedges, mine are walnut 'cause thats what I had for a small log. The wedges are about 6:1.
 
For lighter machines, I actually like an Enerpac spreader. They can get in to a very small space, but are only good for about 2,000 pounds, so tilting up a 4,000 pound machine to get blocks under is easily possible. I block up, then stuff the skates under. Good for occasional moves and potentially useful in other situations. For somebody doing rigging and moving, better to get a toe jack.

BTW Doozer, you could easily re-cut those grooves with a carbide endmill... I've even done that on old pipe wrench jaws!
 
No commerical stuff. Just to lift stuff I buy at auction. Usually the stuff is already on blocks or a pallet but occassionally the machines are just sitting on the ground..
what machines are you buying? if its not big stuff you probably don't need one.
I've moved a few machines, watched a bunch more being moved by pros. I've never needed a toe jack, and I can't recall seeing one used on anything small (under 3T or so). could have used one on a few occasions, but a heel bar and some dunnage gets stuff up, and a J bar or just blocks under the heel, and keep going till its high enough for some wheels. takes a few minuets, no big deal.
if you have one day to clean out a place with 20 CNCs, well that's different, better bring some gear.
 
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