Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Air Cushion Machinery Movers - How to build?

  1. #1
    Rob Will Guest

    Air Cushion Machinery Movers - How to build?

    Do you have any experience with air casters?

    I have a smooth concrete floor and need to create a way to move some big WW machinery (2500 - 3000 lbs). This will be a permanent fixture that will stay under the machine so height is critical.

    A pallet jack or any type of machine rollers are out of the question.

    Here's what I want to do: Fabricate an air cushion pad using a piece of 1/2" - 3/4" plate steel. Under this plate is a solid rim to hold the weight of the machine in the rest position. Then, when I want to move the machine (to cut long boards etc.), air pressure is applied creating an air caster. This is common practice in industry. One person can move many tons - providing they don't go down a hill.... The overall size of the plate will be about 18" x 40" but the actual working parts of the air caster can be two separate pads located toward each end.

    Under the steel plate is some sort of sealing device?, flexible material? or inflatable bladder? which provides a sealing surface to the floor. Any thoughts on exactly how to build this device????

    From what I can tell, commercially available air casters are too thick for this application, and they are $$$$..... yikes.

    Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions,

    Rob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    258
    Look at this option. Hoverpad. Little pricy, but cheaper than what you are trying to come up with I think. Watch the video. Several people are selling this now.

    http://www.ultimategarage.com/hoverpad.htm
    http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworki....aspx?id=27031
    http://www.general.ca/pagemach/machines/10824_929.html
    http://70.103.140.112/~brentwo2/hoverpad.html
    Mike Kelly
    _________
    ShopBot Benchtop with 4G Upgrade
    Small Homemade CNC
    Sherline CNC Mill
    Aspire
    VCarve Pro 4.0
    PartWorks
    PartWorks 3D
    AutoCAD
    CorelDraw

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    153
    A plate with support cleats on the bottom, to keep the rubber bladder skirt from crushing when not inflated. The size plate you specify, and weight works out to 4.14 psi. Very do-able, but you need a large compressor tank to to deliver the CFM of air escaping from around the bladder. If you could double the plate size, and get the psi around 2, a good leaf blower has that pressure and could work.

    For the skirt, think of something like an inflated bicycle innertube around the perimeter. That would be strong enough to hold the few psi in the chamber. And the cleats would prevent the innertube from crushing.
    Last edited by Tom Majewski; 01-31-2007 at 12:04 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Clanton, Alabama
    Posts
    276

    Rob, I have made air bearings

    In the past that were very simple and easy to build. I used Phenolic plates about an inch thick (two 1/2" glued & screwed together). One side had a lot of 1/16" diameter holes drilled through and the other was vented to the holes. I attached an air fitting to it and used shop air pressure to each pad (you don't need a lot of pressure). One thing you have to watch out for is the mass you want to move won't stop easy so you have to be careful about that. Most garage floors are slightly slanted so you have to figure on that too. You will want to use a mounted air manifold with a valve to connect all your pads to and to meter your pressure. The pads need to be large enough (approximately 8 to 10" in diameter, 4 each) to get enough holes to provide the cushion of air. Round is better cause you have more surface area. We used this system to lift entire ring sections of the Saturn Moon rocket back in the 60's so why wouldn't it work for you?
    Ron In Clanton, Alabama

    Shoot amongst us boy, one of us has got to have some relief!

  5. #5
    Rob Will Guest
    Thanks for the replies.
    After making the original post, this project started progressing rather fast.

    This morning, I ran across a company that sells a very thin, high capacity load module. It is available without the backing plate. That way, I can use a piece of steel plate that I have on hand to fabricate a custom base for these air bearings. The total height will be about 3/4".

    http://solvinginc.com/air_film_technology.htm

    So.....I bought 4 of these air bearings. They are 8"x8" with a rated capacity of 1000 lbs. each. The small size allows everything to fit inside of the machine's 18" x 40" footprint. (a 2500 lb. Moak bandsaw) The saw will pivot 90 degrees around a structural post on a hinge device.

    Fortunately, I poured the concrete floor dead flat because it is designed to be a WW machine room.

    Moon Rockets ehh? I like to stand at the business end of the Saturn V laying on it's side at the Huntsville Space Center.

    Rob
    Last edited by Rob Will; 01-31-2007 at 7:55 PM.

  6. #6

    Air Casters Cost??

    Hey Rob,

    If you dont mind saying, what did they get for them? the 8x8 air casters?

    thanks joe p

  7. #7

    Air casters

    Hi Ron,

    I just bought an old Powermatic model 87 bandsaw that I am going to strip and rebuild. I read about you making air casters and would like to use them for this saw since it weighs around 1200 pounds. I am sorry but I did not quite get how the casters went together. Any help would be great. If any body else has any advice I would appreciate it. I would like to make them with out a skirt if possible. THANKS

  8. #8
    Rob Will Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Clay View Post
    Hi Ron,

    I just bought an old Powermatic model 87 bandsaw that I am going to strip and rebuild. I read about you making air casters and would like to use them for this saw since it weighs around 1200 pounds. I am sorry but I did not quite get how the casters went together. Any help would be great. If any body else has any advice I would appreciate it. I would like to make them with out a skirt if possible. THANKS
    I mounted some 8" air casters under my Moak Super 36. Actually, it did not work very well as a bandsaw is top heavy. Picking the saw up on air was easy, stability of a tall tool on a narrow base.......well that's another story.

    Rob

  9. #9
    Rob,

    Does the caster you used have bellows or just flat on the bottom? I am trying to make a set with out a skirt.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    258
    Jack, the Hoverpad I mentioned above should fit your bandsaw and be able to move it easily. No bellows. I assume the base is not over 29" x 29"?
    http://www.general.ca/pagemach/machines/10824_929.html
    Mike Kelly
    _________
    ShopBot Benchtop with 4G Upgrade
    Small Homemade CNC
    Sherline CNC Mill
    Aspire
    VCarve Pro 4.0
    PartWorks
    PartWorks 3D
    AutoCAD
    CorelDraw

  11. #11
    Mike,

    I looked at those but I was trying to see if I could build on because they are kind of pricey. I am not going to be moving the saw very often but I do wonít to keep the option open. Thank you for the web site. I liked Ronís idea but I did not quite get how they were put together.

Similar Threads

  1. OT - Phase Converters (Build Your Own)
    By Rob Russell in forum WorkShops
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-29-2008, 1:12 PM
  2. Central Machinery Heavy Duty Combination Belt/Disc Sander
    By David Genrich in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 12-05-2006, 4:14 PM
  3. Bench Renovation - the bench to build a bench!
    By Alan DuBoff in forum Neanderthal Haven
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 04-22-2006, 6:40 AM
  4. ? tools do you use to build your Cabinets
    By Jim Ketron in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 09-16-2004, 1:51 PM
  5. Used Machinery Dealers??
    By markus shaffer in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 08-27-2003, 3:54 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •